Putz, Konerko decline into December

The remaining arbitration offers come to their logical conclusions one week before the Winter Meetings.

Time to stoke the hot stove embers; calendars now say “December,”
And free agent White Sox members venture to the sales floor.
Will the South Side fans berserk go, if the Sox dismiss Konerko,
J.J. Putz elsewhere finds work or Pierzynski is shown the door?
Could and would the White Sox choose to push Pierzynski out the door?
A.J.’s here forevermore.

Sorry, Joe Cowley’s Tuesday night tweets made me emo.
The players closed out November with their arbitration decisions, and there are no surprises. J.J. Putz and Paul Konerko both declined, and are now on the open market.
Chuck Garfien did a nice job tracking down Putz for a reaction, and Putz told Garfien two strange things — not in what he said, but how he said it.
No. 1: Putz said, “eight or nine teams have shown preliminary interest,” which sounds like he’s reading straight from a cheat sheet.
No. 2: Flag on the play for dropping “it is what it is” on the mere prospect of living in Arizona but training in Florida.
With so much interest in Putz, I’m thinking the Sox probably can’t afford to pursue him. It’s reminiscent of last year, when the Cubs and Astros set a high bar for negotiating with relievers by overpaying John Grabow and Brandon Lyon. This year, Joaquin Benoit‘s three-year, $16.5 million deal with Detroit looms large, although at least he’s coming off a legitimately outstanding season.
Last year, Putz was the cheap option, so perhaps the Sox could allow him to ascend the order of relievers and try to grab another bargain. Jason Frasor and Frank Francisco accepted arbitration, here’s a quick list of Putz peers:

Another name I might tack onto this list is Scott Downs. There are a lot of decent left-handed relievers on the market, and Downs has a history of keeping righties in check, with reverse splits in some seasons.
The most obvious 2011 Putz candidate is Kelvim Escobar, who is now throwing after undergoing surgery on a torn right shoulder capsule in May. I don’t know if the White Sox could capitalize on more shoddy Mets medical evaluations, but there don’t appear to be too many sleepers otherwise.
Konerko’s decision was made official at the last minute, but there’s not much to say. He’s getting multiple years one way or another.
******************************
Christian Marrero Reading Room:
*If you haven’t scored Kenny Williams’ 55 significant trades yet, there’s still time.
*Brett Ballantini sums up where the Sox stand with a week before the Winter Meetings, offering up some bold predictions about the open positions.
(I’ll give one away – he suggests A.J. Pierzynski will re-sign for two years, $7 million. That’s not an objectionable price; the cost is that it extends Pierzynski’s 10-and-5 rights through 2012. They better be right about both Pierzynski and Tyler Flowers, if that’s the case.)
*Kenny Williams remains mum until the meeting begin. Gird your loins for the first Kenny Cryptogram then.
*Fans of White Sox history might be interesting in seeing this great photo gallery of the calm before the storm on Disco Demolition Night (h/t South Side Sox).
*White Sox Observer reviews Ramon Castro’s 2010.
*And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tip my cap (and a 40) to The Cheat. You may have seen that he’s stepping down from the managing editor position at South Side Sox. Considering he’s the godfather of White Sox blogs, it’s a sad day. He started blogging almost two years before I launched this site in February 2006, and he helped a ton in pointing people my way and helping me build an audience in the formative years. So I’m thankful for that, and also for his six-plus years of excellent work. The White Sox blogosphere would be massively stunted (or way more than it already is) without his efforts.

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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.

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dalton

Quoth the blogger, “Nevermore.”
Fun twist on that poem, Mr. Edgar Allen Margalus.
I wonder how other GMs will react when Kenny comes gently rapping, rapping on their chamber doors..?

buford

So do I. Here are 3 types of reactions GM’s may have to Kenny’s advances:
1. I have the courage of my convictions. If a deal of any magnitude makes sense, I’ll do it just like I would with any sensible deal proposed by any GM.
2. Kenny is proposing a major deal. If I end up on the wrong side of this deal, the fans and sportswriters will crucify me.
More importantly, would I be on the expressway to unemployment because my owner now has doubts about me?
I’m not going to do a deal of this magnitude with Kenny or any other GM. The local lanes lead to continued employment.
3. Kenny is always offering his prospects for an established and productive ML player. But the prospects he has traded have historically not produced much.
If the Sox typically have one of the poorer farm systems, why do other GM’s trade for these prospects?
Do they believe they’ve found the gem among the rhinestones?
Is Kenny making his prospects look better by keeping them at the lower levels of the minor leagues rather than promoting them and exposing their shortcomings?
This is all so confusing. If Kenny calls, I’m not even answering.

dalton

Great closing line. LOL.

bigfun

It’s true to an extent, but some GMs have profited from their trades.
Gio Gonzalez finally put it all together. Aaron Cunningham and Ryan Sweeney are good fourth outfielders at worst and solid starters at best. Chris Young had a great 2010 and has been useful overall despite some ups and downs. Hudson we know about. Time will tell with some of the younger prospects.

