2011 MLB Free Agents: 3 Realistic Signings for Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox won't be very active in the free agent period this offseason. According to MLB.com, the White Sox aren't expected to pursue marquee free agents. This will be a relatively quiet time for the White Sox.
Kenny Williams surely recognizes that his hand is forced in the free agent period. The White Sox have committed $89 million to 12 players for 2012. This leave the White Sox with little room to sign players in the free agent period.
Mark Buehrle, Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel and Ramon Castro will become free agents. The White Sox won't re-sign all four of them. Vizquel may be headed into retirement. Castro isn't needed since Tyler Flowers can fill the backup catcher role. The White Sox need someone to produce more runs than Pierre in left field.
Buehrle is a much-needed signing. He is among three realistic signings for the White Sox.
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Re-signing Buehrle is an absolute must for the White Sox. Buehrle has been a mainstay for the White Sox pitching staff in the last 11 seasons. For 11 straight seasons Buehrle has pitched 200 innings.
Buehrle has been the ace for a team that lacks a reasonable backup option for the No. 1 starting role. John Danks has been up and down. Gavin Floyd has only had two seasons with an ERA under 4.00. Danks and Floyd are the only White Sox starters who have multiple seasons with 180 innings pitched.
Offer: $42 million, three years
If the White Sox offer Buehrle $14 million per year, then they should be certain to keep him. Buehrle should be willing to give his long-time team a good deal. Williams can convince Buehrle that he is an essential part of the rotation. Also, Williams can let Buehrle know that he may not have the same role elsewhere.
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Wilson Betemit would be a nice addition for the White Sox at third base. Betemit could give Brent Morel a good challenge for the starting job in spring training.
If Betemit starts, he would be a good bat for the White Sox lineup. Last season, Betemit hit .285 with 46 RBI in 97 games for the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. That could translate into reasonable production if Betemit plays at least 120 games for the White Sox.
Betemit had a stint with the White Sox in 2008. In 20 games, Betemit hit only .200. Since then, Betemit has recovered for his two best seasons.
Offer: One year, $1 million
Williams doesn't need to worry about spending too much for Betemit. Never in his career has Betemit earned more than $1.3 million in a year. This is an affordable signing to add some hitting.
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Todd Coffey could provide a boost to a struggling White Sox bullpen. Coffey is a decent reliever. In seven seasons, Coffey has a 4.08 ERA and averages 69 games pitched per year. After a rough year in 2010, Coffey dropped his ERA more than a run to 3.62. Coffey displayed good control, allowing three walks per nine innings.
Coffey would fit in nicely in the White Sox bullpen. A middle relief role would suit him well. Bridging the gap to the setup man, Coffey could give the White Sox much needed help.
Offer: one year, $1.25 million
Williams doesn't need to offer Coffey too much. Coffey has earned more than $2 million only once. This is a reasonable deal for a serviceable reliever.