By Bruce Levine-
PHOENIX (CBS) — The Chicago baseball teams have a lot in common, most notably money to burn this offseason.
As the general manager meetings get underway today in Phoenix, both the Cubs and White Sox are attractive to agents and the players they represent despite poor records in the recent past. This year, both clubs have anywhere from $50 million to $60 million in payroll flexibility if the choose to approach the $100 million threshold again.
The Cubs will start the off season with $30 million owed in existing contracts and another $20 million that will be used for arbitration-eligible players. They should easily have another $50 million to spend or more if they wish to. The Cubs have made clear they’re on the lookout for a No. 1 starter.
The White Sox have dumped out the $20 million owed to Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko in 2014. Their contract obligations are favorable after signing core members like Chris Sale, Jose Abreu and Jose Quintana to team-tilted long-term deals. On the present roster, only John Danks ($15 million) and Abreu ($8 million) will make more than $5 million in 2015.
Both clubs are looking for starting pitching, left-handed hitting and a closer. The Cubs have several candidates for a closer already, while the White Sox have fewer choices on the roster.
All of this should make for busy times this week.
With the Bears’ present woes, Chicago-style baseball just got a whole lot more intriguing to follow this offseason.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.