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For those hoping the next White Sox’s next announcement regarding Lucas Giolito would involve a contract extension, the club’s press release announcing the mere avoidance of an arbitration hearing probably underwhelmed.
Nevertheless, with both Giolito and Reynaldo López on board, the White Sox are under contract with all arbitration-eligible players. Here’s how they fared against their top-end MLB Trade Rumors projections:
Spotrac puts the White Sox’s active payroll at about $127 million, so the White Sox are running under their 2020 full-season commitments by nearly $4 million (updated).
Giolito’s 2021 salary figure is the most notable. Not only is he the most accomplished of the bunch, but he also came up the shortest of his projection. While MLBTR’s estimates are more useful as a whole than on an individual level, his relatively modest salary might reflect a heightened possibility of an extension, whether it’s because he’s not on some crazy trajectory for earnings over the next three years, or because whatever salary he agreed to for 2021 can be overwritten in a larger deal.
Alternatively, if there is no extension in the works, the low-ish base for Giolito’s salary escalation shouldn’t be something that gets in the way of larger plans. The White Sox have blamed future unpaid earnings as a reason to not splurge on free agents before, but you don’t have to believe it.
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On the international side, the White Sox officially announced the signing of Yoelqui Céspedes, and only Yoelqui Céspedes. They confirmed that spelling of his first name in the press release (there had been some variants), along with a pronunciation (yo-EL-key) and the bonus amount ($2.05 million).
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez also tweeted that the White Sox had signed Norge Vera as expected …
… but in a Zoom call via James Fegan, Marco Paddy acted as though it wasn’t quite a done deal.
“We’re working on Vera, and hopefully things develop the way we expect it to happen,” Paddy said on a conference call with reporters. “It’s just a matter of time and hopefully we can reach an agreement.”
Perhaps Céspedes’ name recognition — or more specifically, the name recognition of his brother Yoenis — prompted the White Sox to introduce him before the rest of the class. The team typically doesn’t conduct press conferences with one international signing. Perhaps that indicates their belief in Céspedes being able to contribute to a major-league team sooner than the rest of their signings? With Liam Hendriks being made official on the same day and the White Sox agreeing to arbitration figures as discussed above, it’s not like they were short on news.
Either way, I’ll hold off on the comprehensive round-up post for this signing class until the entire first wave is officially on board.
(Lucas Giolito portrait by Carl Skanberg)