José Abreu agrees to three-year extension
Just over a week ago, Abreu was in the news as he was one of two players (along with Jake Odorizzi of the Twins) to accept the qualifying offer. That means — or, in this case, meant — he would make $17.8 million for the 2020 season. That salary has now been scrapped, as the slugger and the White Sox have agreed to a new three-year contract that will replace the one-year deal to which he was already signed. In this new deal, Abreu will make a total of $50 million. This will reduce his salary for the upcoming season by about $7 million, but obviously guarantees him more in the long-term. This is just another move that shows the White Sox may be ready to go for it, after signing Yasmani Grandal to a four-year deal just a day earlier. Abreu isn’t in his prime anymore as he’s about to enter his age-33 season, but he’s still putting up good numbers at the plate and his leadership ability for a team with plenty of young hitters already in the lineup and still coming up is something that cannot be discounted.
Sox Spin: Like I said yesterday with the Grandal move, the White Sox aren’t quite at contender status yet but they’re creeping up and with a couple more moves they are a team to be aware of in the wildcard race. On top of that, Chicago has been mentioned as a potential trade partner for J.D. Martinez. I don’t see that, and with them spending money on two hitters already and still presumably hoping to add at least one significant pitcher they make even less sense now.
Evan White agrees to extension with Mariners
Well this one is really interesting. Early in the day on Friday the Mariners announced they had agreed to an extension with first baseman Evan White. It is a six-year deal worth $24 million at its base with some team options on the end that can take the overall guarantee up over $50 million. This is really interesting because White has yet to play above Double-A. This is not the first time we’ve seen extensions to players before they’ve reached the majors — Eloy Jimenez just signed one last year and Jon Singleton is the most famous one that has not worked out — but nobody has ever gotten one without having even reached Triple-A. These deals are always good for the team. If this one goes south as Singleton’s did, the Mariners are only on the hook for $24 million over six years. That’s nothing. As long as White is a passable starter, they make out here. On the other side, White has a chance of losing some real money long-term, but he also guaranteed himself $24 million before he turns 30. Generally speaking these deals are a net negative for the players, but it’s really hard say any given player should say no to something like this.
Sox Spin: The obvious reaction from Red Sox fans — and fans of any team, really — is to think of which player their favorite team could lock up in this kind of deal. I don’t think the Red Sox have this kind of guy, though. Bobby Dalbec is probably the closest comp, though he’s a little bit more advanced in terms of level, but it’s not apples to apples. They are both corner infielders, but at the plate they have much different profiles with White possessing a much safer one. Like I said it’s hard to say any of these deals are ever bad for the team, but with the Red Sox pinching pennies for their luxury tax this year they’re not going to change a minimum salary to something more.
Robbie Ray could be available
Here we have a rumor rather than an actual move. The starting pitching market hasn’t really picked up yet, but it seems like it could get moving at some point relatively soon. There has been some smoke around Zack Wheeler over the last 24 hours or so, and on Friday Jayson Stark indicated that Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray could be available in a trade. Ray, a lefty, has been in Arizona’s rotation for five seasons now and has consistently been among the top strikeout pitchers in the game. Despite that, his results have been a bit inconsistent thanks to some control issues. Still, as a 28-year-old with one year of control left, if the Diamondbacks don’t see themselves as real contenders this is the time to make a move.
Sox Spin: The Red Sox, of course, need a starting pitcher and getting one on the trade market may make more sense given the aforementioned penny pinching. I’m not the biggest fan of Ray, but with his strikeout stuff there is undeniable upside if he can keep his control even close to average. That said, if the Diamondbacks are really serious about getting controllable pitching back the Red Sox are not the team they’ll strike a deal with. Plus, he is projected to make almost $11 million this coming season, which doesn’t really help the Sox too much.