Can the Sox contend, Part 1: Peavy's health

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Can the Sox contend, Part 1: Peavy's health

The White Sox have the pieces in place to make a playoff run in 2012. As it stands, at least.

That's not as insane or delusional of a statement as some may think.

Last week at the winter meetings, the White Sox didn't seem too serious about trading John Danks or Gavin Floyd, reportedly asking for multiple young players who could help them in 2012. Unless their demands go down or some team gets desperate for pitching, Danks and Floyd very well could return to the Sox next year.

Let's imagine a world in which they do, shaping next year's starting rotation to be Danks, Floyd, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Philip Humber. Top-to-bottom, that's an incredibly solid rotation -- not one that's better than Detroit's, but one that certainly would be competitive.

A good group of relievers, even sans Sergio Santos and Sale, shouldn't have any major problems finishing games.

The linchpin is in the starting rotation, though, and it's Peavy. Yes, he had a 4.92 ERA last year, and yes, he hasn't made more than 20 major-league starts in a season since 2008. But Peavy did a lot of things right last year, limiting walks and home runs while still posting an above-average strikeout rate. If Peavy can replicate his success in those important areas again in 2012, his results should be more in line with an ERA somewhere in the threes, not the high fours.

That's if he can stay healthy, obviously. And that's not just talking about trips to the disabled list -- Peavy needs to avoid another dead-arm period like the one he went through last season, which largely was responsible for his bloated ERA.

So there's hurdle No. 1 for the White Sox to contend: keep Jake Peavy healthy.

Next up: get either Alex Rios or Adam Dunn back to their career norms and see offensive improvement from either Gordon Beckham or Brent Morel.

Feeling any better about the Sox? Or does the thought of hanging a season's hopes on Jake Peavy make you concerned?

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.