When the White Sox opened camp, they were in the AL Central title conversation, though usually placed behind the Twins and Tigers. The Sox made bold moves acquiring Jake Peavy and Alex Rios at the '09 deadline and beyond, but spent the off-season tinkering with their bullpen and bench before making their big acquisition, Juan Pierre. Their approach to the off-season seemed backwards, and may have cost them a stranglehold on first place in the Central.
At the heart of the off-season was the Will They or Won't They surrounding Jim Thome and the DH position. The front office wanted Jim Thome back, but for some reason allowed Ozzie Guillen to have final say on the matter. Guillen wanted the "added flexibility" of using two replacement-level bats (Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay) in lieu of Thome, which only seemed like a good idea if you were related to Jones, Kotsay or Guillen. Two days after the White Sox passed on Thome's services because Ozzie Guillen didn't want to disrespect the veteran by playing him in a part-time DH role, Thome signed with the division rival Twins who already had three left-handed bats better than the Sox best hitter from that side of plate. Thome would, of course, play in an even more limited part-time DH role in Minnesota, but the results speak for themselves.