Williams got word that he will be entering baseball's Hall of Fame next year, while the team he long ago managed to two straight World Series championships may be soon sending word that a rebuilding project is at hand.
At least, those were some of the rumblings throughout the various lobbies at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center on Day One of baseball's winter meetings.
Multiple industry sources indicated that if the A's trade starting pitcher Dan Haren during the meetings, a deal involving Joe Blanton eventually will follow. Those moves would deprive the A's of two pitchers who combined for 29 wins and 452ª innings in 2007 and would signal next season as a year of transition.
For now, the two have not gone anywhere (nor has closer Huston Street, first baseman Dan Johnson or anybody else currently on the 40-man roster), and the same sources indicated that a scenario in which Blanton alone is traded -- one industry source said the Arizona Diamondbacks are very interested -- is more likely than a scenario in which both are dealt. Either way, the fates of the two likely won't be determined until a final decision is rendered regarding the future of Minnesota Twins starter Johan Santana, the two-time Cy Young winner for whom the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are bidding heavily.
A Red Sox official said early Monday that the A's are in a "holding pattern," as they wait for the Santana derby to play out.
The A's arrived in Nashville after 6 p.m. local time and headed to their suite without meeting with reporters. A call to assistant general manager David Forst was not returned.
The Yankees and Red Sox remain the two leading contenders to get Santana, but it's unclear when that situation will be resolved. Once that victor is determined, Beane may be able to up the ante -- the A's are believed to be seeking a center fielder and two front-line pitching prospects as a starting point in trade talks -- by pitting the loser of the Santana sweepstakes against the pitching-starved New York Mets. The availability of Baltimore Orioles starter Erik Bedard, as reported by various outlets, also could help determine what the A's do.
All of which is to say that the franchise would have had zero news to report were it not for the election to the Hall earlier in the day of Williams, the team's manager from 1971-73. Williams was elected along with former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, longtime National League manager Billy Southworth and World Series pioneer Barney Dreyfuss.
"It just blew our mind," Williams said. "I was just so thankful to receive the call. (Wife) Norma and I just broke down."
Williams won 288 games during his three-year tenure with the A's, which ended after the team's second World Series win in 1973 because of his unwillingness to work with owner Charles O. Finley. His .603 winning percentage was the best of any A's manager.
"We congratulate Dick on his well-deserved honor," A's president Mike Crowley said in a statement. "Our franchise has a proud history and a championship culture, due in large part to Dick's work in Oakland."
Note: The A's remain a possibility for free-agent left fielder Shannon Stewart, his agent Greg Genske said. Genske said Stewart has interest from "five or six teams," and that the A's remain one of them. Stewart, Genske said, is seeking a multi-year deal.
Contact Rick Hurd at firstname.lastname@example.org.