1) Octavio Dotel: Arbitration, or not?
Dotel – Walk
2) Jermaine Dye: Mutual option, arbitration, or not?
Dye – Buyout
3) One-year contract for John Danks? If not, what would you pay to extend him?
I think a multi-year offer similar to the one Jon Lester got would be fair. I can't think of a more comparable pitcher to Danks than Lester. If he doesn't go for that then go to year-to-year with him.
4) One-year contract for Bobby Jenks, extension or trade?
Jenks – You have to keep Jenks but under no cirumstance should they offer him a multi-year deal. The problem with trading Jenks is that it moves everybody in the bullpen up one job. So, while Matt Thorton would probably make a solid closer (see Brian Fuentes) it moves both Tony Pena and Scott Linebrink into roles they should not be in on a contender.
5) Which positions are in most dire need of an upgrade?
One of the corner outfield spots are in dire need of an upgrade more than anything else on this team. It would be nice to have at the spot filled by an athletic player not named Scott Podsednik. I simply don't think he'll be cheap enough to make sense nor do I think he can duplicate his career year in 2009.
6) Name three (or more) free agents you’d consider, at a price.
Sign Bobby Abreu to a 2 year $20 million dollar contract. (I don't expect the Angels to be able to sign him along with Chone Figgins and John Lackey)
Sign Joe Beimel or Will Ohman for a 1 year deal around $2.5 million
Sign J.J. Putz to an incentive laden deal.
7) Name three (or more) realistic trades that could improve the Sox team.
I don't see any trade as a likely scenario unless we're getting a superstar outfielder for Jenks but he didn't have the season that would warrant something like that. I'm thinking we should stand pat till the trade deadline if we need an extra piece (see Chris Getz getting bit by the injury bug).
Obviously, the White Sox need to replace Dye at the very least and I assume they'll need to replace Scott Podsednik as well. All in all the White Sox need a backup catcher to replace Ramon Castro, two corner outfielders, a lefty out of the pen to replace Randy Williams and a designated hitter. Kenny Williams isn't a guy that spends big bucks in the free agent market and most of his moves are made through trades.
The White Sox don't have a ton of money to spend due to the trades and waiver claims made for Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, respectively. My key to the offseason is getting Bobby Abreu to fill one of the corner outfield spots and beyond that, one buy low right-handed option out of the pen and a semi-reliable second lefty would be lovely.
Getting a backup catcher isn't critical because no matter who it is they'll probably be terrible. They always are. Cole Armstrong makes sense in the short term but he's essentially a bad version of A.J. Pierzynski (throws righty, bats lefty). I'm fine with rotating the designated hitter spot especially if either Tyler Flowers or Dayan Viciedo can make the club.