The Chicago White Sox shattered all expectations coming into 2012, and they nearly crept into the playoffs after the heavily favored Detroit Tigers struggled for most of the season. But you know what happened in late September and October: the White Sox fell apart, the Tigers won the division, and eventually, the AL pennant. It'll be an interesting offseason for the White Sox, that's for sure.
Jake Peavy and Kevin Youkilis both have club options for 2013. Peavy's will be declined (and the White Sox will look to bring him back at a cheaper salary), while the jury is still out on Youkilis's option, but I'd expect that to be declined as well. Reliever Brett Myers, acquired from the Astros at the deadline, also has a club option, and I'd expect him to be as good as gone too. The team could also use a second baseman if they're fed up with the struggles of Gordon Beckham, who is a nontender candidate heading into his first year of arbitration. With catcher AJ Pierzynski and starter Francisco Liriano also hitting free agency, new Sox GM Rick Hahn is going to have his work cut out for him in filling all of those holes.
The markets at second and third base are pretty ugly, which is what is making me thinking that the White Sox err on the side of caution with Beckham and potentially Youkilis, perhaps even working out a new contract with the former Red Sox star. As for pitching, the White Sox haven't been afraid to throw money at relievers (hello, Scott Linebrink and Jesse Crain), and I don't think that's going to be stopping any time soon. Former Angels and Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez could help feed the veteran reliever fetish the team has, and free agent Mets reliever Jon Rauch also might get a look. As for the rotation, one spot will depend on the health of John Danks, who had a lost year after just nine starts and shoulder surgery. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Gavin Floyd (who also has an option, but one that will likely be exercised) will take up three of the spots in the rotation, while a return for Peavy could take up another if the club is able to work something out with him. As for the final slot if Danks isn't healthy, I think the club will continue to look at veterans...Joe Blanton and Bartolo Colon come to mind. A guy I think might be a fit with the White Sox is former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie, who had a meltdown in Colorado last year before thriving after a trade to the Royals. Behind the plate, I think rookie Tyler Flowers will step in to the every day position, and the club will search for a veteran backup to teach him the ropes. David Ross of the Braves could be a great option if he's willing to leave Atlanta.
The White Sox don't have a ton of players that many other teams would covet, largely due to their contracts and/or lack of performance. Gordon Beckham could get some interest from a team with a hitting coach that thinks they can fix him, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez could get interest from some parties despite a disappointing 2012 season. I don't think Hahn will be doing much trading this winter, though.
Like I said, I don't see Hahn doing much dealing this winter. With the state of this farm system, getting some more young talent infused would definitely be a good thing for this largely veteran club. Paul Konerko will be in the last year of his contract next season, while Adam Dunn and Alex Rios will reach free agency after 2014. Simply put, adding more young, talented hitters will help this team in the long run, despite not seeming to help next season.
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