This week we will be taking a look at the players for each American League Central Division team that are free agents this offseason, and we begin our look with the Chicago White Sox. Chicago finished the season with a 79-83 record, which placed them third in the division. After 88 wins in 2010, the White Sox of this year equaled their record from the 2009 season.
Coming into the year, two of the marquee pitchers in the starting rotation were facing contract years in Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson. Buehrle finished the year 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA, while Jackson was traded at mid season to the St. Louis Cardinals (technically by way of the Toronto Blue Jays),
The free agents this winter include:
Buehrle - 13-9 3.59 ERA 1.30 WHIP
Juan Pierre - .279/.329/.327 2 HR 50 RBI 27 SB
Omar Vizquel - .251/.287/.305 0 HR 8 RBI
Ramon Castro - .235/.307/.456 4 HR 10 RBI
This list doesn't include options or any arbitration eligible players.
The White Sox are in decent shape heading into free agency looking over the team as Pierre (33), Castro (35), Vizquel (44) are all obviously getting up there in age and can be replaced. Vizquel is a future Hall of Fame member, but his everyday skills have diminished and Chicago has young starters at shortstop (Alexei Ramirez) and third base (Brent Morel).
Most Important Resigning - Mark Buehrle
For an organization that dates back to 1901, Buehrle is in the White Sox top 10 in games pitched, career wins, and strikeouts. Though he has lead the league in hits allowed four times in his 12 seasons in Chicago, Buehrle has four times been an All-Star and twice won the Gold Glove.
In most years it would seem automatic that Buehrle would resign with Chicago and likely finish his career in the White Sox pinstripes, however with the weak pitching market available this winter it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see him go elsewhere for more money.
For more info throughout the winter on the White Sox, make sure to check out SB Nation's South Side Sox, committed to all Chicago White Sox news.