DALLAS -- The last conversation between Carlos Quentin and White Sox general manager Ken Williams took place on the final day of the 2011 regular season in the U.S. Cellular Field home clubhouse.
It was a brief and straightforward talk, although not completely illuminating concerning Quentin's future.
"I shook his hand, and he said, 'Make sure you are in shape and I'll see you in the spring,'" Quentin told MLB.com during a Monday night phone conversation from his California home. "Standard Kenny. Move on and keep going."
By the time baseball's annual Winter Meetings come to a close Thursday afternoon, Quentin and Williams just might be talking again. And this conversation probably will center on Quentin's trade to another team.
Coming off a 2011 campaign in which the White Sox greatly underachieved behind a $127 million payroll, the perception falls upon a payroll cut for the 2012 White Sox. It might even be a modified rebuilding process.
And with Quentin in his last year of arbitration and in line for a raise from his $5.050 million salary last season, he becomes a prime candidate to be moved. It's a big-picture concept Quentin understands, but also one to which Quentin hopes a resolution soon arrives.
"Am I going to be traded? I'm really unsure," Quentin said. "But am I looking to find that out? I'm anxiously awaiting the result, I guess in the next week. I'll keep my ears open to what happens.
"This was this team who gave me the chance to make every day starts, and I've played hard for the organization. I know I came up and broke in with the Diamondbacks and that was a great experience, but there's an emotional connection with the White Sox.
"You constantly remind yourself at this point, where I'm at contractually in my career, I have no control," Quentin said. "You look at the situation of the team, how the year went, and I evaluate how my year went. I felt I performed well. With that performance, with the team's situation, there's some value there. So my name pops up, and that's not necessarily a bad thing."
Quentin, who turns 30 this season, set his White Sox bar extremely high with his Most Valuable Player-caliber effort back in 2008. He dealt with nagging injuries during the 2009 and 2010 seasons but has consistently been right behind captain and first baseman Paul Konerko in terms of production at the plate.
In 118 games last season, Quentin hit .254 with 24 homers, 77 RBIs and a career-high 31 doubles. In 2010, Quentin drove in 87 with just 110 hits.
There were just two at-bats for Quentin after Aug. 20, when he suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder by making a spectacular first-inning catch against the Rangers. Quentin said on Monday his shoulder feels great, and that he resumed workouts at the beginning of November.
He'll start swinging in another week.
"That gives me two months, before going back to camp, to develop a new swing that will be probably thrown in the garbage the first week of Spring Training," said Quentin with a laugh.
Whether Quentin will be revising that swing at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., or for another organization soon should be decided. He thoroughly enjoyed playing for Ozzie Guillen, who seemed to be able to keep the always-intense Quentin loose. But he also looks forward to suiting up for Robin Ventura, pointing to the new manager having a temperament to which players will respond.
Center fielder Alex Rios is owed $39 million over the next three years, and factoring in last year's struggles, he becomes almost untradeable. The White Sox also appear to be leaning toward regular outfield playing time for Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza.
All of these factors add up to Quentin being the odd man out, although nothing is certain. It seems to be an interesting decision to arrive upon, considering the 2011 offense primarily thrived when Konerko and Quentin where hitting full stride.
As for the possibility of staying in Chicago through a multi-year extension, Quentin won't jump ahead of the issue at hand.
"Just take one step at a time," said Quentin, who was traded from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox at the 2007 Winter Meetings. "The most pressing issue is the trade rumors and the Winter Meetings. Once that sorts itself out, if I'm fortunate enough to still be a member of the White Sox, contractually I'm in my third arbitration year, but we'll go from there.
"We are all trying to predict what will happen. If a couple of guys bounce back and have seasons they are capable of, we'll have a pretty formidable team on the field. You can step back and see that. The pieces are there. All of these thoughts aren't new or revelations. The people calling shots for us see this.
"Things still have to be accomplished on the business side," Quentin said. "And with me being another piece in the puzzle, it's something I don't try to think about."