CHICAGO (AP) -White Sox general manager Ken Williams said Monday he's still hoping the team will sign ace lefty Mark Buehrle to a contract extension.
Assistant general manger Rick Hahn and Buehrle's agent Jeff Berry discussed a new deal last week, but negotiations slowed when the team did not give Buehrle a full no-trade clause, according to published reports. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the sides had agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal before the no-trade stalemate. Buehrle can become a free agent after the season.
``My gut is both parties want it to happen, so I would be hopeful that it would,'' Williams said Monday.
After the White Sox fell in a deep hole by losing 22 of 27 games, Williams said he was ready to make changes and begin an overhaul that would no doubt include trading away some players. Jermaine Dye will also be a free agent after this season. The White Sox then won 6 of 7 on a road trip.
Buehrle, who took a 102-70 career record into his start Monday night against Baltimore, has been a consistent performer since making his debut in 2000 - with the exception of a dismal second half a year ago.
Buehrle had said repeatedly that he prefers to stay with the White Sox.
According to Williams, the White Sox's latest offer to Buehrle includes about 18 months of exposure in the middle of the deal where he would not be protected by a full no-trade provision.
``If that's the only thing that's the roadblock at this point, then I have to be optimistic that something can get done,'' Williams said.
Williams said he phoned Buehrle to tell him personally that the White Sox had no intention of pulling off a sign-and-trade deal. He said he understood Buehrle's desire for a complete no-trade, but added that giving it could be problematic for White Sox in future negotiations.
``It's not really a matter of us not desiring to do it completely, it's a matter of business practice and how that's going to affect the next day, the next player I attempt to sign, future free agents down the line,'' he said.

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