Joe Crede became the White Sox lone remaining arbitration eligible player of originally seven possible candidates when infielder Alex Cintron agreed to a one-year, $1.9 million contract on Wednesday. Cintron, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks on March 8, 2006, in exchange for reliever Jeff Bajenaru, earned $1.6 million last season after avoiding arbitration with Arizona in January.
Much like the recent addition of catcher Toby Hall, Cintron is an example of the White Sox payroll flexibility in that they can fortify their bench with key reserves who would be starters on a number of Major League teams. Cintron, 28, hit .285 with five home runs and 41 RBIs over 91 games in 2006, with the switch-hitter playing 41 games at shortstop, 26 at second base and 11 at third base.
The .280 career hitter proved to be a key acquisition, as the White Sox finished with a 22-5 record during games when Cintron collected an RBI. His brightest moment in the South Side spotlight came during back-to-back home games against Detroit on June 6-7, when Cintron delivered late-inning, game-winning hits on both occasions.
On June 6, Cintron came through with a three-run home run to right in the eighth inning off of previously untouchable reliever Fernando Rodney, erasing a 3-1 deficit. It was Cintron's first home run since Sept. 22, 2005, against the Dodgers. On June 7, Cintron turned around and batted right-handed against Jamie Walker, breaking a 3-3 tie in the seventh with a run-scoring single to left.
Cintron figures to join Hall, Pablo Ozuna and Rob Mackowiak as the White Sox position-player bench corps. Another outfielder such as Ryan Sweeney or Luis Terrero could be a possible roster addition out of Spring Training, depending on whether manager Ozzie Guillen chooses to go with six or seven relievers.
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.