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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Off Season Outlook -- Free Agents

I thought I'd take a look at some possible free agent targets of the White Sox. I'm not going to go into detail on them (that's something I might get into further into the off-season) I just wanted to give an overall impression of where the White Sox stood headed into the FA signing period. First here's a breakdown of the Sox payroll, based on who I assume will be back next season.
Wanna know how I arrived at this list? Check out, Off Season Outlook - Pitchers, and Off Season Outlook - Position Players
Player    Salary(in Millions)

Paul Konerko 8.75
Carlos Lee 8.00
Frank Thomas 8.00
Carl Everett 4.00
Aaron Rowand 1.25*
Joe Crede 0.45#
Juan Uribe 1.25*
Willie Harris 0.40#
Wilson Valdez 0.35#
Ross Gload 0.40#
Joe Borchard 0.35#
Timo Perez 1.00*
Mark Buehrle 5.75
Freddy Garcia 8.00
Jose Contreras 6.00
Jon Garland 3.00*
Shingo Takatsu 2.50
Cliff Politte 0.90
Damaso Marte 1.50
Jon Adkins 0.40#
Neal Cotts 0.40#
$63.05M
* Indicates estimated arbitration salary.
# Indicates player has yet to have 3 full years of Major League service. Salary is estimated against league minimum.

That's 21 players on a 25-man roster coming in at about $63M. The White Sox payroll in 2004 finished the season with a payroll around $68M (that figure doesn't represent what they paid for the whole season, rather what they would have paid the players on their final roster for the whole season). Estimating how much money will be available to pursue free agents is like arguing with a 3-year old; you're never going to be right, and even if you are, they're going to tell you that you're wrong. That being said, we can do a little critical thinking and come up with what I feel is a reasonable estimate.

First off, ticket prices will once again be raised. They probably won't be moved all that much, just keeping in line (or just slightly ahead) with inflation. The Sox announced the construction of a new high-priced section of seating called "scout seats". Finally, the Sox have joined forces with the Cubs, Blackhawks, and Bulls to form their own TV network. All of these should result in increased revenue for the Sox, and thus more payroll. -- Hopefully. -- There is one negative to report though, the Sox Radio deal with ESPN1000 is up, and there's no way that they get the cush deal that they got last time when Jerry was able to sell the Bulls and Sox together at the height of Bulls Fever™.

Based on all of those things, I can say with absolute certainty that the Sox payroll will be between $60 and $100M. -- ;-) -- Seriously, I feel the White Sox will enter the season with a payroll on the plus side of $70M, but that could just be blind hope. I can see them possibly pushing the envelope all the way to $75M, but that is just blind hope.

So the Sox have about $7-$12M to spend on the open market. Probably closer to $7M. The biggest needs, I feel, are starting pitching, SS or 2B, right or center field, relief pitching, catcher, and third base, in that order. Based on that here is a list of guys who I think the Sox should target. (along with some who I don't, but included just to be thorough) The list is interactive. Through the power of the internet I linked to the 2004 stats of every player.

Starting Pitchers
Pedro Martinez
Carl Pavano
Brad Radke
Derek Lowe
Paul Byrd
Russ Ortiz
Matt Clement
Cory Lidle
Roger Clemens
Kevin Millwood
Jaret Wright
Chris Carpenter
Jose Lima
Matt Moris
Odalis Perez
David Wells
Wilson Alvarez
Glendon Rusch


Shortstop/Second Base
Placido Polanco -- perfect #2 hitter
Jeff Kent
Edgar Renteria
Nomar Garciaparra
Mark Bellhorn
Orlando Cabrera
Omar Vizquel
Todd Walker
Eric Young -- Platoon w/ Harris?

Right/Centerfield
Gabe Kapler -- Hey Timo, these are the numbers of reserve outfielder.
BJ Surhoff -- Holy Shit! I had no idea this guy was that old
Todd Hollandsworth
JD Drew
Carlos Beltran
Steve Finley
Jermaine Dye
Ben Grieve
Danny Bautista
Moises Alou

Relief pitching
Troy Percival
Armando Benitez
Rob Nen
Jose Mesa
Felix Rodriguez
Scott Williamson
Bob Wickman
Esteban Yan
Chad Bradford
Cal Eldred
David Weathers

Catcher
Jason Varitek
Mike Matheny
Gregg Zaun
Damian Miller

Mike Redmond
Eli Marrero

Third Base
Ardian Beltre
Troy Glaus
Mike Lowell (can opt out of contract w/o new stadium deal)
Corey Koskie

Edit: This was my 101st entry, I think. I have written about 45,000 words about the White Sox in the past few months. I can't believe I've had the conviction to stick to it this long. I actually enjoy doing this.