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While the Paul Konerko camp and the White Sox danced around numbers, J.J. Putz made his move to Arizona, signing a two-year deal that guarantees him $10 million, with an option that can max out the deal at three years and $15 million.
Following the progress of the deal on Twitter, the Sox were supposedly involved in discussions shortly before Putz decided on the Diamondbacks. So maybe that price wasn’t worth it to the Sox — not solely due to the price, but also because they gain a much-needed draft pick out of letting him go. Or maybe Putz wanted to close, or maybe he wanted to sleep in his own bed (he lives in the Phoenix area).
That said, I’d probably work with two years and $5 million per as a cap for the space reserved on the payroll for a proven reliever. And I probably wouldn’t expect this to get worked out any time soon. Watching the MLB Network this evening, Peter Gammons said relievers were still seeking the commitment Joaquin Benoit received, and thought January would be when the market would eventually loosen up.
As for Putz, I’d call it a successful signing. The knee tendinitis was poorly timed (lining up with Matt Thornton’s problems), and it prevented him from giving the Sox the full Tom Gordon Experience, but he threw enough quality innings for a guy with a pre-existing condition, as health insurers would say.
So happy trails to J.J. Putz. Now it’s time for Kenny Williams to find another free agent like him.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale dropped a bombshell:
I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around this one, which leads me to believe it may not be entirely true. I know Kenny Williams is “all-in” for 2011, but that would leave the Sox with one position player who would provide surplus value for 2012. It’s one thing to trade him for a similarly young player (like the Brandon McCarthy-John Danks trade), but another to acquire a rental.
For his part, Williams didn’t confirm it, and gave Beckham this endorsement:
“I’m more confident that he has now gone through some struggles that you go through as a big leaguer and he’s come through it on the other side. It’s just unfortunate that he had the injury. He was having quite a second half. That ‘Chicago tough’ that I talk about, he showed some, a little bit of it, in doing what he did.”
The Konerko negotiations could be considered deliberations, as they’re moving as slow as Konerko himself. Williams gave terse answers when asked about him, and had to clarify that he wasn’t frustrated, only neutral – neither optimistic nor pessimistic.
Jon Heyman has more faith in the proceedings:
Williams certainly expressed frustration at the Chicago media for continuing to ask questions about his relationship with Ozzie Guillen, especially after the GM and manager had a productive dinner that left both of them ready to roll. After one question too many, he said:
“I’m going to say this without cursing … I am tired about talking about what was last year and what is old news,” Williams said. “We are above and beyond that and it just … come on. You know what, I’m not going to answer any questions on that. I’m not. It’s a waste of my time.”
But that wasn’t the only stern talk Williams issued. He also singled out Phil Rogers. Combining some Joe Cowley tweets, as he took particular delight in this:
Here’s the Phil crushing. Phil asks about KW’s optimism toward his relievers in the organization …KW says, “Phil, I’m more optimistic about everything than you are about us. And it doesn’t matter what answer I give u, ur going to take the worst, most pessimistic road. So again, I’m not going to waste my time on you.” BAAAMMM. Then Cowley yells out, “Get ’em a body bag!”
I laughed at the last line. I’m surprised that Williams gives him that much credence, because nervous hand-wringing is Rogers’ shtick. I mean, even Monday morning he was talking about the Diamondbacks being a contender to sign Konerko, and I thought they bowed out last month.
Christian Marrero Reading Room (Winter Meetings Edition):
*A.J. Pierzynski was thisclose to going to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
*Bobby Jenks talked to Scott Merkin, and spoke well of Sox fans:
“It [stinks], but it’s the nature of the game,” Jenks said. “I wish things would have been different. I wish I could have been out there healthy and finished the year, but things aren’t always perfect.
“Hopefully, the White Sox front office and my agent, they can work something out. But if they don’t, it’s not because I don’t want to be in Chicago.
“My first thought is my family and what’s best for us,” said the married father of four. “But if this is goodbye, I wish I had something more romantic, but slow down, drive safe and see you on the other side of the fence.”
*If Jenks did return, Guillen would make him earn the closing role.
*Brett Ballantini rounds up the first day of action from the Swan and Dolphin, and so does Examiner.
*White Sox Observer tries to figure out the possible plans of attack to add relief.