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White Sox extend Pierzynski, ensure losing 2009 season

As if the news that Mike Myers remains a good bet to make the 2008 club wasn't enough of a sign that the White Sox have every intention of emulating the Baltimore Orioles (in a very bad way), they announced the extension of their slow-footed catcher through his age 33 season.

When Ozzie Guillen was extended a few weeks ago, I feared what it could mean from a player personnel perspective.

I like Ozzie... I don't have a problem with him being given an extension, but I do fear what this extension could mean for the future of the franchise.

Even though the Sox current roster is full of rookies, Ozzie has shown extreme reluctance to go through a rebuilding effort, stating many times before the trade deadline that this team wasn't rebuilding. Looking over the Sox roster and minor leagues, I can't see how they climb from the depths as perhaps the worst team in baseball without some type of youth movement. Perhaps that's just because I lack vision, but I suspect it's more a case of not wanting to become the Baltimore Orioles.

I fully understand that the White Sox have zero in-house options to replace Pierzynski -- That's completely their own fault. They have no need for a rookie hitting .255/.332/.422 from the catcher's spot -- but that's no reason to excuse them from extending yet another player on the wrong side of 30. Like Contreras and Vazquez before him, Pierzynski has one year remaining on his current contract before the new deal even starts. So while it's just a two year extension, it feels like three.

The Pierzynski extension gives the Sox 7 players [Buehrle (30), Vazquez (32), Contreras (37?), Konerko (33), Dye (35), Pierzynski (32), and Thome (option year, 38)] (age in '09 season) who are all signed through at least 2009. Add in the probable off-season acquisitions of Torii Hunter (33 in '09) or Aaron Rowand (31) , and David Ecstein (34) and the White Sox figure to be one of the oldest teams in baseball. Not coincidentally, they also figure to be one of the worst. Perhaps the more valid comparison is the San Francisco Giants without the added benefit of the best hitter in baseball.

The second half of '06 should have been the dead canary in the coal mine. '07 left no doubt that this team was too old, too immobile, and contained far too many one-tool players. It appears the White Sox solution is to simply order more canaries.

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Scary projected 2009 roster after the jump

Name '09 Age '09 Salary Mark Buehrle 30 $14.00 Jose Contreras 37 $10.00 Jemaine Dye 35 $11.50 Paul Konerko 33 $12.50 AJ Pierzynski 32 $6.25 Jim Thome 38 $13.00 Javier Vazquez 32 $11.50 ====================================== Avg. Age: 33.9 $78.75M Torii Hunter 33 ~$17.50 Aaron Rowand 32 ~$11.00 David Eckstein 34 ~$6.50 ====================================== ~$17.5-$24M Total 9 players ~$96-103M