Draft and develop—that's the best way to put together a contender, right? Someone forgot to tell White Sox G.M. Kenny Williams: His team had a 2½-game lead in the AL Central after 100 games with an every-day lineup constructed mainly through savvy trades, waiver pickups and free-agent signings. (To wit: Williams's June 24 trade for third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who has bumped his OPS from .692 in Boston to .882 in Chicago.) Using WAR data, Fangraphs.com estimates the dollar value of a player's production—and by that measure many of Williams's pickups have already outperformed or nearly matched their 2012 salaries.
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ALEJANDRO DE AZA
ACQUIRED Waivers, 2009
2012 PERFORMANCE $10.7 million
2012 SALARY $495,000
ACQUIRED Amateur free agent, 2008