The White Sox made their first series of offseason moves Tuesday. All of them were no-brainers.
The club exercised the 2011 options on left-handed reliever Matt Thornton and backup catcher Ramon Castro. The Sox also waived right-handed pitcher Carlos Torres, who spent most of the season in Triple-A Charlotte.
Thornton's salary increases from $2.25 million in 2010 to $3 million in 2011. He's worth every penny, especially if he inherits the closer's job from Bobby Jenks -- who doesn't seem likely to return to the South Side next season. Thornton went 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 2010, including a career-best eight saves. He also led all American League relievers with 81 strikeouts in 60.2 innings pitched.
I have no idea who the Sox starting catcher will be next season, but we know Castro will be the backup. The veteran will make $1.2 million in 2011. Castro displayed competency both offensively and defensively for the Sox this past season, finishing with a .278 average and eight home runs. Those are respectable numbers for a part-time player.
As for Torres, I'm glad he's gone. He has no business in Major League Baseball. I spent a good chunk of September mocking Sox fans who wanted the team to shut down veteran starters like Mark Buehrle and Freddy Garcia in order to give Torres and fellow Quad-A pitcher Lucas Harrell more opportunities. I said at the time the Sox would be in trouble if guys like Torres and Harrell were on the Opening Day roster for 2011. We know now Torres won't be around. Thank goodness.
In other baseball news, Sox bench coach Joey Cora is a finalist for the Milwaukee Brewers managerial job. If Cora jumps, wouldn't it be funny if Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen brings Cubbie legend Ryne Sandberg on to his staff?
Sandberg was recently passed over for the Cubs managing job, which went to Mike Quade. The Hall of Famer will not be on Quade's staff on the North Side, but he reportedly has an offer to manage the Cubs' Triple-A team in Iowa again.
If I were Sandberg, I think I'd try to find my way into a Major League dugout in 2011. Sandberg has nothing left to prove as a minor-league manager, and he obviously has reached a glass ceiling with the Cubs. If he can't get a MLB managing job, the next logical step for him would be to join a Major League club as either a bench coach or a base coach.
I'd be stunned if Sandberg put on a White Sox uniform, but you never know.