Arizona Fall League notes and Plan No. 5

When I introduced the first offseason plan template last year, our next entrant responded within an hour. I was as impressed as I was bewildered, considering there had been no notice that I had any kind of project on the way.
This time, it took him a day and a half. Will the extra time pay off?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

Knoxfire30’s 2011 White Sox offseason plan

1) Would you offer arbitration to:
*A.J. Pierzynski? (Type A) — Absolutely not. He’s mediocre or below at everything he does, his handling of the staff (looking to the dugout for what pitches to call) is drastically overblown, and his “best baserunner on the team” label is one of Hawk’s biggest lies.
*Paul Konerko? (Type A) — 100 percent yes. He walks? It’s two top picks. He stays without an extension? He’s a team leader, fan favorite, quality run producer on a one-year deal (he has proven twice he plays great in contract years).  Plus, the bonus: After 2011, the market becomes Pujols, Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez … not too shabby.
*Manny Ramirez? (Type A)I liked the gamble, didn’t pay off, so long!
*J.J. Putz (Type B) — Yes, I offer in a heartbeat and try to sign him.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
Yes, pick up Castro’s option. Quality 2010 season, welcome back for maybe a slightly expanded role in 2011.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks?  If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Yes, Danks isn’t going anywhere; I kick the tires on a reasonable offer but likely go year to year with him until free agency hits.  Nothing in White Sox history suggests they won’t be able to re-sign Danks when the time comes.  They extended Mark Buehrle twice, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, got Gavin Floyd to sign, and made trades to bring on the huge contracts of Edwin Jackson and Jake Peavy.  This team pays for pitching, and Danks will be the same way.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
No, Jenks is a gone goose. I love what he did for us, but his best days are behind him until someone tells him to just throw two pitches (four-seam fastball and curveball), not 19 out of the bullpen.
6) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
Yes, Quentin is still a highly productive bat for someone who will probably only make about $5-5.5 million next year.  Moving him to DH should eliminate some of his injury concerns while also eliminating a huge hole in the outfield.
7) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
No, Pena isn’t worth more than a minimum contract.  We have minor leaguers who can fill his spot as a long man.  Carrasco had a better season and would have made less, and the Sox turned him away, so going with Pena in 2011 wouldn’t make any sense.
8) Which of the following impending White Sox free agents would you attempt to re-sign, and at what price:

  • Paul Konerko
  • A.J. Pierzynski
  • J.J. Putz
  • Manny Ramirez
  • Omar Vizquel
  • Andruw Jones
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Mark Kotsay

I attempt to resign PK: two years, $20 million, third-year team option for $13 million with a $3 million buyout. It keeps him on the books for $10 million in 2011, and allows for the possibility of a two-year, $23 million contract, which is very reasonable. Everyone needs to remember 2007-2009 PK, not ’10 PK.  Vizquel, I copy his 2010 contract.  Jones, I offer $1.5 million, and if he doesn’t accept, so be it. Garcia, I offer $1.5 million; hopefully he takes it.  Putz is going to be a tough sign. I offer one year, $5 million and really hope that’s enough to get it done.
9) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
Sox need to address getting a legit left-handed bat in their lineup.  They can do this at catcher, DH and outfield, and realistically, their best chance is probably in the OF spot.
10) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
Lets make an assumption we can resign Putz, Omar, PK, but lose Jones and Garcia. Payroll is a huge problem, so cheap options are all we have.  I look into…
*Melky Cabrera, switch hitter, young, controllable, good defense in all three outfield spots, perfect fourth outfielder.
*Justin Duchscherer. He has been hurt, but an incentive-laden deal for a guy who has over a 40 percent groundball rate is something to like.
*Joe Beimel. I make an offer of one year, $2-3 million. He is still allergic to home runs and he would give the flexibility to keep Sale starting in the minors or to allow Thornton to close while still keeping two lefties available in the pen for match-up purposes.
11) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
Dream Trade Scenarios: I move a higher-priced starter (Buehrle or Jackson) in a deal for a troubled young outfielder (Colby Rasmus, Matt Kemp, B.J. Upton), obviously  including some prospects (Flowers, Morel, Viciedo, etc.)  to try and facilitate such a deal.
More realistic targets:
*David Murphy from the Rangers — over an .800 OPS, controllable, plays an OK outfield.
*David DeJesus from the Royals — solid bat and corner outfielder, and he makes a little bit of money, so at some point the Royals may look to move him.
*Brett Gardner — Speedy top-of-the-order top hitter could become available if the Yanks acquire Crawford.
*Chris Coghlan of the Marlins —  another left-handed-hitting outfielder who is young and affordable, coming off a down year after his Rookie of the Year campaign.  A closer look at his numbers says he is due for a bounce-back, as his line drive rate actually was higher in 2010 than 2009, but his BABIP came down 30 points.  He also was playing on a bad knee that required an offseason scope.
*Ryan Doumit of the Pirates — he should come semi-cheap due to his contract ($5.1 million in 2011 with options in 2012 and 2013), he switch-hits and can play first, catcher, and DH.  He hits very well from the left side (.830 OPS last year, .800 career) and would help us juggle days off for PK at 1st, then a platoon at DH and catcher with Flowers, Quentin and Castro.

12) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
The Sox are cash-strapped, and 2011 is going to present a very difficult offseason for Kenny Williams and company.  I encourage them to be fiscally responsible in anticipation of some big-name bats coming to the free agent market in 2012.  I wouldn’t discount any possibilities — this team will shed $36.75 million just on losing Juan Pierre, Scott Linebrink, Jackson, and Buehrle.  Even with raises and bringing back one of those two starters, that’s probably about $18-20 million in payroll to play with next offseason.
Arizona Fall League:

  • Surprise 7, Peoria 0
    • Jared Mitchell went 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
    • Eduardo Escobar went 0-for-4, and was caught stealing.

A couple of reports from Arizona, starting with good news from Kevin Goldstein:

Shortstop prospects who really are shortstops are a rarity, and it’s surprising the Escobar doesn’t warrant more attention. The 21 year-old Venezuelan has above-average range and a plus-plus arm, and his bat started to show some signs of life in 2010, as Escobar showed a surprising ability to drive balls into the gap. In a system desperate for prospects, as a good defender with some offensive value, Escobar is the real deal.

And bad news from Phil Rogers:

Reports from the Arizona Fall League on rehabbing White Sox prospect Jared Mitchell are mixed, at best. He has been healthy enough to play, which is the best sign, but the torn tendon in his ankle does appear to be impacting his play. Through Tuesday he was batting .184 in 11 games, and had struck out in 11 of his 38 at-bats. Any impact on Mitchell’s speed is a bad thing, as the ability to get on base and create havoc made him projectable as a leadoff man, but he has shown that speed only once so far, on a triple. He’s 0-for-1 on stolen-base attempts.

Mitchell hasn’t played regularly in regularly 13 months due to a serious injury. He’s also never played above A-ball. His competition? A lot of quality High-A and Double-A talent, most of whom has played an entire season already, and without serious injury. I wouldn’t expect him to hit the ground running, literally and figuratively.

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Remarkably similar to mine, which I guess is going up Saturday or Sunday. Not surprisingly, I like it.
I was really hoping the Sox would go after Gardner as a lead-off hitter last offseason, but I think he’s had too good a season for the Yankees to let him go. I could see them trading Swisher over him. Too bad KW wanted to dump Swisher so bad, otherwise he probably could have been had in that deal two years ago.


I recall reading last year that Kenny did inquire about Gardner but Cashman didn’t want to move him. I agree he is the least likely to be moved in that outfield.
I like the DeJesus and Murphy ideas, though I don’t know much about Murphy. If I’m Moore I package DeJesus with Greinke to bring back a bigger haul of prospects.
I think everyone agrees that we are going to be cash strapped in 2011 but what if Peavy doesn’t play again? I remember reading that his contract was insured. Do we assume that insurance covers all of his contract making that amount available for other players? If so, that changes things big time.


I don’t think they would really know that until the end of the year, unless there was a drastic setback in his rehab (i.e. he had to have another surgery), so I really doubt they would spend any of Peavy’s money on that assumption.
Likewise, I think it’s going to be tough for KW to make a ‘mid-size’ trade like for DeJesus or Murphy. The Sox don’t have many assets at that level – prospects like Brandon Allen or Dexter Carter, that would be the market price for those players.


As I recall reading somewhere on this site that up to 75% of Peavy’s contract is covered if he can’t play. But “can’t play” is a certain number of games into the season, like he has to miss the first 70 games before it kicks in or something. If that’s correct I wouldn’t expect Peavy to join the team until July unless he’s “lights out” ready.


Its hard to put a season on one guy in baseball but 2 things need to happen with Peavy for the sox to have any playoff hopes in 2011
1. He is healthy and an effective high end 2 low end 1
2. He doesnt pitch at all, that money is insured and we can use it to acquire another big piece.
Im not sure how the insurance of a contract works, thats a good question to find the answer too.


I like KNOXFIRE’s overall plan except for the catcher portion. If we don’t re-sign AJ we’d better go after a John Buck or a Miguel Olivo. I see Ryan Doumit every spring and he is a slug behind the plate. He couldn’t even hold down the catcher’s job for a 105 loss team!!


I emailed Mark Gonzalez asking him about Peavy’s contract. His response:
I get mixed signals on this one. what I’ve been told by other clubs is that standard insurance fully kicks in for that year if a player misses the first 45 days of the regular season. But I’ve been told Peavy’s contract is different, and that’s what I’m attempting to nail down. I’ll keep you posted. I’m currently in Arizona and will have a Jared Mitchell update shortly.
Thanks for your interest.


“Nothing in White Sox history suggests they won’t be able to re-sign Danks when the time comes”…
I beg to differ. For Danks to turn down a guaranteed contract two years ago, which likely would have earned him more money in the short term. This to me is every indication that signing him on the eve of his free agency will be difficult.


Danks not having his arb years bought out is your reason? The fact that I named multiple players who we did resign means nothing?
The fact that Danks said he would have taken the deal but his agent talked him out of it means nothing?
The sox offered him the same deal they offered Floyd, if you were Danks would that make you take the offer, probably not since he was better.
Again sox have shown no fear in big money pitchers in kennys time they have traded for David Wells, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreres,Edwin Jackson and Jake Peavy. They have resigned Contreres and Garcia after trading for them and them having success. They have kept home grown guys like Buerhle (twice) Garland and Floyd. They have always shown they pay for pitching. Throw on top of this the high level of respect John and the entire Danks family has for the whitesox and it will get done.


Book it, Knoxfire30 guarantee John Danks resigns with the sox atleast once!


Good plan Knox. I think this is very close to what the Sox will actually try to do. (Except I think they’d go with AJ over Doumit.)