As the 2011 season draws to a close, it is not too early to start looking forward to the MLB Baseball Winter Meetings in December, which means free agency and player movement. The White Sox, if the current pace continues, will be coming off a mixed year.
This will probably end as a year that had so much potential, but potential that never materialized into an AL Central title and a shot at a World Series.
Players such as Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and John Danks, who were needed to step up and provide leadership, never produced. The Chicago White Sox organization seeks to win a championship every year and typically makes moves towards that goal. In that spirit, let us fast forward to the winter meetings of 2011.
This following list is comprised of the five best value players who could be on the White Sox radar. Keep in mind, I did not put Albert Pujols or CC Sabathia on this list because they are out of the White Sox range and do not represent a fit with the current mixture of players.
Third base on the south side of Chicago hasn’t been a source of home run power in a few years. The Joe Crede and Robin Ventura days are no longer. Not having a legitimate long-ball hitter after the sixth spot in the batting line up hurts the White Sox. Aramis Ramirez fills that hole at a bargain due to injuries in the last couple of years.
Aramis Ramirez is good for 20-plus home runs and over eighty RBI’s, which would mean an upgrade at the position. He may be worth the gamble to the White Sox, as the team looks to compete with the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers for the division next season.
Mark Buehrle will attract many bidders for his services in December at the winter meetings. The White Sox would help their cause by getting out in front on the Mark Buehrle bidding. CC Sabathia and Roy Oswalt will be too expensive for the White Sox.
They cannot afford for Mark Buehrle to linger on the market and set his value against these pitchers. His value would inflate and it would hurt the Chicago White Sox rotation. The veteran is still good for providing quality innings, and the White Sox will need this as they transition over the next two years.
A solid veteran backup catcher who can manage a game is needed with the White Sox. The White Sox lose the calm of a veteran when A.J. Peirzenki takes the day off.
Jason Kendall is the value free agent at catcher that the White Sox could really use. At 37-years-old, and with declining numbers, he will not break the bank either.
The White Sox pitching staff is in transition, and a player like Ryan Dempster could greatly help. He has experience as a starter, middle reliever and closer.
As injuries mount and certain players do not pan out in the transition phase, having a pitcher who can plug into multiple roles will help the team.
Ryan Dempster has enjoyed success as a starter in the past couple of years and could become a great hedge bet against Jake Peavy’s potential performance in 2012.
LaTroy Hawkins is another veteran the White Sox can add who will not break the bank. I hope you are noticing a pattern here.
Clearly, the White Sox lost many game due to the bullpen’s performance. Hawkins would provide veteran leadership for a year and would give the White Sox pitching staff help in 2012.
He can still provide saves in some situations and gives the team innings in middle relief. The speed of his fast ball is still good enough to help the White Sox. He is definitely worth a look and a value pick for middle relief.
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