White Sox Add Arms Through Trades
CHICAGO—It could be a New Year's resolution, as general manager Ken Williams restocked the White Sox farm system with pitching prospects that he once used for big-ticket major league talent.
Of course, this came at the expense of slugger Carlos Quentin and reliever Jason Frasor, but Williams addressed an urgent need: pitching at the upper levels.
On New Year's Eve, Williams acquired righthander Simon Castro and lefthander Pedro Hernandez from the Padres for Quentin, and then followed up on Jan. 1 by landing righthanders Myles Jaye and Daniel Webb for Frasor.
The moves will save the Sox nearly $12 million from their 2012 payroll. But Williams, who stunned some at the Winter Meetings by using the word "rebuilding" while discussing the trading of closer Sergio Santos to Toronto for righthander Nestor Molina, knows it's imperative for the Sox to restock their farm system with pitchers after trading four to acquire Jake Peavy midway through the 2009 season, dealing John Ely and Jon Link to the Dodgers for Juan Pierre in December 2009, and trading Daniel Hudson and lefthander David Holmberg for Edwin Jackson before the 2010 trading deadline.
"All in all, the depth we're acquiring is something that's going to serve us well for the future," Williams said. "And there's a little bit of payroll (that goes) away for us, so maybe we can take some of that and invest in either something that helps the major league club right now or something that is on the horizon with another prospect. So ultimately maybe making, let's say, a three-for-one deal versus just a two-for-one (trade), albeit with two guys we really like."
The Sox believe they can correct Castro's mechanical flaws, which resulted in a 7-8, 5.63 record in 22 starts for Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson after ranking as one of the Padres' top prospects. Hernandez, 22, was described by Williams as a "strike-throwing machine."
• Williams didn't rule out the possibility of exploring the Cuban free agent market, where the Sox have landed shortstop Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo, who will take over in right field for Quentin.
• Infielder Ozzie Martinez, acquired as compensation when manager Ozzie Guillen signed with Miami, hit .259/.356/.315 in 40 games for Carolina of the Puerto Rican League. Martinez will compete for a backup infield role with the White Sox.