Or both? Or 6 starters? I guess that's the same as both.
According to whitesox.com (and I say that because it's not Scott Merkin for some reason...maybe he's actually on vacation for once), Chris Sale is undergoing off-season stamina building workouts so that he can assume a starting role again. Chris was already a starter in college, so it's a curiosity how much work he needs to get back to throwing 6 innings a night after just a few months of short relief, but that's really not the point at all. The point is that the White Sox are preparing the young, twiggy gentleman from the great state of Florida for long innings.
And there'll be a slot open. Jake Peavy--concerns of ever returning to
comparable levels of velocity or effectiveness aside--just flat-out does
not project to be ready by the beginning of next season at all, as he
won't be permitted to enter the Kerry Wood/Mark Prior world of
soft-toss/light-throwing/throwing a towel territory until January.
With that, there's going to be a hole at the No. 5 slot for some weeks
or months, and Kenny does not seem to be mentioning Freddy Garcia's
"Asked if he expected to acquire another starter, Williams said the team
has six now and would add another depending 'on how much we want to
shake it up.'"
This creates a bit of a quandary. Chris Sale won't be just a
space-filler at the 5th spot, he's someone expected to be a fixture for the next decade or so. If he's pitching well, bumping him out
for a quite possibly ineffective-to-start-out Jake Peavy probably won't sit
well with him, the fan base, or the larger desire to 'win now'. At the
same time, Peavy is too fiery, and too heavily invested in to keep out
of the rotation. 6 very good starters is an incredibly valuable thing
to have, up until the point you're in the middle of the season and trying
to figure out how to use 6 starters. Unfortunately, unless someone is
dumb enough to want to deal for the very costly and very damaged Peavy,
the Sox can't actually trade one of these guys without creating a hole. They're having cursory discussions on gauging the trade value of Gavin Floyd, but trading either one of the two best starters on the team who are both young with good contracts seems unappetizing.
Even if they offer arbitration to Tony Pena to have him serve as the stop-gap again, they'd leave themselves banking on Peavy's effective return or risk a full season of Tony in the rotation. If of course, Sale is effective, and Peavy returns, and he's effective too, then the White Sox have infinite flexibility to trade a quality starter mid-season and gouge the hell out of somebody...but planning for everything breaking right really isn't planning at all.
The Sox also have to keep a mind for what their bullpen is going to shape into. Pena and Sale were regular relief contributors last season, and as of right now the only people that can be confirmed to be back next to the left field bleachers in 2011 are Matt Thornton, Scott Linebrink, and Sergio Santos. Jenks is probably just as loathed by the organization as he was in early October, J.J. Putz is a hot commodity in the free agent market, and Randy Williams is 35 years old with no effective seasons on his resume. They probably want to act sooner than later on making some acquisitions, and no one really believes we're going to pull in Rafael Soriano
In the meantime, 3rd base is Brent Morel's job to lose (which an ice cold Spring probably still can) while Dayan Viciedo has a good chance of going to back to the minors to learn to walk...er...I mean 'take a walk'
"Williams said Brent Morel is the leading candidate to be the White Sox
starting third baseman. As for Dayan Viciedo, Williams said there's no
denying the infielder will be an impact player. 'Whether his time will be now or later will be dependent on what's available in the free-agent market,' Williams said."
K-Dub is equally wishy-washy on re-signing A.J. Pierzynski or Paul Konero.
"'First of all, I respect them tremendously," Williams said. "Guys like
A.J. Pierzynski, he's a catcher who comes to play every single day and
they're not easy to find. Guys like Konerko are leaders and class
individuals who produce in the clutch, and they're not easy to find or
easy to replace. 'By the same token ... we've had to say goodbye to some players. I'm not
afraid to do that. To a large, large degree, it's not even in my
control. It's in their control, to a larger degree.'"
Speaking of Konerko and slow, powerful hitters removed from a true defensive calling, the White Sox remain one of the suitors of Adam Dunn, and are not interested in trading Carlos Quentin. Apparently having Manny last season really piqued the team's taste for having two god-awful defenders, and only one DH slot to hide them at.