The White Sox may finally have wrapped up an interesting offseason with today’s announcement of the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson to a one-year, $5MM contract. He’ll join a series of other new faces on the MLB roster in Chicago, none of whom — including the trade acquisitions — are guaranteed or controlled for more than two years. The overall financial commitment is quite minimal, and the South Siders still look to have plenty of long-term flexibility.
Here’s the latest on a few of those additions, and one notable departure:
- Jackson will indeed be Chicago’s primary center fielder, GM Rick Hahn told reporters including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin (Twitter link). That means that Adam Eaton, fresh off of a quality campaign in the first year of his extension, will line up primarily in the corner outfield. Clearly, the team’s overall glovework on the grass should be much improved, as the team’s preexisting alignment likely would’ve featured Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia on both corners.
- As something of an added bonus, the Sox kept Jackson from the division-rival Indians, per Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (Twitter links). Cleveland felt it would have needed to go north of $5MM to add Jackson, who seemed to prefer to play in Chicago.
- Padres shortstop Alexei Ramirez asked to go on a road trip to play the White Sox, his longtime club, as Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports. Ramirez called it “really emotional” to suit up for the only MLB organization he’d ever played for previously, saying that he put in “eight years of defending, 100 percent energy, eight years of being the first to show up and work hard every day” in Chicago. Ramirez added that San Diego’s $4MM contract was the sole firm offer he received this winter.
- Newly-signed White Sox righty Mat Latos says that he’s eager not just to show his form on the mound, but also to rebuild his image, as Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports. “Maybe I needed a wake-up call,” said the 28-year-old. “I’m very direct, and I’ve just got to pick and choose my battles and learn to just hold onto some things. If I had some issues with things that went on with Cincinnati, I needed to keep them to myself. That was just a slip-up on my part. That was me dummying up. Just a bad lapse of judgment.” In an email, GM Rick Hahn suggested that the organization wasn’t scared off by a player’s reputation, preferring instead to sit down with each individual and make an assessment. In the case of Latos, it isn’t hard to see how the organization might’ve believed he would be motivated to make good on a $3MM investment.