Following up: White Sox didn’t procrastinate with non-tender deadline

When charting Major League Baseball’s offseason calendar after the World Series, it seemed weird that the collective bargaining agreement expired before teams had to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players on their 40-man rosters. That’s a lot of time for dozens of players to dangle in limbo.

It took until this week, but the league and the MLB Players Association ironed out that wrinkle, moving up the non-tender deadline from Dec. 2 to Nov. 30 at 8 p.m., or about 28 hours before the expiration of the CBA and a likely lockout afterward.

The White Sox acted as though they expected this to take place. Upon the start of free agency after the World Series, the White Sox effectively made all their non-tender decisions by outrighting Brian Goodwin, Evan Marshall, Jimmy Cordero and Jace Fry. None of those four players was all that expensive, but thanks to injuries to Marshall and Cordero, none of them had any trade value either, so there wasn’t really a point for the team or the players in dragging their feet.

The series of moves left Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Adam Engel as the only players who require a decision to tender them 2022 contracts, and all of them are no-brainers in the opposite direction.

What the proactive decision-making affords is the possibility of pouncing on a non-tendered player before any transaction freeze caused by a lockout. The White Sox only have 35 players on their 40-man roster, or 36 if you count the impending Kendall Graveman signing, even after protecting Jason Bilous and Bennett Sousa from the Rule 5 draft.

Should the White Sox actually connect on any of the high-profile targets to whom they’re tied …

… or should they see an opportunity created by another team’s 40-man roster crunch, there’s quite a bit of room before cutting or waiving reenters the picture. If there’s further fat to trim, the White Sox probably have a couple players already in mind.

* * * * * * * * *

One of the first places to look for 40-man excess is the outfield, where Micker Adolfo is out of options and Blake Rutherford hasn’t shown the kind of impact contact needed to elevate his profile. The complication is that Adolfo is too good to cut, and Rutherford isn’t being squeezed out of an outfield spot from below.

However, one look at Baseball America’s minor league transactions shows somebody who might have the capability of squeezing out Rutherford laterally.

Chicago White Sox
Signed:
RHP Luke Shilling | SS Jagger Rusconi | OF Luis Alexander Basabe

They got Basabe back Basabe back Basabe back
They got Basabe back Basabe back Basabe back

Basabe had another injury-shortened year, this one disrupted in spring training by a wrist injury. He didn’t surface until July, when he reported to Double-A Richmond and hit just .206/.349/.338 over 22 games. Basabe’s 25 now, so it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for him after a briefly intriguing cup of coffee with San Francisco in 2020, but at least the Sox will get one last crack after 40-man/option pressures caused him to be moved to the Giants for cash considerations.

* * * * * * * * *

Regarding Bilous and Sousa, James Fegan talked to Chris Getz about the decision to protect those two arms from the Rule 5 draft, and only those two arms. Sousa’s easier to explain, as the White Sox were a little short on lefties behind Aaron Bummer and Garrett Crochet, so Anderson Severino and Sousa give them two in-house options who might’ve had takers elsewhere.

Bilous has more road between him and the 26-man roster, so his position in the White Sox’s plans isn’t quite as intuitive. Getz expressed a rosier view, saying that Bilous’ second-half struggles were more due to fatigue than a reckoning with Double-A hitters, and it doesn’t yet sound like the bullpen is a destination.

“Jason Bilous, we feel, is coming,” Getz said. “Coming off of 2020 with not pitching, there were some second-half struggles. But what we saw the first half was very encouraging. We feel like he’s got the potential to be a starting piece for us.”

As for the players the White Sox opted not to protect, Baseball America’s initial Rule 5 preview doesn’t include Carlos Pérez, Kade McClure or anybody else. It does include an old farmhand from New York’s Capital Region:

Justin Yurchak, 1B, Dodgers: In 2021, Yurchak led the minors with a .365 batting average. For his career, he’s a .321 hitter with a .412 on-base percentage. Hitting is Yurchak’s only plus tool, but it is the most important one, which is why he’s a name to consider despite the fact that it may be hard to fit him on a 26-man roster. He’s either a regular/platoon first baseman/DH/left fielder or he’s a pinch hitter.

