|Jenks' weight an issue for White Sox|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on November 24, 2009
White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has brought up the issue of closer Bobby Jenks' weight. The 285-pound closer has drawn criticism in recent times for his conditioning, despite losing 15 pounds during the season.
From an MLB.com report by Scott Merkin:
"If he's upset that it's continuously brought up, then he should work on it and get it to where it's not an issue," said Williams, speaking about Jenks' conditioning prior to the hurler's last round of comments but following the closer's October remarks.
"It is an issue. I've told him this directly to his face," said Williams, without hesitation. "If he's going to have an extended career of effectiveness at a high level, like he certainly is capable of doing, then he has to take better care of himself."
I'm not sure how this could be spun positively for the White Sox. Trade talk has swirled around Jenks, who has been a solid but not great closer the last four years. Some team would be well advised to add him to the end of its bullpen.
However, Billy Wagner, Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez all represent quality options at the end of games, while Matt Capps should be considered trade bait at this point. The market is seemingly saturated with options for the end of games.
The White Sox traded away designated hitter Jim Thome and pitcher Jose Contreras last season to save money, and they are likely to watch quality bat Jermaine Dye leave for another team. Jenks is due a raise in salary this offseason through the arbitration process, which makes it likely he could be traded if the White Sox are concerned about financials that much. Questioning his conditioning also limits his trade value to other teams.
This is pure speculation on my behalf, but could this be a ploy to get Jenks to lose weight in order to "prove himself" to White Sox management? That would be a risky move considering Jenks will soon be eligible for free agency and is a talented player who will attract a lot of attention from opposing clubs.