Sox Can’t Afford to Give More Pitching than They Receive

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The Chicago White Sox have announced they are offering Holiday Packs, giving ticket buyers discounts on four packs of Upper Reserved or Lower Reserved tickets.


And in one of the first 500 orders, fans receive a White Sox holiday ornament. It appears that the ornament is Paul Konerko and the White Sox image. Too bad it wasn’t Adam Dunn, then the ornament wouldn’t hit anything no matter where you put it on your tree!


The White Sox definitely are in the holiday mood as they are thinking more about receiving (like kids at Christmas) than giving. The Sox seem ready to give away their pitching staff, with Mark Buehrle almost certainly headed for greener pastures. Both the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals have made pitches to the veteran left-hander and it doesn’t appear the Sox are even in the hunt any longer for the fan favorite.


And as if the nearly certain departure of Buehrle isn’t enough of a hit to the organization’s public relations, general manager Kenny Williams now says the Sox will listen to offers for still-promising hurlers John Danks and Gavin Floyd. While both Danks and Floyd had sub-par years last year, it is hard to see the Sox relying on injury-prone Jake Peavy to be their horse for next year. Danks and Floyd both still have a ton of potential, but both are rapidly running out of time to blossom. Both are continuing to rise on the pay scale while their performance numbers just aren’t there. But still, they provide some stability.


The Sox could entertain offers for the two pitchers simply based on finances. Danks earned $6 million in 2011 and is due a raise for 2012 despite an 8-12 campaign. Danks’ earned run average of 4.33 wasn’t far off the American League average of 4.08 in 2011. When you consider that Danks started out a dreadful 0-8, the second-half turnaround which included the lefty going 6-1 at one point, shows Danks might have much to offer either the White Sox or another club. If the Sox need to shed salary to make a last run at keeping Buehrle, then Danks might be the man to go. But if the barn door is already closed on Buehrle it wouldn’t make sense for the Sox to get rid of another lefty starter, depleting their own rotation, despite a talented lefty, in the person of Chris Sale waiting in the wings.


Gavin Floyd continues to be the Javier Vazquez of this Sox team – showing flashes of brilliance and not being touched at the plate at times, but never sustaining that prowess for a full season. Posting just a 12-13 mark in 2011, Floyd is due $7 million in 2012 and he has a $9.5 million club option for 2013 – quite a high price for mediocrity.


But unless Williams has some amazing master plan that brings two or three quality starters to the South Side, it is hard to imagine letting Buehrle, Danks and Floyd all depart before the 2012 season. But, on the flip side, with Sale, another lefty moving into the rotation, it is hard to image both Buehrle and Danks staying with the Sox. Three lefties in a rotation is likely one too many and not likely to do anything but lock the opposition into right-handed-stacked line-ups.


Jake Peavy still hasn’t returned to his former Cy Young self after 2010 surgery to attach his latissimus dorsi muscle and has yet to show that he can complete a full season in a White Sox uniform. While Peavy has been dominant at times, he continues to be an unreliable starter for the Sox.


Phil Humber has more promise than anyone on the Sox pitching staff, but he only has one season under his belt as a starter, and even that was shortened because of a line drive off the noggin. Humber looked solid most of the year and wound up with a 9-9 record and a 3.75 ERA. Humber would be a good 4 or 5 man in a rotation, not a go-to guy as he might be called upon to be this upcoming season.


Barring a Miracle on 35th Street where Kenny Williams can work out trades to bring in a couple quality, veteran starters, the 2012 White Sox pitching staff could leave fans feeling like the kid on Christmas morning who expects toys and gets clothes: thoroughly disappointed.

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