CHICAGO (AP) – General manager Ken Williams’ goal even before the Chicago White Sox won their first World Series in 88 years was to make the team a perennial contender, not a one-year wonder.

Chicago’s latest move in a busy offseason was to bolster an already tough starting rotation by agreeing to acquire right-hander Javier Vazquez from Arizona for right-hander Orlando Hernandez, reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor league outfielder Chris Young.

The deal is contingent on the players passing physicals, which were in the process of being scheduled, and it must be approved by commissioner Bud Selig because Arizona is sending the White Sox cash to help pay part of Vazquez’s salary. The amount of cash wasn’t immediately known, but only 25 percent of it will be paid in 2006. The agreement was confirmed Wednesday by a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been finalized.

It would be the fourth major offseason move by the White Sox since Chicago won its first World Series since 1917.

The White Sox re-signed first baseman Paul Konerko, traded center fielder Aaron Rowand to the Phillies for DH Jim Thome and acquired utility player Rob Mackowiak from the Pirates for reliever Damaso Marte. Chicago also cut ties with two-time MVP Frank Thomas and DH Carl Everett by not offering them salary arbitration.

Williams was not available to comment on the trade Wednesday. But during a conference call Tuesday, he expressed his philosophy on changing the face of a championship team.

“We’re not looking to break up anything, we’re looking to add to the equation,” he said. “We’re looking to get better and to get better for a longer period of time. We just have to be careful, especially in an exploding pitchers’ market out there.”

New Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes did not return a telephone message left at his office.

The trade would give Arizona a starter to replace Vazquez, provide help in what was a shaky bullpen and give the team a young option in center field, where Shawn Green played out of position last season.

Vazquez filed a formal trade demand Nov. 10, the right of veteran players dealt during multiyear contracts. Arizona had until March 15 to trade him or risk having Vazquez become a free agent.

He is owed $11.5 million next year and $12.5 million in 2007.

Vazquez was obtained by the New York Yankees from Montreal after the 2003 season.

and was an All-Star in his first season with New York, going 14-9 with a 4.75 ERA.

But he won just one of his last nine regular-season starts and was traded to Arizona last January as part of the deal that sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees. He went 11-15 with a 4.42 ERA for the Diamondbacks this year.

Vazquez has an 89-93 career record, pitching for the Montreal Expos, the Yankees and the Diamondbacks.

Hernandez has a career record of 70-49, spending most of his time in the major leagues with the Yankees.

El Duque started last season in Chicago’s rotation and was 7-2 before the All-Star break and 2-7 afterward. He had two stints on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

The veteran right-hander made the postseason roster as a reliever and pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the third games of both the division series win over the Red Sox and the World Series victory against the Astros.

Williams also said that both Jose Contreras and Jon Garland, who could become free agents after the 2006 season, have been or will be offered extensions.

“Should either of them make the business decision that they wish to test the free-agent market and rebuff any of our overtures, I’ll respect that, being what the market is, and move forward with my own set of business decisions that ensures that we are competitive not only now, but also in the near future,” Williams said.

The other members of the rotation are Mark Buehrle, who is signed for 2006 with the club holding an option for 2007, and Freddy Garcia, signed through 2007.

The White Sox also have 6-foot-7 Brandon McCarthy, who was impressive down the stretch as a rookie, going 3-1 in the final month when he made five starts.

El Duque is signed for next year, with a base salary of $4,625,000. He can earn an additional $2 million in bonuses based on innings, getting the full amount if he pitches 205 innings

Vizcaino joined the White Sox last season as part of a trade with Milwaukee that also landed Chicago leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik and sent Carlos Lee to the Brewers. He pitched well in the second half after a slow start and finished 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA.

Young batted .277 with 26 homers and 77 RBIs for Double-A Birmingham last season and was one of Chicago’s top prospects.

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and sports writer Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.

AP-ES-12-14-05 2030EST

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