White Sox news, Minor Leagues updates and more

December 3, 2010

Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski deferred money to make room for Paul Konerko

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 3, 2010 6:10 pm
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Adam Dunn is also willing to play DH:

New White Sox slugger Adam Dunn said he’ll do whatever is asked of him, including deferring part of his salary so the team can re-sign first baseman Paul Konerko. Dunn, who was introduced at news conference on Friday at U.S. Cellular Field, said he was willing to trade in his glove to become a designated hitter and even joked he would put on the catcher’s gear and get behind the plate.

… Dunn and catcher A. J. Pierzynski, who was officially re-signed Thursday, both deferred part of next year’s salary so the Sox culd pursue Konerko, who turned down their arbitration offer. Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million contract and will be paid $12 million next season, which goes up to $15 million in each of the final two years. Pierzynski will be paid $2 million next season and $6 million the following year.

Kenny is having a good off-season.

Kenny Williams manages to trade Scott Linebrink! [UPDATE #2]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 3, 2010 12:38 pm
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Morosi @ FS tweets (h/t MLBTR):

That’s the deal: Scott Linebrink to Braves for RHP Kyle Cofield, sources tell FOXSports.com.

and

Braves receive cash in the Linebrink trade. Not sure how much yet.

UPDATE: MLBTR says the Sox will send only $1.5 million to Atlanta. I thought the Sox would have to send at least $3-4 million. You are a fucking genius, Kenny!

UPDATE #2: Scot Gregor says the Sox will send $3.5 million to Atlanta. That’s more believable. Still good job, Kenny.

December 2, 2010

Kenny Williams: Adam Dunn signing important for my health

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 11:02 pm
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Ballentini @ CSN tweets:

KW said Dunn signing will drive tix sales, but also that “it might be important to the GM’s health and his long-term employment prospects.”

Translation: I couldn’t take anymore of Ozzie’s DH experiments (Kotsay, Mark).

JJ Stankevitz and Fangraphs on the Adam Dunn and Bobby Jenks moves

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 10:18 pm
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JJ Stankevitz @ Examiner:

While Dunn hasn’t hit 40 home runs since 2008, he’s played half his games in a pitcher’s park with Washington. Nationals’ Park hurt left-handers when it came to home runs, according to StatCorner’s park factors (94=below average, 100=average). Dunn still hit 20 home runs at home in 2010 and 19 in 2009, though, both of which were not lower than his road totals.

But U.S. Cellular Field is a hitter’s haven, as StatCorner rates its home run park factor for left-handed hitters at 122. That bodes extremely well for Dunn’s chances to get back to a 40-home run mark.

Cameron @ FG:

… Essentially, the White Sox are betting that Dunn can maintain his peak production into his early 30s while switching leagues and potentially transitioning to being a bat-only player. If he sees some age related decline, struggles in the American League, or doesn’t adjust well to life as a sometimes-DH, he’ll have a hard time justifying this contract.

However, Dunn has been a remarkably consistent offensive performer, and he’s going to the American League version of heaven for flyball hitters. While it’s probably a bit more money than I would have paid, it’s pretty easy to see Dunn being successful in Chicago for at least the first half of this deal. It’s probably a bit of an overpay, but it’s one that has a decent chance of working out.

JJ Stankevitz @ Examiner:

It’s the right move for the White Sox to make. Whether it’s correlated to questions about his conditioning, Jenks has proven to be injury-prone over the last few seasons. And he’s due for a raise off his $7.5 million 2010 salary. There aren’t many closers that are worth ~$9 million. Jenks isn’t one of them.

But here’s why letting Jenks go is dangerous: All his advanced numbers point in the direction of a rebound year in terms of results. …

R.J. Anderson @ FG:

As for Jenks, he now becomes one of the most interesting free agents available. With no free agent compensation required, teams will only part with money in order to sign him. The disagreement between Jenks’ earned run average (4.44) and peripheral-based run average metrics (2.59 FIP) might lead to a discount rate as well. This is a guy coming off a season with a career-low xFIP (2.62) who also had the worst strand rate (65.4%) and batting average on balls in play against (.368) of his six-year career.

Those last two are vital to his inflated ERA. It’s common baseball sense: the fewer runners you strand, the more runners you allow to score and the larger your ERA grows. How BABIP plays into an increased ERA is no philosophical issue either, as more hits have a tendency to mean more baserunners and more run-scoring opportunities. Given how the rest of Jenks’ career has played out, it seems safe – if not concrete – to say 2010’s hit and strand rates will become apparitions rather than telltale embodiment of Jenks’ abilities. …

UPDATE: Brett Ballantini @ CSN:

… Jenks has lost confidence in his deathly yakker, and must regain it to become an elite closer again. He threw it just 7.4% of the time in 2010, the lowest of his career—and often replacing it is his most hittable pitch, the slider.

