Ordonez Could Become Available

White Sox general manager Ken Williams has done his best to avoid going public with details of the on-again, off-again contract negotiations between the organization and star outfielder Magglio Ordonez.<BR><BR> But with so much attention focused on the subject of late, Williams provided as much information as he thought he could on Friday (July 2), basically saying the ball is in Ordonez's court.

Ordonez has said he wants a five-year, $70 million deal, matching the one Anaheim gave star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero this past off-season. The Sox's offer includes deferred money and an option in the fifth year.

"We put something (together for) him that's not too far away from what he originally wanted," Williams said. "Yes, we do have a little bit of deferred compensation tied to it. It's the time to create a little bit of flexibility for us to put together a solid ballclub.

"Yes, the fifth year, I guess, is at issue, but only in the sense that we want to make sure we have some sort of protection in the event that he's not healthy in that fifth year. Certainly not taking away any of the total overall dollars from him.

"I think the framework is there for the deal to be consummated. But only time will tell, and only he'll be able to give us that indication."

Last month, Ordonez told the Daily Southtown that the talks had ended because of the differences involving the final year of the proposed deal.

"Like I said, as far as his contract is concerned, he still has an offer out there," Williams said. "I remain hopeful that he sees and understands what we've put out there for him and would be willing to accept it."

Williams doesn't want the deadlock to be seen as any sign of disrespect for Ordonez's talents.

"I think people, through this whole process, maybe get a little bit different understanding about how we feel about the guy," Williams said. "We have nothing but the utmost respect for him, what he's accomplished and hopefully what he will accomplish on the South Side."

Ordonez is on the disabled list after having left knee surgery June 5, and he hasn't been with the team this week.

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