Daily Herald
Sox on verge of dealing Crede?
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 11/16/2007 12:15 AM

The first domino fell when Alex Rodriguez agreed in principle to a new contract with the Yankees on Thursday.

The next one to keel over is probably Joe Crede, who would depart Chicago, and after him it might be Miguel Cabrera, who could arrive on the South Side.

It's nearly Thanksgiving, and that means it's the time of year when White Sox GM Kenny Williams likes to start firing.

"On paper, you would have thought we had a very potent lineup last year,'' Williams said Thursday. "We didn't, so now we look for reinforcements.''

Williams would not discuss specifically any of his players or who he might be targeting elsewhere, but he did say he is heavily involved in several different scenarios.

However, a major-league exec with knowledge of the situation said Thursday he believes there's a 95 percent chance Crede will be dealt before Opening Day, as the Sox appear done trying to get Crede's agent, Scott Boras, to talk about a deal beyond 2008 -- or get Crede to talk to them on his own.

A Crede trade may occur quite soon, and almost certainly by the end of the winter meetings in a couple weeks.

There's no shortage of suitors, like both L.A. clubs and Boston, but the Dodgers have the best stockpile of young players and offer the best chance for the Sox to reload quickly.

The two clubs have talked previously about the Dodgers' youngsters, having discussed Mark Buehrle last summer before Buehrle re-signed with the Sox.

With starter Chad Billingsley probably untouchable, look for the Sox to pursue two or three of the following players in a package: second baseman Tony Abreau, outfielder Matt Kemp, second baseman/outfielder Delwyn Young, outfielder James Loney, reliever Jonathan Broxton, and monster left-handed pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw.

One of those players can be sent to Florida for Cabrera, the 24-year-old third baseman who beat the Marlins at arbitration for $7.4 million last season, and is due to become a free agent after 2009.

The Sox would want him in left field, where Cabrera played earlier in his career when Ozzie Guillen was a coach with Florida and the Marlins won the World Series.

Since then, Cabrera has moved to third, gained weight and had some attitude issues.

The Sox undoubtedly feel a reunion with countryman Guillen would serve to keep Cabrera in line on both sides of the ball.

With Cabrera in left and presumably Crede gone, it would make room for Josh Fields at third, where he's at his best.

You can be certain Williams has tried to work with Crede personally, as the Steinbrenners just did with Rodriguez, because Williams has done this in the past with players he wanted to see stay on the South Side.

The fact that the Sox have moved forward and are this close to trading Crede tells you they've received no indication Crede will respond.

So more major changes are on the way on the South Side.

And the Joe Crede era, which looked so promising just a year or two ago, is apparently coming to an end in Chicago.

Stocking stuffer

If the Sox do land Cabrera to play left and a new starting center fielder in free agency, like Torii Hunter or Aaron Rowand, their lineup starts to look rather imposing with Fields, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and Jim Thome.

Safe at home

While the NBA is starting to talk about the Celtics topping the Bulls' record of 72-10 set in 1995-96, it's not going to happen.

That Bulls team started 10-1, 23-2 and 41-3. If the Celts are 41-3 after playing Dallas on Jan. 31, come and talk to me.

This Boston club is too old and susceptible to injuries, which is the only thing that will keep them from winning the East.

The conference did improve over the summer as Orlando and Toronto have joined Boston, Cleveland and Detroit among those who believe they can reach the NBA Finals.

And, of course, there are the Bulls ...

Memory lane

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of East Leyden's Class 5A state football championship with a tribute to coach Jack Leese on Nov. 24th at the Rosemont Convention Center.

The event, put together by his former players, is open to the entire East Leyden family, including fans, coaches, faculty, staff and students.

Mike Shanahan, whose Broncos face the Bears in Chicago the next day, will offer a video presentation, and Bulls broadcaster Tom Dore and Bears radio statman Doug Colletti will be in attendance.

Visit leesetribute.com for more info.

Breakfast of champs

Tickets for the Kane County Cougars 2008 season go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at Elfstrom Stadium, when fans can also get an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the Cougars' clubhouse, fully catered by the front office staff.

For more info, visit kccougars.com.

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Bill Belichick hires Wyoming coach to give the finger to opponents.''

And finally …

ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, on Kevin Garnett: "He's a man on a mission. He's possessed. He's a borderline lunatic. Remember when Ronnie Lott had half a broken pinky amputated so he wouldn't miss the '85 playoffs? You get the feeling KG would do the same so he wouldn't miss a mid-January home game against the Hornets.''