As he showed last season with the signings of outfielder Scott Podsednik and starting pitcher Freddy Garcia, GM Kenny Williams is more than willing to bring back productive (and popular) players.
Is Jim Thome going to fall into that category?
Probably not, even though the Sox are preparing to head to spring training without a proven designated hitter. They also lack pop from the left side, and Thome has 564 career home runs.
Before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last Aug. 31, Thome had another solid season for the Sox, batting .249 with 23 HR, 79 RBI and a .372 on-base percentage in 107 games.
He's a free agent, and the guess here is the classy Thome would gladly sign with the White Sox for $1 million plus incentives after making at least $11 million per season for the past seven years.
No one loves Thome more than manager Ozzie Guillen, and it was always fun to watch the two embrace on the field after Sox victories.
However, Ozzie has made it clear all winter that he wants more versatility at the DH spot and more speed on the bases. Those are two very big strikes against the 39-year-old Thome.
He finished last season with the Dodgers, but Thome can't play the field anymore due to his bad back. If he does play in 2010, it's got to be with an American League team.
MLB.com's Scott Merkin caught up to Thome in his hometown of Peoria over the weekend, and he reported the Tampa Bay Rays might be interested in the future Hall of Famer.
The Rays always seem to be shopping for a DH hitter, but they're stuck with overrated Pat Burrell unless they can move his $9 million salary.
The Texas Rangers were interested in Thome, but they wound up signing Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year $65.5 million contract.
Unfortunately for Thome, he looks to be in the same boat as Frank Thomas last off-season.
Thomas waited by the phone and stayed in shape, but the calendar kept flipping and “The Big Hurt” finally gave up hope and called it quits in late May.
If the Sox' rotating DH experiment fails, Thome will likely be waiting to come back.
If not, see you in Cooperstown.