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Crunching some numbers

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I really wanted to write a recap tonight -- the second back-to-back wins of the month has temporarily taken off some of the edge from the brutal second half -- but I found that everything that I wanted to say had more to do with next year rather than the remaining 6 games. So, while I said I was going to wait until after the season, I thought I'd open up this Monday by laying the groundwork for our off-season talk.

The first order of business is, of course, payroll.

Pos Age Name 2007 OF 24 Anderson, Brian .40** P 26 Buehrle, Mark $9.50 P 34 Contreras, Jose $9.00 P 25 Cotts, Neal .80** 3B 27 Crede, Joe $6.00*** OF 31 Dye, Jermaine $6.50 P 29 Garcia, Freddy $10.00 P 26 Garland, Jon $10.00 1B 29 Gload, Ross 1.00** P 33 Hermanson, Dustin $0.50* 2B 31 Iguchi, Tadahito $3.25 P 24 Jenks, Bobby .40** 1B 29 Konerko, Paul $12.00 P 29 MacDougal, Mike $1.50** OF 29 Mackowiak, Rob $2.75 P 22 McCarthy, Brandon .40** IF 31 Ozuna, Pablo .45** C 29 Pierzynski, A.J. $5.50 1B 35 Thome, Jim $14.00 P 29 Thornton, Matt .75** SS 26 Uribe, Juan $4.15 P 29 Vazquez, Javier $12.50 ===================================== 21 PLAYERS + 1 BUYOUT $111.35 ===================================== (1 STARTER) (10.00) (CASH) (8.00) ===================================== 20 PLAYERS $93.35 * Buyout ** Estimated arbitration or pre-arb salary *** Crede's new 3/$24M deal; structured 6/8/10
  • Dye, Iguchi, Buehrle, and Hermanson have options in '07
    • Jermaine's option will obviously be picked up, but he reached incentives that increase his salary to $6.5M.
    • Iguchi will obviously be picked up as well. There aren't many 2B options out there, and none better than Iguchi at 3.25M, though he also reached some incentives so that number is more likely 3.5M.
    • It seems absurd to me that there's even a question about whether Buehrle's option will be picked up. If he hit the free agent market this season, even with his brutal second half that saw him become the worst starter in baseball, he'd be as in demand as other free-agents-to-be Barry Zito, Jason Schmidt, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Picking up his option remains a no-brainer. What to do with him after picking up that option is another story.
    • Hermanson has been surprisingly useful in September. His option of $3.5M is just too much to pick up, however. The Sox could buy him out and try to sign him to cheaply fill in the back of the bullpen.
  • Thornton, MacDougal, Cintron, Cotts, Gload, and Podsednik are arbitration eligible.
    • Thornton is entering his first year of arbitration, and will be a relative bargain. The Sox would be smart to lock him up to a Damaso Marte-style deal.
    • MacDougal is also entering his first year of arbitration, but he could be quite expensive. Saves is the one thing that relievers are highly compensated for in arbitration hearings, and since MacD isn't our primary closer, the Sox would also be advised to sign him long term. -- (Yes, I see the irony. I thought both the deal for Thornton and MacDougal was ill-advised, and now I think they should be signed long-term. That's why Kenny is the GM, and not I.)
    • Cintron will be in his second year of arbitration, and could see his salary double. $3M is probably more than the Sox can afford for a backup middle infielder. (A non-tender candidate)
    • Cotts' shitty season really clouds his future. If Boone Logan had done anything to stake his claim to the second lefty spot this September, I would advocate trading Neal. As it is, I think you have to go through spring with both of them, and hope one of them figures out their problem.
    • Gload has seen very limited playing time in his 3 seasons with the Sox, which should keep his arbitration number relatively cheap.
    • Podsednik is the most interesting case. It seems that Kenny doesn't want him back, and I know I don't. I really don't know what the market would be for Pods. He shouldn't be too expensive (around $3M), and may be attractive to some teams; but it could go the complete opposite direction also, with him being non-tendered and plucked off the scrap heap as a bench player/4th outfielder. I don't expect the return in the inevitable trade to be worth much at all.
  • I signed Joe Crede to a fictional 3/$24M contract
    • Earlier this season, I said that Crede should get around 3/$20M, but after thinking about it some more, specifically with regards to the other 3B in town, I think the money will need to be more than that. 3/24 seems about right to me. He's making less than 3M this season, but with his breakout numbers he could see that number double at arbitration. I don't think the Josh Fields' arrival will have any bearing on the negotiations. On the contrary, I think both the Sox and Crede want to do the deal. That being said, I think there's an elephant in the room in Crede's balky back.

      Reading between the lines of this most recent article at Chisox.com, it looks like Crede (understandably) wants nothing to do with off-season back surgery. But from what I can remember from earlier articles quoting Herm Schneider, he thought that it would be a very easy surgery with very little recovery time. I could see the opposing views about the surgery being a very big issue. If Crede doesn't get surgery, expect him to be shopped, with Josh Fields being your guaranteed opening day 3B in '08.

Given the White Sox recent history of reinvesting the gate receipts into the following year's club, and the record crowds that showed up in '06, I think we'll see a team with a payroll at, or maybe even in excess of, $100M, but I doubt they'll get much higher. $105 is probably a ceiling.

That should get some conversation going around here. -- Oh, and Hawksview wanted me to remind you that the season is not over, and the Sox are still in it. Their elimination number only fell by 2 the last couple of days, and currently stands at 2.