Police: No crime by Jose Canseco

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29

LAS VEGAS -- Police in Las Vegas say no crime was committed when former major league slugger Jose Canseco shot himself in the finger in what he and investigators say was an accident.

The former Oakland Athletics outfielder tweeted a photo Wednesday of his heavily bandaged left hand and said he was recovering at home.

Canseco's fiancee, Leila Knight, was also active on social media urging friends to pray for his finger.

Police say Knight was in the house Tuesday afternoon when the gun discharged as Canseco was cleaning in it the kitchen.

Canseco is a right-handed batter who hit 462 career home runs and was a six-time All-Star.

He also played for Texas, Boston, Toronto, Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Royals claim White Sox OF Moises Sierra

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO – The Kansas City Royals haven’t been too busy with the World Series to look toward the future, claiming outfielder Moises Sierra off waivers Friday from the Chicago White Sox.

A portion of the Royals’ success this season can be credited to a solid defense, particularly in the outfield. Sierra’s strengths are his outfield range and throwing arm, both of which helped to earn him playing time with the White Sox this past season.

The White Sox themselves claimed Sierra off waivers, from the Toronto Blue Jays in early May. He played in 83 games for Chicago, batting .276, well above his career .243 clip. He hit two home runs with seven RBIs.

In other outfield news, the White Sox outrighted Michael Taylor, making him a minor-league free agent.

The White Sox’s 40-man roster now is at 37.

Eaton, Ramirez named Gold Glove finalists

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO – A Chicago White Sox team that had its issues on defense at times in 2014 still had two players named Thursday as finalists for an American League Gold Glove Award.

Center fielder Adam Eaton and shortstop Alexei Ramirez each were named finalists at their respective positions, with the winners to be announced Nov. 4 live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. CST.

Neither Eaton nor Ramirez has won a Gold Glove, although Ramirez was considered to be a potential Gold Glove winner early in his career. After a mediocre season in multiple areas of his game last year, Ramirez rebounded with a standout 2014 season, including on defense.

Ramirez not only had the most chances of all AL shortstops with 696, he helped turn the most double plays with 119. He was second in fielding percentage at .978 to Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels, who was at .982. Ramirez’s range factor was calculated at an AL-best 4.45.

Also nominated for an AL Gold Glove at shortstop were Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals and J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles. Hardy has won the award each of the past two seasons.

Eaton’s arrival this past season helped improve an outfield defense that struggled in 2013, especially in center field. His defense strength were speed and a strong throwing arm that helped lead to nine outfield assists, third-best among all full-time AL center fielders.

Eaton was nominated for the award with fellow AL center fielders Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Boston Red Sox and Adam Jones of the Orioles. Jones has won the award each of the past two seasons.

Konerko, Rollins win Clemente Award

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24
[+] EnlargePaul Konerko
Jerry Lai/USA TODAY SportsPaul Konerko's "Bring Me Home Campaign" says it has raised nearly $450,000 to assist foster children in Illinois.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Retiring White Sox star Paul Konerko and Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins were picked Friday as the first co-winners of Major League Baseball's Roberto Clemente Award.

The annual honor is given for contributions on and off the field that best represent the sport and is named for the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer, who died on Dec. 31, 1972, in a plane crash while on a humanitarian mission to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

"Their commitment to making a difference in the lives of children is a wonderful reflection of the legacy the legendary Roberto Clemente has left on our game and in society," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said.

Konerko, the first member of the White Sox to receive the award, and wife Jennifer founded the "Bring Me Home Campaign," which also includes a pair of former teammates in retired great Jim Thome and the Los Angeles Angels' Gordon Beckham. The campaign says it has raised nearly $450,000 to assist foster children in Illinois.

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Konerko's memorable slam turns 9

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- Paul Konerko's career was defined by hard work, consistency and his leadership skills, all of which were lauded as his playing days came to an end last month.

But boiling it down to the single-best moment of his career, it would be hard to beat his go-ahead grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series against the Houston Astros.

[+] EnlargeKonerko Seat
Doug Padilla/ESPNChicagoA blue seat marks the spot where Paul Konerko's grand slam landed in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series.
That memorable blast, which was commemorated with a blue seat in the left field stands near the White Sox bullpen, happened exactly nine years ago today on Oct. 23, 2005.

