Jerry Reinsdorf: “Yeah, it was a tough call because we’ve really taken a chance and stuck our necks out. If this team bombs and we draw 2.2 million people next year, we are going to lose a lot of money. So, we are betting that we are going to be good.”
more Reinsdorf: “Last year was a difficult year. We weren’t as good as we thought we could be. Our attendance (2.2 million) was down. Financially, it came out OK. Thinking about this year, we had to make a decision for the long term: Were we better off to try to get better, or were we better off to use this as a rebuilding year? That’s the thing that took us a long time to make up our minds.”
Kenny Williams: “You can get player X, Y and Z to make it all come together. If get X without Y and Z, you don’t want to get caught in middle. We decided to strike and strike quickly.”
The payroll commitments for 2012 are already $80.5 million. Arbitration costs, for 2012, are estimated by B-R to be $27.3 million. And if you fill up the rest of the roster with $500,000 players you get a total, commitments + arbitration + fillers, of $127.3 million for 2012.
I think those figures don’t include the salary for Will Ohman, whose contract was finalized today. If we add $2 million for Ohman ($2.5 million salary for 2012 minus a $500,000 filler), we get $129.3 million. Let’s round it to $130 million. Whoa Nellie! Yes, the $130 million figure is not very accurate but it provides a helpful estimation.
Now, I wonder how hard the White Sox will try to extend John Danks’ contract (Danks becomes a free-agent after the 2012 season). I guess not very hard unless a trade or two take place before or after Danks signs.
Heyman @ SI tweets:
there seems to be interest in a rafael soriano/Ozzie Guillen pairing. but word thus far is, chisox have little if any $ left
chisox pen not bad w/ sale, thornton, santos, crain, pena. but soriano would be fine jenks replacement — if they find $
Will Santa Jerry visit the South Side again?
BTW, Soriano is a Type-A free-agent who was offered arbitration. So, if the Sox sign him they’ll send their 2nd round pick to Tampa Bay (they gave the 1st round pick, #23, to Washington when they signed Adam Dunn).
Merkin @ CWS:
The White Sox still are lacking in proven bullpen arms behind Matt Thornton, Chris Sale, Pena and Sergio Santos, and if 2007′s relief debacle proved anything, it would be how they need another two reliable relievers to help make ’11 an elite campaign.
With Williams having stated how the payroll is tapped out as of the end of the Winter Meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., a trade becomes the only option available. On Saturday, though, Williams presented a small hint how that spending increase might possibly extend into the free agent bullpen pool including plus-arms such as Kerry Wood, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier, to name a few examples.
“I’m encouraged by the excitement from our fans,” said Williams, who reiterated how he is not looking for a pure closer as much as a versatile late-inning type like the role J.J. Putz held in 2010. “Perhaps if that excitement manifests itself into turning out to more ticket sales, perhaps that might free up some more cash to do something.
“I’ll listen to anyone,” added Williams of trade possibilities. “But I said it right there up on the podium [for the Konerko signing], how I’m not really motivated to take anything away from what the Major League roster looks like, from what the everyday roster looks like.”
Kenny, also, says he isn’t looking to trade Carlos Quentin:
“I did not have one single conversation about Quentin at the Winter Meetings,” Williams told MLB.com on Saturday afternoon. “I have not had any discussions with anyone about Carlos since the General Managers Meetings, and it could never have been described as we were shopping him.
“That’s incorrect. I fielded some phone calls, but that was it. I’ve not had a single conversation about Carlos, and I don’t plan to. I’ll listen, but I’m not terribly interested.”
… One other problem in exploring a trade for Quentin is finding a natural right-field replacement. Jordan Danks seems to be the next internal option, with his defense more than Major League-ready but his offense not quite there. When asked if there was anyone in the organization who could take over for Quentin if he was hypothetically traded, Williams simply responded, “No.”
