|CF||Alejandro De Aza||$1,700,000||2013||$113,200,000|
The White Sox surprised many by being competitive last season in a fairly weak AL Central. During the season, they made moves to bring in Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Liriano, and Brett Myers to make a playoff push but fell short. With a strong and young core in place, the White Sox have the tool to challenge the Tigers for the divisional title, but a few moves may need to be made.
Longtime catcher A.J. Pierzynski is gone and there aren't any talks of the Sox bringing him back. Tyler Flowers may not be ready to be given full ownership of the starting slot, so it makes sense for the Sox to target a backup catcher who has the ability to start games if Flowers is slumping. Names like Rod Barajas, Miguel Olivo, Kelly Shoppach, Chris Snyder, or Yorvit Torrealba could be had for around $1 million annually and have the ability to step in in a pinch.
The team is set at three of the four infield positions, with Paul Konerko, Gordon Beckham, and Alexei Ramirez filling roles at first, second, and short. The team may need to get creative to fill third base, though, as Brent Morel profiles more as a utility option off the bench. The team's resources are a mystery as they enter the year with approximately $113 million on the books. This is $4 million more than their five year average, but the team's payroll topped $120 million as recently as 2011. If the team wants to pursue a free agent, they may have the resources to do so. If the team wants to fill the hole at third through free agency, they could look into Placido Polanco or bringing back Kevin Youkilis. Neither are very good options at this point in their careers, though. The Sox could also move Dayan Viciedo back to third base and pursue a left field free agent. Possible options include Jason Bay, Johnny Damon, Reed Johnson, Ryan Ludwick, Nate McLouth, or high profile options like Josh Hamilton or Shane Victorino. They could also look to deal from their starting pitching depth to fill an offensive hole.
With a catcher signing, the retaining of Dan Johnson, a move out of the lineup for Brent Morel, and the signing of DeWayne Wise, the White Sox have a pretty set bench.
The rotation could be in serious flux for the White Sox. Chris Sale, Jake Peavy, and John Danks are locks, but the fourth and fifth slots could see some competition. There has been serious talk of moving Gavin Floyd and/or Philip Humber thanks to the Sox having Jose Quintana, Nestor Molina, and Simon Castro. It might be unrealistic, but the Sox could consider trying to hook up with the Padres and putting a package of Gavin Floyd and prospects together for Chase Headley. The White Sox's system saw success at just about every level so they have a lot of depth to deal with.
The team is returning most of their bullpen from last season. Closer Addison Reed should produce better numbers with a little more experience. The team also brings back Matt Thornton, Nate Jones, Jesse Crain, and Donnie Veal. The team had a league average bullpen last season, but with more defined roles they could see some improvement in their results. The team has talked about being interested in bringing back Brett Myers, but Myers has stated that he is more interested in a starting role.
With an unknown amount of resources and a fairly deep system, the White Sox have the tools to put a team in place that can make a playoff run.
|Baltimore Orioles||Chicago White Sox||Houston Astros|
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