Good PR won't cost Sox a cent in 2011

Despite not having two nickels left to rub together, the White Sox keep moving the needle with contract extensions.

The first came over a week ago when the team announced that manager Ozzie Guillen’s option for 2012 would be picked up. Technically it wasn’t an extension, but it did guarantee that Guillen’s White Sox tenure would at least extend one more year beyond this one.

In essence, that move gave the team the opportunity to kick off SoxFest with a bang, but it also let the club make a solid public relations gesture that might sell some tickets, all while not forcing them to spend an extra dime in 2011.

Then came Monday’s move that will essentially allow the White Sox to do the exact same thing, on an even larger scale.

The White Sox have not only agreed to a four-year contract extension with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, according to a major league source and reported by Miami's El Nuevo Herald as being worth $32.5 million, they have made yet another positive public relations move without adding anything to the 2011 payroll.

That’s right, Ramirez’s new extension will not increase upcoming salary demands, which have already zoomed past $120 million. Ramirez was set to make $2.875 million after the White Sox picked up his team option in early December.

At that price, the Silver Slugger winner and expected favorite in the Gold Glove Award chase will be a relative steal. And when his four-year extension is done, with possibly a reported fifth year on a $10 million option, Ramirez is still expected to be a bargain.

Call it creative financing, which is really the only way teams can hope to compete with the big spenders of the American League.

Ramirez wasn’t going to get any cheaper and now the White Sox have locked in one of the American League’s best shortstops beyond his final arbitration year in 2013.

This move didn’t necessarily make the 2011 White Sox any better, but it did provide a little long-term stability for the club. Not bad for not costing anything extra until April of next year.