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Buyers? Sellers? Williams says White Sox not sure yet

Ken Williams.

With the Sunday night trade deadline approaching and the White Sox hovering around the .500 mark, team vice president Ken Williams gave no indication the Sox are in seller’s mode.

“You have the conversations,’’ said Williams, who made one of his occasional appearances around the batting cage before the Sox hosted the Cubs Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. “[General manager] Rick [Hahn] is having all the conversations, most of them coming his way — teams calling him. We’ll sit down after he kind of gets his game plan together and we’ll discuss and debate as we always have. To say we’re going to be buyers or sellers or some combination, we just don’t know. We just don’t know.’’

Hahn last week expressed disappointment in the team’s performance after its 23-10 start and said the front office would weigh all options, not excluding a complete rebuild, although trading All-Star pitchers such as Chris Sale and Jose Quintana would be “extreme.’’

Hahn has had conversations with other clubs but is known to be asking for a bonanza of players and prospects in return for Sale and Quintana, both 27 and under contract control for several more years at team-friendly commitments. Hahn has other pieces contending teams have interest in, but those – Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera to name three – are under contract next year, Robertson for two more. The front office isn’t under the gun to deal now.

There is always the offseason for trades, Williams said.

“I don’t know that there ever is a time you’re trying not to get better,” he said. “There is a season for these things to happen but we’ve done things in June, way before the deadline and we’ve done things at the other side in preparation for the next year, for instance. So you just can’t anticipate what’s going to happen. You just have to let it play out.’’

Asked if he believes this team, a game under .500 before Tuesday’s game, can still contend, Williams said: “I get back to the day-to-day grind. This team is better when it focuses on the day-to-day grind. There has been a lot of ebb and flow to the season. The one thing I can say is I am proud of the grind and effort. We’ve had some bad streaks but there is a lot of talent out there. There is a lot of talent out there. It’s not out of the realm we can run off another hot streak or two.’’

Williams had little to say on the recent Chris Sale uniform fiasco other than voicing support for Hahn and manager Robin Ventura.

“I do not think it could be handled any better than what Rick and Robin handled it,” Williams said. “I’m more interested on everyone moving on. Any further comment is counterproductive to all that.”