White Sox non-tender Adam Engel, Danny Mendick, Mark Payton

The White Sox’s 40-man roster now has plenty of room for activities, because it now features five open spots following Friday evening’s non-tender deadline.

They declined to tender contracts to Adam Engel, Danny Mendick and Mark Payton, with Rick Hahn singling out the first two in a quote via the White Sox’s press release:

“We appreciate all that Adam and Danny did for our organization in 2022 and during prior seasons. As we have said at other times, a lot of consideration and analysis goes into the club deciding to forego the arbitration process and instead engage with players and their representatives as free agents. Our plan is to stay in contact with all three players and evaluate their ongoing fit with our club as we move forward through this offseason.”

The other side of this coin is that the White Sox offered contracts to Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo López, Michael Kopech and Jose Ruiz.

Mendick was the only complicated call among the non-tenders, because you could go back and forth with the reasons to retain him.

  • PRO: He’d just played his best ball at the MLB level last season.
  • CON: But he’d played a lot of mediocre ball before then, and then he underwent season-ending knee surgery.
  • PRO: He’s only projected for $1 million, and still has options remaining.
  • CON: But the White Sox have several other utility infielders, especially if Yolbert Sánchez hangs around after the Rule 5 draft.

The other two required less push and pull. Engel was projected to make $2.2 million coming off his worst season since his rookie year, and he turns 31 next month. Payton was not eligible for arbitration, but the White Sox used the occasion to make that particular move.

If the White Sox fail to retain either Engel or Mendick, it’ll mean that both of their careers ended on sour notes. Mendick was lost for the season when he collided with Adam Haseley down the left-field line on June 22, while Engel whiffed on a home-run robbery in his penultimate game.

The moves, if final, would also close the book on a couple of draft success stories. Engel surfaced from the 19th round of the 2013 draft, when the White Sox made him one of their many Louisville selections. He stands as the second-most successful pick from that draft class, with only Tim Anderson beating him. He debuted in 2017 and managed to survive the entire rebuild despite hitting .166 his rookie year.

Mendick beat even steeper odds three rounds and two years later, completing a steady climb from the baseball powerhouse known as UMass Lowell, and he could be the answer to a couple of trivia questions when the dust settles, such as:

No. 1: Who was the White Sox’s most successful draft pick in 2015?

(Carson Fulmer and Seby Zavala are the only two to reach the majors; Mendick holds a slight edge in career bWAR.)

No. 2: Who was the last White Sox player to reach the majors from a draft round that no longer exists?

(Major League Baseball hasn’t held a draft past 20 rounds since the 2019 season.)


Mendick and Engel have maintained their presences on the 26- and 40-man rosters over the last four and six seasons, respectively, so the non-tenders to afford the White Sox the space to pursue a little more upside in fringe spots.

They can start by perusing the other non-tenders around the league. MLB Trade Rumors broke them into American League and National League lists. There are a number of other credible major-league bench and bullpen types on the wire, but the only one who will generate immediate intense interest is Cody Bellinger, who won the MVP in 2019, but hasn’t been the same after shoulder surgery after the 2020 season. As a lefty who can play a good center field, he should still have plenty of useful baseball left, but that MVP put him on a trajectory to make a projected $18.1 million in 2023, and .210/.265/.389 doesn’t cut it.

Jon Morosi connected him to the Blue Jays, but he makes sense for the White Sox for the same reasons:

While the White Sox will lose a proven MLB bench player in Mendick, Leury García and Lenyn Sosa can back up Anderson at shortstop, along with Romy González and (later) Jose Rodríguez. With Engel and Payton off the 40-man, Luis Robert is the White Sox’s only actual outfielder on the roster, even if Eloy Jiménez, Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn are listed alongside him. If Rick Hahn’s offseason quotes are any indication, this might finally be the year the White Sox stop pretending they can cut it out there.

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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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hookstrat

Love the trivia on Engel. Thanks, Jim!

