It’s a quiet day in Cubdom, but with Scot off, we can report that the White Sox have offered salary arbitration to free agents Paul Konerko and J.J. Putz while declining arb to A.J. Pierzynski and Manny Ramirez. As you know, the Sox will preserve draft-pick compensation if other teams sign either Konerko or Putz. They’re free to negotiate with all free agents.
Konerko made $12 million this season, and Putz made $3 million. If either player accepts the offer of arbitration, they’re back with the Sox at a salary to be determined, and in Konerko’s case, it will be a big one. The players have until Nov. 30 to announce whether they’ll accept arbitration.
As far as the Cubs go, they seem to be taking advantage of the pushed-up timetable for tendering contracts (Dec. 2) to players. There would seem to be a buyer’s market once all the non-tendered players are out there.
It’s not like the Cubs are going to be big-time players in the free-agent game. I’m not seeing Adam Dunn at all on their radar. (The Nats have offered arbitration to Dunn, by the way, not that it would affect the Cubs.)
From talking to various people, I see the Cubs more interested in Carlos Pena at this point than they would be in Adam LaRoche to play first base. There was some chatter yesterday about pitcher Javy Vazquez, but I’m also hearing he’d rather stay out east and train in Florida. In other words, I don’t see any quick strikes by the Cubs as they let the market develop. Aubrey Huff, as expected, has returned to the world-champion Giants as their first baseman.
The Cubs will play the Sox twice in spring training, as the Sox released their spring-training schedule today. The Sox open as the “road” team against the Dodgers at their shared Camelback Ranch facility on Feb. 28. The Cubs will visit the Sox on March 11, and the Sox will head to Mesa March 24.