White Sox’s non-tender decisions seem straightforward

On most days, the question posed by the official Twitter account of Major League Baseball would have been innocuous.

The employee just happened to pose the day before the least romantic day on baseball’s calendar: the non-tender deadline.

Teams have to decide which arbitration-eligible players it intends to offer contracts to by 7 p.m. tonight, and this year is supposed to be a bloodbath. The league had already signaled tighter budgets when the Indians waived Brad Hand and his $10 million option, and the rest of the league didn’t feel the urge to claim an All-Star closer at that price. The Twins added evidence Wednesday by placing Eddie Rosario on outright waivers, rather than risk being on the hook for $13 million for his final season. If expectations hold — The Athletic is the latest to offer an update on what’s supposed to be a record day — many of the other 28 teams will put on a clinic in unromantic decision-making.

The White Sox should be one of them, although if they meet expectations, they wouldn’t be shedding productive players whose price happens to be slightly too high. Nomar Mazara is projected to receive a raise to $6 million after slugging .294. Carlos Rodón would basically be paid his 2020 salary ($4.45 million) under 2021’s projection ($4.5 million), but he’s thrown 41 innings over the last two seasons combined, and his ERA has risen every season he’s returned to the big leagues.

  • 2015: 3.75
  • 2016: 4.04
  • 2017: 4.15
  • 2018: 4.18
  • 2019: 5.19
  • 2020: 8.22

The White Sox wouldn’t be signaling a scary kind of austerity if they cut both loose. They’d only prove that if they’d failed to acquire better replacements. Reynaldo López would be a stronger indicator of a cold winter since he’s only projected to earn $2 million, but perhaps the White Sox haven’t seen much to like there, either. They’ve all performed poorly, unlike a Hand or Rosario, so it’s about doing better with the roster spot, rather than simply doing cheaper and crossing fingers.

I’ll be watching Rodón more closely than anybody, just because my previous estimation of his future — he’d thrown his last pitch for the White Sox during Game 3 against Oakland — had a lot to do with Rick Renteria’s complete absence of conviction in using and watching Rodón. Two of his last three appearances with the White Sox were disasters, and while you can pin the bases-loaded disaster against the Indians on Sept. 24 on Renteria, Rodón’s inability to end the fourth inning of Game 3 despite inheriting the bases clear with two outs is on him.

The White Sox can be loath to part with a first-round pick, but they found a way to bid Carson Fulmer farewell before they absolutely had to, and there’s a similar amount of writing on the wall with Rodón. It just wouldn’t shock me if the new administration thinks it sees a way to make Rodón’s mid-90s fastball/slider combo work in a commitment to a relief role, and the White Sox can’t resist taking one more shot at writing a better ending.

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

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Jim Margalus
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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I would like to see what a modern thinker like Katz could do with Rodon. I would like to see them tender him a contract like they did Fulmer, and give Katz a chance to work with him. I still think he can be an Andrew Miller-type with that slider if the right people work with him. Miller really sucked as a starter and found new life as a reliever. I would hate for Cleveland to get a hold of him and turn him into a Sox nemesis. Money should not be a big issue for the Sox. They can always release him if Katz can’t do anything with him.


For whatever it’s worth, Katz did not mention being in contact with Rodón in his media availability yesterday. However, Katz did mention he’d been in touch with Reynaldo López, which may be an indication the team will tender López a contract. We’ll know soon.


couldn’t they just bring Rodon back on a minor league contract if they think they can salvage him?


Only after he passes through free agency and gets no better offers.

karkovice squad

I kind of expect that wherever he lands it’ll be on a minor league deal. What GM is going to want to guarantee him a salary and/or a roster spot coming of last year?

karkovice squad

Yes. They also could have tendered then Viciedo’d him for probably at least 1/6th of his salary and a roster spot. But this is probably kinder to him.

Eagle Bones

Fulmer wasn’t arb eligible. They weren’t on the hook for any significant money there.


Nomar should be gone. Today, OSCAR COLAS, the Cuban 2 way RF/P was declared an international free agent, subject to international spending limits. The White Sox can replace Nomar with that signing. If Colas needs to spend time in AAA, let’s grab Eddie Rosario off waivers today. He’s played right on a limited basis and is graded as average. He would be a one year stop gap unless he explodes. In 2019 he had 32 homers and over 100 RBIS. It’s a gift. I too thought Rodon could be an Andrew Miller clone but his performance last year, and his stated distaste for relieving, has me second guessing myself. I would rather the money was used on someone that actually performs.


Not hard to envision the sox having some level of interest on Colas. Could fill RF with a 1 year type FA this offseason and get Colas come January … let him have most of the year at AAA and be ready to be the opening day RF’er come 2022

Eagle Bones

Oops sorry, missed this before posting below.


The rising ERA bit is a little unfair to Rodón. It’s only 34 IP, but 2019 was peak Rodón. His 3.62 FIP and 11.9 K/9 were career bests.

John SF

He looked good this year in spring training, but truly so bad in the season.

