White Sox non-tender Flowers, Turner
Hahn points to impending move to bring in complementary piece to Avila behind the plate
CHICAGO -- The White Sox, intent on improving their offense this offseason, parted ways with Tyler Flowers on Wednesday, but apparently are close to adding another catcher.
The White Sox declined to tender contracts to Flowers and right-handed pitcher Jacob Turner, and both are now free agents. The team did tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players Avisail Garcia, Nate Jones, Dan Jennings, and Zach Putnam.
Flowers, 29, was considered one of the top pitch framers in the game, but he has struggled offensively, posting a .223 career average.
"The decision came down to that we saw an opportunity to improve the club from an offensive standpoint, and at this point, while we're not able to get into specifics as to what the next move will be to fill the roster spot vacated by Tyler, know that this move was done and is part of a plan," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Wednesday.
"We've obviously talked repeatedly this offseason how one of the things we need to improve upon is our run-scoring ability," Hahn said. "While Tyler certainly had some strengths from the defensive side of the game, and that's an area of importance, we saw an opportunity to make us stronger along with Alex Avila from an offensive standpoint, and that's an important priority for the offseason."
Last week, the White Sox signed Avila, a free agent, and he was projected to platoon with Flowers. Avila batted .191 in 67 games last season with the Tigers. Hahn said he talked to Avila on Wednesday, and that the plan had not changed, with Avila expected to get at-bats also at first base and designated hitter.
Hahn said he expected to finalize a deal with another catcher in a few days. Free agents who are available include Dioner Navarro and Wilin Rosario.
Hahn also complimented Flowers, who had the tough assignment of following A.J. Pierzynski as the White Sox catcher.
"It's surprising, but it's a business decision," Flowers said of the move. "There's no negative feelings. I'll always be grateful for my first chance to start in Chicago."
Turner, acquired off waivers from the Cubs on Oct. 29, spent 2015 rehabbing from a strained flexor tendon in his right elbow. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2014, when he appeared in eight games for the Cubs. Hahn said he will continue to talk to the right-hander's agents regarding next season.
"We believe it was better to do it outside the constraints of the arbitration system in an effort to come up with a deal for 2016," Hahn said.