670WMAQtheElder

I think there will be bona fide outfielders in the corner by Opening Day and none will be named Bellinger, I hope. Five open spots in the 40-man should give us hope that big improvements are coming: 3 OFs; 1 SP; and, 1 2B.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’m guessing 2 OF’s, 1 SP, 2 RP’s.

Augusto Barojas

And their budget for those 4 or 5 players will be about $5 M total. Hahn is forbidden from signing anybody of any real value, it’s the Reinsdorf way. Losing Abreu and Cueto (combined WAR of almost 8, their 2nd and 3rd highest WAR’s on the team), this team will likely be worse, not better.

Last edited 18 days ago by Augusto Barojas
LamarHoyt_oncrack

I fully expect them to add 3 or 4 turd, mediocre players.

Trooper Galactus

But think of all the players who will be coming back healthy. They’re like big free agent signings!

670WMAQtheElder

Lopez to AZ for Varsho; Benintendi or Brantley signed as FA; Heaney, Quintana or Cueto as one of the SPs; and Segura or Drury at 2B.

Bonus Baby

I’d be stoked for any of AZ’s 4 lefty OF’s, but the rumor mill says either Jake McCarthy or Alek Thomas is most likely to get traded. Either one will be in demand on the market, unfortunately, but I’m hoping the Sox could swing a deal with Hendriks and some other pieces (and maybe cash) that don’t hurt the major-league team right now. AZ’s bullpen is godawful, so maybe it works. https://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=15

ForsterFTOG

Or 5 1B/DH types.

King Joffrey

I’m going with 5 RPs.

BenwithVen

bracing myself for “Starting 2nd Baseman Leury Garica” and “Starting Right Fielder Gavin Sheets”

Augusto Barojas

The important thing is it will be nobody of any quality, no matter who it is. Charlie Blackmon is the highest they could hope for in RF, somebody whose last good year was like 4 years ago. The only way they can get anybody better is if they trade Liam, and even then it won’t be anybody all that good.

Mired in mediocrity.

Trooper Galactus

Wait, did Blackmon actually turn down his $10 million player option after posting -0.2 bWAR?

Bonus Baby

Hahn a couple weeks ago: “We obviously have the internal options right now: Romy and Leury, Mendick, Sosa, … but it is an area we feel we’ll spend some time this offseason seeing if there’s a way to get better.” He particularly mentioned an addition that might help balance the lineup (a lefty).

I’m going to hope that they do get a lefty second baseman (and they could probably get a pretty cheap option via trade like Cavan Biggio or Tony Kemp). And if they get a lefty at second to start, is there really a reason to keep Leury on the team over Sosa or Romy?

Right Size Wrong Shape

Leury can play outfield. I know he sucked last year, but as a 26th man he can still be useful.

Bonus Baby

Agree that OF flexibility is a plus. Maybe if the Sox get a decent lefty starting 2B, Leury still has a role as 4th outfielder. I’d like to see a better 4th OF, but maybe.

Augusto Barojas

I challenge anybody to find a worse 4th outfielder than Leury. Esp on a team likely to have Eloy and/or Robert with a stint or two on the DL. I’m sure they will add an outfielder. It will be a dumpster dive of course, but someone better than Leury.

upnorthsox

Eloy Jimenez, Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn. There I found 3 and I didn’t even have to go off the 26 man to get them.
Do I want any of those 3 or Leury to be my 4th OFer? Hell no, but at least Leury can play CF which is handy for a utility guy.
My choice for 4th OF was Aristedes Aquino who as expected was non-tendered and I saw nothing in the non-tenders to who I’d pick over him and that isn’t saying much.

Trooper Galactus

Arguing over whether it’s worse to have a utility guy play the outfield every day or a first baseman play the outfield every day pretty much sums up the White Sox fan experience.

upnorthsox

Yes, that and arguing over who’s the worst 4th OF in the league is knowing deep down inside that he’ll be the Sox starting LF come opening day.

