Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason

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Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason

The White Sox dont have enough payroll available to make a significant move, but there appears to be wiggle room to solve most of their issues.
General manager Rick Hahn said as much on a conference call on Thursday afternoon, several days before he and his front office head to Nashville, Tenn. for the winter meetings.
Earlier this month, the White Sox newly promoted general manager indicated the clubs 2013 payroll would roughly be the same as last season. The teams opening day payroll in 2012 was nearly 98 million.
With 10 players under contract for almost 90 million, possibly 7-8 million due in deals for Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo, and another 12 players to sign, the White Sox would currently require at least 103-104 million for next season before they could address their third base opening externally.
But Hahn said Thursday the team has some flexibility and wouldnt have to offload salary in order to complete its 25-man roster --- for the most part.
We dont have to move salary to make some of the moves that are on our list, Hahn said. To make a large move, where we take on a great deal of money, then yes, wed likely have to make a move elsewhere to free up some cash to make a major, major acquisition. But right now there is room within the payroll to maneuver and address some of our needs.
The White Sox say they would love to bring back free agents A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But the catcher should receive a raise from last season, when he earned 6 million and hit a career-high 27 home runs and Youkilis is the top third baseman available this offseason. Both would likely fall under the large move category defined by Hahn, which would require another move to offset salary.
So where would that move come from? Most likely the teams pitching, which Hahn said continues to draw significant trade interest. With Jake Peavy, John Danks and Gavin Floyd already signed and Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago under team control, the White Sox have depth in the starting rotation. They also have a decent stable of relief pitchers with Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton signed and Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Brian Omogrosso and Co. under team control.
An above-.500 pitcher who is due to earn 9.9 million next season, the final year before he become a free agent, Floyd is clearly one of Hahns most attractive trade pieces. Crain or Thornton also might attract offers and would bring some relief.
I think other clubs see us as having some depth and obviously some young guys who have some success and in a position of perhaps having excess, Hahn said. Were not inclined to go out there and trim away at that depth. We have some pride and comfort in that depth. But those tend to be the focal points of at least the majority of those calls and if something were to happen via trade that would likely be the area that we wound up dealing from.
But Hahn said theres no rush to make any moves, either via free agency or through trade. He emphasized the White Sox will continue to monitor the markets for Youkilis and Pierzynski and determine whether or not their internal options are more cost efficient than signing one of the veterans.
You dont get added points for getting a deal done at the winter meetings, Hahn said. Our goal is to have the best roster we can have come opening day. If that means we acquired a player in the final days of November or the final days of January, that doesnt matter to us come April.

Preview: White Sox­-Twins tonight on CSN+

Preview: White Sox­-Twins tonight on CSN+

The White Sox take on the Twins on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on CSN+. Coverage begins with White Sox Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.

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Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (5-7, 3.04 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-5, 6.05 ERA).

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Chris Sale 'would like to see' Mark Buehrle retire in White Sox uniform

Chris Sale 'would like to see' Mark Buehrle retire in White Sox uniform

While Chris Sale doesn’t know if Mark Buehrle will pitch again, he’s certain about one thing — Buehrle should retire as a member of the White Sox.

His future plans still undeclared, the legendary pitcher made the rounds at U.S. Cellular Field this weekend to visit ex-teammates from two of the three clubs he played for during his 16-year career. Buehrle, who won a World Series title and 161 games and threw a perfect game and a no-hitter in 12 seasons with the White Sox, has yet to sign retirement papers. Whether or not Buehrle would pitch again was speculated upon often this spring even though he struggled down the stretch in 2015 and failed to eclipse 200 innings for only the second time in his career.

Were he to officially call it quits, Sale hopes Buerhle does it here.

“For me personally, I would like to see it,” Sale said. “When you think of Mark Buehrle, you think of him in a White Sox uniform, wearing the black jersey with the pinstripes on the bottom.

“I don’t think he could go out any other way. Especially it would be nice to see him in a White Sox hat when he goes to the Hall of Fame.”

Buehrle spent the first dozen years of his career with the White Sox before agreeing upon a four-year deal with the Miami Marlins in 2012. His stay in Miami lasted only one season before the club held a fire sale and dealt him and shortstop Jose Reyes among others to the Toronto Blue Jays. Buehrle played the last three seasons in Toronto and won 40 games. He won 15 games last season but finished four outs shy of a 15th straight 200-inning campaign.

