You can count the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers amongst those who consider the White Sox shipping Freddy Garcia to the Phillies to be little more than a salary dump, and a harbinger of things to come.

Before the White Sox traded Garcia to the Phillies for failed No. 4 overall draft pick Gavin Floyd (above, a project in a 6-foot-4-inch package) and left-hander Gio Gonzalez”the key guy in the deal, from this perspective”they essentially drew a line in the sand with their entire five-man starting rotation”a childish reaction to the rising salaries of pitchers.

Having inhaled their cigars and digested the developments, Kenny Williams declared his club has no plans to extend the contracts of Mark Buehrle beyond 2007 or Jon Garland, Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez beyond 2008.

In other words between now and Opening Day 2009, the Sox either will trade or lose to free agency every member of the starting rotation, including the four guys who won a World Series 14 months ago. Are these guys nuts?

Buehrle, a cornerstone pitcher entering his eighth season, isn’t coming back for a ninth? And now that Garcia, a bulldog since coming from Seattle to pitch for Ozzie Guillen, is toast what about Garland, who has gone 36-17 the last two years? Is he going to have to go somewhere else to get a big payday in 2009, when he will be 29 and in his prime?

If this is how Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf are going to handle baseball’s new marketplace, if they aren’t just posturing in the hope that Buehrle or someone else will come tiptoeing in offering to accept a hometown discount, then this is a truly incredible turn of events.

Across town, Chicago’s other team (the one for which money is no object) are supposedly still in the running for Gil Meche, despite having lavished $40 million on Ted Lilly Wednesday.