Dye hasn't been contacted about deal
White Sox reportedly gauging interest in veteran right fielder
CHICAGO -- Neither Jermaine Dye nor Bob Bry, Dye's longtime agent, have heard anything from general manager Ken Williams, assistant general manager Rick Hahn or any other team regarding a possible trade of the White Sox right fielder. That piece of information came from Bry during a talk with MLB.com on Tuesday.
The lack of a phone call or two received from Williams doesn't necessarily mean Dye remains a lock to stay in Chicago, with six notable exceptions to Dye's limited no-trade clause to block deals.
"We certainly would have to be contacted if any of the teams were on that list," said Bry of the potential employment relocation for Dye, who carries an $11.5 million salary for 2009 and has a $12 million mutual option for 2010, with a $1 million buyout. "The Mets and Phillies have been rumored with Jermaine, and they are on the list.
"Short of that, we would get a phone call before it was announced in the paper. We wouldn't necessarily get a heads up."
Bry did not reveal the remaining four teams on the veteran's no-trade list, but they are believed to be located in the Northeast. So, an organization such as the Reds, the subject of a Dye rumor on Tuesday, would be a viable destination.
According to a posting on Lance McCalister's blog on 1530 WCKY in Cincinnati, the White Sox initiated trade talks involving Dye, who turns 35 at the end of January, for right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey, 22, and another player. Initiating trade talks in Williams' world, though, could range from the onset of serious discussions to simply getting a read on the market for a particular player.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com mentioned Tuesday how the White Sox were asking for a young starting pitcher and additional players for Dye, but teams were balking at such a price. With only three starting slots available, the White Sox figured to move one player from the group of Dye, first baseman Paul Konerko, designated hitter Jim Thome and outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher.
Dye holds the highest trade value of the group, coming off a .292 batting average in 2008, with 34 home runs and 96 RBIs, not to mention sitting as the American League leader among outfielders since 2005 with 137 home runs and 378 RBIs. Even when Swisher was traded to the Yankees in early November for infielder Wilson Betemit and two Minor League pitchers, Williams made no commitment to keeping together the remainder of this core veteran crew.
"If anything, it's simply about grinding away every day, exhausting all possibilities to be as good as we can be," said Williams during a conference call at the time.
Williams began the offseason by stating he would not address any Hot Stove rumors involving his team. He humorously put forth the standard line of "Ken Williams will be available for comment, but will neither confirm nor deny the rumor." He did not comment on any Dye-related rumor Tuesday.
A main target for Williams in any Hot Stove maneuver is to build the team for the future while keeping it a contender in 2009. Barring a secondary move to follow a Dye trade, the White Sox seemingly would need to get back an outfielder in a deal for their All-Star right fielder and 2005 World Series Most Valuable Player.
So far this offseason, the White Sox have focused on a youth infusion in the starting lineup involving Josh Fields at third and the combinations of Brian Anderson/Jerry Owens in center and Chris Getz/Jayson Nix at second. It's unlikely both Anderson and Owens would be in the same starting lineup, even with Dye gone, and outfield prospects such as Jordan Danks and John Shelby remain a few seasons away from big league preparedness.
"I would give more credence to a rumor like that, involving a young pitcher and a somewhat proven outfielder back in return," Bry said. "I haven't gotten a feeing about any of the rumors that makes me want to call Kenny and say, 'I'm hearing this about Jermaine.'
"That's not to say that if a rumor makes sense on paper and I'm getting it from multiples sources, then I wouldn't pick up the phone and call Kenny," Bry said.
Most of the rumors currently churning are chalked up by Bry as the everyday movements of Major League Baseball's Hot Stove. Bry also knows that a present call to Williams from himself or Dye probably would result in Williams truthfully stating that he's not trying to move Dye but is listening to offers.
In regard to the "somewhat proven outfielder" sought by the White Sox in Bry's highly plausible scenario, the team doesn't necessarily need an All-Star in return but could take on a young player with a big upside. That change of scenery for talents such as Carlos Quentin and Gavin Floyd paid huge dividends on the South Side of Chicago in 2008.
Regardless of the rumor-mill activity, Bry hopes a resolution arrives somewhat soon for a client and friend he has known for two decades. The uncertainty concerning Dye's future contributed to a slow start during a contract year in 2007.
"Let's say they were serious about having to move someone else and decided Jermaine is the best guy," Bry said. "It would be great if they would go ahead and do it. Jermaine doesn't want to be traded but he doesn't want to go through rumors and all the speculation again. It seems to be a distraction to him more than others."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.