We sit a couple of days away from the winter meetings. This is sure to be a pretty interesting week for the White Sox. By the time I write next Saturday, we may not have Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Matt Thornton, Carlos Quentin and maybe even a few others. Only time will tell.
It is pretty clear we will not be players in the free agent market. I am still holding out hope for my Cuban Pipeline pipe dream of signing Yoennis Cespedes, but his reported 50 million dollar asking price is even starting to scare me off.
Fast forward a year. Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Danks, Quentin, Jason Frasor and Will Ohman will all hit free agency. Philip Humber, Gordon Beckham, Brent Lillibridge and Alejandro De Aza will all enter their first arbitration year, so those players will get a bump in salary or be non tendered. After figuring in Peavy's 4 million dollar buy out, assuming Floyd stays on and gets his 9.5 million dollar option picked up, and factoring in the arbitration raises to the four players, we will be committed to just north of 80 million dollars for 2013.
Kenny is going to have room to play, so I decided to take a look at the top names in next seasons free agency class.
A.J. will turn 36 next year and depending on what we do this off season and how Tyler Flowers develops, we may have a need at catcher. The top two guys will be Yadier Molina (30) and Mike Napoli (31).
If Gordon Beckham struggles again this year, Kenny may need to look elsewhere for a second baseman. Brandon Phillips (32) or Howie Kendrick (29) could be yours, if the price is right.
Hopefully Brent Morel builds off of his strong September, because there aren't many names on the third base list. Scott Rolen tops the list but he will be 38 years old. Kevin Youkilis, David Wright and Mark Reynolds all have hefty club options, so maybe they will hit the market.
Josh Hamilton (32), B.J. Upton (28), Andre Ethier (31), Ichiro Suzuki (39), Melky Cabrera (28) and Nick Swisher (32) will head the outfield free agent class along with Quentin.
Kenny can look to Matt Cain (28), Zack Greinke (28), Francisco Liriano (29), Shaun Marcum (31), Anibal Sanchez (29) or Jonathan Sanchez (30) to fill the rotation gaps left by Peavy and Danks.
Sean Marshall (30) will be sure to get some play out of the bullpen, as will Brandon League (30), Jose Valverde (35) and Mike Adams (34).
There are plenty of players with club options that are most likely going to be picked up: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Brian McCann, Ian Kinsler, Dan Haren, James Shields, Ervin Santana and Joakim Soria (as well as the previously mentioned Youkilis, Wright and Reynolds) all fit into this group.
The names aren't as sexy as this off seasons list of Pujols and Fielder, but there are plenty of guys that could be realistic targets of the White Sox.
Early favorites of mine would be Anibal Sanchez and either Kendrick or Phillips.
Of course a lot can change between now and then but it is never too early to take a look. Here is the complete list of 2013 free agents.