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Brandon Webb secured, Jermaine Dye jobless

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Two moves that were expected by many occurred today: the Arizona Diamondbacks finally picked up injured pitcher Brandon Webb’s $8.5 million option for 2010 and the Chicago White Sox declined rightfielder Jermaine Dye’s option, officially making him a free agent.

Webb pitched only four innings in 2009 before arthroscopic surgery sidelined him for the rest of the season. The 2006 Cy Young Award winner is worth considerably more than $8.5 million on the open market so pitching-desperate Arizona smartly retained the ace. Webb hasn’t pitched in over eight months.

Will Webb bounce back?There’s more than a leery few curiously following the Webb situation. During the 2008 offseason, an insurance company refused to cover a large contract extension offered to Webb, causing many to wonder if there was an underlying injury.

Despite the inherent risk involved with spending such a large sum on a pitcher who just underwent major surgery, the Diamondbacks needed an ace and Webb was the least costly, most logical choice.

It will be an interesting storyline to follow in 2010.

As has been expected since Chicago signed Alex Rios, the club finally cut ties with Jermaine Dye, the latest move in what has already been a busy offseason for the Ozzie Guillen-led American League Central franchise.

Dye, 35, slugged 27 homeruns and 81 RBI during his 2009 campaign. The White Sox buyout the remaining portion of his contract for $950,000.

Will Dye return to Oakland?Losing Dye presents a big loss of power for the White Sox’s offense, one that will almost certainly not be replaced by the addition of Kansas City Royal’s import Mark Teahen. There’s not much on the market in terms of slugging rightfielders and with no apparent internal options, there will be a void in Chicago’s outfield.

Dye will garner a ton of interest on the open market. Since he is a liability in the outfield, I would look for him to go to an American League team.

The Toronto Blue Jays have had a revolving door of ineffective designated hitters the last few years, so they seem like a possible destination.

The Oakland Athletics are also losing just enough salary in free agents to make a Dye signing a possibility. Oakland has a dire need for corner outfield power and with their rotation on the upturn, this could be a good time to make a substantial move. Dye was born in Oakland and played for Oakland from 2000-2004, making him seem like a natural fit with the club.

JUST ANNOUNCED: J.J. Hardy traded to Twins for Carlos Gomez.

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