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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
White Sox's shopping spree continues

By Doug Padilla

As the White Sox keep adding, it begs one question: When do they start subtracting?

The news Wednesday that the White Sox have agreed to a three-year deal with setup man Jesse Crain means the club will add $13 million more to the payroll, or about $4 million more for 2011.

Jesse Crain
Will the Sox have to shed payroll to make room for newcomers like Jesse Crain?
That would give the White Sox a payroll of about $123 million for next season and climbing.

When does it stop? Well one theory is that to protect the investment of Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko, adding even more talent via free agency increases the odds that the team is successful.

But as the New York Yankees’ one World Series title over the past 10 years can attest, throwing money at the problem isn’t always the answer.

The White Sox are nowhere in Yankees spending territory, but it is rarefied air for them. They had a $121 million payroll in 2008, but otherwise they have never been above $108 million.

It could just be another try at sticking their toe in the $120 million waters, or perhaps the answer is coming soon.

Three of the White Sox’s six highest paid players are pitchers, including the top two in Jake Peavy at $16 million and Mark Buehrle at $14 million. At No. 6 is Edwin Jackson, who will make $8.75 million.

Peavy is rehabbing an injury and doesn’t figure to have much trade value. Buehrle is one of the faces of the franchise and his high price tag would be difficult to move. Plus, he can block any trade as a 10-and-five player.

Perhaps the answer to get at least a little payroll relief is to find a taker for Jackson and his salary.

After Jackson, Gavin Floyd is set to make $5 million, and John Danks, who made $3.45 million last season, figures to make at least that much in 2011. The White Sox figure to move Floyd before sending Danks away.

How can the White Sox survive the loss of a starter? If they can get a solid timetable on when Peavy will return, perhaps they would be comfortable gambling on piecing things together at the No. 5 rotation spot. Maybe they bring a number of veteran candidates to spring training on minor-league contracts.

Even before Konerko re-signed, though general manager Kenny Williams joked that they were looking under couch cushions for spare change to pay for it. Now they have added Crain. The spending can’t go on forever.