I wasn’t on the “non tender Rodón” team last off season and that has now made me look foolish. But I’m not sure what they should do with him now regardless


It’s not the money for Rodon that gives me any pause whatsoever,., $4.5 million for a flyer? Sure, fine, whatever, but it ain’t my money and as we’ve all said, haven’t seen the consistency yet that a little bit here doesn’t preclude adding a lot more there.

Mostly, for me, is because I just feel this odd attachment to Rodon, even though he’s barely been around, I think it’s the constant hope of maybe this time, he’ll get healthy and unlock what we’ve seen. Mentally pencilling in white sox rotation pieces for the past 5 years have always had his name as an “if only.” I want to see those big, sweaty strikeouts harnessed here, and I think finding out what he has in the year of the Katz is worth it.

If not, I guess I’ll miss him when he’s gone, and hope he ends up with a team very far away from us so that I can hope he does well in a way that doesn’t actively hurt us.

Eagle Bones

They probably SHOULD nontender him, but I won’t be up in arms if they don’t. I also share a bit if of odd attachment to him (I remember being so psyched when they got him in the draft), but he also didn’t look right after coming back last year.


This mirrors how I feel about him. I enjoyed watching him pitch, just not the (recent) results. He was one of the ‘big 3’ the year he got drafted and I kept thinking they got the one that actually worked out. Don’t recall the others but I think they flamed out even sooner. Injuries are weird and I’m not sure how much I believe in the ‘cant stay healthy’ idea.


Tyler Kolek and Brady Aiken, the latter of whom didn’t sign that year. Neither have been, let’s say, great.


Well, at least I was mentally penciling him in instead of mentally penning him in.


I would absolutely love to see the Sox steal Rosario from the Twins.

As Cirensica

He is for sure an improvement over Mazara. However, a low OBP guy with a consistent low BABIP (probably more of a weak contact than luck related). The slugging % is nice though. He strikes me like a guy that could have a great year or a very terrible one. I would prefer Rosario over Mazara any day.

Eagle Bones

Oscar Colas declared a FA. Someone remind me of the Sox current position with their international cap money?


Blow my Gload

If Twitter can be trusted, the Sox have $2.3M available. Looking at Colas and the younger Cespedes.


would love to see them gamble on oscar

Ted Mulvey

I applaud this pun.

As Cirensica

vastly underrated

Joliet Orange Sox

It looks like this pun is a South Side Hit, Man.

As Cirensica

Hahn didn’t tender Yolmer because there was no justification to pay him for so low WAR contribution (plus Madrigal). The same should apply to Mazara, and I will be shocked if they tender him.


I agree that Mazara will and should be non-tendered. But, Nomar is a White Sox because he profiles as having a yet to be realized upside that has been inhibited by poor coaching, while Yolmer has probably, more or less, realized his ceiling. The question with Mazara isn’t so much his history of “low WAR” as it is whether the win now Sox should tolerate the uncertainty of “untapped potential” when more reliable producers can be had relatively cheaply. I wouldn’t be shocked if Marzara strings together several +3 or +4 WAR seasons during his career. Still, I can’t think of reason to hold on to the promise of “potential” when proven producers such as Rosario and Schwarber being are non-tendered.

As Cirensica

I really don’t believe in the Mazara’s untapped upside theory. There is very little evidence of that.

John SF

the evidence is that he was a top prospect, and especially among position players they don’t get that wrong a lot.

Moncada, Dansby Swanson, Giolito & many more recent examples were all proclaimed busts before tapping into their upside scouts had always seen

The other evidence is that he’s just 24 and made the majors as a teenager, which are both amazing

And the other evidence is that he hits the ball really really hard

I am not saying I ever liked the signing or that I want to keep him around. But there is in fact evidence that Mazara has untapped potential.

I would be extremely surprised if he never taps into any of it for one really good season, but I also have no reason to expect that season will be 2021.

As Cirensica

Moncada had above average production in his 2nd season
Swanson had above average production after 2.5 seasons
Mazara has had 4 seasons (I am not counting 2020) and has replacement level production at best.
Giolito is a pitcher. Not a good comparison.

John SF

You asked for evidence and I gave you a bunch of evidence. You can argue some of it is not good enough evidence I guess. But that’s just moving the goal posts around

As Cirensica

Providing no good enough evidence equals to not providing evidence to my eyes.

Eagle Bones

Sounds like Cubs are nontendering Schwarber. Shouldn’t be playing RF, but interesting DH candidate.


he is better defensively then the guy we have in LF….

some type of 1 year deal for 5 or 6 mil… comes in to dh, play some left, some right might work out… still hits righties with some authority but he is pretty useless vs lefties not that the sox have a problem hitting lefties


Schwarber has a career wRC+ of 113 so he not an interesting anything

Eagle Bones

Confirmed, Rodon and Mazara nontendered. Sox announced via the team Twitter account.

As Cirensica

No surprise there, so we officially must sign (or trade) for a RF, preferably that bats left


And the obligatory “this isn’t necessarily goodbye” statement from the team…

Rick Hahn: "We plan to stay in contact with both Nomar and Carlos and evaluate their possible fit with our club as we move forward through the offseason.”

— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) December 2, 2020