All White Sox under contract, this time after arbitration hearingsAvisail Garcia showed up to SoxFest, even while his contract had yet to be decided. (Jim Margalus)

All White Sox under contract, this time after arbitration hearings

For the first time since I’ve been writing about the White Sox, the Gang’s All Here/Everybody’s Under Contract post had to wait until after spring training started.

Avisail Garcia joined Yolmer Sanchez not only in facing off against the club in an arbitration, but by winning said hearing. He walked away with his desired figure of $6.7 million, not $5.85 million. The week before, Sanchez came away $225,000 richer after being awarded his $2.35 million filing number.

Comparing the real numbers to what MLB Trade Rumors projected, the difference with the White Sox largely lies in a $4.9 million gap between Jose Abreu’s figures.

 Player  Projected Actual
 Jose Abreu  $17.9M  $13M
 Avisail Garcia  $6.7M  $6.7M
 Luis Avilan  $2.3M  $2.45M
 Yolmer Sanchez  $2.1M  $2.35M
 Carlos Rodon  $2.0M  $2.3M
 Danny Farquhar  $1.5M  $1.05M
 Leury Garcia  $1.2M  $1.175M
Total $33.7M $29.025M

The fact that the White Sox headed to arbitration twice in the same offseason after avoiding the process for 17 years lends itself to questions. The chief one was why the White Sox couldn’t close a gap as small as Sanchez’s $225,000. Rick Hahn wasn’t asked that directly, but he still gave an answer while expressing some frustration:

When asked if the White Sox approached the process any differently, Hahn stressed, “Not. One. Iota. Not one iota. We negotiated the deals the exact same way that we’ve negotiated, I don’t know, 70-plus of these things over going back over the last 17 years that have settled.

“Again, this year we, for whatever reason when we’re dealing with these agents, we didn’t receive offers that even looked like the filing number, so you wind up in a hearing room.”

If Hahn is representing the issue fairly, then it sounds like the players would rather win in court than settle in private. Hahn has the White Sox’ arbitration-less track record to point to, and there’s also the surge in arbitration hearings around the league suggesting that players and their representation could be using the process to fight back against the layer of ice on the surface of the cold market. Teams couldn’t close even smaller margins than the one Sanchez faced. Mike Foltynewicz ($100,000) and Shelby Miller ($200,000) both had hearings, losing the former and winning the latter.

Garcia’s case was settled after the first official day of White Sox spring training, so he wasn’t around to offer a comment. Sanchez bypassed an opportunity to talk about his hearing:

“I prefer to…[laughs]…don’t ask,” said Yolmer Sanchez, the victor of a $2.35 million salary, with a smile. “You can talk to my agent.”

The extra dollars squeezed out of the White Sox won’t affect any greater plans. The White Sox have just $61.975 million committed to the 2018 payroll, which puts it just around $70 million when accounting for the rest of the roster earning at or near the league minimum. Assuming no 11th-hour signings, the club’s payroll will be at its lowest level since 2004.

The 25-man roster salaries don’t account for the $50+ million the White Sox spent to acquire Luis Robert, so payroll isn’t as precise an indicator as usual when referring to what the White Sox have committed to player acquisition and retention. Even then, that gives the White Sox plenty of room to add going forward, especially considering the team barely clears $10 million in established salaries on the 2019 books.

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andyfaust
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andyfaust

With a payroll around $70MM in 2018 and 2019 estimated to come in around the same or even less after Shields is paid to go away, am I the only one that would be extremely disappointed if the Sox don’t make a big splash on one of the premier FA’s next winter? I know the club’s performance(some players more than others)this year will play a big part in determining what the FO will be willing to do. But it’s easy to get excited looking at the list of 2018-19 FA’s. I could see them even going after multiple big names.

pelfdogmillionaire
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pelfdogmillionaire

I plan on being disappointed I don’t see us outbidding the big markets for the likes of Manny. I do believe we will go to the middle class of baseball for supporting parts next year. I want to believe that Lucas, Reynaldo, and Carson are going to toss 30 starts this year and Carlos will come back healthy. But i don’t see that happening so coming in 2019 rotation I don’t see a clear picture… yet.

andyfaust
Member
andyfaust

Keeping in mind that the highest offer doesn’t always land the player, I would expect that in order for Hahn to be among the highest offers for Machado or any top tier name, the rotation as a whole needs to impress (as you mentioned) and both TA and Moncada need to play comfortably above replacement level. That’s a lot of if’s. I suppose the good news is that there is so much talent available even after the top names are off the board. Not to mention there is a 3B FA the following offseason that could be even better, and we should have a better picture of how the rebuild is going by then…

PauliePaulie
Member
PauliePaulie

Depends on prospect development in ’18. But I see so many team set up to spend next year that I’d prefer the Sox wait to play the the big pool. Let the teams with need fill it with Machado and Donaldson, then go after Arenado or Rendon in ’20.

Eagle Bones
Member
Eagle Bones

I think it was pnoles that said this, and I agree, if you want one of those guys, you probably need to go after all (or most if Donaldson’s age takes him out of the equation) of them and hope one works out. Not put all of your eggs in one basket.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

I would be disappointed if they did not try to go after Kershaw (if he opts out) or Machado. Basically, the Sox should make offers to any 5+ WAR player and see if any of them bite. Odds are the players won’t accept the offers – but that would not disappoint me.

I will be extremely disappointed if they start overpaying for 2 WAR payers in their 30’s when the better free agents turn them down. Because that is exactly the strategy that failed 2008-2016. Better off letting a prospect fail than be stuck with 3+ years of under-performing veterans.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

What does this mean?

we didn’t receive offers that even looked like the filing number

So, in the case of Avisail Garcia…were the agents offering something like $8.5 million the whole time, but when it actually came time to file, they submitted $6.7 million?

The reason I ask is can’t the players/teams settle at the midpoint before going to a hearing? I feel like the White Sox have done that before (but I could be wrong), and if this is the case, then it DOES represent a departure from past practices.

karkovice squad
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karkovice squad

Sounds possible though, given the tension between management and labor, there’s a lot of incentive to misrepresent the negotiations in public.

It at least seems equally likely that agents would be unwilling to settle after filing as well, though. Especially if it’s part of a PR strategy to make it look like teams are fighting over pocket change.

PauliePaulie
Member
PauliePaulie

Sounds like the players/agents were setting high asking prices. Then take it or leave it #’s when it came time to file. The agents were the ones doing “file and trial” this year. Meeting in the middle was not an option.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

Yeah — it must be. And given how many players are winning these arbitration cases, that seems like a strategy that’s paying off.

WBWSF
Member
WBWSF

The payroll in 2019 will be much lower than the 2018 payroll. This so called “rebuild” is going to be done as cheaply as possible.

Patrick Nolan
Editor

hey, great, you found us

PauliePaulie
Member
PauliePaulie

Good. Save the $ for 2020 and beyond when it will actually be needed.

Eagle Bones
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Eagle Bones

I thank you for allowing me to explore this down vote functionality that Jim has apparently added.

As Cirensica
Member
As Cirensica

I wonder how much of the ‘tanking strategy’ had to do with these arbitration hearings. I can easily picture players thinking “hey, if you are not gonna spend money in building a competitive team, then you don’t get any discount from me so I am not settling” Want me to play for a losing team? Then pay me or let me go sorta mentality.

zerobs
Member
zerobs

Nobody gives an arbitration salary discount because a team is competitive. If the team is competitive, that’s more reason to believe the team can and needs to pay more.

PauliePaulie
Member
PauliePaulie

The thinking seems to be more “if you aren’t going to pay me after I turn 30, I need to make all I can now”.

As Cirensica
Member
As Cirensica

That too

Eagle Bones
Member
Eagle Bones

Not White Sox related, but this made me chuckle pretty good in Kiley McDaniel’s FG chat today:

1:00

Sterling Malory Chris Archer: Humidor confirmed for Chase Field. How does this affect their team?

1:00

Kiley McDaniel: Their cigar game will improve significantly

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/kiley-mcdaniel-chat-2-14-18/

ParisSox
Member
ParisSox

Abreu needs to change agents.