Right Size Wrong Shape

He shouldn’t be the 4th OF, but 5th OF / back up infielder / pinch runner is fine.

As Cirensica

but as a 26th man he can still be useful.

I want to say I agree, but…

upnorthsox

Leury is a/the lefty 2B. I know everyone hates Leury because of Tony. I also know that most are quick to point past a bad past season if its “their guy” but Leury consistently hit .273/.317 for 5 seasons before last yr and at just 32 yr old there’s a good chance he’ll hit around the same the next 2 yrs.

I appreciate your enthusiasm for Romy and Lenyn and I’m not writing them off but its not like either proved to be the answer and neither are lefties. Sosa hit .114 in his audition and Romy hit .111 over the 2nd half of his callup.

Bonus Baby

Agree about Sosa and Romy not proving themselves yet, but apparently the Sox think both are better options than Mendick. If that’s wrong, they should have kept him.

But Leury as the balancing “lefty” just has never been a good option. His career wRC+ against right-handed pitching is 71. He’s just not someone you should put into a lineup thinking he can hit right-handed pitching any better than an average right-handed hitter.

upnorthsox

I think its more accurate to say they didn’t need to make a decision with Sosa or Romy over Mendick but yeah they did make one on Mendick and it wasn’t to keep him.
I agree I do not want Leury as our lefty 2B.

Augusto Barojas

In no universe is Leury a starter on a team that wants to even pretend to contend. Even if he has a season more like the prior 5, that is still true. Half the reason to like the new manager is that hopefully it means Leury won’t play as much!

I’d rather see anybody like Sosa who at least has a future with the potential for a season with a WAR over 2. Garcia is a bench player, not a starter. I just despise Hahn and the whole organization for it’s bullshit “internal options” narrative after an 81 win season in a creampuff division.

upnorthsox

He played more for Ricky, maybe Grifol is more like Ricky.

Or maybe his situation is like Tony’s and Hahn gives him no other reliable option to play.

I’m going to stay positive though and continue to think that they will make a trade to bring in another option besides the internal ones.

Augusto Barojas

“Internal options”… translation: hopelessly doing nothing. They’ve done that 2 offseasons going on 3, and have had a lower winning percentage each year since 2020. I’m guessing with the loss of Abreu/Cueto, that downward trend continues.

steelydan52

I know they can still resign Mendick but it still ticks me off that at this moment he’s off the team and Garcia is still on it. I would much rather see Mendick at SS or 2B than Garcia.
Engel just played himself off the team.

GrinnellSteve

I hope Mendick’s non-tender reflects their knowledge of his medicals or their correct reading of the market. If he’s simply a casualty of Leury’s roster spot, then I’m angry.

Right Size Wrong Shape
upnorthsox

Yeah he’ll be gone soon. I don’t take him as the type to wait things out.

steelydan52

Abreu knew he was gone and that’s why he pouted and sat the last game instead of giving the fans a chance to say adios.
Having said that, going to San Diego, if he does, is a lot better than staying with the Sox.
At least at this point. I’m still holding out hope and I have no idea why.

Trooper Galactus

Pouted? The White Sox wasted the best years of his career, including an MVP campaign, because their GM is a fucking moron and the owner didn’t spend when it mattered. If he decided for one game that he’d had enough, good for him.

Augusto Barojas

Good to see other people sharing my rage, lol. Well said, good to see a player express dissatisfaction. All season I was wondering if any players had balls on this team, with not one of them calling out the ridiculousness of their managerial situation when it was obvious to fans and sportswriters around the country alike how much of a joke it was. All of them seemed to echo that they liked Tony when prodded, which seemed pretty pathetic to me. That cannot possibly be how everybody on the team honestly felt unless they were all complete morons, and spineless.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, hiring Tony probably told Abreu everything he needed to know about how serious this organization is about actually winning.

Last edited 17 days ago by Trooper Galactus
steelydan52

Well, I will respectfully disagree. You don’t get to be a “leader” and sit out the last game that fans wanted to applaud you because you were mad. Yes, the Sox org is a shit show but that doesn’t mean you follow their lead when the fans wanted to show their appreciation. Rise above it.

