With so much pitching depth, specifically left-handed starters, don't be surprised if the White Sox trade Hector Santiago or possibly Jose Quintana to get some much needed offense -- specifically left-handed hitters.
On the first day of the winter meetings Monday in Orlando, the Sox did add some insurance for such a move by signing right-handed starter Felipe Paulino to a one-year, $1.75 million contract, which includes a $4 million club option for 2015. Under terms of the agreement, Paulino gets $1.5 million next season. On the option, the White Sox also hold a $250,000 buyout.
The 30-year-old Paulino was impressive in 2012 before having right elbow surgery. In 7 starts with Kansas City, Paulino was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 372⁄3 innings. On July 3 of 2012, he underwent ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery.
Last season, the 6-foot-3, 270-pounder returned to the mound June 11 and was 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in 7 starts with Class AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha.
"Paulino is a guy who had the Tommy John injury in 2012 and the surgery and then a little bit of a setback last year while he was on his rehab assignment, so he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since the start of the 2012 season," Sox general manager Rick Hahn told reporters Monday. "When he's right and healthy, we see him as a power arm with four pitches and a guy who can be a quality starter in a big-league rotation. Based on our medical reports and based on where he has progressed to, we have every reason to believe he'll be able to help us come opening day.
"At the same time, getting the option on 2015 was an important part on that deal so there's no need to rush him. I've seen a lot of talk about how hard my job is some times. One of the things that makes my job a little bit easier is having (trainer) Herm (Schneider) and (pitching coach) Don Cooper on staff. There are certain guys, pitchers in particular, who have had health issues before, mechanical issues before, that we feel pretty confident we can help get back on track."
Before Hahn discussed the Paulino addition, he addressed rumors that ace starter Chris Sale is on the trade block.
"I do not like singling out individual players or individual rumors," Hahn said. "However, given the volume of interest in this one and the importance of Chris to our club, I will say a few words about this one directly. We know how important this guy is to our club and to our future success. You are talking about what we see as a perennial Cy Young candidate, someone who can be a Game 1 starter for you in the postseason, someone who the club controls for the next six seasons.
"I'm not doing my job if we don't at least listen when people have ideas and evaluate ideas. At the same time, we know the value of what we have here and the importance to us going forward. You can take that for what it's worth. For me, this strikes me as a bit of a dog bites man story."