Despite finishing with 110 hits and a .243 average in 2010, Quentin produced 87 RBIs and scored 73 runs. He also featured a .342 on-base percentage, down from his .394 finish in 2008, but up from .323 in an injury-plagued 2009.
“Carlos Quentin is going to have a big year,” Williams said. “He has big talent, and even in a down year average-wise, he is very valuable.
“No matter what his average is, he picks it up with on-base percentage. Then, if he has a good year, it becomes a great year.
“He plays hard and has the ability to set the tone for a game with a hard slide into second base or taking first to third aggressively. There’s much more to Carlos’ overall game than just hitting for average.”
The problem with the slide Kenny is Carlos will not play for a week after it.
UPDATE: Reifert says the ticket dept. phones are off the hook:
White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert said that while individual tickets aren’t on sale, season ticketholders responded positively.
“Phones are ringing off the hook to the point that the sales department canceled its holiday party tonight to stay late and field all of the calls,” he said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Nightengale @ USAT:
The Chicago White Sox, who nearly lost first baseman Paul Konerko to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday and had already plans to acquire another first baseman, reached a three-year, $37.5 million agreement with the slugger, USA TODAY reported Wednesday. The deal was later confirmed by the White Sox, and Konerko will receive $12 million in 2011 and 2012 and $13.5 million in 2013. The White Sox said the final year will be paid out at $6.5 million in 2013 and $1 million a year from 2014-2020.
Konerko chose to return to the White Sox over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who offered a three-year contract for $30 million, the Diamondbacks said. Konerko grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz., but also has a close relationship with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and in the end chose to return to the club he’s played for since 1999.
UPDATE: Press release here.
And BP has Kenny’s comments on the defferred money:
“What we need to do next is figure out a way to pay for all of this. We’ve certainly ramped it up here recently and have been very aggressive, and I think that at this point — as I’ve stated before — I feel comfortable and confident in the everyday lineup and the defense that we’re going to put out there, as well as the starting rotation and the back four guys in the bullpen. But I think we’ve got to augment that just a bit to make ourselves as strong as possible and contend for the division. So we’ve got some work cut out for us and are at a point where we need to get a little creative, because we’re about tapped out right now. We need to either get creative or we need to get a flood at the ticket counter pretty quickly.”
“Paul Konerko has some good teammates, because one of the things that helped us to get this done was Adam Dunn coming in and caring more about winning than the last dollar — certainly dollars this year — because he was more than accommodating in [deferring] some of his money back to the latter part of his deal. A.J. Pierzynski did the same thing, and the rest came together through, literally, our marketing department and accounting people pulling together as many revenue sources as possible. This is something that you have to do when you’re in our situation, and we just thought that we had to capitalize on it. Fortunately we were dealing with a player who really wanted to be here in Chicago and finish his career here.”
Video of Kenny’s comments here (3:23). And a larger version (9:14).
Padilla @ ESPN:
Based on other free-agent signings, Konerko’s open-market value is projected to be around $13 million a season, a number that would leave the White Sox with their highest payroll ever. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told FoxSports.com on Monday that he is willing to take payroll to $110 million in 2011.
Whether or not that includes a salary for Konerko remains to be seen. Williams said he feels like he is patient when it comes to negotiations, but his patience has a limit.
“There’s a fine line,” Williams said when asked if he had a deadline for Konerko’s camp to accept a White Sox offer. “And that fine line [comes] when you risk losing your Plan B and C in favor of trying to be as patient as you can with your Plan A. We will wait as long as we can because we pretty much said on the record that he’s the guy we want.” …
UPDATE: Here are Reinsdorf’s comments:
Reinsdorf said the team’s payroll will be “somewhere around” $110 million.“It will be our highest ever,” he added.
Yet, if the White Sox re-sign Konerko, they may not have enough money left to make significant bullpen upgrades. Even if Konerko defers money on a new contract, as Dunn and Pierzynski did, it’s hard to imagine him earning much less than $10 million in 2011.
BTW, Cowley’s sources say Plan B/C is Derrek Lee.
