NASHVILLE. Tenn. -- The White Sox were involved in the first trade of the winter meetings Monday at the Opryland Resort, acquiring corner outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor-league first baseman Chris Carter.
The deal was fairly minor in nature, but it appears a major trade involving third baseman Joe Crede is coming, possibly before the end of the week.
Crede is eligible for free agency at the end of the 2008 season and his agent, Scott Boras, recently contacted Sox assistant general manager Rick Hahn.
"No discussion of a contact has taken place,'' said White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. "(Boras) just wanted us to know Joe was feeling good and coming through his program well.''
Crede, one of the best fielding third basemen in baseball, played in just 47 games this year before having season-ending back surgery June 12. He is expected to be close to 100 percent by spring training.
Williams said Crede recently was in Chicago for a physical exam. "We needed our doctors to lay eyes on him,'' the GM said. "He's coming along.''
Before long, Crede should be going along.
Williams was quite clear Monday that Josh Fields was not going to give way to Crede next season by either playing left field or sitting on the bench. Williams also squelched rumors the Sox are in trade talks with the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera.
"If Josh Fields is going to be on this club, it's going to be playing every day,'' Williams said. "Only one (third baseman) can play the position at a time. We'll make sure only one is there when the games start.''
Taking over for Crede in mid-June after starting the season with Class AAA Charlotte, Fields batted .244 with 23 home runs and 67 RBI in 100 games. The former Oklahoma State quarterback played 21 games in left field but never looked comfortable.
Williams was asked if Crede could be with a new team before the winter meetings end Thursday.
"Possibly,'' he said. "I'm not trying to be coy. There are some things you just have to go through the process and let time evolve.''
If they have indeed decided to trade Crede, the White Sox are not in a position where they have to rush.
"A decision doesn't have to be made until Opening Day,'' Williams said. "We don't have to jump into it; we don't have to rush into anything. We'll take our time.''
Even with the addition of Quentin, Williams said the Sox still are very much in the hunt for a center fielder, likely to be a free agent.
"It is still a picture that is being painted,'' Williams said. "We're still going to pursue some other possibilities, some other avenues.''
The Cubs are interested in Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome, who has filed for free agency and is expected to decide soon if he's heading to the major leagues.
The 30-year-old outfielder was limited to 81 games this season before having surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. In 2006, Fukudome was named the Japanese Central League's MVP after batting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBI.
Two players from Japan have played for the White Sox -- second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and relief pitcher Shingo Takatsu.
"The Japanese League has shown itself to be a league in which the players, the best players, can be brought over here and perform at a high level,'' Williams said.