Castro, Thornton on the pickup truck; Plan No. 4

Kenny Williams made his first official moves, and one now-former White Sox pitcher is making a big one himself. None of them will affect our offseason plan project.

Kenny Williams made his first official moves, and one now-former White Sox pitcher is making a big one himself.
He officially picked up Matt Thornton’s option for 2011 ($3 million), and Ramon Castro ($1.2 million) is coming back as well.
More interesting is the fact that they also released Carlos Torres, who is pursuing an opportunity to pitch for an undisclosed Asian team. That’s probably the best move for him; I’d thought his ceiling was D.J. Carrasco, but he didn’t have the location, or, failing that, the deception, to really pull it off. If he’s getting guaranteed money overseas, it’s smart for him to go for it. Plus, more and more pitchers are coming back from Japan, which could buy him time to ward off the AAAA stigma.
At any rate, we can update the running eulogy list for White Sox Outsider 2011. It’s a pretty uninspiring group thus far, comprising Torres, Jayson Nix, Daniel Hudson and Wes Whisler. I have to keep reminding myself of that last one.
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The good news is that these three moves didn’t affect any of the offseason plans that I saw. Everybody seems to be on the right track, although sadly nobody predicted Torres’ Asian excursion.
So let’s press on with the fourth plan of the offseason, courtesy of one of Sox Machine’s most active.

Bigfun’s 2011 White Sox offseason plan

1) Would you offer arbitration to:

  • A.J. Pierzynski? (Type A)
  • Paul Konerko? (Type A)
  • Manny Ramirez? (Type A)
  • J.J. Putz (Type B)

I don’t think Pierzynski will be very flexible on playing time if he comes back, so he should walk.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
Pick him up.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks?  If not, what would you pay to extend him?
Offer him something like three years $20 million. If he isn’t interested, going year-to-year is fine too.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
Non-tender him. If the free agent market is chilly, offer him $2 million in February to come back.
6) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
Reluctantly, yes. He simply has too much ability and bounce-back potential to pass up at maybe $4.5 million, with another year of team control. This re-signing would be contingent on him DHing as much as the team deems necessary. If he doesn’t like that, non-tender him.
7) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
Again, reluctantly yes. His walk rate is disconcerting, but at no more than $2 million he’s worth one more shot with the team. His durability and versatility are worth enough to bet that 2010 was an aberration.
FREE AGENCY: WHITE SOX
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 (maybe)
  • Andruw Jones
  • Freddy Garcia
  • Mark Kotsay

None, conditionally. Possibly Jones, Garcia, or Vizquel, as outlined below.
I think the White Sox will sign Konerko and I don’t dislike the move – it’s probably a solid value signing if it is two years and no more than $20 million. But I don’t think it’s the best approach to the market at his position.
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP
9) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
The White Sox primarily need to fill first base and right field. Barring trades, their starting staff is essentially set assuming Chris Sale and Pena fill in for whatever time Jake Peavy misses. There are holes in the bullpen, but those should be the lowest priority.
10) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.

*Sign Lyle Overbay for one year, $1.5 million. See below.
*Sign Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon for $5 million. Also contingent on the below.
*Sign Pedro Feliciano for two years, $5.5 million. There are other good relievers available, but Feliciano would give them more flexibility in how they use Matt Thornton and more choices in where to send Sale.
TRADES
11) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
Juan Pierre and Edwin Jackson may be the two best trade pieces. Both put up attractive numbers with the Sox and aren’t part of the team’s long-term plans. The Sox can spare a pitcher and Juan’s stolen bases make him look better than he really is. Trading either of them for prospects would be fine, but assuming the team wants to get a major league player in the deal, the following would be palatable.
*Trade Juan Pierre to the Atlanta Braves for Kris Medlen and a B- or C-level prospect. (if Juan’s limited no-trade protection allows it).
*Trade Edwin Jackson to the Colorado Rockies for Seth Smith or Dexter Fowler, plus prospects.
*Trade Jackson and Nevin Griffith to the Cincinnati Reds for Jay Bruce.
Acquiring Medlen or someone like him could make it easier to move Jackson. Combining the first and second trades outlined above would cut quite a bit of payroll and make the team more competitive after next year.
And as always, the Sox should see if Dayton Moore is interested in magic beans in exchange for Alex Gordon or Kila Ka’aihue.
SUMMARY
12) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
C: Ramon Castro has earned more playing time. Depending on how money is spent elsewhere, he could be paired either with Donny Lucy or with a slightly more appetizing free agent veteran. Tyler Flowers should probably spend at least a month or two in AAA, but the veterans should be prepared to make room for him if he swings a hot bat there.
1B: Option A: The conventional route. Sign Lyle Overbay for one year, $1.5 million. Lance Berkman, Russell Branyan, Nick Johnson, or Carlos Pena are also options. Yes, we would rather see Konerko out there than any of these guys, but there’s a lot of money to be saved that is needed elsewhere. Option B: The spendthrift route. Platoon Mark Teahen with Dayan Viciedo, with Viciedo starting all games against lefties and some games against finesse righties, and Teahen starting the remainder of the games against righties. Teahen would also see some time in RF and Viciedo at DH, depending on how those positions were addressed. If Viciedo’s plate approach develops during the season, he could receive more playing time at the expense of Teahen or whoever else is expendable.
3B: Brent Morel may be the most sensible choice. Make sure someone on the bench is there to step in if he falters. Vizquel is the obvious choice, but 2005 hero Geoff Blum would work too.
RF: Assuming the White Sox go with Paul Konerko or another option A player as indicated above, Teahen can play right, platooned with a free agent who hits lefties and costs $1 million or less (Jones returning would be fine, as would someone like Marcus Thames or Gabe Kapler). In this scenario Viciedo starts the year in Charlotte. If Teahen/Viciedo is at first, someone like Matsui or Damon may be needed. They will be more expensive than the first basemen who are available, so it may make more sense to put Teahen in the outfield.
DH: Carlos Quentin most of the time and sometimes playing right, with the rest of the DH time depending on what among the above is done with 1B and RF.
2B, SS, CF, LF: No change.
Other bench: Alejandro De Aza, Brent Lillibridge, Vizquel/Blum
Rotation
John Danks
Gavin Floyd
Mark Buehrle
Edwin Jackson (if traded, replace with Garcia, Harang, Takahashi, or Westbrook for $1-4 million)
Jake Peavy (supported by Sale/Pena as needed)
Bullpen
Sale (partial year; also 2-3 major league spot starts and at least a month in Charlotte starting)
Thornton
Sergio Santos
Scott Linebrink
Pena
Gregory Infante
Feliciano
(Jenks)
Assuming the team wanted to keep 2011 payroll similar to 2010, my arbitration choices would leave something like $12 million available. As I’m not advocating going after Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, or any of the other big names, I think my plan above should come in somewhere under that ceiling. Ideally, if the Sox come up a few million short of their limit by using a Teahen/whomever platoon, or signing someone cheap like Overbay, they can take the remaining money and put it where it’s really needed – the draft and international signings.
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Arizona Fall League:

  • Mesa 18, Peoria 9
    • Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI.
    • Jason Bour also went 2-for-3, except he doubled.
    • Henry Mabee allowed five runs (none earned) on four hits and two walks. He struck out one.
    • Charles Leesman allowed three runs on three hits and a walk, while only retiring one batter.
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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3792
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willardmarshall

No plan, just appreciation to Jim for correctly using “comprising” — the man’s range of knowledge knows no limits.

striker

I wonder if Dayton Moore would do Quentin for Dejesus. He would have control for Quentin longer and he’s less expensive, though he is more injury prone.

bigfun

Quentin’s only under club control through the end of 2012, so it doesn’t seem like a great fit for the Royals, who probably won’t be competitive until 2013 at the earliest.
Then again, it’s Dayton Moore, and you never really know what The Process will lead to next.
Thanks for posting my plan and providing the forum for these, Jim.

David

Dayton gets mocked quite a bit and deservingly so. However, the process has yielded a Top 3 (possibly #1) farm system in MLB heading into 2011.
I envy that greatly as a Sox fan. I am not underestimating that we could be near the bottom of the division in the near future without a committment to rebuilding our minor league talent and doing it very well.

