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Sox busy laying roster groundwork

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 10:11 a.m. CST

(MCT) — NASHVILLE, Tenn. — General manager Rick Hahn believes he made progress Tuesday in defining the White Sox's plans to shape their 2013 roster.

But he tempered the anticipation that moves may be imminent at the winter meetings here.

"I would love to have a press conference and announce a deal that we all felt made us better," Hahn said. "We are not going to rush anything just so we can say 'Hey, look what we did in Nashville.' "

There were more indications, however, that the Sox were looking harder at their other options in the likely event that neither third baseman Kevin Youkilis nor catcher A.J. Pierzynski — both free agents — sign with other teams.

"(Tuesday) was a good day in terms of substantive talks with other clubs and agents, and there's progress made in terms of knowing what the likely alternatives are," Hahn said.

The possibility of a platoon system involving Brent Morel wasn't ruled out by Hahn or manager Robin Ventura.

But Morel, who played in only 34 games with the Sox in 2012 because of a bulging disc in his lower back, must prove he's healthy in spring training. Another factor in operating a productive platoon setup at third would be the Sox's ability to land a third baseman who can hit left-handed and offset the potential loss of the left-handed hitting Pierzynski.

Jack Hannahan fits the profile the Sox could be seeking. Hannahan batted .244 with the Indians last season, but he was hampered by a lower back injury last May that affected his production.

A platoon system also would be much cheaper than re-signing Youkilis, whose agents met with several teams at the Opryland Hotel.

The Indians could be an option for Youkilis because he played for manager Terry Francona with the Red Sox and grew up in Cincinnati. Agent Joe Bick acknowledged Monday that Youkilis has "a lot of connections" in Cleveland.

Hahn and Ventura reinforced their confidence in Tyler Flowers' defensive skills if Pierzynski leaves — a possibility that seems more realistic.

The Rangers, who considered Pierzynski during the 2010 season, are a possible team for him. Rangers manager Ron Washington hinted they may need more depth after re-signing former Cub Geovany Soto.

"We better just let the process play its way out and see what we acquire," Washington said when asked if the Rangers needed to add a catcher. "But as you said, as the roster stands right now, Soto is the guy."

Another consideration for the Sox is their pitching depth and they are exploring the possibility of adding another starting pitcher, such as free agent Brandon McCarthy, before moving a large salaried player such as pitcher Gavin Floyd ($9.5 million).

Such a scenario would maintain the Sox's rotation depth while allowing them to use the money saved by a trade to address another area of need.

"It's conceivable that if we had a deal lined up that we liked for one of our starters or relievers, that we would want to have that replacement in place from the free agent market," Hahn said. "It would certainly make you more comfortable dealing from depth knowing you had that alternative in place. We'll see if we head down that path."

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