Friday, January 13 marks the deadline for all 30 MLB teams to reach agreements with their arbitration-eligible players.
For the White Sox, the team announced in a press release that they have agreed to terms on contracts with their five arbitration-eligible players:
- Lucas Giolito ($10.4M)
- Dylan Cease ($5.7M)
- Michael Kopech ($2.05M)
- Jose Ruiz ($955K)
- Reynaldo Lopez ($3.625M)
For those unfamiliar: MLB salary arbitration is reserved for players who have at least three years of MLB service time but are not yet eligible for free agency, which is earned after six years of MLB service time. Teams have until a specified day in the offseason – in this case, January 13 – to reach agreements with these players in order to avoid arbitration hearings. Throughout the league, it’s been clear that arbitration hearings are a last resort for most teams, as bad publicity and relationship souring just aren’t worth it.
Historically, the White Sox have been pretty good about avoiding arbitration with all of their players. Last year’s uncharacteristic back-and-forth with Lucas Giolito even ended in an agreement, even if the path toward getting there wasn’t as clean as both sides would have hoped.
Below you can find a breakdown of each arbitration-eligible player for the White Sox and their official values based on the amount that each player agreed to on Friday afternoon.
|Player||2023 Arbitration Amount||2023 Actual Salary||Difference|
Both Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech appeared to be straightforward cases. Cease earned a bit of a bonus as a first-year arbitration-eligible player who placed second in the AL Cy Young voting last season. Cease also earned an end-of-year pool bonus for his placement in voting, per the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Kopech – also a first-year arbitration-eligible player – saw a pay increase into the millions compared to his previous league-minimum salary.
The biggest story here is the White Sox and Lucas Giolito avoiding any sort of public mess over Giolito’s final year under contract with the White Sox. After a pretty brutal 2022 campaign, Giolito will make $10.4M during his “walk year” – a year when players historically play pretty well with an eye on a future payday. Whether that payday for Giolito will be with the White Sox or some other team has yet to be seen, and neither the White Sox nor Giolito have commented publicly too often on his impending free agency.
Another intriguing case for the White Sox is Reynaldo Lopez. The starter-turned-reliever will also be a free agent following the 2023 season, and with Liam Hendriks out indefinitely while he fights Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, there is growing speculation that Lopez may see some time in the closer’s role in 2023. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to think the White Sox may be looking to engage Lopez in contract extension talks beyond just his final year of arbitration.
As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates.
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Featured Image: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports