Jose Contreras hasn’t played for the White Sox in almost three years but keeps paying dividends.

The more you look at it, the Contreras-for-Esteban Loaiza trade might be the best one that Ken Williams has made. Not only was Contreras the No. 1 starter for the team that won the World Series, but he left behind an unofficial next of kin in Alexei Ramirez, the gifted shortstop who probably will be around long after most of the team’s familiar faces are gone.

Ramirez, who signed in 2007 after defecting from Cuba, is with the White Sox not only because Contreras recommended him to Williams but because Contreras unofficially guaranteed his first contract. They had played together when Contreras was an icon and Ramirez just a kid with a heart as big as his smile.

"Contreras loves Alexei,” said agent Jaime Torres, who represents both of them. "He knew Alexei could play here. He told Jerry (Reinsdorf), ‘If he signs and you are not happy, I will pay his salary.’"


- Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune.
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