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Speedy Podsednik wins it for Sox
Any deal the White Sox make before Tuesday's 3 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline could be just the start of an overhaul for next season.
"We are going to do something different here, and obviously there's going to be new blood," manager Ozzie Guillen said Thursday before the Sox pulled out a 4-3 victory over defending American League champion Detroit. "That makes you [study] earlier. I guarantee you [general manager] Kenny Williams is doing [something]. He knows what we want and the budget. He knows more than I do. I just sit here managing the ballclub. The last thing I want to worry about is what club I'm going to be managing next year. I don't know if I'm even going to be here."
Guillen is a virtual lock, based on a contract that runs through 2008 with a club option. But other positions -- such as the outfield, shortstop, second base and the bullpen -- likely will have new faces.
Jermaine Dye's days appear numbered in right field, based on his impending free agency. The Sox would like to receive some value for him in a deadline deal unless they keep him and opt for draft picks in compensation after he leaves.
An industry source said Boston was trying to land Dye with the help of a third team. That probably would assure first baseman Paul Konerko will stay with the Sox.
Tadahito Iguchi can become a free agent if the Sox don't resign him 15 days after the World Series, and left-handed-hitting second baseman Danny Richar, batting .346 at Triple-A Charlotte, will get a look no later than September.
The New York Mets, who lost second baseman Jose Valentin for at least six weeks with a broken leg, had two scouts at Thursday's game. Oakland, which is believed to be shopping left-handers Joe Kennedy and Alan Embree, also had a representative in attendance.
Rookie outfielder Jerry Owens has impressed Guillen this month and could allow the Sox to invest their remaining financial resources elsewhere if he proves he can handle the leadoff duties.
The Sox, with a payroll around $107 million for 2007, have committed nearly $85 million to 10 players for 2008, provided they don't pick up the options on outfielders Darin Erstad and Rob Mackowiak and shortstop Juan Uribe.
Scouts will be watching Jon Garland closely when he takes the mound Friday night against Toronto. But the Sox would need a power hitter to replace Dye unless they plan to keep injured third baseman Joe Crede and move rookie standout Josh Fields to another position.
The Sox's starting pitching appears stable, especially if they keep Garland and Javier Vazquez. Rookie left-hander John Danks limited the Tigers to three runs over 6 2/3 innings Thursday.
"I love it," Guillen said. "He threw the ball unbelievably well."
Outside of David Eckstein and Cesar Izturis (on whom Pittsburgh holds a $5.85 million option), the free-agent shortstop pool appears shallow. Addressing speed at other positions could enable the Sox to pick up Uribe's $5 million option.
"When you have speed and they get on base, a lot of great things can happen," Guillen marveled after watching Scott Podsednik score the winning run from first on an errant throw. "That's what we were missing for a while."
Thursday's victory was the fifth in the last eight games against division leaders Detroit and Cleveland. But Guillen refused to be drawn into any false hope as the Sox (46-56) are 14 1/2 games out of first with 60 games left and the trading deadline looming.
"You have to try to be mentally strong to stay away from everything," Guillen said. "As a player, you already have enough problems to add another one to your mind.
"[But] believe me, if something is going to happen, they are going to be the first to know what's going on."