Putz declines arbitration from White Sox

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Putz declines arbitration from White Sox

Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
6:30 PM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

The White Sox' bullpen might look a whole lot different in 2011. Bobby Jenks could be out the door. Chris Sale could be headed to the rotation, at least until Jake Peavy comes back. And Tuesday, we learned that J.J. Putz declined arbitration from the White Sox, making him a free agent.

The White Sox have expressed a desire to re-sign Putz, but theyll have to wait in line.

Eight or nine teams have shown preliminary interest, Putz told Comcast SportsNet. Some for closer roles, others to be a set-up man with a chance for closing.

After suffering through an injury-plagued season with the Mets in 2009, Putz signed a one-year deal with the White Sox last winter and had a comeback season, going 7-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 54 innings. While many speculated that Putz would automatically decline arbitration, which would have given him a one-year guaranteed contract with the White Sox, Putz said it wasnt exactly a slam dunk.

We definitely had a back and forth about it, but realistically it was best on my part not to accept it.

Putz will likely command a two or three-year deal on the open market. If he signs elsewhere, the White Sox would receive a middle-round draft pick in compensation.

Although he has a home in Arizona, making it convenient to play for a team in the Cactus League during spring training, Putz is open to signing with teams in the Grapefruit League.

It is what it is, Putz said. Its nice to stay home, but if theres a better situation, Ill go to Florida.

As for when Putz might sign with a club, hes not expecting it to happen anytime soon, or at least until the Big 4 free agents ink deals: Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth.

Until those four guys sign, theres going to be a lot of unsigned free agents out there. Most teams are banking on them. Then theyll fill some other areas, said Putz.

And if the 33-year-old reliever goes elsewhere, hell leave behind his best buddy, Matt Thornton, who played a big role in courting Putz to the South Side last year. The two work out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. during the off-season. Theyll be back there bright and early tomorrow morning.

Will Putz be back on the South Side?

Thats a big unknown. But we do know this: the White Sox now have some competition.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Winter meetings trades for Cubs and White Sox

Hub Arkush (Pro Football Weekly/670 The Score) and David Schuster (670 The Score) joined David Kaplan on the SportsTalk Live panel for Thursday's show.

Baseball’s winter meetings are over. Could Rick Hahn have done more this week? Plus which closer will have a better season- current Cubs closer Wade Davis or former Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman?

How much upheaval will there be on the Bears’ coaching staff this offseason? Plus are the Bulls in slump or are we finally seeing the real team show up?

Listen to this episode of the SportsTalk Live podcast here:

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The White Sox have a pair of relievers to dangle and have become increasingly busier with two of three free-agent closers off the board.

Prior to leaving the Winter Meetings on Thursday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was asked if a pool of relievers including closer David Robertson and setup man Nate Jones had drawn much interest.

Having already traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, it’s believed the White Sox are willing to part with most anyone if the price is right. It sounds as if that possibility has improved after the Yankees’ late night signing of Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday, two days after the San Francisco Giants signed Mark Melancon. With only Kenley Jansen still left in free agency and due a big salary, Robertson, who has two years and $25 million left on his deal, could solve several teams’ relief needs. Jones is also a draw with potentially five years left on his current team-friendly deal, which includes two club options and one mutual option for 2021.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“We’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on a number of different fronts involving are players,” Hahn said. “And yes, we still have reliever pieces and starting pieces that are appealing to various teams throughout the league. I don’t think anything is going to happen between now and the time I go pick up my bags and head to the airport. But still thoroughly engaged, deeply engaged on a number of different fronts.”

Despite adding five pitchers and two position players through their first two moves, the White Sox still have a long list of desires. That list potentially includes a long-term starting catcher and another big bat among others.