A year ago at this time, the Sox needed a center fielder, a left fielder and a shortstop. So Kenny Williams went out and traded his fifth starter, Brandon McCarthy, for a bunch a prospects and ignored the gaping holes in his lineup. OK, he did sign Darin Erstad, but I'm trying to erase the Erstad era from my memory.
After predictably bad years from Podsednik, Uribe and Erstad, Williams again needs to fix holes in left, center and short this off-season. He took the first step by trading Jon Garland to the Angels for Orlando Cabrera.
Both are entering the last year of their contracts and the talent changing sides is basically a wash. Both are marginally better than league average players at their respective positions.
But I believe this trade makes the Sox better next year. The upgrade from Uribe to Cabrera will likely be greater than drop-off between Garland and the pitcher who replaces him (at this point it looks like Gavin Floyd). If the Sox do sign a top free-agent in center, they should be competitive in 2008.
You can read a long, but not very enlightening, thread on this trade over at BTF.