The team’s 2014 payroll hasn’t been established, but White Sox general manager Rick Hahn believes he has maneuverability.
With the way the roster is currently constructed, Hahn estimates the White Sox payroll sits around $80 million after accounting for arbitration raises and Jose Abreu’s $68 million contract.
Hahn said the White Sox aren’t likely to match last season’s payroll -- their opening-day total was $112 million -- but he still has some flexibility. How the White Sox choose to spend their money will unfold over the next several months as Hahn and the front office continue to overhaul the team after a 99-loss campaign.
“We’re still working off projections in terms of what our revenue are going to be,” Hahn said. “Jerry (Reinsdorf) runs it, after fixed costs we get what’s left over. Our amateur budget is going up to $10 million; our international budget is going up to $5 million, which in previous years was about $7 million. It’s a decent bump there. Payroll is probably not going to be as high as it was last year, but there’s still room for us to operate.”
The White Sox have plenty of items on their wish list this offseason.
They have begun, but need to further complete a restructure of an offense that finished last in 2013 in several critical categories. Thus far, the team has looked into the trade market and has shown some interest in free agent outfielder and Chicago native Curtis Granderson.
The White Sox would also like to find catching help after last year’s group combined for a .560 OPS. Whether they find upgrades at either position in free agency remains to be seen, but Hahn said he might have to part with a pitcher to get a deal completed in a trade.
Hahn said teams have shown interest in several White Sox pitchers though he declined to into specifics.
On Tuesday, several major league executives confirmed the White Sox wouldn’t consider deals for Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, who along with Abreu and Avisail Garcia, have been deemed unavailable.
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“It’s no secret where our strengths our and people obviously see we have a fair amount of needs,” Hahn said. “So early in most conversations some of our pitchers are brought up, some more than others. But we’ve heard a fair amount of guys on our staff and even some from the minors mentioned over the last few weeks.”
One name you’re unlikely to hear associated with the White Sox is Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. While Hahn would love to add a pitcher of Tanaka’s caliber to the roster, the team has more pressing needs. With the posting fee included, a deal for Tanaka, 24, is expected to exceed $100 million.
“You look at where we sit, with pitching being one of our strengths, our economic commitments going forward, and how many needs we have add offensively and I think it’s pretty clear if we have those kind of resources we’re probably going to use them in a different way than after a pitcher,” Hahn said. “He’s extremely talented and it’s going to be robust bidding and given all things considered where we sit today we’re probably off allocating our resources elsewhere.”