The list of White Sox departing free agents was shortened nearly immediately with the 2-year extension given to Jake Peavy and the 1-year deal thrown to Gavin Floyd. Remaining on the list are 2 position players and 2 pitchers:
All but A.J. were acquired via trade mid-season, and not really identified as “White Sox players” in the minds of fans. However they were members of the team when the season ended, and will be seen in White Sox uniforms until they choose to put a different one on. Whispers have been made about interests, visits and contract talks for all and the likelihood that all 4 will be playing elsewhere in 2013 far exceeds the likelihood that all 4 will be part of the Southside squad.
A.J. might be back, but probably not. (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)
Brett Myers, having spent 9 of his 13 MLB seasons as a starter is looking to return to that role, and there are teams looking to add him as such. Most recently the Twins have been reported as having interest in the veteran right hander. The Twins are probably in on any starting pitcher without a hefty price tag. As it currently stands Minnesota is looking at starting 2013 with a front 3 of Scott Diamond, Liam Hendricks, and Cole De Vries, who have 70 career MLB starts combined. If they don’t fill out that staff with some innings eaters, or perhaps, somebody that could at least pretend to be a front line starter, the season is going to be very long for the Twinkies.
Youkilis may be one of the leading candidates to come back due to the lack of other options at his position, ill-advised as that might be. There are many other potential suitors for his services, though. Depending on the specific teams’ need, he could be manning either of the infield corners, and if he’d like to keep his career going without slowly losing the use of his appendages he’d do well to choose a team that wants him to play first base. The Marlins and Mariners are more likely to bring him on in the 1B capacity, and neither team would surprise me with the acquisition.
Francisco Liriano is an odd duck. There’s no telling what kind of pitcher you’d be signing, as he hasn’t managed to find any consistency since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2008. The White Sox aren’t looking for any more starting pitching of his questionable caliber, so he’s the one man from the list that would shock me if he were to appear next season in a White Sox uniform. There isn’t a whole lot of buzz just yet for Liriano, his market probably won’t open up until some of the more heralded free-agent pitchers come off the board. The Yankees are candidates to seek out some rotation help and I’ve even seen folks mention the Rockies as possible pursuers. It may be a while before Liriano knows where he’s going to lay his hat in 2013.
It seems to me that the White Sox are prepared to hand the starting catching duties to Tyler Flowers though it also seemed like A.J. was ticketed for elsewhere following the 2010 season before the Sox brought him back on board with a 2-year, $8M contract. The problem is that kind of money won’t fly this time around, and the Chicago payroll doesn’t look like it is going to be able to absorb the type of paycheck fan favorite Pierzynski is looking to cash. The market for quality catchers is always there, and A.J. should be able to get a player friendly contract from a willing employer. The Yankees are prime candidates both in their need for a backstop and their ability to pay heavily, and absorb the cost of a possible bum year at the back end of a multi-year contract. A.J. has mentioned a preference to play near home, which would point to a rendezvous with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers have also been mentioned in talks, as they are looking at the prospect of losing Mike Napoli and Geovany Soto may continue to be Geovany Soto and his arbitration raise is probably going to exceed his expected production.