2011-2012 MLB Free Agency: Cubs, White Sox On The Move

With free agency upon us, the Cubs and White Sox look to position themselves for playoff runs.

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13 Total Updates since October 31, 2011
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Ken Williams Comments On Mark Buehrle

While addressing the possibility of re-signing free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle, White Sox GM Ken Williams spoke at times as though Buehrle were already gone:

"What I will miss more than that is the person he is. And you guys know what I’m talking about. When you talk about teammates, good teammates, supportive teammates, guys who have fun in the game, know when to be serious, know when to check somebody but know when to make somebody laugh, this is the guy you want. There’s much more that we’re going to miss than just every fifth day from Mark."

Added Williams, "It doesn’t mean we won’t want him here. Just means this is kind of the way it has to be." Buehrle reportedly has an offer from the Marlins already and has drawn interest from several other clubs, and depending on where the White Sox cap their 2012 payroll, they may not be able to afford to bring the lefty back. Williams certainly seems to be implying that much.

For more updates on the hot stove, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog. And for news from around major league baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Report: Mark Buehrle Receives Offer From Marlins

By way of the Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales comes a report that White Sox LHP Mark Buehrle has received a contract offer from the Marlins:

According to a tweet by SI.com's Jon Heyman, the Marlins have made an offer to Buehrle, who visited the Marlins' new stadium in Miami on Tuesday. That follows a report by FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal who tweeted that the Marlins also made offers to free agents Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes.

If the reports of those offers are all accurate, then the Marlins appear very serious about making a splash during this offseason. Buehrle just completed a 4-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox. He's been with the Sox for his entire major league career, which spans 12 seasons.

For more updates on the hot stove, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog. And for news from around major league baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Report: Texas Rangers Interested In Reacquiring John Danks

A major-league source told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi that the Texas Rangers could attempt to reacquire left-handed pitcher John Danks, who started his career in the Rangers organization.

The Rangers are working diligently to evaluate the available left-handed starters, a major-league source said Friday. One name that’s high on their list: Chicago White Sox southpaw John Danks, who began his career in the Texas organization. The White Sox are trying to move payroll, and Danks is a prime candidate to be dealt.

(via)

Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson is a free agent, and while the club could re-sign him, they're working through contingency plans as well. A potential trade for Danks is one of them. The Rangers are also considering moving closer Neftali Feliz into the rotation.

For more updates on the hot stove, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog. And for news from around major league baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Report: Chicago White Sox Drawing Interest In John Danks And Gavin Floyd

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the White Sox have received interest from other clubs in starting pitchers John Danks and Gavin Floyd. Both pitchers are relatively affordable:

Lefty John Danks appeals to high-revenue teams – he will get a raise from $6 million in his final year of arbitration, then hit free agency.

Righty Gavin Floyd, on the other hand, fits nicely for low-revenue clubs – he is signed for $7 million next season with a $9.5 million club option for 2013.

Danks and Floyd been reliable starters for several years now. Both players have thrown at least 170 innings in each of the last four seasons.

Sox GM Ken Williams said Thursday that the team would have a "slight" cut in payroll, and a trade of Danks or Floyd would certainly get that ball rolling.

For more updates on the hot stove, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog. And for news from around major league baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Chicago White Sox Sign Donnie Veal And Jose Quintana

The White Sox signed left-handed pitchers Donnie Veal and Jose Quintana on Thursday, and ESPN's Doug Padilla writes that the two players are long shots to break spring training with the big club:

Donnie Veal, 27, and Jose Quintana, 22, will at least be given a chance to impress the major-league coaching staff when pitchers and catchers report to Glendale, Ariz., in February.

Veal has been in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization since 2009 and pitched 16.1 innings for the Pirates during the 2009 season. He returned from Tommy John surgery in May.

Quintana had been playing single-A ball in the New York Yankees system; he has yet to progress past that level in the minor leagues.

For more updates on the hot stove, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog. And for news from around major league baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Report: Mark Buehrle Meeting With Marlins

On Monday, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Florida Marlins had made it a priority to acquire a left-handed starter and that Mark Buehrle could be a major target. On Tuesday afternoon, reports indicated that Buehrle would meet with the Marlins in person:

The free agent will meet with Florida Marlins officials in South Florida, according to multiple reports. It's a gathering that could go a long way for both parties to see if there is an ideal fit for next season and beyond.

No doubt Ozzie Guillen would love to have Buehrle join him in Miami, and this is a pretty good indication that there is some mutual interest. The question is how much the Marlins would be willing to spend, and whether that's enough to take the White Sox out of the discussion.

For more hot stove action, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog.

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Florida Marlins Could Pursue Mark Buehrle

As the hot stove starts to get cooking, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Florida Marlins have made it a priority to acquire a left-handed starting pitcher, and Mark Buehrle could be one of their targets.

To repeat from other day: ' top priority is adding LH starter: Wilson, Buehrle. Not to say they won't dabble in other areas.

The real stunner here is it appears the Marlins are actually willing to spend some money. If Buehrle were to end up in Miami, he would be reunited with manager Ozzie Guillen, who left Chicago for Florida back in September.

