A few weeks ago, White Sox GM Kenny Williams sent a memo to the other 29 clubs saying that pretty much all of his veterans were available. It's unclear if closer Bobby Jenks was included in that memo, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the burly righthander will be prime trade bait this winter because of his shaky season, and he goes so far as to say it "will be a bigger surprise if he's back than if traded."
Jenks' performance has suffered this year because he's giving up more longballs than ever before, more than one every six innings pitched. Prior to 2009, Jenks' strikeout rate had been in a four year decline, bottoming out at 5.55 K/9 last year. Even though he's rebounded to post an 8.27 K/9 this season, he's still having the worst year of his career, and FanGraphs values his performance at just $1.9MM.
In his first year of arbitration, the 28-year-old Jenks is earning $5.6MM, and he'll surely get a raise in the offseason. This winter's free agent class features plenty of closers - including Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman – which might limit the market for Jenks. What kind of trade value does a homer prone reliever with World Series experience have? Could he fetch a return similar to what the Orioles received for George Sherrill, another closer about to enter his second year of arbitration?