For the 15th consecutive year, the White Sox avoided going to hearings with any of their arbitration-eligible players.
Somewhere, Keith Foulke pops open a bottle of champagne.
As a group, the five arb-eligible Sox clocked in slightly higher than their MLB Trade Rumors projection, but not by a significant amount.
That puts the White Sox' current commitment at around $115 million, and $120 million if the rest of the roster is filled with league-minimum players. That should theoretically give them room for one more significant contract, since 2016 was supposed to be the push year. Oddly, reports about the White Sox' interest in free agents have only fixated on length, not average annual value. I can't tell if that's supposed to be heartening, or if it's just wrong.
The Sox' fortitude on this front has not yet been truly tested, although Yoenis Cespedes at least has a contract offer with numbers attached to him.
Sources: Cespedes believed to be weighing 5/$90m w/possible option offer from O's vs. one-year deal with Mets and become a free agent again.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) January 15, 2016
While this rumor is audacious enough to make the Sox' supposed three-year limit look quaint, it's hard to figure out its true appeal to either party involved. For one, Cespedes is supposedly angling for a contract upwards of six years and $132 million, so five years and $90 million would still constitute settling.
As for the Orioles, I still get the feeling that they're trying to make Chris Davis jealous. It's been weird with Baltimore ever since the reports that Davis rejected a seven-year, $150 million and the Orioles withdrew it, and it's only getting hairier. Here's Buck Showalter laying down a guilt trip:
"How much is enough?" he said. "I asked Chris during the season, 'Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want. So, how much is enough?'
"I love Chris, but if that [his decision] makes or breaks our team, shame on us."
There's no way to wager on something like this, but I bet that Cespedes and Justin Upton would have signed by now if Davis took that seven-year deal. The Orioles have the money and a need at multiple corner spots, so they have the leverage.
Perhaps the White Sox can stretch their budget by selling some ads on their new video boards. The construction is on schedule, but Brooks Boyer says the bigger challenge will be figuring out how to use all the space effectively.
"One of the big things we’re working on is the connectivity with fans," Boyer said. "How can the fans get involved with these things? That’s been a fun project. And what additional information can we share — whether it’s fantasy sports or a deeper dive into statistics. So we’ve been working around that."
The Sox may want to have a backup plan for any daily fantasy sports content, given state politics.
An update on that lawsuit against John Danks, which is easy to forget about. He's still accused of negligence stemming from a former friend's fall off his condos roof, but the allegations regarding any action or inaction with calling paramedics were dropped.
Grant Brisbee gets it:
Both shortstop and the outfield are easy fixes ... so long as the White Sox spend, which they might be wary of doing after last offseason. Ian Desmond and Upton would complete the transformation of one of baseball's most miserable lineups into a potential strength.
It's up to someone to convince Jerry, though.
The Royals and Lorenzo Cain reached a $17.5 million agreement for his last two arbitration years, which is a pretty good deal for Kansas City. However, Cain had wanted one of the big-boy extensions, but he'll turn 30 in April, and the Royals already bought into Alex Gordon's post-prime years, so a further commitment to Cain seems mutually exclusive.
According to MLB Advanced Media, the Boston Red Sox were the first team to go an entire season without a single pitchout, which is taking the overall league trend to an extreme. Sac bunts and intentional walks have also declined,