A seven-game deficit in the AL Central isn't enough for the White Sox to call it a season on May 24, but several teams, including the Phillies, believe GM Kenny Williams will bow out soon enough.
According to a report from ESPNChicago, the Phillies are among several teams scouting right-handed relievers Bobby Jenks and J.J. Putz. Jenks, 29, is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA, but is striking out batters at a 12 K/9 clip. Jenks, who has seven saves and one blown save while pitching through a calf injury, no longer skins it in the 98-100 range like he did when he was a rookie World Series closer in 2005, but he's still dominant and has been impressive lately, including three-straight shutout appearances and his first 1-2-3 save since last season in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Fish. They say his velocity is up, too. The two-time All-Star is set to make $7.5 million this season and is arbitration eligible for one more season before hitting free agency in 2012. Putz, 33, has proven to be a high-reward signing by Williams after missing most of last year dealing with elbow and forearm issues. The right-hander owns a 3.95 ERA and 18/3 K/BB ratio in 13 2-3 innings. He's making $3 million and will be a free agent after the season.Beerleaguer: There's no question the Phils should be scouting closers and set-up men while they continue to audition Jose Contreras and nurse Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge back to health. It's possible the Phillies will go most of the season without a set closer or even a stable set-up arrangement, so the more the merrier with the likes of Jenks or Putz. I won't claim to be the world's foremost White Sox expert, but I'm sure the Phillies would have no trouble finding a high-leverage spot for Jenks and his 136-career saves and playoff experience. However, they'll have a much harder time squeezing him into their payroll. Jenks is owed a preventative $7.5 million this year and will get more money in his final year of arbitration. That's hefty.