Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League/International Signings

Notable Minor League Signings


Trades and Claims

Notable Losses


White Sox GM Kenny Williams spent lavishly on free agents this offseason.  He brought in Dunn to replace last year's DH rotation, spent big to replace bullpen losses, and retained longtime favorites Konerko and Pierzynski at the last minute.


Dunn hit his standard 38-40 home runs in 2010, though he drew about 40 fewer walks than usual.  The slugger wasn't expected to accept a full-time DH job, but National League teams weren't calling and the White Sox offered him a chance to play for a contender without taking a discount.  Power always comes at an inflated price on the free agent market, but Dunn should provide a reliable middle of the order bat for Chicago.  Keep in mind that the signing came before the Sox knew they'd be able to retain Konerko.  Dunn came with the added cost of the #23 overall draft pick, which perhaps the White Sox could stomach because they are starting to build up depth in the lower minors.

The White Sox came close to losing Konerko to the Diamondbacks but ultimately compensated him well for a season that saw him place fifth in the AL MVP voting.  That Konerko's monster year came at age 34 made the term a tricky issue, as the Sox probably would have preferred not to guarantee three years.  Konerko was able to rest by playing 23 games at DH last year, a luxury he'll continue to have when Dunn plays first base on occasion.  That was not an option when Jim Thome was on the club and healthy.

Similarly, the White Sox retained Pierzynski at the last minute.  He nearly signed a deal with the Dodgers, which would have caused Williams to turn to Miguel Olivo.  I don't mind the signing, as reliable everyday veteran catchers are a rare commodity.  The White Sox could have reduced Pierzynski's free agent leverage by offering arbitration to the Type A free agent, but given the value of the relationship and their desire to re-sign him, plus his potential large one-year salary from the process, I can understand the choice.

Faced with the major bullpen losses of Jenks and Putz, Williams committed a hefty $17MM for five seasons of Crain and Ohman.  They made the Crain commitment even while acknowledging the burden Linebrink had become by assuming over 60% of the latter's salary to convince the Braves to take him.  The key members of last year's bullpen – Jenks, Putz, Thornton, and Sergio Santos, were all acquired on the cheap, so it was odd to see the Sox open the checkbook here – especially since they'll have an added weapon in a full season from Chris Sale.  Still, perhaps the team's thinking was that they were simply re-allocating Jenks' money to other relievers.    

Ramirez is an underrated player, a rare shortstop who contributes offensively and defensively.  Locking him up at a reasonable price for potentially three free agent seasons looks like a strong move.  Thornton's extension was more of a necessary evil, with the club option making it more palatable.

Even if Konerko regresses, the Sox could have an improved offense given the addition of Dunn and possible improvement from Gordon Beckham.  The team's success may hinge on the health of the rotation, particularly Jake Peavy.  The Sox don't have much depth if a starter or two has to miss significant time, though they're not alone in that regard.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.

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15 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox"

4 years 6 months ago

Matt Thornton was resigned, so his option isn’t all that relevant anymore

4 years 6 months ago

Sure it is, it determines his 2011 salary. The extension is covered under “Extensions.”

4 years 6 months ago

If I remember correctly when MLBTR first broke the extension story it was said that his 2011 was not changed by the extension.

4 years 6 months ago

I think the Sox are poised to take the central from the Twins this year. Some questions on offense, but overall an improved ball club.

4 years 6 months ago

No questions on offense -questions are on outfield defense

4 years 6 months ago

Hopefully Quentin maintains his new leaner body which will improve his mobility in the field. Rios and Pierre don’t concern me. Red Sox won two titles with Damon’s noodle arm.

4 years 6 months ago

The only question on offense is Brent Morell but his glove more than makes up for it. You can’t really call AJ or Gordon questions because after the all star break they both hit the cover off the ball(AJ was probably worried and stressed about his 10/5 situation and once that passed he got it going again. And Beckham was probably worrying too much about adjusting to a position he had not played since early college, if at all.)

There is only one question about outfield defense, and that’s Carlos. We all know how good Rios is a center fielder. And Juan Pierre had a great defensive year last season and his bat might even show up more after adjusting to the league.

Carlos is a horrible fielder we all know that, but with the addition of Dunn, the progression of Gordon, and Alexi becoming a beast with the stick. All of this moves Carlos down in the line up, and should put it in his head that he does not have to carry this team. I would expect a good year from him im thinking .270 ish avg, 30+ hrs again, 100 rins, maybe a .380ish on base and a .400+ slg% could even come close to an what 07/08 year when he finished second behind morneau in MVP.

Of course all of this could be moot if carlos is even starting in right. Ozzie is playing vicedo more and more in right during spring and he is actually playing pretty good defense.

