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Sox pay for premium, get Garcia


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Sox pay for premium, get Garcia

By Bob Foltman

Tribune staff reporter


June 27, 2004, 11:01 PM CDT


White Sox general manager Ken Williams wants to win now, and if winning now means mortgaging some of the future, that's the price you pay when your last World Series title came in 1917.


Williams pulled the trigger Sunday on a trade he hopes will put the Sox in their first World Series since 1959, acquiring starting pitcher Freddy Garcia from the Seattle Mariners for young catcher Miguel Olivo and two minor leaguers, outfielder Jeremy Reed and infielder Michael Morse.


It's possible that in two or three years—or perhaps as early as this November—Williams and Sox fans will regret trading Olivo and Reed, a top prospect. The hope is that a pennant this season will more than make up for it.


The Sox also received catcher Ben Davis, who will share the catching duties with Sandy Alomar Jr. and Jamie Burke, and cash for Davis' contract.


The Sox have long been rumored to be after Garcia, 28, who was 4-7 with a 3.20 ERA for a Seattle team that is in last place in the American League West. Garcia had been a victim of a woeful Seattle offense that provided him with just 2.19 runs per start.


Garcia is owed about $3.6 million for the rest of this season and will be a free agent at the end of the year.


But he's close friends with Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a fellow Venezuelan, and Williams is counting on that relationship to boost the Sox's chances of re-signing him.


"I have to ask for a raise," Guillen said. "He's going to be eating at my house every day."


Williams said he believes the Sox will be able to sign Garcia to a long-term contract.


"There is no doubt that this is the guy who is most coveted on the market," Williams said. "I feel as though we have the opportunity to sign him to an extension more so than others, and I was willing to pay the price to do just that."


It was a heavy cost. Olivo, 25, is considered one of the best young catchers in baseball and Reed, 23, was seen as a possible replacement in right field for Magglio Ordonez or taking over the center-field job later this season.


"It took a lot to make this deal work," Williams said. "There was a lot of back and forth. Really, I didn't believe it was going to come about until today during the game because it was simply me making up my mind."


Williams said he had been talking with Seattle GM Bill Bavasi for about a month, but the two could not agree on the players the Sox would give up. Williams indicated that Sunday was the last day a deal could have been made.


"I was ready to turn the page," he said. "Actually, today was my last phone call to them."


Garcia is a welcome addition to a starting rotation that has taken its lumps in the last two weeks.


"Anytime you can get a No. 1 on [another] team to come in here, it's going to help us out big-time," Sox starter Mark Buehrle said. "Hopefully he can step right in and fit in with this club."


Garcia acknowledged that he was stunned when he was informed of the trade. He's scheduled to make his first start Wednesday in Minnesota against the Central Division-leading Twins. The Sox moved within one game of the Twins with Sunday's victory over the Cubs.


"[The trade is] showing White Sox fans we're for real," Guillen said. "We're adding a good pitcher, and hopefully he can help us a lot. There's a lot of pressure on myself and [pitching coach Don Cooper]. We've got to win."


The trade also made an impression in the Sox's clubhouse.


"When [Garcia is] in a zone, he's tough to hit," shortstop Jose Valentin said. "He's coming to a team with a lot of Latino players and close to first place. Hopefully he's going to come here happy to help us get what we want."


Williams has made no secret of his desire to make a trade to improve the Sox. His stated goal is not just to win the division.


"It's hard for me to just look at the division," he said. "If you can't look beyond that and your possibilities beyond that, and allow yourself to dream with your roster, then I don't think you've done justice to doing your job and putting the best possible club together."


Olivo played Sunday and hit his seventh home run of the season in the second inning off Greg Maddux. He was pulled from the game in the seventh after the trade was completed.


Telling Olivo he'd been traded "was probably the hardest conversation I've had with a player," Williams said, acknowledging that Olivo took the news hard.


Garcia had a tough time with it as well.


"I don't know what to say," he said. "It's hard for me to leave. I do love playing [in Seattle]."


Olivo was the personal catcher for Esteban Loaiza, who earned the victory Sunday.


"He's a great guy and a great person. I love him to death," Loaiza said.


But Loaiza also saw the advantage of bringing in another quality arm.


"He's a great pitcher, he eats a lot of innings," Loaiza said. "In Seattle he didn't have a lot of luck. I know when he comes here he's going to get a lot of run support and he's going to end up winning a lot of games."


The Sox certainly hope so. And they hope they don't one day regret dealing two talented young players.


"Sometimes you have to go out on the limb and go for it," Williams said.


Williams added that he's not done looking for ways to improve.


"You've got to be able to dream and allow for hope," he said. "That's part of who we are and what we're going to be doing as long as I'm sitting in this chair. We're going to go for it."

Copyright © 2004, The Chicago Tribune

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The M's finally throw in the towel with the trade of Freddy. As much as you hate to see him go... it was the right move for Seattle. No way he was stay'in here next year considering this marks the beginning of a rebuilding process.


the M's are old as 100 ft. trees and need to begin retooling.... this is a good start.


Olivo will be a fulltime reciever starting maybe next year if not the following . Chicago gets maybe the worst catcher on the planet who couldn't hit his weight @ AAA much less the bigs.He'll be gone by the end of the year in Chi-town.


As for Jeremy Reed.... this was the linchpin to the deal.... without him being included the Sox would never have gotten Freddy. Reed was the 2003 AAA MVP last year...a 23 year old stud bat that the M's desperately need.


It was a great deal for the M's, IMHO. thumbs_u

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We needed another arm here and although it was too much to pay, you never know about these things...pitching is key to make and advance in the playoffs.


Guillen and Garcia are friends, and we'll need to sign him to an extension ASAP.


The next step is Ordonez, either sign him or the trade I heard is packaging him and others for Andruw Jones and Russ Ortiz. thumbs_u

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