White Sox's winter plan to come in Dallas

CHICAGO -- If the Chicago White Sox already have a plan in place to either go young or hold off on trading their veteran players, new manager Robin Ventura wasn’t about to reveal anything.

Ventura, who participated in a conference call in advance of next week’s winter meetings, said the club’s direction will most likely be decided when team officials gather in Dallas.

Not only does left-hander Mark Buehrle appear on the verge of signing with another team, but rumors are rampant that the White Sox could trade any combination of Carlos Quentin, John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Even Matt Thornton and Sergio Santos have been named in trade rumors.

“I’ve kept in contact with [general manager] Kenny [Williams] with different things coming up,” Ventura said, referring to offers the White Sox have received for their established talent. “Obviously I would love to be able to hand the ball to [Danks] 30-plus times, Gavin Floyd the same thing and have Carlos in right.

“It’s kind of a wish list, but that’s not always going to be able to happen. I don’t think he knows, I don’t know and that’s the interesting part about going there [to Dallas].”

What made last year’s struggles even more disappointing was the fact the White Sox had put together a club-record payroll that topped $127 million. The 2012 payroll will be less than that, but how much less remains to be seen.

Shedding Buehrle’s salary would have covered raises due to players already under contract, but that didn’t include the $15 million that Danks and Quentin would combine to make as arbitration-eligible players.

Marginal savings will come from the expiring contracts of Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel and Ramon Castro.

Ventura said the decision to trade players will be made by Williams, of course, but he isn’t just an observer in the process.

“There is a business side of the game that isn’t always fun when a season like last year happens,” Ventura said. “That’s part of the game. Guys being wanted by other teams, that will come up. You look at it two ways. For me in my situation it’s nice that people are calling asking about players. That means you have good players.

“I realize who we have and hope we have a lot of them back. But if there is a time in Dallas when we talk about certain players and it’s worth making that move, I will definitely voice an opinion.”