Award season wraps up tonight with the coronation of the Most Valuable Players, which should be Shohei Ohtani in the American League if everybody maintained proper perspective of the sheer improbability of his existence, and an open question between Juan Soto and Bryce Harper in the National League.
The White Sox won’t factor into that discussion, but they appeared like buckshot across the Cy Young ballot tally. Robbie Ray beat out Gerrit Cole for the top spot, but Lance Lynn finished in the show position at No. 3, giving the White Sox their first pitcher on the podium since Chris Sale finished behind Corey Kluber and Felix Hernandez in 2014.
Better yet, Carlos Rodón came out of nowhere to finish fifth, raising some White Sox history in the most White Sox of ways.
And that’s not all. Liam Hendriks’ work as the American League’s top reliever earned an eighth-place finish with three third place votes and one fifth-place vote, while Lucas Giolito received just the latter to share 11th place with Raisel Iglesias.
(José Berríos finished in ninth,, for those tracking that head-to-head comparison with Giolito for contract-extension purposes.)
In the Manager of the Year voting, Tony La Russa received four second-place votes and three thirds, which was only good enough for sixth place in an American League with a number of compelling stories. A.J. Hinch finished seventh with three third-place votes, which sets the table for a more direct head-to-head comparison next year.
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Courtesy of the always-yet-sometimes reliable Bob Nightengale, the White Sox made their first appearance in the hot stove rumor mill this winter with a connection to Justin Verlander, voiced more strongly than other forms of initial interest.
The fit made some sense, but considering the rumor arrived around the same time as ones connecting Verlander to other teams (Dodgers, Braves), it seemed like a leverage ploy — especially since Verlander supposedly maintained a preference for a team that spent the spring in Florida.
The rumor died in a matter of hours, when Verlander’s brother announced that the Houston Astros were retaining him. Verlander rejected the $18.4 million qualifying offer before signing with the Astros. He’ll get $25 million for 2022, with a $25 million player option for the same amount.
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Speaking of the qualifying offer, Brandon Belt was the only player of 14 to accept the terms, as he’ll return to the San Francisco Giants for $18.4 million. Verlander joins Belt in staying with his current organization, while Eduardo Rodriguez already signed with the Detroit Tigers and Noah Syndergaard with the Angels.
That leaves 10 players who opted for free agency with draft-pick compensation attached.
- Nick Castellanos,
- Michael Conforto
- Carlos Correa
- Freddie Freeman
- Raisel Iglesias
- Robbie Ray
- Corey Seager
- Marcus Semien
- Trevor Story
- Chris Taylor
Seiya Suzuki will also be joining the free agent pool in short order, as the Hiroshoma Carp are planning on posting Nippon Professional Baseball’s most interesting man next week. That could only leave one week for a negotiation process before the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and a potential lockout, when usually the process allows 30 days for it to play out. The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly says the leagues are working to agree to freeze Suzuki’s eligibility in the event of a transaction freeze.
(Photo by Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports)
Seiya Suzuki should be on the whitesox radar and its kind of surprising that he doesn’t seem to be. Also surprising after the success with Tadahito and Shingo that the sox don’t have a little better market advantage in Japan. Obviously the coastal teams will always have a built in advantage for travel but the sox also with their strong Cuban ties should be more involved in Japan. Some Cuban players continue to go to Japan to get eligibility in the states.
I would be shocked if the Sox aren’t putting together an aggressive offer for him, mainly because it would be stupid not to and having him on the team would be a hell of a lot of fun. If he’s even just “good” as opposed to “great,” his contract will still be a solid value because there’s no way he’s getting as much money as an established MLB RF.
And why wouldn’t he want to come to the Sox? They are built to win now, have experience with Japanese players, and on our team he wouldn’t have any pressure to be “the man.” If he came here and played decent defense, hit at least 20 homers, and got on base, he would be adored by the fanbase, IMO.
i’m hopeful that the rumor that they were in on Verlander should bode well for being in on Suzuki because it shows they’re at least monitoring high-end talent for positions of need.
granted there’s a massive intel difference in that they’ve seen Verlander destroy their lineup for the last ~15 years and they’ve probably only seen Suzuki highlights on youtube
Shingo Takatsu was a success?
He cost $750,000 at age 35 for a 2+ WAR season and 2nd in ROY votes. The crowd went crazy every time he came in. Sure, he was washed up the following year, but I’d consider that a success. He has a WS ring to show for his efforts too.