Yurchak doesn’t have a lot of defensive value and he doesn’t have much power—his career high in home runs is 13 and he only hit seven this year. But he sure can hit.

* * * * * * * * *

We’re keeping it simple over here this Thanksgiving. We ordered a couple pounds of smoked turkey breast from a local barbecue place, which we’ll supplement with sides and dessert of our own creation while breaking out the holiday decorations.

Here’s hoping all stateside Sox Machinists have a happy Thanksgiving, or are at least making double time and a half. If Thanksgiving Day doesn’t apply to you, then have a wonderful Thursday. As always, I’m thankful for you. (Yes, you.)

(Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire)

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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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burning-phoneix

The #Whitesox still seeking front line starter like Robbie Ray and a second baseman like Marcus Semien.

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale)

I can feel it, boys! This year surely Uncle Jerry will open the pocketbook! 190 million payroll, bros it’s gonna happen! Mark my words!

calcetinesblancos

I don’t want Ray. I think he implodes next year.

dwjm3

What do you think he will implode?

dwjm3

Why*

mrridgman

What might be more interesting than why.

calcetinesblancos

I just don’t think he has a consistent enough track record to justify the money he’ll cost, but more importantly he just hit a career high in innings and I think he’ll be worn out next year.

jhomeslice

I’d rather have Semien than Ray, but would take Ray on a reasonable deal. Any signing they make has a chance of not working out, but it’s better than settling for dumpster dives like we’ve seen which is the equivalent of not trying at all.

As Cirensica

My fear with Robbie Ray is that he is gonna get overpaid.

HallofFrank

Yeah… maybe it’s just lefty-coming-off-a-career-year prejudice, but it’s hard not to get Patrick Corbin vibes. Ray has only had one good year since 2017, which is also disconcerting. He’d make the team better, so I’d welcome the signing, but it’s hard not to think there are better ways to spend as much money as he’ll get paid.

mikeschach

Thankful for this website, as always!
Happy holidays to any relevant celebrant. Hoping (but not overly expecting) to be thankful for a successful offseason. Last season sure was fun – so thankful for that too!

ndsoxfan

How long does it normally take from submission to posting for the OPP? Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

To Err is Herrmann

Very grateful for SoxMachine and to you and Josh and others who provide such thoughtful, entertaining and interesting stories and podcasts and comments every day. Easily my favorite website to visit, an oasis in cyberspace. Sometimes I question why I follow such a dysfunctional franchise as the White Sox, certainly there must be more productive things I can be doing with my life, but then once one becomes a Sox fan, I think it is for life. It is a vocation, a calling, a way of being. A hardboiled, analytical and cynical (no — critical realist) way of being. Here in Southern New Mexico, turkey and homemade green chile enchiladas made by my mother-in-law Rosario.

GrinnellSteve

Sounds delicious. We celebrated on Sunday with my son in town. We had homemade tamales, pork or poblano y queso, homemade green chili, homemade ice cream with browned butter blondie dough, and homemade browned butter blondies. I was in a coma for 2 days.

GrinnellSteve

I never thought of myself as a Machinist before, but I’m proud to be one. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it.

Didn’t the Red Sox sign Curt Schilling on Thanksgiving? Perhaps Rick is delivering pies to the Ray family right now.

Joliet Orange Sox

Where do Sox Machinists live?

In Sox Machination!

calcetinesblancos

Sucks that Basabe didn’t get more at-bats during his major league stint, but it’s still good that he got a taste of MLB pitching and I’ll be curious to see how he does this year if he’s healthy. Good depth signing.

As Cirensica

H.T to all my fellow Americans and Sox Machinists. I hope you have a nice dinner in family.

ParisSox

Happy Thanksgiving!