Ringolsby @ MLBB:
[Arizona GM Kevin] Towers had extended talks with the agent for Paul Konerko, hoping to convince the free-agent first baseman to sign with the Diamondbacks instead of returning to the Chicago White Sox.
Dyck @ CT says, besides Arizona, other Konerko suitors are Texas and Baltimore.
Morosi @ FS tweets that Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t like that:
Reinsdorf on Konerko: “He belongs in Chicago.”
Padilla @ ESPN says Reinsdorf will do everything he can to keep Konerko:
A source has indicated that Reinsdorf is ready and willing to do whatever he can to keep Paul Konerko on the White Sox roster, and by the end of the first day of the winter meetings Monday, in the shadow of Disney World, he just might feel like he is in the happiest place on Earth.
And don’t miss the Godfather reference in Padilla’s article!
UPDATE: Garfein @ CSN tweets Arizona is “reportedly making big push.
Olney @ ESPN tweets:
Heard this: The D-backs have had virtually no dialogue with Konerko.
Gammons @ MLB tweets:
A.J. Pierzynski was “a minute away” from signing with the Dodgers when Jerry Reinsdorf stepped in
UPDATE: Jackson @ ESPN says the Dodgers offer was a 1 year deal worth more than $4 million.
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.”
Levine @ ESPN chat:
Q: Bruce, the Sox need a left handed bat to help balance out the line-up. With [Adam] Dunn being the biggest bat out there, do you see them signing him or looking elsewhere for a bat? If so, who do you see being a fit for the Sox?
A: The White Sox want Dunn and have been trying to make that happen. However Dunn is telling people close to him that he’d like to play left field. The White Sox would rather have him be a DH/1B and maybe a part-time outfielder. But Dunn is below average at almost every position on the field. The Sox have some interest in Hideki Matsui, who at 35 still has some pop. That would also be a short-term deal.
Q: Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Edwin Jackson…which is more likely to be traded?
A: Most likely Jackson with one year and $8 million left. I just don’t see them trading starting pitching unless they get it back. That’s the strength of their team.
Q: Will Rick Hahn ever take over for Kenny or is he going to end up elsewhere?
A: Dear Mrs. Hahn, Rick will be a GM somewhere in the next couple of years and possibly with the White Sox if Reinsdorf decides to make Kenny the president of the team.
UPDATE: Dunn is looking for a 4 year, $60 million contract.
Wittenmyer @ CST:
Reinsdorf, in Orlando on the eve of owners meetings, … confirmed for the first time a Sun-Times report last month that he was willing to let the Florida Marlins interview Guillen for their manager vacancy in exchange for a high-level player.
”The Marlins asked for permission to talk to Ozzie, and we told them we’d let Ozzie go if they gave us a particular player,” Reinsdorf told the Sun-Times. ”But we knew they couldn’t give us the player.”
Sources told the Sun-Times the player was touted young slugger Mike Stanton, but Reinsdorf said it wasn’t Stanton. He declined to identify the player, but speculation points to first baseman Logan Morrison.
”We were never going to let Ozzie go, but if they would have given us this particular player,” he said, ”I would have let anybody go. … Everybody is available at a price. The only player I had that wasn’t available was Michael Jordan.”
Don’t miss the last line!
UPDATE: Buford nailed it in his October 29 comment:
Here’s the key sentence in KW’s response “That’s tampering. All I can say is the report isn’t COMPLETELY accurate.” This leads to the obvious question “Which part of the report is accurate and which part is not?” I would think the following is true (1) the Marlins want Guillen and (2) the Sox will let Guillen go, but only if compensated. The Stanton give-up may be the inaccuracy, but other players may also have been discussed.
With the Sox need for LHH and Konerko’s possible departure, Florida 1B prospect Logan Morrison would be a wonderful addition.