I think fWAR is a closer valuation of him. And fine, he was a bargain reliever for one year, but I didn’t really consider that much of a success story, especially given he was a negative value player the year he got a ring.
There’s also the matter of his BABIP in his sole successful season being unsustainable.
The Sox really misjudged the Rodon market, and not offering a QO was definitely a mistake. He probably doesn’t sign it, so losing the comp pick isn’t nothing.
The market is saying Rodon is worth $40-$50 million total for a two year term, I think he takes that deal. Two power arm pitchers who sat last year out, and neither will log more than 150 IP in 2022, are getting $21-25million next year. Rodon’s last pitch was close to 100 mph and thrown in mid-October 2021, and he also finished in the top 5 in Cy Young. The market is saying he is worth at least $20 mil per year even if he is only limited to 130 IP like 2021.
The current rotation has a 2 year window so its a big mistake not to at least make this offer before the lockout. Anything longer than 2 years would be a mistake, and Rodon might hunt all winter for that third or fourth year. They are paying Kuechel $18 mil in 2022 and possibly 2023, so substantiating the 2 year investment is easy. Especially if the they look at it as they are either paying Keuchel $18mil in 2023 w/o the Rodon deal (he’ll definitely vest if they don’t add another arm) or Rodon $20+mil in 2023 if they make the 2 year deal.
Hahn said they would spend the money, so spend the money. The Sox had the deepest and most effective starting rotations in MLB, so losing that advantage puts the post season in question.
I’m not 100% convinced he wouldn’t have signed it. I wonder how Rodon feels about his work with Katz. If he felt that Katz was a big part of his 2021 success, taking the QO and focusing on having a monster 2022 seems like a very smart move financially. Look at what happened to the market for Semien when he added another year of success to his resume, even though he’s on the wrong side of 30.
The market isn’t saying a damn thing about Rodon though. All we know right now is that he’s probably somewhere between Syndergaard and Rodriguez but we have no idea which end of that spectrum he falls under.
How often do free agents (if ever) share medical information with prospective teams? I feel like I don’t ever hear about this occurring, and it’s just buyer beware unless you happen to be the team that he most recently played for. If that’s the case, I would be really wary about offering a multi-year, big money deal to Rodon considering the way his season ended, and it could inform the Sox’s decision not offer the QO.
They do a physical in the players, and at those prices, I am imagining MRI on arms is standard. Hence Noah did his physical with Angels prior to QO running out with Mets. If he failed, he could still take QO.
I find that interesting. Presumably that would only be done after a deal is agreed too, otherwise a guy would be getting a physical or having an MRI done with every team that shows interest. I know it is done when teams make a trade, but I can’t recall any free agent signings falling apart because of a failed physical, and if that happened it would probably crater a guy’s market if that info got out. Physicals can be subjective too, and Boras just got burned with the whole Kumar Rocker situation.
I don’t think it’s unusual for terms of a contract to be set before the player takes the physical, but the signing of the contract doesn’t take place unless the player passes said physical to the team’s satisfaction.
I don’t think the process itself is strange, I just can’t recall any instances of a deal falling apart due to the physical, or any repercussions that resulted. I’m sure it’s happened; I just can’t remember any.
The Orioles had a brief run where five players failed physicals over a two-year period.
I had totally forgotten about that. I wonder if agents steered any players away from Baltimore because they don’t want their clients tainted with the “failed a physical” tag?
It’s too early to tell. The Reds couldn’t find a buyer for Miley at $10m, and Miley was a win better than Rodón in ’21 (6 bWAR to 5) and with a much more stable track record.
With the QO attached, the Sox were likely looking at a Comp B pick for Rodón. That’s not nothing, but draft history also suggests it’s not much. Just like I wouldn’t Hahn refusing to sign a good player if he costs a 2nd round pick, I don’t want the possibility of receiving a Comp B pick to have much say in decision making.
This is the correct take. The draft pick part of it shouldn’t have been ignored, but there’s no way that should have dictated whether to offer Rodon the QO.
Maybe it is just the social media era’s need to obsess, but there is too much angst over this.
I love Suzuki’s profile as a long term right field answer, although past Hahn comments have indicated that RF isn’t a priority this off-season. Hopefully that’s not true.