The five levels of White Sox non-tender options

(Portrait by Carl Skanberg)

Approaching last year’s non-tendering deadline, Avisaíl García looked likely to get spurned by the White Sox due to an arbitration projection that turned out to twice as much as any other team was willing to guarantee him.

That decision looked like a given, so I instead turned my eye to Leury García. The White Sox were going to tender him a contract, but with his arbitration projection approaching $2 million and a resume full of incomplete seasons, I could see more ambitious uses of the roster spot.

Of course, Leury García only ended up making $1.55 million last year, a less daunting figure. He answered one question affirmatively by playing 140 games, although it fell a little short of starter quality. His 1.5ish WAR doesn’t quite capture his entire value to an organization due to his ability to cover outfield and infield positions, as well as his ability to reach on errors, but his lack of plate discipline, home-run power and standout defense is going to lower his ceiling.

Those thoughts about García returned when reading the latest batch of arbitration projections from MLB Trade Rumors. His projection jumped a few integers, as did those for a few of his teammates. At the same time, that projection could end up overestimating his earning potential. For additional context, I’ve listed how close MLBTR came last year in between the salary figures.

Player2019 salaryNet diff.2020 proj.
Alex Colomé$7.325M$25K$10.3M
Yolmer Sánchez$4.625-$75K$6.2M
James McCann$2.5Mn/a$4.9M
Carlos Rodón$4.2M$500K$4.5M
Leury García$1.55M-$350K$4M
Evan MarshallMiLBn/a$1.3M
Josh OsichMinn/a$1M
Ryan GoinsMiLBn/a$900K

Sánchez looks like the odd man out under any model. A guy who needs every inch of his glove to get to 2 WAR over a 150-game sample is only worth $6 million in a bidding war between two contenders who are desperate for his brand of adequacy. That sort of environment doesn’t exist anymore.

On the flip side, McCann and Marshall look like automatic tenders under the most aggressive mindset. One may fear that the White Sox will overpay McCann in 2020 for underpaying him in 2019, and a team like the Rays might have the gall to walk away and cash in their winnings, but the Sox lack the starting catcher depth and the bargain-hunting acumen to give them such confidence. Marshall was one of Rick Renteria’s three most-trusted relievers, so it’d be weird to dismiss him for such a paltry sum, even if the Sox need strikeouts from some spots in the bullpen. The hope is that the Sox will find other guys to make Marshall less necessary in high-leverage situations.

For the players in between, it depends on how much time you want to spend filling in the back halves of the 26- and 40-man rosters, as well as your risk tolerance for thinking the Sox could find better.

I’m thinking of this list in terms of tiers, and the courage it would take to open roster spots to uncertainty. (Note: You may be inclined to tender a contract and then cut the player loose for a fraction after of what he’s owed before the season. Either way, the argument is more about whether a better player could be found for that roster spot and that amount.)

Safety First: Non-tender Sánchez and Goins ($7.1M)

We’ve already talked about Sánchez, and players like Goins are widely available on minor-league contracts, especially given the way Goins finished the season. With him, it’s not the dollar figure as much as it’s the 40-man roster spot.

A Little Less Conservative: Non-tender Sánchez, Goins and Osich ($8.1M)

Osich led the White Sox in relief innings, standing out in some extended emergency outings after the rotation unraveled late in the year. If you’re bullish on Osich, you look at his last 16 outings. The 2.41 ERA is strong, and so are the peripherals (20 strikeouts, four walks, .465 OPS allowed, 10-for-12 stranding inherited runners). If you’re looking at the full-season numbers, you’ll see the reason why the Sox were able to claim him on waivers, and could do the same thing again after 40-man questions are answered. He’s worth a deeper dive.

Some Ambition: Non-tender Sánchez, Goins, Osich and García ($12.6M)

If García again comes up a half-mil short of his projection, there will be no argument against him. If he goes a half-mil over it, he edges closer to Sánchez territory, where he’s getting paid a little too much for the level of impact he makes as an everyday player. He offers the ability to cover three positions as a second-division starter (he’s overextended at third and a corner outfield spot), but if major-league benches regain a player when rosters expand to 26, his versatility may not be as prized as it was before. If you think his 140-game availability is an aberration, you may be even more inspired to reach this tier.