DeLuca @ CST: (via MLBTR):
Guillen confirmed before Game 2 of the World Series that after his relationship with general manager Ken Williams reached a boiling point late this summer, the Florida Marlins were granted permission by the White Sox to interview Guillen — their former bench coach — for their vacant managerial job.
According to major-league sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was intent on making Guillen his next manager. Talks, sources say, progressed to the point that there was discussion of executing a trade that would send Guillen, who has a year left on his contract, to the Marlins for 20-year-old outfielder Mike Stanton, who hit 22 home runs and knocked in 59 runs in just 100 games as a rookie this season.
After Guillen met with chairman Jerry Reinsdorf late in the season and agreed to return to the Sox in 2011 — but not getting a desired extension — the Marlins talks died, sources say.
To the Sox FO: You don’t get players like Mike Stanton like this. Mike Stanton is worth much much more than Ozzie Guillen.
UPDATE: Marlins sources are denying that they had such talks (MLBTR). And a source told MLB.com that such talks “never happened” too.
UPDATE #2: Mark Gonzales reports a source familiar with the Marlins’ situation confirmed that the Marlins asked for permission to talk to Ozzie, but the Sox wanted player compensation and the Marlins didn’t receive permission.
UPDATE #3: Kenny Williams confirms Gonzales’ story:
According to a high-ranking White Sox source, the Marlins called and inquired about Guillen and the White Sox demanded compensation just to talk with him, with one year still remaining on Guillen’s contract. The two teams never came to an agreement over the compensation, with Stanton not serving as any sort of talking point, so official permission was never given to the Marlins to talk to Guillen.
Williams, for his part, has a unique perpetual contract with the club that rolls over every season and pays him a year’s severance if he’s fired.
I knew KW had a roll-over contract for 2005-2009 but did that became perpetual?
Merkin @ CWS:
Williams will get a 2011 budget number in late October and then another projection in November, followed by one as the team goes to the Winter Meetings and then again at the first of the year.
Ultimately, the White Sox might make the best offer to Konerko and Pierzynski within their budgetary parameters, and the players could decide to go elsewhere. Williams already had gone on record to MLB.com concerning his desire to have Konerko retire as a member of the White Sox, and he reiterated that idea on Sunday.
“Let me be clear on something: I think Jerry Reinsdorf and myself and Ozzie Guillen, we’d like to have him back. Let’s be completely clear on that,” Williams said. “Now, whether we can do that or that happens or not with all the variables, I have no clue right now. We are clear with our desires as we sit here today.”
… “Well, as I just told him today, I said, under my tenure at least, he is the classiest player that has put on a uniform,” White Sox general manager Ken Williams said of Konerko, who he spoke to for five minutes in the clubhouse on Sunday. “And I’m not just talking on the field and in this clubhouse. I’m talking outside of the game as well. You’ll never hear me say a disparaging word against Paul Konerko.
“We don’t know how it’s going to play out. There are variables at play we have to go through, to see where we are, project our revenues and how the team fits as a whole. He has some things he has to work through in his mind as well.
“If at the end of the day, even if we are the ones who choose him and he doesn’t choose us, you will never hear out of anyone in the White Sox halls a disrespectful word about Paul Konerko. He is that good of a player, but also that classy of a man.”
Maybe by the Winter Meetings?
“This is tough because most agents want to take their players to the Winter Meetings (Oct. December 6-9 at Orlando) and through the Winter Meetings,” Williams said. “You have a lot of playing to do. There is that tier underneath the top level guys who don’t necessarily have to go to the Winter Meetings. They will get an offer or a deal and they will sign. If you are waiting for that Grade A type guy to be available at the Meetings, you might miss out on other guys who can help you and end up with nothing.
“So, it’s a game of roulette to a certain extent. We’ve experienced it first-hand and it didn’t work out too well the last time we went down that road where we didn’t up with the top guy and a couple of other guys on our list, we lost out on. So, you’ve got to really play those cards well.
“The great thing about it is we have a tremendous relationship with Paul, and I know he’s going to be honest with us and not want to put us in that kind of situation.”