LS_SoX_FN

Definitely a rational plan… but that looks like a 75 win team..
I like the general notion of Viciedo and Teahen platooning. Although a safer option might be including Q… in that platoon. Teahen, Q…, Viciedo, and whoever the 1B is could All rotate between 1B, RF(Teahen/Q) and DH depending on match-ups and the hot bat.

bigfun

Thanks. I’m definitely a pessimist in the short term but I think a 75-win team could set the framework for a string of 90+ win teams in 2013 and beyond.
And you’re right, Quentin could potentially be included in that mix too.

soxfan1

I like BIGFUN’s plan but I don’t think the Reds would trade Jay Bruce for another starting pitcher. They already have ~ 7. I would make that trade if the Reds would!!!

bigfun

They do, but with Harang leaving they’ll only have a bunch of young guys, some who are pretty marginal. Getting Jackson would allow them to buy out the rather mediocre Arroyo without depending exclusively on young talent. Depending on the Reds goals it may not be a realistic offer, but I do think they’ll be very keen to go back to the playoffs in 2011 and strengthening their pitching staff would be part of that.

knoxfire30

I have to agree with the above, its not that any of your moves by themselves are wrong or anything, but they add up to a 75-78 win team. If we are going for 75-78 wins with an eye on 2012 or 2013 you should have gone all the way with it on trades and such.
DeAriza and Lillbridge on the bench scares me a lot, I think D is barely a 5th outfielder and I wouldnt want lillbridge on my AAA team.
Also dont think the Reds are in a hurry to move Jay Bruce but thats the right thinking about trying to get a left hand hitting outfielder that is young.

bigfun

Well, I don’t have a problem with Pierre and Jackson for prospects alone. Going further than that and trading Floyd and Danks is more questionable because it pushes the team’s likely return to competitiveness out further and discourages the fanbase.
The team’s not well-situated for a fire sale. I think making the roster younger while avoiding long-term commitments to veterans is doable right now.

knoxfire30

They arent well suited for a fire sale but they could certainly shed a lot of money quickly moving Buerhle to a national league team and selling high on Rios. At that point their only big contract would be Peavy, and bad contracts like pierre and linebrink come off after 2011, along with the ok contracts of a quentin and jackson. Add all those savings to not bringing back PK, AJ, Jenks and so on and they could be at like 50 million going into 2012.
The point doesnt really matter, we all know with KW and Ozzie at the helm its always a win now mode. They are gonna put 100-110 mil of payroll out there and they are gonna utilize veterins as best they can.

LS_SoX_FN

Honestly, at the start of this off season i would have agreed with you… Its time to reboot.
But if Kenny and Ozzie are both back, that is clearly not Reinsdorfs thinking. Id be ok with a reboot, but we need a new front office to do it.
Given the drafting abilities of a Kenny led front office, id think such a mass exodus of vet talent would have to be accompanied with Kenny being shown the door. No way in hell i would trust Kenny to draft the core that would give us a string of 90 win seasons like the Twins are now (unfortunately) set up for.

striker

Why is it time to reboot? We lost the division by 6 games. If we win 4 more game against the Twins than we did then we win the division. I think we did pretty well for a team that lost it’s ace for half a year, had no production from the DH and got off to a terrible start. This division is always winnable.

3oooooooo

The “drafting abilities” might fall more into the hands of the director of amateur scouting, as he will advise Williams on who to select. Since Shaffer was relieved of duties in 2007 and Laumann took over, I think you have to consider our drafts as successful.
The post-2007 drafts have already produced three players establishing some success at the major league level. We’ve gotten Gordon Beckham, Brent Morel, Daniel Hudson, Jared Mitchell (still a top prospect after missing a year), and Chris Sale.

therestoomuchlove

I thought about creating one of these, but I’m pretty sympathetic to this plan (and ironically, its criticisms). I’m not sold that this Twins team is ever going to run away with the thing, so the whole winnable division thing doesn’t necessarily militate against shedding expensive contracts. If a few things go right, this team could compete, and if they go wrong, hopefully they go wrong early enough to get full-on fire sale and clean house from management down. There are some nice, inexpensive pieces here to build on, and the organization has the kind of payroll ceiling that a lot of teams would envy. We’ve got to see if we have anything with Morel, Flowers, and co. and if not, plan from there.

alwayssox

I am more concerned about Detroit than Minnesota over the next few years.

alwayssox

If the idea is to be competitive but not commit to long term contracts, there might be a host of late career players available on 1 yr deals. I believe I read that even Dye wants to play again – maybe he could play 1st somewhere.
I like the realism in the plan.