4 years 6 months ago

I think Kenny would move Quentin in a second , if he could find a taker.
Now is a great time to put Viceado in right field, bat him 7th or 8th, and let him learn.
He may be the right fielder for the next 10 years, and he’s cheap.
Quentin is gone after this year and he’s expensive.

4 years 6 months ago

in light of Vicedo’s fractured thumb where he will miss 3 week my guess is this. He goes the AAA(dl stint) and spends a good half a season there playing right full time. With dunn and konerko both locked up together for 3 years Dyan playing 1st is out of the question. And with brent morell looking to start at 3rd thats also out. So here is what i see, the sox play him in the minors for half a season at RF if he plays well enough at the dead line(does not really matter if the sox are in it or not) they bring him up and trade carlos for a bullpen or bench guy. Now if carlos is having an awesome season then keep Dyan down for the whole year and let carlos walk or,…and this is a huge OR let carlos play the entire year resign him(only if he puts up a solid season) next season move carlos back to left and put Dyan in at right for 2012.

Technically Dyan is only under team controll for 2 more years then he becomes an ARB, but then he is under team controll for a long time.

4 years 6 months ago

I “liked” your comment regardless that you said Dyan every time you meant Dayan.

4 years 6 months ago

On paper the Sox look better, but the Twins continue to win the division. I also don’t think their bullpen has been improved very much. Their offense does look scary though.

4 years 6 months ago

Their bull pen is much better simply from addition by subtraction. Jenks was one of the most shaky closers last season. He still had a good amount of saves and strikeouts but he has spent too much time on the DL the past 3 year both with real and fake injuries. I cant even count the number of times over the past two seasons where he would come in for a save have no one out and walk the bases loaded it was soo annoying.

Dont forget that last season was Santos’ second season ever as a pitcher and first in the bigs, and he had an amazing year. So we can assume he will only get better with working with cooper more.

Pena came up huge last season for the sox in key situations and he is still there.

Ohman may be old but as a lefty guy he is insanly good, look at his stats last season he was amazing vs lefties and pretty good against righties. The was a good low key signing. He is a huge improvement over randy williams

Harral is probably going to make the team as a swing man, which is an improvement because last seaosn they did not have a true long guy

A full season of chris sale is a 100% boost to the pen kid is scary good, even mauer said he was scared to hit against him

And Thornton in there as the closer is a very good very solid move. He is one of the best left handed relieers in the game so you cant go wrong there.

Over all i would say this pen is very very good and besids capps and nathan i would say its better then the twins

4 years 6 months ago

I would probably agree with you that the Sox bullpen is better than the Twins pen, but that’s not saying much at this point. The Twins lost a lot of talent this off-season. No Guerrier, Crain, or Rauch. I still think that the Sox bullpen isn’t very good. Pena had an ERA over 5 so that doesn’t impress me and neither does Ohman. I think Crain will be ok, but not lights out and I think that if anyone struggles the Sox might move Sale to the rotation.

4 years 6 months ago

true about pena but he did bounce around between long guy/6th starter/ 5th starter/ set up/ mop up. he has great stuff and i think he just needs a defined role. I would think he is regulated to mop up duty, so ERA does not really matter. Ohman was a good signing just by the numbers. Considering he is going to be used as the lefty specialist just look at last year 9.1 k/9(good) 4.1bb/9(eh) .86HR/9(great) .3WAR for a 1 out maybe 1 inning guy is very good and at only 2 mill also good…ERA 3.21 not great not bad, WHIP vL= 1.35(very good) vR=1.69(again pretty good) avg against lefties= .221(very good) vs righties=.276(not bad but not great)

overall much better than last years lefty specialist randy williams

Ricky Bones
4 years 6 months ago

Jenks definitely became a case of addition by subtraction as a result of his own actions. His obesity coupled w/ alcoholism put him on a fast train out of town. Ozzie showed him every faith & opportunity only to see these rebuked.

Pena is nothing more than a mop up guy & that’s where he should stay. Ohman also is nothing special even as a LOOGY. Crain could be good but then again there’s a reason he earned the nickname Crainwreck. Hopefully Santos maintains his good form & doesn’t fall into the large category of one & done relievers.

The rotation is the best in the division barring a regression by Jackson or another injury to Peavy, neither of which can really be accounted for so it’s not something even worth worrying about.

Bacon should be better w/ the bat now that he’s settled in at 2nd & AJ will hit like an aging catcher so I don’t really see those as question marks. Morrell is a big question mark b/c there’s no way of knowing if he’ll be able to handle major league pitching over an extended period of time. Quentin is the other mystery as he has shown in recent times a higher proclivity to stink or get hurt rather than produce at anywhere near the level he’s capable.

All in all, the Central will be a lot of fun to watch this year & it should be a three team race the whole way.