In other White Sox news, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler says Ken Williams may be willing to shop Gordon Beckham in addition to John Danks and Carlos Quentin. Ever since an encouraging rookie season in which Beckham hit .270/.347/.460, he has struggled at the plate. The last two years have been disappointing for Beckham and the club, but he's still just 25 years old.

For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog.

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Report: Mark Buehrle Open To Many Clubs

For the most part, people have assumed that Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle would either like to finish his career with the team or with the St. Louis Cardinals. And given that the Cardinals' rotation is already set for next season, most people have been resigned to the fact that Buehrle is probably going to return to Chicago next season.

Don't be entirely sure, though, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports is reporting that Buehrle's agent, Jeff Berry, told him that the pitcher isn't crossing any teams off his list yet.

Mark is not going to eliminate any team from free-agent consideration. But having pitched 12 years in the American League, the National League certainly will have some appeal to him.

The White Sox still are probably the most likely landing spot for Buehrle, but we should probably consider the possibility that he actually joins another team this winter. In that case, Chicago still has John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Zach Stewart as rotation fodder for next season. Danks and Floyd may be trade candidates, though they're probably less likely to be dealt if Buehrle is a goner.

For more on the White Sox, check out South Side Sox, SB Nation's Chicago White Sox blog.

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Kerry Wood Wants To Return To Chicago According To Report

Chicago Cubs reliever Kerry Wood took a hometown discount to return to the club last season, and while it's unclear if he's willing to do that again this time around, he still wants to come back to the team again next season. In comments he made on Chicago Sports Net on Thursday, Wood praised the Cubs' hiring of new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, and added his interest in continuing to be a Cub.

I'm sure we'll talk about my status at some point is as well. I expect to be back and be a part of the organization and help us go in the right direction.

Wood has been a key figure within the organization for most of the past 15 years, filling key roles both as a starter and a reliever for winning Cubs teams over the years. He posted a 3.35 ERA in 55 appearances with the Cubs in 2011, showing that he can still be a high-quality reliever.

For more on the Cubs, check out Bleed Cubbie Blue, SB Nation's Chicago Cubs blog.

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Chicago Cubs Decline Jeff Samardzija's Option, Look To Re-Sign

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Cubs will decline Jeff Samardzija's $3.25M team option today, making the former star Notre Dame wide receiver a free agent. The Tribune indicates the Cubs will then re-sign Samardzija to a lower-cost contract.

The Cubs signed Samardzija, a 5th round pick in the 2006 amateur draft, to a lucrative contract early in his career in order to lure him away from pursuing an NFL career. In four seasons at the major league level, however, Samardzija has been less than stellar, sporting career stats far worse than his pedigree (4.40 ERA, 4.54 FIP) despite pitching largely as a reliever.

The 26-year-old righty had a break-out year in 2011, however, pitching 88 relief innings at a 2.97 ERA and 3.66 FIP. Unfortunately for Samardzija, few teams would be willing to pay a reliever who's pitched just one good season upwards of $3M, so Jeff will need to prove himself again next year -- possibly as a starter -- if he wants a pay raise.

For updates the Cubs and White Sox free agency dealings, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago.

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White Sox Pick Up Option On Jason Frasor

The Chicago White Sox announced on Monday that they have picked up the team option on relief pitcher Jason Frasor. Frasor was acquired along with Zach Stewart from the Toronto Blue Jays for Edwin Jackson at the trade deadline . Jackson was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The option for Frasor was $3.75 million.

Frasor had a decent 2011 season. The veteran posted an ERA of 3.60 for the season between his stints with the White Sox and Blue Jays. It is unclear at this time if the Sox will trade Frasor or keep him. Relievers are always in demand and Frasor has a very affordable deal. The Sox also have a pretty solid bullpen and have some younger cheaper options if they decided to move the Chicago area Native.

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Aramis Ramirez Will Decline Option, Become Free Agent

The final year of Aramis Ramirez's contract with the Chicago Cubs is a "mutual option" between the player and the franchise that would pay Ramirez $16 million to man the hot corner for the Cubs for one more year. Well, the Cubs decided to pick up that option, electing not to sift through the heap of trash that is available MLB third basemen. But Ramirez, according to his agent, will decline his end of the bargain, likely bringing an end to his time in Chicago.

"We are very sorry that this era is coming to the end for Aramis and the Cubs," [agent Paul] Kinzer said. "He loves Chicago and the fans. They've been great to him, but at this point it's better that we check out the market and address free agency.

(via ESPN Chicago)

If Ramirez has indeed played his final game in Chicago, he will go down with Derek Lee as arguably the best Cub of the 2000s. He will leave the North Side having batted .294/.356/.531 in his time there, with 315 home runs and 1,122 RBI. That OPS of .887 would put him fifth all time in Cubs history to go along with being seventh all time in home runs.

As for the Cubs, it's expected that they'll give top prospect Brett Jackson the opportunity to win the third base job in Spring Training. Jackson, 23, was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the 2009 draft, and hit .274/.379/.490 with 20 homers between AA and AAA last season.

Stay tuned to SB Nation and SB Nation Chicago for updates on free agency.

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2011-2012 MLB Free Agency: Buehrle And Pena Among Cubs And White Sox Who Have Filed For Free Agency

Mark Buehrle and Carlos Pena headline the list of Chicago baseball players who filed for free agency on Sunday.

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