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Contreras, White Sox, not close to deal

Money BagsLast week I thought it was a certainty that Contreras would be signed before then end of the year. Tonight, it appears much less likely as the Sox start to feel the ripples from the out of control market for pitching.

[Chicago Tribune]

In addition, it's not axiomatic that the Sox and pitcher Jose Contreras will strike an extension soon.

Jaime Torres, Contreras' agent, said Monday he wasn't encouraged by the White Sox's initial offer to keep him past 2006.

"We have to look at today's market," Torres said.

The reported contract that the Sox offered Jon Garland was something in the 3 years, $24-27M, which is nowhere near what his market value would be. Contreras would likely exceed that deal on the market too, but it would be by less than Garland. For that reason, I assumed -- and you remember what your mother used to tell you about assuming -- that Contreras would be much more likely to stay.

Right now, I don't know what is going to happen. I would go into the season with McCarthy in the pen, Garland and Contreras in rotation, and see which one of the impending free agents appeared more likely to repeat their '05 performance over the life of the next contract. I would sign that one, whatever the cost, and ship the other out at the deadline for top prospects or whatever the team currently needed at the time.

It's going to be a much more entertaining rest-of-December and January that I had first envisioned.