Konerko’s slam turned a two-run deficit into a 6-4 lead and the White Sox eventually won the game in the ninth inning on a walk-off home run from Scott Podsednik. That home run is also commemorated with a blue seat to the right side of straightaway center field.

Konerko would only get one more hit in that World Series and wouldn’t drive in another run, but the damage already had been done as the White Sox were off and running toward a four-game sweep and the end of an 88-year White Sox championship drought.

The memorable grand slam was a major theme on Paul Konerko Day, the Sept. 27 pregame celebration of the captain’s productive career.

Not only was he presented with the ball he hit into the stands for his World Series slam, a statue was unveiled on the concourse of Konerko thrusting his fist into the air, just as he did while jogging to first base during one of the defining moments of his career.

Scout Paul Provas dies at 63

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- Longtime Chicago White Sox scout Paul Provas passed away Thursday morning at the age of 63.

Provas was hired by the White Sox in the winter of 1992 as an amateur scout whose coverage area ranged from Kansas and Missouri, through Nebraska and Colorado and on into Wyoming. He scouted future major leaguers like Joe Crede, John Danks, Kip Wells, Boone Logan and Chris Young.

He became a full-time professional scout for the White Sox during the 2005 World Series championship season. He has been inducted into both the Texas Scouts Association Hall of Fame and the Midwest Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame, both in 2011.

Most recently, Provas recommended both reliever Maikel Cleto and infielder Leury Garcia.

Provas, a Shawnee, Kansas native, was also a scout for the Chicago Cubs from 1987-92.

Services are scheduled to take place next week in Overland Park, Kan.

Abreu starts collection of rookie honors

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
Padilla By Doug Padilla
Jose AbreuMike DiNovo/USA TODAY SportsJose Abreu remains humble about his accomplishments as a rookie.

CHICAGO -- In a prelude to what is expected to be the result of the official American League Rookie of the Year award, the Chicago White Sox's Jose Abreu was honored Monday for his outstanding debut season.

The 27-year-old Abreu was named the Sporting News Rookie of the Year, a honor not related to the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award that is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Abreu earned 149 of a possible 160 votes to win the honor in balloting conducted among major league players. The Los Angeles Angels' Matt Shoemaker earned four votes, while New York Yankees teammates Dellin Betances and Masahiro Tanaka each earned three votes. The final vote went to Abreu’s White Sox teammate Marcus Semien.

“For me, it means a lot that the players who play against me recognize my efforts and my numbers,” Abreu said through an interpreter Monday via conference call. “I am thankful for all of them to give me support. I don’t have words to describe what I’m feeling right now.”

Abreu finished the season with a major league-leading .581 slugging percentage, while also posting a .383 on-base percentage in 145 games. He was second in the American League with a .964 OPS and second in total bases with 323.

Abreu’s 36 home runs not only were a White Sox rookie record, they were also third most in the AL. He was also fourth in RBIs with 107 and fourth in extra-base hits with 73.

“When spring training started, I just [wanted] to be 100 percent for the season and be able to help the team win games,” Abreu said. “When the season was finished and I had the opportunity to check my numbers, I feel very comfortable. Now, I prepare for whatever is in the future. The next award for me is OK. I’m very humble for all the accomplishments I had this year.”

Abreu was uncomfortable talking about personal accomplishments all season long, constantly saying he was more in tune with the team aspect of the game.

“All the numbers all the stuff during the season was for me, my family, the White Sox,” he said. “I don’t have words to describe how I feel about this year. I am humble for all that stuff.”

Abreu’s power did wane during the final two months of the season as he participated in a 162-game season for the first time in his career. In his native Cuba, Abreu never had more than 312 at-bats in a season for his Cienfuegos club. He had 556 at-bats for the White Sox this past season.

His performance suggests even better numbers moving forward if he can pace himself for the long schedule.

“I really am not a person that follows the numbers from the past; I don’t like to talk about it,” Abreu said. “I will prepare every year to get the numbers I got this year and make them better.”

Abreu became the first rookie in major league history to rank among the top five in his league in each Triple Crown category. He also joined Hal Trosky (1934), Ted Williams (1939) and Albert Pujols (2001) to hit at least 30 doubles, 30 home runs and collect 100 RBIs in a rookie season.