Sending a Message: Non-tender Sánchez, Goins, Osich, García and Rodón ($17.1M)

Familiarity may breed contempt with Rodón, who only made seven starts for the White Sox in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, and might be lucky to make seven appearances for the White Sox in 2020 due to his health luck and the White Sox’ struggles with that particular procedure. I’m guessing the White Sox will tender him a contract and treat it as if they’re spending that money on a trade deadline acquisition, but I can see a Nate Jones-like situation occurring where he never meets even lowered expectations for availability. Parting ways with Rodón would definitely signal a new level of determination.

Scorched Earth: Non-tender Sánchez, Goins, Osich, García, Rodón and Colomé ($27.4M)

There are so many reasons why the White Sox will tender Colomé a contract without thinking twice, but if you approach this exercise as “What would the Rays do?”, Colomé is in an even more precarious position than McCann. His second half:

  • 25.1 IP, 27 H, 20 R, 11 ER, 13 BB, 28 K, 3 HR

Some regression was expected, and combined with an impending eight-figure arb projection, it would go a long way to explain why no teams appeared willing to offer much in the way of value for his services at the deadline. Perhaps the power on his cutter will return, Kelvin Herrera will summon his full post-peak powers, and the Sox will be more or less spending market rate for two decent late-inning options. If Colome’s 2020 is a continuation of his second half while Hererra’s reflects his first five months, that’s going to be much more difficult to stomach.

The question to ask at the end of these tiers is, “Could the White Sox replace X for the money?” It’s a lot easier to contextualize cleanly replacing Sánchez and Goins, but by the end, it comes down to whether you think the White Sox could replace two decent stopgap position players, a second lefty, a second-half upgrade and an incumbent closer for $27.4 million, or whether attempting to upgrade all of those spots of the roster would even be worth the effort expended. I expect the Sox to stop on either side of Osich, but as we gear up for the Offseason Plan Project, some of our madder scientists could be willing to go all the way.


  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Scorched Earth, sure let’s do it


I’m going for the unorthodox Safety First: Non-tender Goins and Leury.

karkovice squad

I might tender a contract to Sanchez because, low bar and 2019 struggles aside, he’d probably be the best (only?) free agent lefthanded utility infielder available. I don’t think that I roll with Mendick out of the gates just to save $5m in 1 season–not getting him a bigger cup of coffee to evaluate him stings here.

I think Garcia has a tougher case as a jack of all guy since he’s not a good lefthanded hitter or more than adequate as a fielder, Robert’s taking CF, and if they upgrade RF, then their bench option ought to have at least 1 carrying skill.

If you want to save money, Colome’s the easier call. 90% of the reason to keep him is about trying to make giving up Narvaez look less inefficient. Otherwise, lots of guys can enter the game in the 9th with a lead and no one on.

karkovice squad

The variance argument does cut both ways. We saw with Melky how single-season splits for switch hitters aren’t static.

I’m inclined to think 2019 was an outlier, though. We had reporting about how Sanchez’s concern for Venezuela was affecting his game. There isn’t much in the data other than a launch angle change to suggest he’s got a big talent change. Swing plane is a fixable thing.

As Cirensica

I will tender Sanchez because it reduces the risk of the stars and scrub approach that has doomed this team for years. Sanchez surely won’t provide surplus value but he certainly won’t be a scrub. If we roll with a cheap option such as Mendick, he might turn out to be scrub and subtract value that makes us the mired in mediocrity team we all hate.

The Rays use this approach. Not a lot of stars but certainly they don’t carry many scrubs. Avi is a good example…not a star, not a scrub. We couldn’t build a playoff team around him for 5 years. The Rays did it in 1 year.



As Cirensica

No..signing Yolmer for 3M after we let him go is what the Rays would do. The Whie Sox will go the Keppinger or Bonifacio way….and crash.

karkovice squad

The Sox don’t, and shouldn’t, have the Rays budget constraints. $6m also doesn’t come near what the Sox guaranteed Melky. Nor are we talking about Sanchez as the default starter like we were for Melky, Lawrie, or Avi.

