Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jerry Saves Faces, Paulie Saves Himself the Trouble of Moving

Let’s talk numbers.
14. That’s Paul Konerko, and he was just signed to a 3-year, $37.5 million dollar contract with the Sox.
2020. No joke, that is when the ramifications of this contract are over. Paul will only get $6.5 in his last year with the team (2013, and will get the remainder of his salary in $1-million-per-year installments).
34. How old Konerko is now.
37. How old Konerko will be when his contract will be up.
0. That’s the number of pitchers KW has brought into the bullpen this offseason, while the number he booted was 3. Jenks, Putz, and Linebrink are all gone. Love them or hate them, they were spots in the bullpen, and even at their worst, they could at least eat innings, and at their best… well, they were pretty good.

Now, I know this makes it seem as though I think this deal is a bust. And, to be honest, I feel like I am increasingly disappointed in the way turned out. I am torn between how much I genuinely liked Paulie as a guy, hitter, and first baseman and the fact that he’s in the twilight of his career, a cash vacuum, and unable to pitch.

It almost seems like the Sox had to make this move to save face after boasting about how they wanted and would get Paulie. Now, who's to say what's going on backstage, but... when the press is reporting that Jerry Reinsdorf himself got involved, it seems a bit like tattling to your parents. I have some very negative feelings about how this whole business was handled.

But, in the spirit of things, I say, Welcome Back Paulie! May you steal many bases, hit more home runs than anyone on the team (Hmm… this could easily turn bad), and have as great a year as 2010. Long play the King!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Told You So...

Welcome to the "I told you so" page, winter meetings edition. After my last post, Kenny talked about making sure that Konerko fit into the White Sox budget, that the money was there, and that Konerko was his top priority. Now, I've said before that if we spend all the money Konerko will want to make, are we going to be left with much? Here's where I was scratching my head every time Kenny Williams talked:

1. Williams said both Dunn and Pierzynski were moving some of their salaries into the back years to set aside more money for Konerko today. Unless payroll is estimated to decrease drastically, this would mean a one-year contract for Konerko, who I understand wants a multi-year deal. This won't work.

2. KW didn't just talk: he talked a lot! I mean, these people seem to have a very minimum understanding of bargaining. "We are so desperate to have you! We are doing everything to have you! We have all this money available JUST. FOR. YOU!" Wouldn't your response also be, "Okay, then I will take $74 million dollars a year for the next 40 years, please"?

3. Why Konerko? For the same reason that the Sox didn't want to sign Jim Thome last year, I would think there would be just as many reasons not to sign Paulie this year. The list of free agents going into 2011 seems to be massive. I would be just as sorry as the next person to see Paulie go, but I'm not willing to promise him my first born child to avoid it.

And now we are all surprised talks are slowing down and Kenny is a lot less optimistic. Color me shocked!

In related, "I told you so" news, Scott Boras is boasting that Joe Crede is ready to try baseball out again. Sadly, Crede has been the boy who cried wolf a bit too many times in terms of his back, so I don't think many would bite. However... how's that for a cheap Konerko alternative with an added bonus: It would make me a whole hell of a lot less grumpy.

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.