The last White Sox player to win the Sporting News rookie honor was Gordon Beckham in 2009. Abreu is also the 11th White Sox player to be honored with the rookie award from the publication.

The official American League and National League Rookie of the Year awards will be announced Nov. 10.

Royals turn to Ventura in Game 2

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
[+] EnlargeYordano Ventura
Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsThe Royals' chances to even up the World Series rest on Yordano Ventura's shoulders.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yordano Ventura's defining moment in the 2014 postseason could have easily occurred in the American League wild-card play-in game, when he pitched in an unfamiliar role out of the Kansas City Royals' bullpen and gave up a potentially crushing homer to the Oakland A's Brandon Moss. It was the type of confidence-sapping failure on a grand stage that could have haunted him for a while. At the very least, it prompted a few Internet alarmists to mention Salomon Torres, the former Giants prospect who experienced the mother of all meltdowns on the final day of the 1993 season.

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Sox in '15: Who rights a left-leaning rotation?

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
Padilla By Doug Padilla
It is no secret that the Chicago White Sox would like to get a little more balance in their starting rotation, which makes finding a right-handed starter one of the bigger priorities outside of rebuilding the bullpen.

Ideally, the White Sox can find a No. 2-type starter who pitches from the right slide so they can slide him between staff ace Chris Sale and consistent performer Jose Quintana.

[+] EnlargeJose Quintana
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhCould Jose Quintana be traded for a right-handed starter?
But a pitcher of that caliber won't come easily. The White Sox would have to spend considerably on the free-agent market to get a pitcher worthy of a No. 2 tag. And it won't be as simple as meeting an asking price since that free agent also needs to see the White Sox as a good fit.

Luring a pitcher into the American League and into a ballpark that plays small like U.S. Cellular Field won't be an easy task.

If it's a matter of going after the best possible option, then the Detroit Tigers Max Scherzer is the right-handed starter who would be at the top of anybody's wish list. Right behind him is the Kansas City Royals' James Shields.

But would the White Sox be ready to spend what it takes -- and commit to the years -- to land either pitcher at this point of their rebuild?

A notch down from those right-handers in the free-agent pool is the Atlanta Braves' Ervin Santana and the Oakland Athletics' Jason Hammel, among others.

Trades also remain a possibility, although landing a proven starter will take a significant package of young talent.

Another question is whether the White Sox would be willing to trade Quintana for his right-handed equivalent. The White Sox most definitely wouldn't consider dealing Sale, it will be next to impossible to find somebody willing to pick up John Danks' money in a possible deal, and there figures to be no way they would deal top pitching prospect Carlos Rodon, yet another left-hander.

A Quintana trade would be a huge risk and would only go down if the White Sox would be able to find another team in a similar predicament of needing left-handed balance with a young right-hander they are willing to deal. In that light, the odds of a Quintana trade appear extremely slim.

While right-handers like Hector Noesi, Scott Carroll, Eric Johnson and Chris Bassitt have all shown promise at some point recently, none of them are ready to break up the lefty logjam at the top of the White Sox's rotation.

Sure general manager Rick Hahn would like to land all of the top players on the team's wish list, but he also said that short-term fixes could fill holes as well. It isn't out of the question that a short-term fix could come with a right-handed starter.

Potential targets at all positions have already been compiled.

"The board in my office has more than two names at each position, and that's for a reason," Hahn said. "Our intent is to convert on the No. 1 target at every spot and address every need with the ideal fit. Realistically there are 29 other clubs, some of which have similar needs to ours and similar resources, whether it be from a player to trade standpoint or an economic standpoint. So, we're realistic and know that we're not going to be able to necessarily convert on every top guy.

"At the same time, our scouts and our analytics people are fairly well-versed and skilled at being able to target, perhaps, I don't want to say second-tier, perhaps less notable targets who've been able to develop into integral parts of championship clubs here. So the list is long."

Sox in '15: Catching on behind the plate

October, 9, 2014
Oct 9
Padilla By Doug Padilla
No doubt a topic of conversation in the Chicago White Sox's think tank is what to do with the catching position.

Tyler Flowers was solid at calling games again in 2014, but his offense was sporadic, from a hot start as a singles hitter, to a sudden slump to a resurgence at the start of the second half that most people wanted to credit to his change from contact lenses to sport glasses.