Sale said he didn’t talk any business with Buehrle during their visit and doesn’t know if he still wants to pitch.

“It was definitely good to see him,” Sale said. “It gives you a little boost. Any time you see guys like that come back around, it’s always fun. He looks good. He looks like he could pitch again.

“We don’t talk about business when he comes around. It was good to see him and whatever unfolds, I think it will be fun regardless of what happens.”

Weekend provides much-needed rest for White Sox bullpen

Weekend provides much-needed rest for White Sox bullpen

A cold beer in hand and shower shoes on his feet, Zach Duke was the epitome of relaxation Sunday afternoon as he leaned back in his chair in the White Sox clubhouse.

A selfie of his feet with a tropical destination in the background is all that was missing.

The chance to relax isn’t wasted on Duke or his relief brethren. After a span in which they combined for 18 appearances in seven games, Duke, Nate Jones, Matt Albers and David Robertson received a weekend pass. While Robertson’s break was interrupted Sunday, the rest of the group is set for three consecutive days without an appearance.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s a nice shot in the arm, if you will,” said Duke, who entered Sunday tied for the major-league lead with 39 appearances. “It’s good. To have a little rest time to get through this next stretch of games is big.

“I’m not sure what we’ll be doing (Monday). Maybe we’ll go out to the beach.”

Life has been anything but easy for the trusted members of the White Sox bullpen.

The workload of the bullpen recently included 30 innings in the eight games leading up to Sunday. While the bullpen’s innings pitched this season ranks low (they’re 21st among 30 teams), it’s the type of work they have been asked to perform that has begun to add up.

An inconsistent offense that has failed to put games away has the White Sox tied for the fourth-most one-run games in the majors (26). Of the 78 games played by the White Sox, 41 have been decided by two runs or fewer. The bullpen has the second-highest leverage index -- a statistic that measures how much pressure each pitcher faces -- in the majors.

Basically, only San Francisco Giants relievers face more tight situations than in baseball than the White Sox.

With that in mind, White Sox manager Robin Ventura prescribed mandatory rest for Jones, Albers, Duke and Robertson on Saturday.

“They need it,” Ventura said. “They need a break, it's that simple.”

What has magnified the team’s issues is the losses of Daniel Webb and Jake Petricka for the season and Zach Putnam, who is out indefinitely with elbow soreness and said to be weighing surgery as an option.

Last season, Putnam and Petricka combined for 100 2/3 innings. The season before it was 127 2/3 innings.

With those trusted arms down, Dan Jennings and rookies Chris Beck, Michael Ynoa and Matt Purke will likely have to consume big innings at times. The scenario arose on Saturday when the White Sox rallied after it appeared they had been blown out by the Toronto Blue Jays. Even though they trailed by as many as five runs twice, the White Sox found themselves down a run headed into the ninth inning. But with their veteran arms down, Ynoa was asked to work an inning and surrendered a pair of runs.

“It’s tough to watch those games,” said Robertson, who earned his 20th save in 22 tries on Sunday. “When we’ve thrown six or seven games out of eight days, you need a day because the chances of you going out there and hurting yourself are possible. And you’re looking at the longevity of this team and the arms we’ve got, you don’t want to lose any of your valuable pieces in one game when you might need them later on in September to make that push to get into the playoffs or even in the playoffs themselves. When you get those days off you have to take them, enjoy ‘em. It’s hard to watch those games because you feel like you should be in there. But it’s just part of baseball. Every now and then you need a day off.”

Chris Sale added another day of rest with his dominance in Sunday’s victory. He consumed eight of nine innings and held Toronto in check until he surrendered two solo homers in his last frame. Though the homers forced Jones to warm up, Sale recovered in time to get through the eighth. Two days after he pitched out of a bases-loaded jam, Robertson needed only 10 pitches to record his second save of the series.

But because Sale worked as late as he did, Duke didn’t have to lift a finger. He had a chance to relax and determine what he and his family might do Monday. “Hopefully,” Duke will get to the beach.

No matter what, he knows what he won’t do.

“There’s going to be no baseball involved,” Duke said.