And it’s not as if Jenks has lost his stuff, with a sweet K rate (10.42 K/9, second best of his career). His Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP, essentially an ERA-type figure taking fielders out of the equation) was as good as any in his career, at just 2.52. And his ground ball-to-fly ball ratio, which must be high to ensure success in a microwave like U.S. Cellular Field, was a career-best 2.80, indicating that Jenks, for all his woes, is keeping the ball down and mastering the ability to pitch in his tricky home park.

So a strong case can be made that Jenks is due for a strong, if not stellar, bounce-back season. Sabermeister Bill James envisions (not entirely because of but largely due to better luck, a BABIP trimmed to .307) a 32-save season and a 3.12 ERA.

Smells Like Mascot: The New DH by Committee

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 9:57 pm
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Carl’s latest fresh from the oven:

http://www.smellslikemascot.com/2010/12/new-dh-by-committee.html

Here’s another:

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/csi_baseball/

White Sox sign A.J. Pierzynski to a 2-year, $8 million deal

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 9:43 pm
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Rosenthal @ FS:

Sources: [A.J.] Pierzynski back with White Sox. Hearing deal is two years, $8 million, though that is unconfirmed.

Heyman @ SI:

big day on south side: pierzynski back with chisox, confirming Ken_Rosenthal report. it is indeed $8 mil for 2 yrs, i hear.

How did Kenny come up with the money needed to sign Adam Dunn?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 8:23 pm
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He made Jerry an offer he couldn’t refuse:

So where is all the money coming from, with even Alexei Ramirez getting a bump on Thursday when the Sox picked up his $2.75 million option? Williams explained it as they were either going to be the haves or the have nots this season, and with so much already invested in pitching, they had no choice but to be players.

“I talked to [board chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] at the end of the year and usually there are four plans I give him,” Williams explained. “This year there were two. One was a young team and the other was we were going to add to the mix. We just didn’t want to be in the middle. If you’re going to be all in you go all in.”

A.J. Pierzynski close to signing with Toronto? No

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 7:34 pm
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MLBTR:

The Blue Jays are close to signing A.J. Pierzynski, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Even though John Buck signed with the Marlins and Miguel Olivo declined the team’s offer of arbitration, the Blue Jays still have two capable catchers. Jose Molina will return in 2011 and J.P. Arencibia showed power in a late-season call-up and won Pacific Coast League MVP.

Here’s Cowley:

Later, Williams was asked about the talks concerning free agent A.J. Pierzynski, and again brought up the pursuit of Konerko as a big reason why Pierzynski is on hold for now.

“We’ve had conversations, we’ve had a lot of conversations,” Williams said of bringing his catcher back. “Again, I value A.J.. I would love to have him back. My dilemma right now is do you take such an overture and let it take you out of the payroll zone that you may need to get a Paul Konerko back. We’re in a holding pattern because to be honest the next thing I would like to put back in a Sox uniform is Paul Konerko.”

The problem is that the Pierzynski ship may have already sailed. A source close to the situation said that Pierzynski was close to signing with Toronto.

That would leave the Sox going with Ramon Castro and Tyler Flowers, or pursuing Miguel Olivo.

Not so fast tweets Ken Rosenthal:

Sources: Pierzynski is NOT close to signing with Blue Jays. White Sox still appear in mix.

White Sox sign Adam Dunn to a 4 year, $56 million deal

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 6:11 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

One of the offseason priorities for the White Sox soon could be fulfilled through the free-agent signing of Adam Dunn, who agreed to a four-year deal worth $56 million, pending a physical.

… Dunn had expressed a desire to do more than simply serve as designated hitter, but Dunn also could see time at first base for the White Sox, even if free agent Paul Konerko returns. Dunn, 31, reportedly was looking for a four-year, $60 million deal, and with the White Sox already committed to $81 million through 13 players — not to mention arbitration increases due to John Danks, Carlos Quentin and Tony Pena — bringing in Dunn seemed less likely at that asking price.

… If Konerko decides to return to the White Sox, the team would have a potent middle of the order somewhat akin to the Konerko/Jim Thome combination from 2006 to the end of ’09. Adding that sum total to the payroll could mean the subtraction of a player such as Quentin or even Mark Buehrle, as well as a young player such as Tyler Flowers taking over behind the plate. Buehrle would be a possible trade option, as he’s set to earn $14 million in the final year of his four-year, $56 million deal. But the left-hander has full no-trade protection, and if dealt, an extra contractual year kicks in for 2012 at $15 million.

