The Chicago White Sox are facing a probable mandate from ownership to pare down last year's $130 million salary. After a season that saw the White Sox underwhelm us on almost a daily basis, GM Kenny Williams will have to extract the proverbial pound of flesh from the roster he created.
The purge won't exorcise all of what sunk the team in 2011. Big money busts like Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn, and Alex Rios don't seem like contracts than can be easily moved out of town. The 2012 version of the White Sox will not be a full-blown youth movement, but it seems unlikely that Williams will make any major signings like re-upping with Paul Konerko and landing Dunn this winter.
Thinking along those lines, here are five White Sox players who may be in for a change of scenery in the next few months.
It was a tale of two seasons for the Chicago lead off man.
A dreadful opening two months gave way to great production from Pierre from July on.
From June 26th, Pierre hit .305 and stole 17 bases in 25 attempts. He collected his 2000th hit late in the season and handled the raking of the coals the Chicago media put him through with professionalism.
That said, he is a free agent. He is a speed player who is aging and is a poor defender even when he's getting it done with the bat. The White Sox have younger, cheaper options in the outfield in Alejandro de Aza and Dayan Viciedo.
Pierre may want to call Ozzie Guillen, who was J.P.'s biggest supporter, and migrate back to Florida and the National League. It's hard to think Williams will re-sign the veteran lead-off man.
I have the same feeling about the longtime Chicago lefty as I did when Paul Konerko headed into the off-season and free agency a year ago.
I'd love to see him back with the White Sox, but I can't see it from a personnel standpoint.
Buehrle works fast, eats up innings, and helps himself with his glove. He was the ace of the staff in 2011. In a perfect world, he retires as a member of this team.
That can't happen if he wants $14 million a season for any length of time.
The team will be looking to cut salary with young left-hander, Chris Sale, itching to get into the rotation. Unlike Konerko, who was re-signed at similar money to what he was making in the last year of his deal, Buehrle would have to take a significant pay cut in order to stay in White Sox pinstripes.
It would appear that Buehrle will get good offers from several clubs. If one of those teams is the St. Louis Cardinals, he's gone.
In 20 games for the White Sox, Frasor went 1-2 with four holds, with an ERA that stood at an unimpressive 5.09.
The team gave closer, Sergio Santos a raise after the season, and won't look to bring Frasor back into the bullpen mix unless he comes vastly cheaper than his 2011 price tag of $3.5 million.
Castro served as A.J. Pierzynski's back-up behind the plate until he broke his hand July 9th.
Tyler Flowers seems capable of handling that job.
Unless Williams chooses to play Flowers every day in Charlotte, I can't see Castro back with the club.
Quentin hit for some power, although not for a high average, and was hurt for long stretches.
That pretty much sums up the outfielder's last three seasons with the White Sox
Quentin made the All-Star team for the second time, but played only seven innings of Chicago's last 37 games. The team controls his rights for one more year. He has some trade value as a potential slugger, and Viciedo is a cheap option who needs to get on the field.
Williams will ship Quentin, who made $5 million in 2011 and could command more in arbitration, before the two parties get to a hearing.