White Sox reveal new spending plan

Although White Sox GM Rick Hahn signed Jose Abreu in October, the team isn't expected to have a high payroll in 2014. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Payroll will be coming down dramatically in the 2014 season, the Chicago White Sox confirmed this week, although the cost cutting isn’t as big as it might appear.

After a disappointing 2013 season when the White Sox spent in the area of $118 million on their roster, the club could be poised to slash that by as much as $30 million on the high end to a more likely $20 million on the low end.

Some of that savings, though, will be reinvested with an eye toward future talent.

“Two things: One, the overall expenditures by our department may not drop significantly, in part because we will be spending in excess of $10 million on the amateur draft, which is a huge step up,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We’re going to be spending in the vicinity of $5 million internationally which again is a big step up over where we were.

“While it may not necessarily be on the big league field, the money is still going out the doors to improving us player-wise.”

Then there is the matter of the disappointing 2013 team that will slightly affect the 2014 finances. The White Sox were 24th in major league attendance drawing 1.77 million fans or 22,105 per home date. In 2012, the White Sox were also 24th, but had a total draw of 1.97 million or 24,271 per game.

With an average ticket price of $26 in 2013, the White Sox essentially missed out on an extra $5.2 million in income, with that number not reflecting concession, merchandise or parking figures.

“Obviously it was an underperforming year for us on the field and that was reflected at the gate,” Hahn said. “It’s going to be a tick down from where we were last year. (Chairman) Jerry (Reindsorf) has always run it that what comes in goes back on the field and if a little bit less comes in then a little bit less goes out.”

The plan to revamp the roster with an emphasis on younger players with huge upside, though, has more to do with last year’s 99-loss season that it does the fans’ decision to stay away.

“Given where we’re at right now, given that we’re trying to get younger and with that comes a little bit more affordability, we don’t think that even a modest decrease in the total expenditures on the baseball side is necessarily going to hurt our competiveness,” Hahn said. “It is somewhat consistent with trying to get younger.”

While the White Sox have been in remodel mode since July when they added Avisail Garcia, before getting Jose Abreu in October and Adam Eaton on Tuesday, they are in no way finished with the model they have already started.

Hahn is confident Reinsdorf will give the OK to add players in July if the team is in contention, and if they aren’t, then the White Sox will look into any takers for guys like Adam Dunn and Matt Lindstrom, whose contracts expire at the end of the season.

When the next winter meetings go down a year from now, the White Sox could still be in the youth mode that started with Garcia. Or, if all goes much better in 2014, they could be using current savings to fill in the pieces with free agents.

“In terms of the money there is more than enough to win,” Hahn said. “We don’t feel any constraint by what we’re going to be spending. I just wanted to make the point that when you evaluate the team’s expenditures, it doesn’t stop with major league payroll, especially this year when you have large amounts on amateur signings coming our way.

“There is absolutely the potential, whether it’s July or the next offseason, to make that additional long-term impactful signing and we’ll have the wherewithal to do that.”