The Chicago White Sox Payroll Obligations
By David Hill
Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn (32) reacts after striking out in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Typically, when a team is looking to rebuild, that team jettisons high priced players to bring in younger, cheaper alternatives. With the Chicago White Sox in the midst of a rebuilding process of their own, and currently possessing a payroll over $91 Million for this season, it would make sense for the White Sox to follow that same philosophy.
The problem is, many of their high priced players are essentially unwanted. John Danks has three years left on his contract, paying him a total $42.75 Million. Since signing his long term extension, Danks has struggled through two injury plagued seasons to go 7-18 with a 5.02 ERA, giving up more home runs (35) than he has games pitched (31). Even if the White Sox wanted to move Danks, they would likely be hard pressed to find a team willing to take on that type of salary obligation for a player who has not shown anything over the past two years.
Adam Dunn is another player that is seemingly impossible to trade. Even though he has one year left at $15 Million, the one time slugger forgot how to hit when he came to the South Side. During his three years in Chicago, Dunn has produced 86 home runs, but also has a .197/.317/.405 batting line while doing an astonishingly accurate impression of a turnstile. The best hope for the White Sox is that Dunn can somehow remember what he is supposed to do (hit a baseball) and parlay a hot start into a trade with a team desperate for a power bat.
Even some of the White Sox middle tier talent, and payroll obligations, are not exactly desired commodities. Jeff Keppinger received a three year contract after a career season with the Tampa Bay Rays, and predictably tailed off, becoming the type of player he always had been. Alexei Ramirez still has problems getting on base, and has seemingly lost his power stroke, hitting a combined 15 home runs in the past two seasons. Gordon Beckham has been a disappointment. Alejandro de Aza looks like he might be destined to be a fourth outfielder.
The White Sox are going to have some money coming off their books in the next couple of years, and should be able to reinvest that into the team. They have already signed Chris Sale, Jose Abreu and Jose Quintana to long team extensions, hoping that they can form the core of the next contending White Sox team. With some solid free agent investments and an influx of minor league talent, the White Sox rebuild could actually happen sooner than one would expect.
The Chicago White Sox may have several players that are seemingly unmovable. Fortunately for the rebuilding process, they will be coming off their payroll soon.