Although the White Sox love to fly under the radar when it comes to adding new parts, their present task is taking care of payroll responsibilities for 2010.
Arbitration is the key function of the White Sox's front office, which has four potential cases to deal with, with filing dates set between Jan. 5 and Jan. 15. Left-handed pitcher John Danks, closer Bobby Jenks, outfielder Carlos Quentin and relief pitcher Tony Pena are all eligible for arbitration. First-timers Jenks and Quentin could see their pay next year go up from $500,000 to upwards of $4 million per season. Danks and Quentin were both offered long-term contracts last winter.
The South Siders hoped to sign Quentin, Danks and Gavin Floyd to three-or-four year deals in hopes of heading off their prime young players' early years of arbitration. Floyd signed a three-year, $15.5 million contract last winter. The two others declined offers. Danks was offered the same amount as Floyd. Quentin's deal was for a more lucrative contract that was never revealed. Quentin, coming off of an MVP-type season 2008, had an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, finishing strong in September, but certainly falling short of his 36-home run, 100 RBI season he had in 2008. At this point, the White Sox are not offering long-term deals to either player, but that could change during spring training.
The White Sox payroll will come in at approximately $102 million in 2010. Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Jose Contreras and Octavio Dotel are no longer with the team -- that's a savings of almost $40 million from last year's payroll, however the addition of Alex Rios and Jake Peavy with $60 million commitments, along with the arbitration cases and other escalating contracts have the team pretty well maxed out for 2010 spending. The White Sox will have to scrounge around for extra bucks if they're going to add a left-handed RBI bat to the mix through free agency. If they try to fill that role via trade, they might not need the extra cash.