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Third base priority for Chicago teams

Cubs, Sox expect to make moves

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Next time baseball’s general managers meet face-to-face will be the first week of December at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn.

By then, the Cubs and White Sox hope to have different-looking rosters in the wake of 3 days of meetings and talks at the GM meetings in Indian Wells, Calif.

“I don’t think there’s going to be a void of news between now and Nashville,” the Cubs’ Jed Hoyer said before departing the warm desert setting. “We’ll have some deals. [December’s] a long way off. It always seems things bust around Thanksgiving. I’m sure we’ll get some stuff done during November.”

For Hoyer and the Cubs, that most likely would mean adding an outfielder and starting pitching. It might not mean filling the large void at third base, which could take longer.

The White Sox also are looking for help at third base and remain active in the pursuit of their own free agent Kevin Youkilis. New GM Rick Hahn also seemed confident of finalizing deals soon, most likely through trades.

“There’s certainly the possibility to get something done [before the winter meetings],” Hahn said. “We’ve done deals [then] and after the first of the year that had their foundation laid at the GM meetings. There’s no magic timing.”

Rumors are popping up that the White Sox could trade some of what is perceived as a surplus of starting pitching, with the Dodgers mentioned as one possible landing place for Gavin Floyd and his $9.5 million salary. But almost every team is looking for one more rotation piece.

“Although we have pitching depth, and that makes us somewhat popular as a potential trade partner, we’re only going to use that depth if we feel we aren’t compromising our ability to compete in ‘13,” Hahn said. “[But] it’s always better to have more than less.”

The free agent crop at third base is especially thin this winter and it has become a tight commodity on the trade market as well, leaving Hoyer to say the Cubs “may have to be creative” to fill the hole.

The available third basemen are mostly veterans such as Eric Chavez, Mark DeRosa, Orlando Hudson, Brandon Inge and Scott Rolen. Either Chicago team could try to fill the position for a year with one of them, or the Sox could pay more than they want to bring back Youkilis.

“We have options, internal, external, free agent such as Youkilis. ... and a handful of trade ideas we bandied about,” Hahn said.

Hahn also said, about the free agent market in general, that “sometimes the best option is through free agency and you have to pay the going rate to get it done. We’re not averse to that but given the supply-and-demand we’re seeing, we’re probably better off going another way to address our needs.”

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