David

No GM actually fears making a deal with any other GM. They each have the ego required to make decisions based with conviction. It’s a necessity of the job.
Jon Daniels got crushed by Kenny in the Danks trade…his team just lost in the World Series.
Cashman creamed KW in the Swisher trade and won the WS that year.
The Peavy trade is looking more and more like a coup for the Pads, if solely based on salary relief…and Towers just got the GM gig in Arizona.
The Linebrink signing was awful. Teahen, too. And KW would have the Fukodome contract on his hands had Kosuke chosen the reported better CWS offer.
Kenny is a top 10-12 GM. But no GM is perfect and no GM is feared.

buford

“No GM actually fears making a deal with any other GM.”
That wasn’t the thought. The thought was that some GM’s can avoid criticism (and not put their job in question) by being overly cautious. Williams was used because his aggressive nature provides an obvious contrast.
My opinion is that some GM’s have a hard time pulling the trigger on a trade. I don’t believe that all 30 GM’s have the same talent and character traits one needs to get a deal done.
Otherwise, why so many GM changes? Their inability to analyze talent properly is likely high on the list. This would include making bad trades and also leaving good trades on the table.
When GM’s discuss trades, they always say many more are left on the table than made. Is this due to a genuine disagreement on the players moving or one GM thinking about his new vocation in life? A combination of both is likely.
And the purpose was not absolutely not to portray Williams as superior or infallible or unable to make a bad trade. I was implying that Williams is more aggressive than most.
“They each have the ego required to make decisions based with conviction. It’s a necessity of the job.”
Ego is an unwarranted sense of self-importance. That’s a trait that you believe helps in making decisions? and a necessity? I hope your job doesn’t include hiring those who can launch nuclear weapons.

chisoxt

A top 10-12 GM? We will see how well Kenny does over the next few years with little farm system to work with and a major league roster that is progressively being depleted. Don’t forget about that $16 million dollars that is committed to Jake Peavy for the next two years.

dalton

So, we have our choice of Twins and Rays relievers then? I like it.

LS_SoX_FN

I really like Crain and Guerrier, and it would seem both are options… Crain was a type B so he costs us no picks (though i STILL dont want to give the twins an extra pick AT ALL…jerks…) however, i dont think they even offered Guerrier arbitration to begin with… so i say bring the man home!

David

Twins will get a pick if he signs anywhere but Minnesota. No difference if Sox sign him.

LS_SoX_FN

yeah i know… i just dont want the team that ensures that pick…

ricksch

Whenever I read this sort of thing on how the “Sox can’t afford” this or that player — I think about their $108 payroll last year and the $85 plus committed already this year, even though we seem to be about half a roster short of contending.
Seems as though Phil Rodgers column a couple of weeks ago was right on the money. Williams put all his eggs into trying to win the last two seasons with squads that had major holes in them.
The Jackson-Hudson deal continues to loom large. There’s a $7.5m difference between Jackson and Hudson’s salaries. Yes, it is something to see a guy chucking it at 96mph in the 8th inning. But that $7.5 along with the other $7.5 we get for non-tendering Jenks could buy us a pretty damn good bullpen don’t you think?

ricksch

I agree with you on Putz. His numbers are going to attract several suitors and they look much better than what he actually did for us last year — spitting the bit two days in a row during a key series against the Tigers when he finally got a chance to close.
Crain and Guerrier seem pretty steady as relievers go. Together with Santos, Thornton and Sale, (if and when he gets back to the bullpen) that’s a nice pen. I’d love to see Garcia as the long man/sixth starter, making Pena more expendable than he already is. I think Garcia can stretch an extra year or two out of his career if he switches to long relief.

soxfan1

Getting Crain and/or Guerrier would be fantastic! If the Twinkies lose them plus Pavano they could be hurting a bit.

ricksch

I’m sure they’ll find replacements. Their advance ticket sales must be strong, even after the Yankee debacle. I would guess the Twins will try to re-sign Crain.

Shinons

The sunk costs certainly are frustrating. It’d be nice if $60 million to Dunn didn’t seem like such an impossible number.
But I still think there’s a lot to like about this team – I don’t see any rotations I like better than ours even not counting on Peavy and even before rosterbation season starts our gaping holes seem better filled than previous years with our DH or CF spots. For instance, I certainly feel better about the idea of Flowers as our starting catcher than Wise playing center and leading off. Sure, like Cowley’s right that on paper right now we look like a third place team – but so do the Twins and Tigers. If we learn from our mistakes from the past two years and actually fill our holes right, we should be just fine.

knoxfire30

, in honor of jose lopez being non tendered can you look up the article of the genious that thought the sox should trade john danks for him a year ago or so?

bigfun
sars

i dislike cameron a lot less in the past year. maybe because he had to eat a whole lot of crow for the whole #6org thing, but he seems a lot less snarky.
this trade was still batshit crazy even if lopez put up a two win season.

bigfun

haha
Looking back at that plan, Dave had pretty bad luck with his injury-prone buy-low candidates. His team still would have been better than the real Mariners, though.