It was a weekend Lovefest at SoxFest.
Optimism reigned as it was obvious that the “All In” approach to the 2011 season has made a huge impact on Sox fans.
The annual Pale Hose celebration ended Sunday just in time for fans to get home or go to the nearest watering hole to watch the Bears-Packers title game. But regardless of the football fever in Chicago, thoughts were also focused on February 17 when the Sox pitchers and catchers report.
More News & Notes…
* The most interesting tidbit to come out of Sunday’s sessions was Ozzie revealing that he chose to audition Chris Sale as the club closer at the end of the season even though Bobby Jenks was healthy enough to pitch.
* It was obvious from those fans in attendance over the weekend that the White Sox faithful is sick and tired of losing to the Twins. The consensus from the Sox, whether it was the Chairman or the players, is that tighter defense and being more fundamentally sound in all phases of the game are the keys to detroning Minnesota in the A.L. Central.
My weekly offseason opinions and observations about the White Sox and more…
The White Sox have surely kept me in blogging mode with all of the activity in the last few days:
–The signing of Dunn (pictured above)
–Getting A.J. back into the fold
–Picking up the Missle‘s option
Next on the agenda, according to KW, is the attempt to sign Paulie. Despite the cash the team has just spent for the two most recent free agent signings, Williams has said there’s enough resources left to bring Konerko back to the South Side. In part, this has been made possible by non-tendering Jenks, saving $4 million by letting Linebrink go and the unselfish gestures by Dunn and Pierzynski, who have both agreed to defer salary so the Sox will have the wherewithal to afford Konerko. And maybe a bullpen piece to boot.
Sox Lose a Great Fan
My good friend Kevin “Sully” Sullivan, former Communications Director in the George W. Bush White House who also headed up PR for NBC Sports and the Dallas Mavericks, lost his Dad this week. Timothy J. Sullivan was 89.
A South Sider to the core, the elder Sullivan passed along his passion for our White Sox to Kevin and his siblings. Sully shared with a group of Sox fan friends that his Dad would have loved the positioning of his death notice–which was right next to the news that the Sox signed Dunn.
May he rest in peace.
We thought all the action would happen at next week’s annual Winter Meetings in Orlando, but the Sox surprised everyone yesterday with a blockbuster day of moves that began to shape the team for next season.
It was hard to keep up with it all:
First, the Sox picked up the $2.5 option for Alexei Ramirez.
Second, Bobby Jenks was non-tendered.
Third, word came out that the Sox signed slugger Adam Dunn.
Fourth, I woke up this morning to find out that A.J. had signed a two-year deal (to continue my obsession with the ’05 Sox, Mark Buehrle is now assured of having a fellow World Champion as a teammate in 2011).
If that weren’t enough, there’s talk that that signing Paul Konerko is still a possibility. And could J.J. Putz be right behind?
So, what’s behind all of this spending? After Kenny Williams submitted two different budgets–one that would focus on cutting salaries and rebuilding and the other would increase the payroll–this is what was decided, according to Williams:
“The decision was that if we’re going all in, we’re going all in.”
You’ll get no argument from me.
Kenny Williams says he will address the Adam Dunn “rumors” tomorrow afternoon. By all media reports, the slugger has agreed to a four-year, $56 million dollar pact. It will give the Sox a huge bat from the left side–a hitter who has clouted 38 homers in each of the last two years, 40 or more five times and a career total of 354. Now we have to get Paul Konerko into the fold along with a catcher (preferably A.J. Pierzynski) and some bullpen help with Bobby Jenks out of the picture and J.J. Putz a free agent.
I guess the big question is how much talent can we really afford? The answer can’t come soon enough.
With today’s non-tendering of closer Bobby Jenks, the current White Sox roster shows Mark Buehrle as the sole holdover from the 2005 World Champions.
Depending on what transpires on the free agent market, Buehrle may yet have company if the South Siders sign Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski or Freddy Garcia. If I were a betting man, I’d say A.J. has the best chance of returning, with Garcia possible and Konerko doubtful. Regarding Paulie, the latest scoop has the Sox closing in on slugger Adam Dunn, which may or may not signal Konerko’s exit. Although I won’t believe it until it happens, the long-time Sox first baseman may be headed to Baltimore, which has already made him an offer.
I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to Jenks. He recently wore out his welcome with his weight problem and heartbreaking series of blown saves, but for the most part he was a godsend. Coming on strong during the ’05 season when Shingo Takatsu failed and Dustin Hermanson couldn’t stay healthy, he was money as the Pale Hose closer in their successful run to glory and continued his excellence for most of the five years since. And who can ever forget Ozzie’s hilarious call to the bullpen in the ’05 Series for the hefty Jenks (pictured above).
Whether it’s free agent J.J. Putz, Matt Thornton, Chris Sale or a wild card addition, the Sox will have a new closer and a revamped bullpen. It’s a little scary not knowing what will happen, but I, for one, think it’s time for a change.
The verdict is in. The White Sox have decided to offer arbitration to Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz, but declined to do so with A.J. Pierzynski.
Konerko and Putz have until a week from today (November 30) to decide whether or not they will accept. If the players decline and sign elsewhere the Sox will receive top draft choices as compensation.
A.J. is another story. Since the Sox declined to offer him arbitration they won’t get anything if he signs with another team. Of course, the South Siders still can negotiate with him and bring him back into the fold.
The big question seems to be, why offer to Paulie, but not A.J. (the Putz situation seems obvious in that Bobby Jenks looks like a goner)?
Consider these possibilities concerning Pierzynski:
* The Sox didn’t want to pay him more than he made this past season. Everyone gets a raise in arbitration.
* They feel they can sign him anyway, although there is certainly no guarantee. With Victor Martinez now off the market having signed with the Tigers, A.J. will undoubtedly be coveted more by other teams.
* They want to move on without him. Word is that they made a big offer to Martinez, an indication they are looking around.
By the way, the Pale Hose also declined of offer arbitration to September flop Manny Ramirez. No surprise here.