Garland gets 3-year, $29 million deal from White Sox

CHICAGO -- Jon Garland might have signed a longer contract for more money next year. But that didn't matter to him.

The Chicago White Sox pitcher agreed to a three-year, $29 million contract Wednesday with the 2005 World Series champions and avoided salary arbitration.

"I love the city," Garland said during a conference call with reporters. "It's where I wanted to play, where I wanted to be. And I'm happy to be there."

The 26-year-old right-hander, who was eligible to become a free agent after the 2006 season, will receive $7 million next year, $10 million in 2007 and $12 million in 2008, according to the White Sox.

Before getting on the call, Garland had just completed a throwing session at a Little League field where he nearly was kicked off by an official.

"Nobody knows who I am," Garland said in jest.

The White Sox and their fans certainly do.

Garland went 18-10 with a 3.50 ERA and led the American League with three shutouts last season. He pitched three complete games and struck out 115 in 32 starts.

Garland, who was an American League All-Star last season, went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two postseason starts, including a complete-game victory against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series.

He is 64-61 with a 4.42 ERA in 181 career games over six seasons, all with the White Sox.

Jon stepped up," general manager Ken Williams said. "He made a statement about who he is. He could have gone the free agent route next year and potentially commanded more years and more money. That was less of a concern than his wanting to be here."

Joe Crede and Rob Mackowiak are the only White Sox players now eligible for salary arbitration.

There was speculation the White Sox would consider trading Garland rather than risk losing him to free agency had a deal not been reached. But either way, Garland said he did not want to switch teams.

"It's something that I was going to do from the very start," he said. "I wanted to sign a long-term deal with the White Sox. I wasn't looking to break the bank."

The White Sox tied Cleveland for first in the AL with a 3.61 ERA, and Mark Buehrle, Garland, Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras pitched consecutive complete games against the Angels in the ALCS.

Despite winning their first World Series since 1917, the White Sox have been busy in the offseason.

They re-signed free agent first baseman Paul Konerko. They traded center fielder Aaron Rowand to Philadelphia for slugger Jim Thome, acquired Mackowiak from Pittsburgh, and landed pitcher Javier Vazquez from Arizona for Orlando Hernandez, reliever Luis Vizcaino and minor-league outfielder Chris Young. And they avoided arbitration with catcher A.J. Pierzynski, signing him to a three-year deal.

"I'm probably the only guy in Chicago who doesn't have the luxury of relishing in the sentimentality of what happened last season," Williams said. "The defeatist attitude that we'll always be Chicago's second team doesn't fly with me."

The White Sox still have six starting pitchers, and Contreras has one year left on his contract.

"Our ultimate desire ... was to keep this team intact," Williams said. "It may turn out that someone overwhelms us with an offer for Jose."

Garland said the activity this offseason is "good to see." He considers it a sign that Williams is trying to "do bigger and better things." But duplicating last season's magic will be difficult because that team clicked from the start of spring training.

"From Day One, everybody got along," Garland said. "If we can start off spring training the way we did last season, we're gonna have a good shot."