As Cirensica

I think it all depends who will occupy the roster spot left by Yolmer and whether or not the decision leans towards finance or baseball reasons.

1) Yolmer over Mendick probably makes 2020 White Sox better if the savings $ are not used

2) Yolmer over Mendick probably makes 2020 White Sox better if the savings $ would have been used to sign scrub players

3) Mendick over Yolmer probably makes 2020 White Sox better if the savings $ are necessary to sign Yasmani Grandal or alike.

I think tendering decisions have two sides and both needs to be analysed. Jim, you have made valid points towards one side. Sánchez might not be worth (I think he is, but that’s another topic) 6M, and that’s why he should be non-tendered. OK, in a vaccuum that sounds logically, but it needs to be accompanied with the next steps. The Sox shouldn’t non-tendered Sanchez because the Sox should use the roster spot and the money saved to do this & that. I think that’s somewhat Karko’s point when he said there is some value with Sanchez vs what is available.


Sanchez is not worth $6 million. Asdrubal Cabrera signed for $3.5 million last offseason. He is a vastly superior hitter to Sanchez and can play multiple infield positions. Cabrera averaged about 2.5 fWar over the previous 3 seasons. Sanchez has averaged 1.6 fWar over the past three seasons. A player that essentially does the same thing as Sanchez, has been on average 1 win a year better, got about half as much money as Sanchez would make if tendered. 

As Cirensica

Sanchez is a better player than Cabrera per baseball reference. Not so much per FG. Cabrera, who is a 33 year old “infielder” signed a late cheap contract with Texas because no one wanted him. Texas DFAed him in August for nothing.

Not a good example


And I don’t think anyone is really going to want Yolmer either, especially at $6 million. He’ll have to settle for $3-4 million, unless the Sox tender him.


Let’s call Asdrubal and Yolmer ‘similar’ players. Yolmer will not be starting in August, either. 


Yep, giving Mendick a shot over Yolmer is exactly what the Rays would do. And they wouldn’t have waited until September to give Mendick the look-see they need to help with the decision.

As Cirensica

Probably, but the Rays would probably have a better Mendick to give a shot.

Trooper Galactus

I dunno, Melky Cabrera at $6 million for one season probably would have been pretty nice.


I’m going with Goins and Sanchez. Leury can play second for the first month, then slide into a super utility role. $6 million is too much to pay for a back-up. At least Leury can cover 6 positions for $4 million.
I could see saving $10 million and cutting Colome, but only if Jerry is going to have a payroll of $120+ million, and use that money to spend on real players. Cutting Colome and adding Cole, JD and Grandal would be fine.


Colome is an odd one. I hadnt thought initially about non tendering him and its a hard call to make not knowing internally what the sox actual offseason plans and budget is.

If I were the sox I would try to hammer out deal with an option year… something like a 1 year 8 mil deal with a 2nd year option that comes in at 12 mil or a 4 mil buyout…. so basically a 1 year 12 mil deal or a 2 year 20 mil deal….. this gives colome a better number in 2020 then he would get via arb but also gives the sox protection for 2021 which is the year they are more likely to contend. They also could buy him out if he is bad….


Scorched Earth +McCann -Rodon. McCann will be unnecessary when we sign Grandal, Leury when we sign an actual RF and bring up Robert and Madrigal to start the season. Talent is too high with Rodon to not pay him only $4.5M.


Interesting nugget about Tadahito Iguchi in a story about Shingo Takatsu becoming manager of the Yakult Swallows.

Iguchi, meanwhile, played nine seasons with the Marines after his major league career was over, retiring in 2017 at age 42. He took over as the team’s manager the next year. In 2018, the Marines won 59 games. Last season, under Iguchi’s watch, they won 69, a 10-win improvement — just like the 2019 White Sox.

And who knows, if Iguchi keeps winning in Japan, maybe he’ll catch the attention of the decision-makers on the other side of the Pacific.

When he visited the South Side in 2017 to celebrate his retirement, he talked about his desire to once again wear the White Sox uniform and to some day manage in the big leagues.