[+] EnlargeTyler Flowers
Brian Kersey/Getty ImagesTyler Flowers figures to remain the White Sox's everyday catcher next season.
There was also Josh Phegley's flourish to close out the season as a September call-up. He had an extra-base hit in each of his last three games, including a two-homer game on Sept. 27 against the Kansas City Royals, who were trying to chase down the Detroit Tigers for the division title at the time.

Not to go unnoticed was Adrian Nieto's impressive showing as Flowers' backup at the position this season. Nieto batted just .236 with a .340 slugging percentage in 48 games, but after never appearing above Single-A before this past season, his ability to adapt to the game's highest level was impressive.

As a Rule 5 selection in the offseason, Nieto had to remain on the active roster all year or else the White Sox would risk losing him back to his former club, the Washington Nationals.

Flowers still appears to be in the lead to get the starting job again next season, unless the White Sox decide to use some of their spending cash this winter to upgrade behind the plate.

The best of the free agent catchers on the market appears to be the Pittsburgh Pirates' Russell Martin, who is 32 and has tons of experience not only with the Pirates, but with the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

Martin won't come cheap since he made $8.5 million in 2014 and is no doubt looking for something lengthier than the two-year $17 million deal he signed with the Pirates to start the 2013 season.

And Martin figures to have plenty of other suitors, including those ready to contend immediately, all of which would make it tougher on the White Sox to land him.

Other free agent options include Gerald Laird, Jeff Mathis, David Ross and Geovany Soto, all a good-size step down from Martin and not a guaranteed better option over Flowers, who will be 29 next season.

And with the way the White Sox were willing to make deals last winter, namely two with the Arizona Diamondbacks, putting a deal together that includes a catcher in a return package is always a possibility.

Adding it all up, though, giving Flowers another shot looks to be the likely route the White Sox take, unless they end up packaging him in a trade.

Flowers is a good teammate, works well with the pitching staff, he didn't even make $1 million in 2014, which means he won't break the bank as an arbitration-eligible player, and will come three to four times cheaper than somebody like Martin.

While many White Sox followers might find a change at catcher to be a little more enticing, the White Sox could be inclined to stick with what they have for at least another season. Flowers knows the pitching staff, can supply power at the bottom of the order when his swing is right and fits into the mold of team-first personalities the team is trying to compile.

And if by keeping Flowers it means there is more money to spend on areas like the bullpen, perhaps, that can't be a bad thing.

The White Sox could even go with Phegley as Flowers' backup, with the idea that Phegley plays much more than Nieto did this past season. As for Nieto, the prudent move would be to have him start the 2015 season at Triple-A Charlotte so he can get the steady at-bats he missed out on in 2014.

Sox in '15: Three options at second base

October, 8, 2014
Oct 8
Padilla By Doug Padilla
Micah JohnsonRon Vesely/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesMicah Johnson is in the running for the second base job next season.
The Chicago White Sox are currently carrying three guys for one position next season, although offseason roster activity could reduce that number.

With the Gordon Beckham era now complete, the White Sox are in line to have Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez and Micah Johnson battle for the Opening Day job at second base.

But depth at a position also provides a team with trade options to make other areas stronger. Semien, Sanchez or Johnson might not be enough alone to land an impact player in a trade, but they might be able to attract a bullpen piece. Or, they could be packaged with somebody else in order to make a different deal work.

Johnson figures to be the favorite for the starting job next year, and he might have been up with the White Sox in September but he was shut down with hamstring issues. The speedy Johnson stole just 22 bases in 103 total minor-league games this past season, but he did have 84 steals in the minor leagues in 2013.

Without Johnson in September, the White Sox got a close-up look at Sanchez and saw reasons for optimism. Sanchez worked well with double-play partner Alexei Ramirez, proved to be an adept fielder and, while he struggled offensively over the last two weeks, batted .308 with a .325 on-base percentage for an 11-game stretch from Aug. 29-Sept. 10.

Semien showed plenty of promise during his two stints with the White Sox, especially with a knack for clutch hitting that ran contrary to his lack of major-league experience. On defense, he was fine at second base, but his play was worrisome at third, giving pause to the idea that he could be a utility man moving forward.

