Bobby Jenks made headlines last month for suggesting that the White Sox weren’t treating him fairly regarding his injuries and conditioning, at which point general manager Ken Williams publicly stated that Jenks should focus on losing some weight.
Despite that back and forth in the media, Williams made it clear today that he has no plans to trade the portly closer who blew four of his final 11 save attempts before finishing the season on the disabled list with a calf injury. Sort of:
He’s my closer, and I haven’t had one trade discussion about him. That’s not to say I wouldn’t entertain anything, but I’m not going out there actively having talks. He’s one of the game’s better closers and people need closers, but so do we.
Listen, we speak our minds and we don’t stop the players from speaking their minds. We are all grown men here. Nothing that has been said to [the media], whether through Ozzie or me or Bobby, nothing that has been said hasn’t already been said behind closed doors.
Setting aside any public spats and hurt feelings, Jenks is about to get very expensive via arbitration and his performance has slipped in recent years. He earned $5.6 million this season, will get a raise for 2010, and his Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) has gone from 2.94 during his first three seasons with the White Sox to 3.84 over the past two years.
Jenks remains a good closer, but his performance has declined to the point that he’s no longer elite, he doesn’t seem like a good bet to age particularly well, he figures to earn around $18 million over the next two seasons before becoming a free agent, and the White Sox are reportedly already up against their payroll limit. Williams may not be looking to deal Jenks, but he’d be smart to listen to offers with an open mind.