07/29/09 1:45 AM ET
White Sox land Kotsay for Anderson
Veteran should provide help off the bench in Chicago
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
As White Sox fans and the team itself digest the addition of a quality veteran and top-notch pinch-hitter to the bench, the question general manager Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen quickly tackled was "Who's next?"
That decision was announced after Tuesday's loss, with Josh Fields optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Kotsay, the 13-year-veteran and left-handed hitter, also can play first base, backing up Paul Konerko.
Fields fell victim to having a Minor League option left. But with Williams proving a man of his word on Tuesday, telling Anderson when he was sent down to Charlotte last Monday that if an opportunity presented itself, he would present the 27-year-old with a fresh start, Fields still could be next for that needed change of venue.
"I had a meeting with them today before the game, and it was one of the best meetings I've had with them," said Fields, after the White Sox 5-3 loss to the Twins. "Everything has been good so far. I only hope they look out for me somehow, and if a team is looking for someone like me, they help me out."
"Josh and I have talked, and I spoke to Josh's agent [Jeff Berry] early this morning, before any deal was made, so I understand exactly how they feel right now," said Williams, regarding Fields. "Again, I will stay consistent in the fact that if we don't have an opportunity for someone, we will work to provide an opportunity for that person. That's all I'll say on it right now."
That new opportunity for Anderson produced a White Sox acquisition compared by Guillen to the Geoff Blum pickup back in the 2005 World Series championship year. Kotsay, 33, is a .281 hitter with 110 home runs and 614 RBIs. He batted .257 with one homer and five RBIs in 27 games for the Red Sox in 2009 before being designated for assignment on July 24.
Kotsay ranks third among all Major League outfielders with his 113 assists since the start of the 1998 season, trailing Bobby Abreu (117) and Vladimir Guerrero (115). Of even greater importance to White Sox matters is the fact that Kotsay owns a .373 lifetime average as a pinch-hitter.
White Sox pinch-hitters are for 4-for-56 this season. Kotsay will be used not only to give a break to Jim Thome and Konerko, but also to rest Jermaine Dye and Carlos Quentin in the outfield.
"He's going to help us all the way around the field," said Guillen.
Williams' description of Kotsay places him perfectly into the White Sox grinder category.
"As we are currently set up, when we give a guy like Carlos off or give one of the big bats off, it's still we needed to add a little bit of something into the mix that keeps what we have grown into, more for versatile, speed, first-to-third kind of attack going a little bit to a greater degree," Williams said. "That's the baseball side of it.
"There's an intangible side that I also believe in going down the stretch, and that's character on the bench. This is a quality, quality guy that adds a lot of peripherals to your team."
So, Kotsay takes his place with the White Sox on Wednesday, and Fields makes the journey to join the Knights. Fields hopes it's a short trip.
His name already was attached to a rumor sending Fields to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Felix Pie. He fully understands one of those rumors soon could become a reality.
"I've been in rumors since [Gordon] Beckham got called up," Fields said. "You have to tune it out. You can only hope that the team is up-front with you and the White Sox have been up-front with me since Beckham got called up. So, I just have to play it out and see what happens.
"There are still a couple of days left before the [non-waiver] Trade Deadline. Hopefully, something happens."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.