“In the future,” Iguchi said through a translator that day, “he wants to wear the uniform in Major League Baseball.

“About two years ago, he was invited for SoxFest, and he remembers he spoke to Jerry (Reinsdorf, team chairman) about wanting to come back to the Chicago White Sox again.”


Sanchez, Garcia, Goins, bye bye bey, its time to be done with over paying extremely limited ceiling guys the high end of what they are worth. This team should be looking to add high end talent via free agency, and then their middling dollars to fill out the roster should be spent on high upside not no upside safe picks. Its this logic that lands you alonso and nova instead of say cruz and charlie morton.

Think it would be nuts not to tender Rodon for 4.5 mil under this logic, because despite the injuries and let downs the stuff is there. The upside is there if he can ever unlock it.


Yeah, I don’t see the argument for non-tendering Rodon. Just quickly went and checked which SP got $5m or more on a 1 year deal last offseason: Tyson Ross ($5.7m), Derek Holland ($7m), and Matt Harvey ($11m) were the three lowest but over $5m. Rodon beat all of them in WAR in 7 starts. 

Even if you thought you’d only get 10 starts out of Rodon, he’s probably worth more than $5m on the open market. 


I don’t know how his rehab is going, but 10 starts seems awfully optimistic? I was figuring 0-5. That said, unless they really blow out the doors on FA starters, for only 4.5m it still seems worth seeing what happens.

Trooper Galactus

Here’s hoping the five starts he potentially makes are relevant to a division title chase in August and September and not just some ho-hum extended rehab.


Let’s not forget, the Twins signed Pineda to a 2 year contract when they knew he wouldn’t even pitch the first year. Teams do weird things when it comes to talented young players.


FYI Menechino is the new hitting coach


Of course he is.


The “problem” about any 26th man argument is that the Whitesox have essentially already inked Zach Collins into that role. Unless Collins ends up being one of only 2 catchers on the Roster, he already is our 26th man.

It Kinda stinks, because I’d really like the sox to be more creative than just bringing Leury Garcia back again. I beleive we have already seen his peak and he is still injury prone. Having a 26th roster spot should give them plenty of cover to let him go. But sinking the 26th roster spot into a 3rd Catcher/Dh/1B means they still may need a guy who can cover a bunch of positions like Leury. But also, I didnt feel like Leury looked that good at ShortStop.

I personally believe that letting a 28 year old Gold Glove 2nd Basemen go for nothing should not be as easy a decision as most fans are making it out to be. However I do ultimately agree that With madrigal and Mendick around, its very hard to justify keeping Yolmer at a 6M Price tag.

If it were Me I’m letting Yolmer/Leury/Goins walk. Mendick and Engel make acceptable infield and outfield MLB Backups, and I want the Sox to go out and spend that 12M towards a bonafide starter upgrade elsewhere. Hell, Can Moustakas play RF? Lol.


I hope you’re right!


Collins as the 26 man would be terrible. Either stash him in AAA or give him “semi” regular ML AB’s to see what he could be.

Rick Renteria is the manager. The 26th man will go to Adam Engel or Billy Hamilton, to fill the roll of sacrifice bunter when down 2 in the 7th on the road.


Engel will probably start the season in center, then move to the 26th man when Robert comes up.


Even as the 26th man there figures to be enough ABs to keep him a semi regular between 3rd catcher, backup 1B, and backup DH. Unless you sign a JD martinez to eat up 150 games at DH, between those 3 spots Collins should be able to see 3 games a week.

I dont want Collins to be the 26th man but if you bring in a 2nd catcher he is either your 26th man or your near full time DH.


I feel like you’re being optimistic. They probably have Collins penciled in as the everyday DH right now.


Yeah… You’re probably right. Thats the catch 22 here.

For those that are saying Collins makes a bad 26th man — I agree. But theres only 3 options here really

Collins is either your primary backup catcher, your primary DH, or your 26th man. You basically have to pick 1 of those 3.


Daily AB’s as AAA depth is also an option.


So is trading him although I don’t know that you get anything worthwhile

Patrick Nolan

Great breakdown — really enjoyed reading this.