Leg issues and a reduction in steals could end up watering down Johnson’s trade value this winter. But Sanchez no doubt raised his stock by looking comfortable in his 28-game big-league stint this year.

The chances that all three of these players will make it through spring training as a member of the White Sox organization seem slim.

And even if the organization views Johnson as their top second base prospect, it isn’t out of the question he could be moved if it benefited another area of the roster considerably.

The major benefit in all of this is that the White Sox figure to at least have a couple of young second base options moving into next season, and whatever they do end up with, it will be affordable.

Sox in '15: Building a better bullpen

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
Padilla By Doug Padilla
Where last offseason the Chicago White Sox took from the bullpen to help make an addition to another area of the roster, this winter will be completely different.

[+] EnlargeJake Petricka
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhJake Petricka converted on 14-of-18 save opportunities for the White Sox this season.
Reconstructing the relief corps figures to be one of general manager Rick Hahn's biggest challenges. If a potential trade partner comes calling in the next two months and beyond, expect the White Sox to explore at least one reliever in a return package. If the White Sox make multiple free-agent acquisitions before spring training begins, it figures that at least one of them will be able to give late-inning help.

While the White Sox were better in some areas this past season when compared with the 2013 team, the bullpen was not one of them with a 4.38 ERA that was next to last in the American League.

Former closer Addison Reed was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks last December in a move that appeared positive on the surface. Nobody denies that closers are hard to replace, but moving a 70-inning pitcher for a possible everyday player with power seemed to be a gamble worth taking.

So far, that gamble hasn't even come close to a payoff. Not only did the White Sox not find a set closer in 2014, the position player they traded for, third baseman Matt Davidson, spent the entire season at Triple-A Charlotte.

Conor Gillaspie's breakout season at third base in 2014 made Davidson's challenge to unseat him even harder than it was going into spring this past February.

And despite six months of baseball this past spring and summer, the White Sox still don't have a clear-cut closer candidate, although Jake Petricka accounted for himself quite nicely with his second-half closer chances.

Nate Jones (Tommy John surgery) still won't be back until midseason, so it isn't like internal help is on its way anytime soon, either.

Don't be surprised if the best closer candidate the White Sox get this winter is via trade. And don't be surprised if that candidate's track record as a closer is limited.

Much like Jones was last offseason as a young, rising, late-inning reliever with closer potential (before injuries surfaced), the White Sox could end up searching for live arms that they can convert to the ninth-inning role.

There will be closer candidates on the free-agent market this winter, but all but one is younger than 32, and none of them figure to come cheaply. Guys such as Jason Grilli, 38; Casey Janssen, 33; David Robertson, 30; Francisco Rodriguez, 33; and Sergio Romo, 32, all could be looking for new homes this offseason.

But closer isn't the White Sox's only need. If they do get one, Petricka and perhaps Zach Putnam can operate in a setup role. The club still has high hopes for right-hander Daniel Webb, but improvement with control issues is vital.

And even if left-hander Eric Surkamp finds his way back into the bullpen to start the 2015 season, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the White Sox carry an additional lefty. They carried one left-hander nearly all of last season, and it made it tough for manager Robin Ventura to match up against opposing lineups.

One interesting left-handed free-agent candidate is Neal Cotts, who has revived his career in recent seasons with the Texas Rangers, although he had his issues in 2014 (4.32 ERA in 73 appearances).

Cotts isn't young anymore at 35, but he has history with the White Sox, including his success with the 2005 World Series champions. There is also the fact that he still lives full-time in Chicago, all of which could make him a potential addition.

Even though right-hander Ronald Belisario is arbitration-eligible this offseason, don't expect him to return. Belisario was late to spring training, struggled mightily in the closer role after Matt Lindstrom was injured in the first half, and his power sinker was hardly effective late in the season.

One more reason Belisario doesn't figure to be back: He made $3 million in 2014 and would figure to get a raise on that if offered arbitration.

Konerko had a hunch about these Royals

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
Padilla By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- While much of the country is catching Kansas City Royals fever, retired Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is probably the least surprised of anyone.

When Konerko boldly claimed nine days ago that the Royals look an awful lot like the 2005 World Series champion White Sox, he probably didn't have a white-knuckle wild-card victory in mind. The Royals needed 12 innings to dispatch the Oakland Athletics 9-8 last week and advance to the division series.

Now that the Royals have swept the Los Angeles Angels in the division series, though, the 2005 connection is becoming clear again, and not just because of the composition of Kansas City's roster. The White Sox also tallied a division series sweep in 2005, blowing through the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox to do it.

Keeping the comparison going is only going to get tougher for the Royals. The White Sox not only went on to win four of five games in the 2005 American league Championship Series, they closed with four consecutive complete games from their starters.

But Konerko's comparison was more about a Royals team that was pitching well heading into the postseason, especially from its bullpen, with an offense that might not be one of the best in baseball, but knows how to deliver when it needs to.

Konerko made the connection at none other than his speech to White Sox fans during Paul Konerko Day, one day before the club's season ended. Konerko took a moment early in his speech to congratulate the Royals for earning a postseason spot.

"Good luck to you guys," Konerko said, microphone in hand while turning toward the Royals dugout. "Represent the (American League) Central. You guys remind me of a team I played for once. You guys can go do it. Represent."

Now the Royals sit eight victories from their wildest dream, while Konerko is closer to saying, "I told you so," if he ever did things like that.

Asked about recognizing the Royals in his speech, Konerko stood by what he said. He wasn't giving praise, just because the Royals were in the room.

"What I told them was true," Konerko said. "That team right there looks a lot like the team that won the World Series here as far as how they're built. Good luck to them. I hope they do it. I hope they get the same feeling I had. It was great."

Sox in '15: Team created financial flexibility

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
Padilla By Doug Padilla
It is no accident the Chicago White Sox will have a significant amount of money to spend this offseason.

The White Sox started clearing the books back in July 2013 when Jake Peavy was traded to the Boston Red Sox. As big as it was to get back Avisail Garcia in the three-way deal that also included the Detroit Tigers, a major part of that transaction was the fact that the Red Sox assumed Peavy's salary moving forward.

Similar moves followed suit. Alex Rios' contract commitments were sent to the Texas Rangers in August 2013, with Leury Garcia coming back in return. Gordon Beckham, who could make as much as $6 million in arbitration for next season, was sent to the Los Angeles Angels this August, while the move that sent Adam Dunn to the Oakland Athletics saved the club about $1 million.

When the 2013 season started, the White Sox had committed about $120 million to the roster. This season, when the White Sox's overall record was 10 games better than it was one year earlier, they committed about $90 million to payroll, and that was before Beckham and Dunn were moved.

The front office is working on a spending plan for 2015, and while it likely will rise north of $90 million, it isn't expected to reach the $120 million heights just yet. One legitimate budget restrictor, whether White Sox fans want to hear it or not, is declining attendance.

The total head count at U.S. Cellular Field (1.65 million this season) was down for the eighth consecutive season. That's well below the club-record 2.96 million that showed up in 2006, the year after the White Sox won the World Series.

It's a classic chicken/egg scenario, of course. Fans don't want to come out and see a team that struggles, while management can't fill holes with its No. 1 option until more people come to the park.

So while payroll could rise in 2015, expect it to be closer to that $90 million starting point than $120 million. That still leaves plenty to dish out, though.

The White Sox have only about $41 million committed to the roster next season, or $46 million when adding what still is owed to Jeff Keppinger and Scott Downs, both of whom were released in 2014. Add another $10 million to $11 million for arbitration-eligible players and players who are under team contract control.

That doesn't account for Ronald Belisario, who made $3 million and is expected to be non-tendered, making him a free agent. Then the White Sox need to make a decision on Dayan Viciedo, who made $2.8 million this past season and also is arbitration eligible.

In any event, the White Sox still have a considerable amount of money to spend. The next question: how to spend it.

Expect the White Sox to explore options with a left fielder, catcher and right-handed starter. But the main additions in free agency could come in the bullpen, if the White Sox don't answer that issue first with trades.

Take 'em or Leave 'em: Vote on White Sox

October, 1, 2014
Oct 1
By Staff
Which White Sox players should be back in 2015? ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla makes his picks and you can too. Check out his picks and vote for your own here.



Chris Sale
12 2.17 208 174
BAJ. Abreu .317
HRJ. Abreu 36
RBIJ. Abreu 107
RA. Ramirez 82
OPSJ. Abreu .964
ERAC. Sale 2.17
SOC. Sale 208