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UPDATE: White Sox non-tender longtime closer Bobby Jenks

Dec 2, 2010, 3:20 PM EST

Bobby Jenks

UPDATE: As expected, the White Sox have non-tendered Jenks.

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Throughout the past year or so there’s been speculation about the White Sox non-tendering closer Bobby Jenks this offseason. He made $7.5 million in 2010 and would be in line for a raise through the arbitration process, and his performance has deteriorated to the point that he’s simply no longer an elite reliever.

In addition to his save total dropping in four straight seasons Jenks’ opponents’ batting average and walk rate have also risen in all four of those years and he has a 4.08 ERA in the past two seasons. He’s still a good reliever, but he’s no longer a great one and certainly isn’t valuable enough to be worth the $9 million or so he’d be due via arbitration.

All of which is why it’s no surprise that Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com reports that the White Sox “are prepared to sever ties” with Jenks at tonight’s non-tender deadline. Padilla notes that Jenks’ increasingly poor relationship with manager Ozzie Guillen has also played a part in the decision, but it would be a no-brainer move for the White Sox based strictly on his performance.

Chicago would likely plug Matt Thornton into the closer role if they indeed non-tender Jenks, although Chris Sale could also get a shot at ninth-inning duties if he’s not moved to the rotation full time.

  1. BC - Dec 2, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Perhaps if Jenks lost, say, 50 pounds he’d be elite again? I mean seriously, he’s in Tyne Daly territory now. Anything that big should have moons orbiting it.

  2. Detroit Michael - Dec 2, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    I don’t think it’s clear whether Thornton would become the closer, although he’s certainly capable of that. It’s a long off-season, and many other roster moves will happen still. If Thornton is the closer and Sale moves to the rotation, who becomes the 7th & 8th inning left-handed reliever?

  3. Ari Collins - Dec 2, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Jenks had a lot of bad luck with LOB% and BABIP last year. His underlying numbers were still excellent, including a 10.42 K/9 mark and .51 homers per 9. Whoever signs him will be getting a bargain.

  4. marinermousse - Dec 2, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    Jenks was Jekyll and Hyde if you look at his home/away splits they are very telling. He was 2.77/1.23 at home and 6.08/1.50 away. Given that Chicago is not exactly a pitcher’s heaven, someone should sit down with him and figure out exactly what his problem is away from home:
    a.) Internal time clock?
    b.) Carousing?
    c.) Heeby Jeebies?

    No doubt there is huge upside to spending time to work on this. This was not just seen in 2010…in 2009 his BAA was .238 in Chicago and .262 on the road….so this started at least 2 years ago and has clearly progressed. The splits are valid in that they have almost identical numbers of appearances for home and away.

    Thornton was just the opposite….4.13/1.24 in Chicago and 1.39/.080 on the road…Amazing!!

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