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White Sox facing big issues with off-season approaching
By Scot Gregor | Daily Herald Staff

It doesn't sound like the White Sox will be going after free agent-to-be Chone Figgins of the Angels.


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Published: 9/25/2009 12:02 AM

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White Sox scouting report

White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers at U.S. Cellular Field

TV: Comcast SportsNet, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Radio: WSCR 670-AM

Pitching matchups: The Sox' Jake Peavy (1-0) vs. Nate Robertson (2-2) Friday at 7:11 p.m.; Freddy Garcia (2-3) vs. Eddie Bonine (0-0) Saturday at 6:05 p.m.; Daniel Hudson (0-1) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-7) Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

At a glance: The White Sox were aiming toward this series for weeks, but they've lost four in a row and seven of eight to take themselves out of contention. Peavy is looking to build on his solid debut, when he pitched 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 3 hits in a win over the Royals last Saturday. The White Sox are 5-7 vs. the Tigers this season (3-3 at home).

Next: Cleveland Indians, Monday-Wednesday at Progressive Field

General manager Kenny Williams couldn't wait to finish up his news conference at U.S. Cellular Field before Wednesday night's 8-6 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Williams rushed back to a meeting with manager Ozzie Guillen, the Sox' coaching staff and other members of the organization.

With a disappointing 2009 season nearly in the books, Williams already is working toward finding the right pieces for next year.

"I'm a person who always is going to look himself in the mirror," Williams said. "And I challenge the rest of my staff and everyone associated with the organization to weigh in on some of the things we've decided upon as a front office."

Here are some key issues Williams and the White Sox are facing as the off-season approaches:

• Are there any potential free agents (Chone Figgins, Marco Scutaro, Carl Crawford, Matt Holliday, Danys Baez) on the radar?

Sounds like a no.

"No. 1, I don't like what I see on the free-agent market, and what I do like, it's going to cost you a No. 1 (draft) pick," Williams said. "If we felt like that's been a need for us in the past, we were willing to do that. We were willing to go that extra mile if we have that fit for us.

"But that fit means a lot of things in a lot of different ways. This is something we really are going to have to take a look at in the various scenarios. I have no concrete answers for you right now, and even if I did I wouldn't share them with you."

• His 2 home runs against Minnesota on Wednesday aside, Jermaine Dye has been nearly invisible (.180, 7 HR, 23 RBI) during the second half.

Forget about the $12 million mutual option Dye has for next year. The Sox are going to pay the $1 million buyout and likely wave goodbye to the classy slugger.

So who replaces the 2005 World Series MVP in right field?

Last off-season, the White Sox made a run at free-agent Bobby Abreu, who wound up signing a one-year, $5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

That's a steal for a guy batting .293 with 13 home runs, 98 RBI, 93 walks, 29 stolen bases and a .393 on-base percentage this season.

On the down side, Abreu is a subpar defensive outfielder who will be 36 years old next season.

Abreu's price tag figures to increase this winter, so that might take the White Sox out of the running if they opt to pursue him again.

• Speaking of money, the Sox' payroll was $25 million less this season than in 2008, when it was a record $121 million.

According chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, the White Sox are bracing for another round of lost sponsors in 2010. Is that going to reduce the payroll even more?

"What I'm not so sure of is where our projections are headed," Williams said. "I shouldn't really comment on it. I can't comment on it until (I know) our sponsorships and advertising and season tickets. Season tickets drive your payroll. I'm only going to be given what we can afford to spend.

"If that ultimately leads a higher payroll, I don't know. If it leads to something that's lower right now, I don't know the answer to that question either.

"It's kind of irrelevant to me because even in times where I've been given that payroll and still haven't formulated an action plan for the club, I've always gone to Jerry Reinsdorf at the end of the day. I'm always over budget."

• Gordon Beckham and Chris Getz have made impacts as rookies this season, and Daniel Hudson has looked good since coming up after dominating in the minor leagues at four levels as a starting pitcher.

There is more young talent in the system, including third baseman Dayan Viciedo, who batted .280 at Class AA Birmingham while finishing second in the Southern League in hits (141) and RBI (78).

Viciedo will play in the Arizona Fall League, as will outfielder Jordan Danks, who batted .243 at Birmingham and .322 at Class A Winston-Salem.

And don't forget outfielder Jared Mitchell, the White Sox' leadoff man of the future. Mitchell, the Sox' first-round draft pick this season, batted .296 in 34 games with Class A Kannapolis.

"We've got a couple of guys here from our minor-league system and a couple of guys we can plug in next year if we wanted to," Williams said.