With the World Series rapidly approaching us, the 2020-21 MLB offseason is right around the corner. In addition to searching for a new manager and pitching coach and prepping for free-agency, the White Sox will have some tough decisions to make over the next few weeks regarding their own personnel.
Today we’re going take a look at the club’s impending free-agents, arbitration-eligible players, and potential non-tender candidates, and I’m going to try to give my best guess as to what those moves might look like when the dust settles on those fronts.
But first let’s go over some important dates:
- October 24-28 – Conclusion of the 2020 World Series. Teams will have five days to decide on team options, free-agency begins five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
- December 2 – Deadline for offering arbitration eligible players a contract. Players who do not receive a contract offer or arbitration offer will be non-tendered and become a free-agent.
- December 6-10 – MLB Winter Meetings, Dallas, TX
Impending White Sox Free-Agents
Alex Colome (RHP)
Alex Colome was lights out in his two seasons as the closer for the Chicago White Sox, saving 42 games in 46 opportunities and allowing just 21 earned runs in 82.1 innings of work during that span. Now, Colome had a frustrating knack for the dramatics, but the results over a two-season span were simply undeniable in the end.
However, after making $10.5 million in his final arbitration-eligible season in 2020, I find it hard to believe that he’ll be back in a White Sox uniform in 2021 given that he’s due for a sizeable raise, and that the emergence of Codi Heuer, Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet, and Matt Foster — to name a few — will give the White Sox plenty of cost-effective options in the back end of the bullpen for the foreseeable future.
My Guess is Colome is allowed to hit the open market and nets a multi-year deal elsewhere this winter.
James McCann (C)
Like Alex Colome, it’s been a solid two seasons for James McCann on the Southside of Chicago. McCann came to Chicago after being discarded by the rebuilding Detroit Tigers, made an All-Star Game appearance in 2019, played an instrumental role in the development of staff ace Lucas Giolito, and played a role in helping the White Sox reach the postseason in 2020.
Also much like Alex Colome, he’ll likely suit up for another team in 2021 after he nets a multi-year contract that comes with a sizeable raise this winter.
Having McCann here in 2020 to share time with Yasmani Grandal was a luxury that paid off very nicely, but with the White Sox having Grandal under control long-term for big bucks, it’s a luxury that will be too rich for their blood moving forward. Besides, McCann bet on himself and earned a shot at being the everyday catcher somewhere else with his performance in Chicago.
Jarrod Dyson (OF)
Jarrod Dyson watched the White Sox embarrass the Pittsburgh Pirates in person, and then got to swap jerseys and be a part of a pennant race in 2020, something he’s fairly familiar with. That being said, he’ll be the fifth or sixth outfield option on this roster next season, and while it probably won’t cost much to keep him around, he’s a square peg in a round hole at that point.
As much as we don’t want to see Colome and McCann depart this winter, I believe that all three of these guys have played their last game in a White Sox uniform. Allowing this trio to walk removes about $16 million dollars from their 2020 payroll, money they’ll need this winter.
The qualifying offer has been set at $18.9 million for the 2021 season, but don’t expect the White Sox to extend that offer to any eligible free-agents.
Club Options for 2021
Edwin Encarnacion (DH) – $12MM
This one is a no-brainer after watching Encarnacion hit .157 in 2020. As Hawk Harrelson would say, “he gone!” Encarnacion is washed up, expensive, and there’s the whole Andrew Vaughn thing on the horizon to occupy the DH role at some point in 2021.
Gio Gonzalez (LHP) – $7MM, 500K Buyout
While Gonzalez wasn’t as bad as Encarnacion in 2020, he certainly wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination, and he’s not going to be returning in 2021 at $7 million dollars.
Leury Garcia (UTIL) – $3.5MM, 250K Buyout
Despite looking rusty in the postseason, Leury Garcia was a valuable commodity in 2020 prior to his thumb injury that cost him most of his season. At just $3.5 million, Garcia will likely be back in 2021 in a utility role off the bench.
With Encarnacion and Gonzalez’s money coming off the books, that’s another $19 million off of the books for 2021.
White Sox Arbitration-Eligible Players
Nomar Mazara (OF) – $5.6MM in 2020
Carlos Rodon (LHP) – $4.45MM in 2020
Evan Marshall (RHP) – $1.1MM in 2020
Lucas Giolito (RHP) – $627K in 2020
Reynaldo Lopez (RHP) – $605K in 2020
Jace Fry (LHP) – $590K in 2020
Adam Engel (OF) – $588K in 2020
Yolmer Sanchez (INF) – $575K (prorated to 89K) in 2020
Nomar Mazara (OF)
You win some, you lose some, right? The White Sox flipped Steele Walker to the Rangers in exchange for Mazara in the hope that he could finally fully tap into his full potential that made him a prized prospect in Texas a few years back, but it failed miserably.
Mazara made $5.6MM in 2020 and posted a wRC+ of 68, so I think it’s safe to say that he’ll be available to any club interested in trying their hand at unlocking whatever potential he may have at this point.
Carlos Rodon (LHP)
Unlike Mazara, the White Sox didn’t buy-low on Rodon, they spent the third overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft on him, only to see him flame out as a massive draft bust. Rodon has pitched in 11 games for the White Sox since the conclusion of the 2018 season and while his career has been largely marred by injuries, there’s been no shortage of inconsistency and underperformance when he was able to stay on the field.
Like so many White Sox picks before him, Rodon will go down as another failed first-rounder and I’d be surprised if he’s tendered a contract before the December 2 deadline.
Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)
Reynaldo Lopez has been a confounding case of inconsistency and unreached potential during his time with the White Sox, and after being demoted mid-season and left off the playoff roster earlier this month, I’d imagine that Lopez has pitched his last game in a White Sox uniform.
Yolmer Sanchez (INF)
The White Sox non-tendered Sanchez following the 2019 season, so I see no reason they wouldn’t do the same this time around. He served well in his limited role and tenure in 2020, but I doubt he’s around in 2021.
Featured Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast