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.
Dayan Viciedo (above), Brent Morel (below), Tyler Flowers and Alejandro De Aza found themselves in the Sox starting lineup last night as the likes of Paul Konerko, Alex Rios, Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, A.J. Pierzynski, Manny Ramirez and the injured Gordon Beckham were firmly planted on the bench in the third base dugout.
Ozzie apparently felt that giving the youngsters some playing time was more important than the Sox extending their three-game winning streak and finishing the season a game shy of 90 victories. The Good Guys wound up losing to the Tribe, 7-3, after Tony Pena surrendered three runs in the first.
With so many questions that need to be answered, it’s impossible to predict what roles, if any, the above four prospects will have with the big league club in 2011. In my view, Morel could certainly be the starting third baseman and Viciedo either a DH or maybe the first baseman if Konerko doesn’t return. With his great speed, De Aza is a possible fourth or fifth outfielder. Pun intended, the bloom could be off the Flowers rose. He no longer looks like the blue-chipper both the Braves and White Sox thought he was. I would be surprised if he’s in the picture next season.
With two games remaining, it’s uncertain who Ozzie will put on the field. But there is still something to play for. I would like to see Mark Buehrle get to the .500 mark tonight with his 13th win and it would be a nice sendoff for Edwin Jackson, who has been less than stellar lately, to shine in his last start of the season.
Three games against Boston and three against Cleveland are all that remain on the Sox 2010 schedule as they sit eliminated and nine games in back of the Twins.
So what’s there to talk about? Here’s three items that come to mind:
* He’s Baaack: Ozzie had his sit downs with owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams and it seems as if Oz got the assurances he was looking for so he’ll be back in 2011. I know it was a cause celebre for a few days because of the constant controversy that surrounds Ozzie, but this might have been much ado about nothing. Regardless of what anyone says, Guillen needs the Sox and the Sox need him. A match made in heaven for sure.
* Oh, Man, oh Manny: I was on the record at the time we acquired Manny Ramirez as saying that regardless of the outcome, it was a wise decision to take the chance on the slugger. I still feel that way so you won’t see me second-guessing the move. That said, Manny has been awful and has had zero positive impact with his .258 batting average, one homer, one double, two RBI and 21 strikeouts. His 15 singles and 12 walks have contributed to his .410 on base percentage, but it’s all been meaningless. And last night’s lack of hustle going into second base was inexcusable–but typical of what you get with him.
*What’s Next: So where do the Sox go from here. I’ll let Williams explain:
“Every year, I go through three different scenarios. Where we are currently, which right now is kind of middle of the road. Yes, we have potential to be that notch above, but I have to look at where we are right now. You look at going out and adding the necessary pieces through free agency and through trades where you think you can compete for a championship.
“After that, you take a look and say, ‘well, if we have to go the other way because of budgets or my pie-in-the-sky thinking, we aren’t going to be able to afford it,’ then what’s the best young team we can put out there and start the process?
“It wouldn’t be the typical rebuilding. We’ve worked hard over the years here to make sure we are never in a position for total rebuilding kind of project. If you just look around the field, we have good young players under 30-years-old that are some of the better players in the league. I don’t think that’s the case, but if you have to filter two or three young guys around that position player-wise and maybe someone in your bullpen, well then that’s going to be called, I know how that works in Chicago, it’s going to be called rebuilding.
“In our minds, it’s still with the midset of trying to win. One you start using the “R” word, you create a different kind of mindset. I think a part of what we’ve done here is making sure our players understand that whatever the composition of the team is, it’s designed to win.”
I know that the White Sox have been eliminated.
I know that the recent eight-game losing streak was too much to bear.
I know that we’re still in danger of finishing in third place.
All that said, today’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the A’s, giving the Sox their first victory since September 12, put a smile on my face. I needed it to cure my baseball blues.
Two forgotten South Siders–Mark Kotsay (above, top) and Mark Teahen
(above, bottom)–came to the rescue today with key ninth-inning pinch hits. Manny Ramirez, bless his heart, was nowhere to be found.
