Beckham, De Aza in for White Sox; Humber, Johnson appear out
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN email@example.com November 29, 2012 7:25PM
Chicago White Sox Vs Cleveland Indians. 3rd-inning White Sox No.15 Gordon Beckham with solo Homerun. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: January 1, 2013 6:36AM
The White Sox will tender contracts to second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza before Friday’s 11 p.m. deadline. There’s a good chance they won’t for Philip Humber and Dan Johnson, who had two of the team’s greatest individual game performances of 2012.
Humber pitched a perfect game against the Mariners in Seattle on April 21, and Johnson hit three homers against the Indians in the season finale in Cleveland. Humber (5-5, 6.14 ERA) faded after throwing the perfecto, however, and Johnson’s flair for the dramatic simmered for most of the season at Class AAA Charlotte.
With depth in the starting rotation and at first base, the Sox will be content to let Humber, 31, and Johnson, 33, become free agents rather than pay the $1 million or more they’d command through the arbitration process. Taking them off the full-to-capacity 40-man roster also would afford general manager Rick Hahn wiggle room for trades or free agents before the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn.
“I prefer not to announce any tender decisions until we’ve had those conversations with individual players,’’ Hahn said Thursday. “We’ve talked to agents this week about what we’re thinking and where these things are likely headed, so it’s not going to come as a shock should we decide not to tender anybody.’’
With 10 players under contract for $90 million next year, and Beckham, De Aza and left fielder Dayan Viciedo — who are under Sox control — probably set to earn another $8 million combined, the Sox are close to the $100 million ballpark expectation for their payroll.
Hahn said that moving Beckham to third base, where he played as a rookie, has been discussed, but it isn’t likely.
“We’d be foolish not to explore it, but we’d be reluctant to shift him yet again,’’ Hahn said.
Third base is Hahn’s top offseason priority heading to Nashville, but he said there’s no urgency to re-sign free agent Kevin Youkilis or trade for a third baseman — which would likely be made from the Sox’ supply of pitching depth.
“You don’t get added points getting deals done in winter meetings,’’ Hahn said. “Our goal is to improve the roster by Opening Day, so it doesn’t matter if that happens in November or January.’’
Hahn talked with Youkilis’ agent, Joe Bick, on Wednesday.
“It’s still coming together,’’ Hahn said. “There’s no certainty to exactly what the economic package for Kevin ultimately will be.’’
Hahn admitted the Sox will lack left-handed hitting if catcher A.J. Pierzynski signs elsewhere, leaving only Adam Dunn and De Aza. Hahn was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about Pierzynski returning.
“That’s a market that once there is movement at the top end, A.J. will get clarity on what his market is like,’’ Hahn said. “We’ve had ongoing conversations with his agent and have a sense where this is headed, but there is no finality in terms of economically how it’s going to wind up.’’