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White Sox franchise in rebuilding phase

Outfielder Carlos Quentis one several White Sox players who could be moved. | Duane Burleson~AP

Outfielder Carlos Quentin is one of several White Sox players who could be moved. | Duane Burleson~AP

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Updated: November 16, 2011 11:19AM



All in?

All out is more like it.

And good luck.

By choosing Robin Ventura to manage the White Sox, freewheeling and free-spending general manager Ken Williams has sent a clear signal which direction he’s going in 2012.

There are concerns throughout the organization about how Williams will oversee a rebuilding phase. He has very little in his farm system to draw from and can’t expect to glean much in the coming years when the Sox spent a major-league-low $2.7 million on players chosen in the 2011 draft. This has been going on for a while now — the Sox have spent $10 million on the draft in the last three years, half as much as the Cubs and far behind the Pittsburgh Pirates ($37 million).

What’s more, the Sox don’t have a Latin American game-changing speed player or game-changing glove in their system. Every other organization has at least one — the Phillies have about five.

After outfielders Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson, the Sox don’t really have a position player who’s believed to be a legit prospect by anybody in the industry. The Sox are better on the pitching side but aren’t overflowing with great arms beyond Addison Reed.

Look for Williams to explore one-for-two and one-for-three deals for high-end Class AA prospects who would be ready for major-league camp in February, using right-hander Gavin Floyd or left-hander John Danks — or both — in trades.

Carlos Quentin also has trade value, and with call-ups Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo figuring to stick in the outfield, there’s room to send him off after a typical Quentin year — 24 home runs, 77 RBI and an extended stay on the disabled list.

“I understand my situation contractually,’’ said Quentin, who will be a free agent after next season. “I know I’m a piece that could possibly be moved in the offseason.’’

What prevents the Sox from a complete “go young” overhaul — a plan Williams was ready to implement last offseason before chairman Jerry Reinsdorf signed off on a $56 million deal for Adam Dunn and multiyear extensions for Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski — are the contracts of Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy. He’s stuck with those, but it’s not out of the question that Konerko is dealt. The Sox’ captain and No. 2 all-time home-run hitter would have to give his permission, but while saying he’s committed to staying and that he might even enjoy being part of a rebuilding project, he didn’t rule out a trade.

“I think you look at it, and you always listen to things on the table,” Konerko said Friday. “If Kenny or Jerry wanted to call and say, ‘This is what we’re doing. What do you think?’ you listen to it all and make a decision. It’s a business.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks, conveniently located where he lives, put in a waiver claim on Konerko after the trade deadline. Williams reportedly asked for young Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, among others, in return, and the Diamondbacks declined. With that, Konerko was pulled back off waivers.

Were the Sox to deal Konerko for a package that did not include Goldschmidt, or perhaps to another team, Williams might want to call the Red Sox and propose sending them Floyd and Quentin for 24-year-old outfielder Josh Reddick and 24-year-old first baseman Lars Anderson. Or, perhaps Floyd for Reddick and two minor-league prospects. Floyd is 6-0 with a 3.47 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox, so they probably know who he is.

Last week, Williams talked to the media at U.S. Cellular Field. He knew then that Ventura was his guy. He knew then that the 2012 Sox would have a much different look.

“Sometimes there’s a price to pay, particularly when that doesn’t translate into success with the players you’ve acquired,” Williams said. “You take it on the chin, and you keep moving.

“You might have to modify the way you do business for a couple of years until you get that foundation back together where you say, ‘OK, now, if we had player X, Y or Z, now we have a championship goal again.’’

They’ll try getting there with a manager who has never managed a baseball game, a good guy who almost sounded like he agreed to manage out of the goodness of his heart for Reinsdorf.

Ventura is the anti-Ozzie. He’s calm, cool and collected. Albeit a dry one, like Guillen, he has a sense of humor. And that’s a good thing.

“To take the kind of beating he’s about to take, he’s going to need every ounce of humor he has,’’ a major-league source said.



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