So it’s on Anaheim. My hope is we can close out the season against the Angels, Red Sox and Indians with three series victories. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Some White Sox thoughts on a football Saturday:
* Even before this week Sox fans got used to the fact that we weren’t going to catch the Twins. No one is really talking about it, but we now have a challenge to stay ahead of the Tigers and secure second place. After last night only six games separate us and Detroit. Two more Tiger victories this weekend (it’s Lucas Harrell vs. 16-game winner Justin Verlander this afternoon) and our lead is down to four. Then it’s off to the West Coast followed by a four-game series with the depleted, but always tough, Red Sox. I don’t want to cause any panic, I’m just saying…
* I wrote it before we acquired Manny Ramirez, I wrote it when we got Manny and I’ll say it again now after Manny has had no impact on the Sox pennant chances: regardless of his performance in a Sox uniform, it was the right thing for management to do. I do find it almost laughable, though, that it took a green uniform (because of the halfway to St. Patrick’s Day promotion) and nearly three weeks for him to record his first home run and RBI. To be fair, he is hitting .295 with a .456 on base percentage since arriving in Chicago.
* The Sox brass has a lot of lot of decisions to make in the offseason. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the ’11 Pale Hose are constituted. Some questions:
–Will the Sox sign free agents Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski?
–Will the South Siders bring back Omar Vizquel, after his amazing season?
–Will the intense, but brittle, Carlos Quentin be back?
–Will Tyler Flowers and Jordan Danks, who both seemed to take a step back this season, be viable candidates for the major league roster?
–What will become of Freddy Garcia?
–Will Chris Sale be in the starting rotation?
–Will Jake Peavy be ready for spring training?
–I can’t see Manny, Mark Kotsay or Andruw Jones returning, so who becomes the DH?
–All indications are that Bobby Jenks is a goner, so who will close? J.J. Putz?
–Despite the fact he has two more years to go on his three-year deal, will the disappointing Mark Teahen still be in a Sox uniform even as a utilityman?
–What are Brent Morel‘s chances of winning the starting third base job? Maybe a platoon with Vizquel?
–I know I’m burying the lead, but will both Ozzie and Kenny Williams be back?
The offseason certainly won’t be boring.
The White Sox did it again this afternoon in a 5-4 victory over the Tigers in 10 innings. Coming from behind on three separate occasions, including tying the score 4-4 in the eighth and scoring the winning run in the 10th, the South Siders won their seventh straight without a loss on this road trip.
Chris Sale, in relief of Edwin Jackson with one out in the eighth, pitched 2 2/3 perfect innings to record his first major league win. A.J. Pierzynski, who has seemingly found his groove, collected two hits and three RBIs. As for Manny Ramirez, he pounded out three singles, including what represented the winning run. Alejandro De Aza, who came in to pinch-run for Manny, actually scored the 10th inning tally on Pierzynski’s single to left, which put The Good Guys over the top for good.
The Sox showed a great deal of versatility in the win. Pulling out all stops, a group of non-starters–De Aza, Brent Lillibridge, Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez–all saw action and five players found themselves in multiple roles–Omar Vizquel (SS-3B), De Aza (PR-DH), Mark Teahen (3B-1B), Lillibridge (PR-CF), Rios (PH-CF), A. Ramirez (PH-SS).
Same Old Story: The Sox win…and so do the Twins. What else is new? Despite the winning streak, the Pale Hose still remain 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota.
The battle of the Sox was won today by the White over the Red as the Pale Hose swept a day-night doubleheader at Fenway with identical 3-1 scores to move within 3 1/2 games of the Twins. The suddenly “on-fire” South Siders have now won the first five games of their 10-game road trip with the time-honored formula of outstanding pitching and timely hitting.
John Danks outdueled 15-game winner Clay Buchholz, Gordon Beckham delivered a key RBI double in the seventh inning, red-hot Paul Konerko collected three hits and Sergio Santos and Bobby Jenks preserved the win out of the bullpen in Game 1.
Gavin Floyd was the winner and John Lackey the loser in Game 2 with Scott Linebrink and Chris Sale excelling out of the pen before Jenks got the last four outs for his second save of the night. Offensively, Carlos Quentin smashed a double and a triple while scoring a pair of runs and Mark Teahen had a 2 for 4 night. Due to a pair of Bosox errors, which resulted in two unearned runs, backstop Ramon Castro had the only Chisox RBI with a sac fly.
The Manny Watch: In his return to Boston, Manny Ramirez went 2 for 4 in the first game and 1 for 4 in the second, all singles.