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John Danks, Gavin Floyd might stay with White Sox after all

White Sox general manager Ken Williams reportedly talked Red Sox Wednesday about John Danks GavFloyd. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

White Sox general manager Ken Williams reportedly talked to the Red Sox on Wednesday about John Danks and Gavin Floyd. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: January 9, 2012 10:15AM

DALLAS — The 2011 winter meetings came with high expectations for White Sox wheeling and dealing. Sadly for the Sox, one trade isn’t much to make Sox fans feel better about watching a hero — Mark Buehrle — walk away.

For all the talk of starting pitchers John Danks and Gavin Floyd being dangled on the trade block, general manager Ken Williams said Wednesday he expects to go into the 2012 season with the pitching as is.

“But, again, it’s a long offseason, and that can change,’’ Williams said.

Hmmm. Williams reportedly talked to the Red Sox on Wednesday about Danks and Floyd. Outfielder Carlos Quentin’s name probably came up, too.

“I’ve met with a lot of people,’’ Williams said of those reports, “but I don’t expect anything to happen.’’

Offers for position players were not worth making. With closer Sergio Santos unexpectedly traded for prospect Nestor Molina on Tuesday, it’s safe to say Gordon Beckham’s name came up, too.

“Nothing to our liking to make us better for the present or future,’’ Williams said. “We just keep having conversations.’’

Williams expected these meetings to be trade-friendly. Turns out they were much bigger on free agents with the Marlins landing Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Heath Bell.

The good news for Williams is the players he didn’t trade have value.

“The price is high,’’ he said. “They’re pretty good pitchers, pretty good players, and I’m not so sure people want me to set the price low.’’

The Sox’ starting rotation consists of Jake Peavy, Danks, Floyd, Philip Humber and first-time starter Chris Sale, although Sale could return to the bullpen at midseason if his workload of innings takes a toll. Zach Stewart also could be in the starting mix, or any number of young pitchers.

“It’s not the worst thing in the world to go into the season with pitching that you like and position players that you like, and you just hope a few of them [Adam Dunn, Alex Rios, Beckham] will rebound,’’ Williams said. “If we can do a little bit of both, rebuilding of the minor-league system and compete at the major-league level, that’s not the worst thing in the world. We’ll try to evolve from there.’’

Williams said the $127 million 2011 payroll will be reduced, but by how much “will manifest itself in the next few months.’’

Asked if fans can reasonably expect the Sox to compete for the American League Central title, he said, “If some guys have bounce-back years and go back to career norms, yeah. Mostly if a number of things happen offensively, continued growth at third base and second, if [outfielder and likely leadoff man Alejandro] De Aza continues to play the way he ended the year . . . and along with the obvious bigger names.’’

That’s a lot of ifs. And with four months till Opening Day, there’s a lot of time for a lot of change.

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