2012 Contract Issues: Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are next in our 2012 Contract Issues series.

Eligible For Free Agency (5)

  • Mark Buehrle is a 10-and-5 player, so if the White Sox trade him they need his permission.  I mention this because his contract has a unique clause that adds on a guaranteed $15MM for 2012 only if he's traded.  If he does reach free agency, Buehrle is inclined to play for a contender and in a place that is comfortable for his family.  Retirement isn't out of the question.  Buehrle told Dan McNeil of the Chicago Tribune last month that he doesn't know what the White Sox are thinking, and speculated that maybe they think Chris Sale could do a better job for a lot less money.
  • Edwin Jackson, a Scott Boras client, seems very likely to test the open market.  A breakout season would be nice for his wallet, but so far he's been his inconsistent self.  Though they could lose two starters to free agency, the Sox don't necessarily have to bring two in, if they want to try Sale or Jake Peavy is healthy.
  • Left fielder Juan Pierre is eligible for free agency, so the Sox may need a corner outfielder this offseason.
  • Omar Vizquel and Ramon Castro will also be eligible for free agency.

Contract Options (0)

Arbitration Eligible (3)

The White Sox may have to pay Danks, Quentin, and Pena $20MM for 2012.  That includes a $10MM estimate for Danks, which could be light.  Comparables are scarce for front-end starters in their final arbitration year, but Carlos Zambrano made the leap from $6.5MM to $12.4MM.

2012 Payroll Obligation

The White Sox have a $94.75MM payroll obligation for 2012, according to Cot's, with four $12MM+ salaries locked in.  Throw in another $20MM for the arbitration eligible players, and the team would have roughly $13MM to play with in 2012 salaries if payroll is held constant at $128MM.  The team might need a starter or two, a corner outfielder, and some veteran reserves, but GM Kenny Williams will have to be creative (perhaps by backloading contracts) if he wants to bring in high-salary players, unless payroll is increased again.

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