Cubs, White Sox back in business

January, 4, 2011
1/04/11
11:03
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox are back to business as both teams' offices re-opened Tuesday after closing for the holidays.

It appears the Cubs and Texas Rangers are still the teams that have the best matchups in a trade for Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza. At this point, the Rays are holding out for top talent from both organizations. The Rangers took a step over the weekend to protect themselves by signing former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb to a one-year contract. The Cubs also talked to Webb and brought him in for a physical before Texas signed him.

The Cubs are very interested in Garza, and they also kicked the tires on free agent left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano before the former 18-game winner with the Brewers signed a one-year contract with the New York Mets over the weekend.

Although it appears that the White Sox may be done as far as their 25-man roster, there are rumors out there that they are showing interest in former Rays closer Rafael Soriano. The Sox have already spent $123 million on their 2011 payroll and that figure is $15 million more than the franchise has ever spent on their 25-man roster.

Soriano, who made $7.275 million in 2010, had 45 saves in 48 opportunities last season and held hitters to a .163 batting average against him. If the White Sox were to add a pitcher like Soriano, that would allow them to move Chris Sale out of the bullpen and into contention for a spot in the rotation. That move itself might allow them to trade a starter and use that money toward a Soriano-like contract. Edwin Jackson will make $8.75 million in 2011, Gavin Floyd will earn $5 million as will John Danks through arbitration.

Mark Buehrle's salary in 2011 is $14 million, the last year of his deal. He has five and 10 rights, meaning he can veto any trade. With the unknown status of Jake Peavy, who will make $15 million next year, trading a starter would be a gamble for the Sox regardless of how well fortified their pen is.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
10 1.88 122 110
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .299
HRJ. Abreu 31
RBIJ. Abreu 83
RJ. Abreu 56
OPSJ. Abreu .976
ERAC. Sale 1.88
SOC. Sale 122