Friday, December 3, 2010

Can We Afford to Afford Konerko?

Let’s talk Dunn: I’ve been watching CSN today and trying to see what everyone has to say about this. And for once, instead of praise, I heard my kind of talk: money talk. Now, obviously, no one knows too much about the money situation because the White Sox aren’t a publicly traded company. But here’s what we do know. The White Sox have enough money to pay $56 million over 4 years to Adam Dunn- that’s as much as Mark Buehrle is making, and about 14 times as much as Jim Thome made with the Twins last year. A.J. PIerzynski just agreed to a 2-year, $8 million deal. Combined with some stats courtesy of baseball-reference and some intense work in excel, here is what I have so far:

The White Sox are liable for $96 million in player salaries so far in 2011. Plus or minus a few minor leaguer salaries (which are about half a mill a pop), so let’s just round it up to $100 million. The Sox spent $113 million on player salaries last year, according to Forbes magazine. That was roughly 58% of total revenues. By my calculations, based on trends over the last few years, revenue is supposed to increase by about 8.7% next year. If we assume the Sox are willing to spend the same proportion this year, that would mean about $123 million on player salaries this year. That leaves another $23 million in the budget. There’s also the issue of Juan Pierre, and the only data I found for him is that his former team is still paying for $3.5 mill of his salary. This year he made $7, so assuming that stands… that’ll add another $3.5 to the payroll, leaving the Sox with $20 million.

In case you lost me so far, all these numbers are based on estimates, but I am projecting that the Sox organization has another $20 million to spend on salaries. Of course, assuming my total estimates are correct, and revenues continue to increase as planned. Also, assuming the Sox don’t pick up any more stragglers like Andruw Jones, Mark Kotsay, and the likes of major disappointment to people with brains everywhere, Tony Pena.

The more I think about this large sum of money, the less it seems. The Sox need another closer, some more solid power in the bullpen, and maybe someone on the bench. The more I think of how much back up the Sox need in the bullpen and perhaps on the bench, the less I want Konerko to be resigned. Jenks was making almost $6 mill this year. We’ll need at least that much if we pick up another free agent closer. If we pay Konerko the $14 million he was paid this year, there’s your budget. Yet Kenny claims he is actively pursuing Paulie, as approved by Jerry Reinsdorf.

And while you all are wrestling with the idea of “Who will play first base, Adam Dunn or Paul Konerko?” I am playing with the numbers, wishing I could see a financial statement. Can we afford Paulie? Yes. Can we afford to have Paulie and still have solidity everywhere else? I’m reluctant to agree.

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