MILWAUKEE -- As baseball’s general managers gather for the next two days at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, it will be interesting to see the company that Kenny Williams keeps.
The White Sox’s GM is likely to make some moves this winter in the form of trading established talent. The most obvious guy to be playing elsewhere in 2012 seems to be right fielder Carlos Quentin.
Since Quentin could make as much as $8 million in arbitration next season, and will be a free agent in 2013, a team that would be interested in him is expected to be one with some cash to spend.
As it turns out, the four teams that had the worst run production from their right fielders last season are known to spend a little money. The Chicago Cubs had just 47 RBIs from their right fielders, the lowest total in baseball. Just above them were the Seattle Mariners (51), the Boston Red Sox (58) and the Atlanta Braves (61).
We can probably eliminate the Cubs from this list. If Dayan Viciedo struggles to find a foothold in the major leagues in 2012 and Quentin is crushing the ball for the cross-town team, that would simply be a bad business move for the White Sox.
The Mariners have Ichiro Suzuki in right field for one more season, but they are so starved for offense that they might be interested in Quentin anyway for the designated hitter role or perhaps to play a little left field.
The Braves also present an interesting option because if Quentin went to Atlanta, he would be paired with hitting coach Greg Walker once again. Walker, who resigned his post with the White Sox at the end of the season, was named the Braves hitting coach in October.
But the Braves have a hugely talented right fielder in Jason Heyward, who did go through a sophomore slump in 2011, but is still considered to have an extremely high ceiling.
Williams isn’t expected to move a guy like Quentin at the GM meetings, but the next few days could help lay more groundwork for a deal leading up to next month’s winter meetings in Dallas.