Roster Notes

The dominos were expected to fall once the White Sox organization found out that slugger Frank Thomas was indeed returning for the 2004 season and a new manager (Ozzie Guillen) was named, but things are still quiet on the free agent front.

The team did pick up the options on both Esteban Loaiza and Jose Valentin, but both Sandy Alomar and Robbie Alomar were expecting to have deals on the table by this time as well. The main problem is the Sox are handcuffed by their current payroll and might not want to sign anyone without first trying to trade Magglio Ordonez or Billy Koch.

ARRIVALS: DH Frank Thomas (exercised his $6 million option), RHP Esteban Loaiza (picked up club option at $4 million), SS Jose Valentin (picked up club option at $5 million).


BIGGEST NEEDS: GM Ken Williams was adamant at the end of the season that pitching would be the focus for the club, and he proved that by offering a three-year, $36 million deal to free agent-to-be Bartolo Colon. That deal was turned down and has been pulled off the table, but that doesn't mean that Williams won't do everything possible to try to land another big-name starter in free agency.

FREE AGENTS: 2B Roberto Alomar, INF Tony Graffanino, C Sandy Alomar Jr., OF Carl Everett, RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Tom "Flash" Gordon and RHP Scott Sullivan.

Williams said he would like to try to keep the team intact from last season, but it's very unlikely with the current payroll. Robbie and Sandy Alomar thought they were both close to signing deals with the Sox last week, but all is quiet now. Everett, Gordon and Colon are likely gone unless the Sox could trade some of the big salaries of Konerko, Ordonez or Koch. Sullivan and Graffanino are both being targeted as players the Sox also want back.

ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE: OF Carlos Lee, RHP Jon Garland, LHP Mark Buehrle, 1B/DH Brian Daubach and LHP Kelly Wunsch.

Buehrle insists that there have been no talks between the two sides, and he will likely head for a hearing in the spring. The club has been trying to re-sign Lee and Garland, but with trade rumors about Lee circulating that might be hard to do. Daubach and Wunsch might not be in the Sox's plans for next season.

IN LIMBO: Ordonez, Koch, Konerko and Lee are each possibilities to be traded because the Sox are actively trying to clear at least one big salary player from their payroll. The problem is that Konerko and Koch are each coming off poor seasons, and their trade value might be too low. That would leave making the tough decision of possibly moving Ordonez or Lee, who are cornerstones in the Sox's lineup.

MEDICAL WATCH: No major medical news for the Sox.

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