Since Dunn is a Type-A free agent who declined arbitration, the Sox gave the 23rd pick in June’s draft to Washington.

UPDATE: Dyck:

Asked if the Sox had payroll room to sign both Dunn and Konerko, Williams said, “Not only do we have room, but it would be the ideal from our perspective.”

White Sox non-tender Bobby Jenks and Erick Threets [UPDATE]

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 2:31 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

on Thursday, the White Sox announced they declined to tender a 2011 contract to Bobby Jenks. Left-handed reliever Erick Threets also was non-tendered.

Contracts were offered to arbitration-eligible players in John Danks and Carlos Quentin, as well as Tony Pena, who appeared to be on the proverbial non-tender bubble.

UPDATE: The Sox can still re-sign Jenks. He’s a free-agent now.

UPDATE #2: Kenny won’t close the door:

As far as Jenks, Williams wouldn’t close the door on him completely, but not at the price Jenks would have received in arbitration.

“Bobby Jenks brought a World Series to Chicago and I will never forget that,” Williams said. “And I haven’t closed the door on that. All it says today is with the dollars it will bring in an arbitration hearing we cannot go there. The message I have to Sox fans and to Bobby Jenks is he gave us everything he had. I’m proud of his growth as a person, a player and as a dad. I wish the best for him if indeed he does end up somewhere else.”

White Sox pick-up Alexei Ramirez’s option

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 2:12 pm
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Merkin @ CWS:

The White Sox didn’t take long to exercise their 2011 club option on Alexei Ramirez, making the decision official Thursday concerning their Silver Slugger Award winner at shortstop.

Ramirez will earn a base salary of $2.75 million, after he opted out of the final year of his four-year deal that would have paid him $1.1 million. The White Sox could have let Ramirez go to arbitration and had until Dec. 15 to make this particular call.

Alexei is awesome with a capital A baby. I wish we had more like him!

Jonathan Mayo ranks the 2010 draft talentwise at this moment

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 1:18 pm
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Mayo @ MLB tweets:

Q: How would you rank top 5 from 2010 draft now based on talent?

A:
1. [Bryce] Harper [#1, OF];
2. [Jameson] Taillon [#2, RHP];
3. [Manny] Machado [#3, SS];
4.[Drew] Pomeranz [#5, LHP];
5. C[hris] Sale [#13, LHP]

The number and letter in the bracket are their draft pick number and the position they play. MLB’s 2010 Drafttracker here.

White Sox seriously interested in Adam Dunn

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 2, 2010 12:51 pm
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Crasnick @ ESPN/BA tweets:

The Chicago White Sox have jumped in on free agent Adam Dunn, according to sources. Kenny Williams’ interest appears serious

Slusser @ SFC tweets:

It sounds as if Adam Dunn won’t be signing with the Athletics; it is looking very much like the White Sox will wind up with Dunn.

Cowley @ CST tweets:

Yes, the Adam Dunn talk is very legit, and building steam.

Heyman @ SI tweets:

chisox appear to be closing in on deal for adam dunn. huge move for them!

December 1, 2010

Josh Phegley recovering after spleen removal operation

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 1, 2010 4:08 pm
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The operation took place on November 5 writes Mark Gonzales:

White Sox catching prospect Josh Phegley is making a strong recovery after his spleen was removed Nov. 5 in Chicago.

The procedure was done after Phegley and the Sox’s medical staff consulted with several experts who concluded that this was the best chance for Phegley to overcome Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a condition that results in a low blood platelets.

The belief was that the platelets were being destroyed in the spleen, agent Joe Bick said.

This condition forced Phegley, a 2009 supplemental first-round pick, to miss the first part of the 2010 season in the minors. It resurfaced on the morning of opening day of the Arizona Fall League season and caused Phegley to be removed from the Peoria Saguaros’ roster.

Phegley has resumed workouts, and his platelet counts are “real good,” according to Bick.

Let’s hope Josh has a totally successful recovery.

mgl: Does (one-year) UZR tell us exactly what happened?

Filed under: Chicago White Sox — The Wizard @ December 1, 2010 12:14 pm
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mgl:

We’ve discussed this before, and the answer is, “No.” Apparently almost everyone keeps forgetting this or doesn’t know it yet.  It differs from all offensive stats in that regard.  There are two kinds of regressions that one needs to do with UZR in order to make any practical sense of it:

1) Regress to estimate what actually happened from what UZR “thinks” happened.  The UZR “engine” does not do any internal regressions.

2) Regress to estimate a player’s true talent from what actually happened. …

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