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If you ever want to get an idea of how bland the White Sox of the late 1980s were, look no further than the list of players who were immortalized in the form of a Starting Lineup figurine:
- Harold Baines
- Carlton Fisk
- Ozzie Guillen
They could have stopped there. They should have stopped there. They did not.
- Ozzie Guillen
- Greg Walker
- Ivan Calderon
- Bobby Thigpen (before he set the save record!)
- Gary Redus (who, as I recall, looked 60 at age 30)
- Bobby Thigpen
- Dan Pasqua
There’s one more player, and he happens to supply the next offseason plan. (It could be somebody just assuming his name because they admired his hair, but as Mr. T says, it’s fun to pretend.)
MelidoPerez’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 would only offer arbitration to Putz out of the four guys listed. I recognize, as all Sox fans do, what Paul Konerko has meant to this team. However, Konerko has one time in the last four seasons had a year that would justify the likely $13-14 million he would get as an arbitration case if he accepted. The Sox simply have too many needs and too little flexibility for this money to all be put towards retaining Konerko, should he choose to accept it. No thought to Manny, and A.J. would not be worth the risk as his production was nowhere near his salary.
2) Would you pick up Ramon Castro’s $1.2 million option for 2011, or buy him out for $200,000?
I would pick up Castro’s option. He’s a solid backup who should have gotten a little more play this year in my opinion.
CLUB CONTROL (explain if warranted)
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
I would try to lock up Danks for the three-year deal many have mentioned. I would attempt to have the deal the lightest in 2011, giving the Sox the most flexibility this year. Maybe something like $4M/$12M/$12M. The reason being that Mark Buehrle/Edwin Jackson/Scott Linebrink/Juan Pierre, etc. will all be coming off the books next year.
4) Would you tender a contract to Bobby Jenks?
Non-tendered, for obvious reasons.
6) Would you tender a contract to Carlos Quentin?
I would try to trade Quentin for any kind of minor-league depth.
7) Would you tender a contract to Tony Pena?
I would offer him a deal, as he provides some kind of insurance with his versatility.
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
- Andruw Jones
- Freddy Garcia
- Mark Kotsay
The only White Sox free agents I would want back are Putz and Andruw. Putz could be part of the closing situation, but not promised any role. Maybe $5 million brings him back. I would offer Jones $2 million as well. Jones would not be a starter of any kind, but would platoon in right field with Teahen if he is still here, and provides good insurance as he can play all three OF spots.
FREE AGENCY: OUTSIDE HELP
9) Which positions are in the most dire need of an upgrade?
I would like to see the Sox use the $13-15 million that would have been dedicated to Konerko and spend that on the first base/DH situation.
10) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, and at what price.
There are a decent batch of free-agent left-handed hitters that could fill these spots, and a couple are good buy-low candidates. So signing a couple of the Lance Berkman/Carlos Pena/Adam LaRoche/Jack Cust types on one-year deals would be the way I would be looking to go. ($6-8 million for the first three, and Cust could probably be had for $3M or 4M). These guys have proven to be solid lefty hitters and restoring value in a home run park like the Cell might be an attractive option.
Signing two of these guys would also provide some of that flexibility the Sox were looking for last year, but the difference is they actually can all hit and get on base. Cust is by no means good in the outfield, but is passable and could be thrown out there every once in a while.
11) Name a couple (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox.
Two ideas here. The first is to try to swing a deal for Mike Napoli of the Angels. He is arb-eligible, but the Angels are said to be looking to dump him and the ~$6-7 million he will make. They don’t like his defense, they have Conger ready, and they are looking to trim fat to make a run at Carl Crawford and/or Adrian Beltre. Napoli is a career 118 OPS+ bat, and we are already accustomed to mediocre D behind the plate. Napoli also played 70 games at first with decent results, and could be used as one of the 1B/DH guys. Napoli could also be used as a Victor Martinez type at catcher, first or DH should Tyler Flowers get his stroke back.
The other trade is a garbage for garbage swap that makes a bit of sense. The Sox send Teahen and Linebrink to the Cubs for Kosuke Fukudome. Liney is obviously better suited to the NL and out of the bandbox Cell, and Teahen’s versatility would help with Derrek Lee gone, Aramis Ramirez always injured, Josh Vitters not ready, etc. Fukudome is not a great everyday player by any means, but he has a +5.7 UZR in right field for his career, and has a .368 career OBP. He would take Teahen’s place in RF and Jones would still be the caddy against left handers. Cubs would be taking on around $1.5 million, but gain a little short-term flexibility since Teahen is spread over two years. This would be why I was advocating back-loading people like Danks.
12) Sum it all up in a paragraph or nine, and give a ballpark estimate of the total payroll.
With this type of plan, you might have a lineup that looks something like:
1. Pierre LF
2. Ramirez SS
3. Rios CF
4. Berkman or Pena 1B
5. Napoli C
6. Cust DH
7. Beckham 2B
8. Fukudome RF
9. Morel 3B
If you went by name recognition, it doesn’t look that good, but this lineup would have good lefty-righty balance, pretty good speed, and a 3-4-5 who would combine to hit 80-90 homers and get on base at a much better rate than last year.
The other real positive is that a lineup like this would feature plus defenders at basically every infield and outfield position (with the exception of Beckham, who was barely below average, and I think will show a bit more improvement). I would kind of compare it to the philosophy of the Rays, whose lineup on paper doesn’t look like anything (besides Evan Longoria) but has guys who can take walks, run pretty well, and all do a great job of catching the ball.
This plan also allows for some flexibility for the future. If the first bash and DH positions were settled for one-year deals, that leaves a ton of money coming off the books next year, when combined with all the other guys up for free agency. Then the Sox would be in a position to get involved in the Albert Pujols/Adrian Gonzalez/Prince Fielder free agency and come up with a long-term solution.
Note: Due to travel, tomorrow’s plan will be up sometime in the afternoon.