Jose Abreu had a salary of $10,825,000 for the 2017 season, and this past Winter opted into arbitration for the remaining two years on his contract. By doing this, as larry pointed out last September, Abreu was giving up a guaranteed $11.5 million for 2018 and $12 million in 2019. After a step back in production from 2016 season, Abreu risked losing money if 2017 was a repeat or worse.
Of course, we know what happened. Abreu had his best season since 2014 and very well could win the American League Silver Slugger at first base. MLBTradeRumors released their projected arbitration salaries today, and if they are right or close, Abreu won big betting on himself.
According to MLBTradeRumors, Abreu's projected arbitration salary for 2018 is $17.9 million - an increase of $6.4 million on what he originally signed for back in 2014.
Payroll is not going to be an issue for the White Sox in 2018. For a team that was comfortable only spending $120 million on player payroll, they could be looking at a team payroll of $60 million (Cot’s Contracts). Carrying Abreu's projected arbitration salary won't be a financial burden. However, if the White Sox are considering extending a new contract to keep Abreu around for the contention window this projection may influence that decision. Would it be worthwhile having to pay $20 million-plus for a first baseman on the wrong side of 30?
The other offseason player decision that Hahn could address is Avisail Garcia. Making $3 million this 2017 season, Avi is projected to receive a pay increase after his best season to $6.7 million in 2018. More than doubling what he made in 2017 but if the projection holds up, the White Sox would be paying below what 1 WAR costs ($8 million). There is an opportunity for more significant surplus value keeping Avi around in 2018 rather than trading him. Or, because Avi would be significantly cheaper than signing J.D. Martinez or Justin Upton in free agency another team makes a move to acquire Avi. Regardless what the White Sox do, it seems they could be in a win-win situation with Avi if he can continue his play from this season.
Here are the remaining arbitration salary projections from MLBTradeRumors:
Al Alburquerque (5.030) – $1.1MM
Zach Putnam (4.135) – $1.4MM
Jake Petricka (4.044) – $1.1MM
Danny Farquhar (3.136) – $1.5MM
Leury Garcia (3.025) – $1.2MM
Carlos Rodon (2.168) – $2.0MM
Yolmer Sanchez (2.134) – $2.1MM