(MCT) — NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The White Sox appear to be preparing for life without free agents A.J. Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis.
"We do feel that some of the options we like are starting to come close to making a decision, whether it be via free agency or via trade," general manager Rick Hahn said Monday night, shortly after Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and several high-ranking officials left a hotel suite. "And if we want to move forward, that very well may have to come to a head in the coming days. But we certainly don't feel any pressure that we have to make a move."
Pierzynski's status could be settled soon after catcher Mike Napoli signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox, and the demand for Youkilis will increase after it was learned Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be sidelined at least through June because of a hip tear.
While Hahn has stayed in contact with representatives for Pierzynski and Youkilis, the Sox have a surplus of pitching he might be able to trade to address third base and a left-handed hitter to replace Pierzynski.
"We may well have to dip into some of that (pitching) depth," Hahn said. "And we won't have the luxury of waiting around until spring training to do that."
Pitcher Gavin Floyd is the most obvious trading chip, and moving his $9.5 million salary would enable Hahn to address areas of need.
The Sox would like to add a low-cost starting pitcher to replace Floyd and have expressed interest in free agent Brandon McCarthy, an industry source confirmed Monday. McCarthy, who started his career with the Sox, has fully recovered after getting struck in the head by a line drive in September while with the A's.
Hahn reaffirmed his faith in Tyler Flowers as the starting catcher and Hector Gimenez as the backup should Pierzynski depart. The Sox hope Flowers can produce more power and cut down on strikeouts while handling a pitching staff that trusts his pitch selection and defense.
If the Sox change gears, the Red Sox could be a possible trade partner because they need a starting pitcher such as Floyd (who could be reunited with bullpen coach Juan Nieves) and have switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia available.
"You have to make sure you have contingency plans lined up, all of which you judge against the status quo,'' Hahn said.
Extra innings: Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is on Team USA's provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic. Konerko has healed from left wrist surgery but sported a large scar. Andre Rienzo will pitch for Brazil, and pitchers Jose Quintana (Colombia) and Hector Santiago (Puerto Rico) are under consideration. ... Pitcher John Danks (left shoulder surgery) remains on schedule to be ready for the start of spring training. Trainer Herm Schneider examined Danks last week in Dallas.