CHICAGO -- With $89.95 million committed to 10 players and two to four arbitration-eligible players in the offing, the White Sox payroll for 2013 is approaching the $100 million vicinity. But during a conference call on Thursday afternoon, general manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox are not financially strapped as they head to Nashville on Monday for this year's Winter Meetings.
"There is a little bit of room to maneuver as we sit here today," Hahn said. "To do anything major, we likely would have to free up some cash. To make certain moves, no. There is room right now to operate."
"Freeing up some cash" would mean trading a player from the team's current roster, which seems pretty set aside from needs at third base and, possibly, catcher.
In 2012, those positions were manned by midseason acquisition Kevin Youkilis and longtime White Sox backstop A.J. Pierzynski. Both are now free agents. Hahn has continued talks with the respective agents for each player, but those negotiations might play out deeper than the four days spent next week in Nashville.
"[Catcher] is another free-agent market where once there's movement in the top end, A.J. will get clarity in what his market looks like," Hahn said. "I've had ongoing conversations with [Pierzynski's representative] Steve Hilliard, and they have a sense of where [the market is] headed, but there's no finality in terms of economics.
"I got a sense from [Youkilis' representative] Joe Bick -- and I've talked to him a number of times, including yesterday -- where he sees things ahead still coming together. So, we'll monitor that and stay in touch."
Tyler Flowers appears to be a solid bet to take over behind the plate if Pierzynski departs. There is no such definitive candidate at third, although Brent Morel told MLB.com this week that his back feels healthy for the first time in almost a year.
Hahn would not completely rule out moving Gordon Beckham from second base to third, with Beckham having played well at the hot corner during 102 games there in his 2009 rookie season. Fast-rising prospect Carlos Sanchez could take over at second base. Much like switching Dayan Viciedo from left field back to third, Hahn made it sound unlikely that Beckham would move across the infield -- not when he's one of the AL's top defensive second basemen.
Third base eventually could be filled via a trade, as has been speculated at numerous times during the offseason, with Hahn talking Thursday about the White Sox talented pitching staff drawing most of the interest from other teams.
As he told MLB.com earlier this week, though, the Sox don't feel pressure to make a move in Nashville or any other time over the next few months. A move or two might come to fruition, but they have confidence in their in-house replacements.
"We have more than enough resources around here to win," Hahn said. "It's our job to allocate them and give us the best chance.
"You don't get added points for getting things done at the Winter Meetings. Our goal is having the best roster we can have come Opening Day. Whether you acquire a player in the final days of November or January, it doesn't matter to us come April."