Augusto Barojas

You do have a very valid point there. I honestly did not watch even an inning or read a single thing the last 2-3 weeks of the season, and had no idea that incident with Abreu sitting out even happened. Hard to argue when you put it that way, although I don’t know the whole context of it or what Abreu himself might have said about what his reasons were.

At any rate I wish him well, be it in San Diego or Houston. He isn’t getting any chance at a ring staying in this city, on either side of town.

steelydan52

I think I’m remembering the last game and his comment was that he wanted to sit next to Cairo and see how things happen. No injury, no illness.
Again, I get that he feels let down but it’s just not how you handle it.

Trooper Galactus

What was he supposed to lead at that point? The charge to an 82-80 season? Least he was in the dugout with his team instead of going home, if only to ensure a teammate didn’t destroy his boom box.

steelydan52

When you lead, you lead. Every inning, every game. Either you are or you aren’t.
If he wanted to rip on JR, Williams or Hahn then he could have said something after the game. To me it just didn’t show much class.
And I too hope that he has a good season wherever he goes and gets to play on a winner.

Trooper Galactus

Guy was nothing but class, a model teammate, and professional on the field for nine seasons, and you’re gonna rip him for sitting out game 162 in his last season with the team? After almost a decade of the front office wasting his best efforts? After a season watching his teammates shamming it on the field, often at the idiot coach’s behest? Yeah, I guess I’m just too forgiving a sort.

steelydan52

I wouldn’t consider what I said “ripping him”. Yep, he was a classy player for a long time with the Sox and all he had to do was play 1 more game for the fans to show their appreciation.
Trooper, I don’t hate the dude and I do wish him well. He just could have handled that last game better. Hell, come in to pinch hit towards the end of the game. Start the game and come out. Something.
And part of the fault should fall on Cairo’s shoulders. If Abreu came to me and said I don’t want to play the last game of the season because of this or that, I’d tell him to get his ass out there for the fans. Take your bows and show them that you appreciate them too.

Trooper Galactus

In a season as miserable as any in remembered history, Abreu riding the bench in game 162 didn’t even register an iota of anger from me.

Trooper Galactus

The White Sox just DFA’d one of the most successful draft picks of the Rick Hahn era, especially if you adjust for draft position, over $1 million. Should tell you how drafting and developing has gone under his watch.

For reference, his 1.3 bWAR ranks behind only Tim Anderson, Adam Engel, Carlos Rodon, Aaron Bummer, Nick Madrigal, Codi Heuer, and Garrett Crochet. He was their best player picked from 2015-17. Yikes.

As Cirensica

Mendick > Leury

The White Sox cut the wrong guy.

peanutsNcrackerjack

Come on, Rick, let’s make a few deals. Too much energy being expended on Luery Garcia in these posts. I’d rather be talking about Brandon Nimmo or Bryan Reynolds than Luery.

Augusto Barojas

The Dodgers have won 90+ for 10 straight seasons, excluding 2020 when they had a .700 winning pct. No top 20 draft picks the entire time, and yet somehow they have like the 5th rated farm system? Would seem impossible. They obviously have people who are just way, way smarter than anybody the Sox have working for them. I’d love to see the Sox poach a person or two from their scouting and/or player development people, to find out what the hell they are feeding their minor league players. A lot of teams could learn a lot from the Dodgers, but especially a team with the Sox known level of ineptitude. Hiring somebody from the Dodgers would be better than spending money on Vince Velasquez type guys with zero upside like they do every year.

Trooper Galactus

The Dodgers traded Alex Verdugo, a consensus top-50 prospect, for one year of Mookie Betts and didn’t even so much as bat an eye because they had more outfielders than they knew what to do with. Meanwhile, were he on the White Sox, he’d have been by far the best right fielder on the team in the last three years (despite being decidedly average-ish) and considered indispensable.