The White Sox are expected to tender contracts to second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza before the Friday night deadline. There's a good chance they'll pass on doing so for Philip Humber and Dan Johnson, who had two of the greatest individual one-game performances of 2012.
Humber pitched a perfect game against the Mariners in Seattle on April 21. Johnson hit three homers against the Indians in the season finale at Cleveland. Humber (5-5, 6.14) didn't come close to matching the perfecto, however, and Johnson's flair for the dramatic simmered for most of the season at AAA Charlotte.
Having depth in the starting rotation and at first base, the Sox should be content to let Humber, 31, and Johnson, 33, become free agents rather than pay them the $1 million or so they'd command through the arbitration process. Taking them off the full-to-capacity 40-man roster also would afford general manager Rick Hahn wiggle room for trades or free agents before the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn.
"I prefer not to announce any tender decisions until we've had those conversations with individual players,'' Hahn said Thursday. "We've talked to agents this week what we're thinking and where these things are likely headed, so it's not going to come as a shock should we decide not to tender anybody.''
With 10 players under contract for $90 million next year, and Beckham, De Aza and left fielder Dayan Viciedo - who are under Sox control -- probably set to earn another $8 million combined, the Sox are close to the $100 million best-guess figure for their payroll.
Humber and Johnson become free agents if the Sox do not offer them contracts.