As widely anticipated, both Carlos Rodón and Nomar Mazara were non-tendered by the White Sox on Wednesday, likely ending both of their White Sox careers.
“A great deal of consideration and analysis goes into our decisions to forego the arbitration process and instead engage with players and their representatives as free agents,” GM Rick Hahn said in the White Sox press release. “We plan to stay in contact with both Nomar and Carlos and evaluate their possible fit with our club as we move forward through the offseason.”
This is a sensible conclusion, as both players were due hefty salaries in arbitration, per MLBTR estimates: the $5.7 million neighborhood for Mazara, $4.5 for Rodón. And it’s not really the money that’s the issue for either, but the roster space they take up as utterly unknown quantities. Heading into a 2021 season the White Sox will need at least all regulars to be as reliable as possible, neither player provides solace in that sense.
In the recent SBN Offseason Sim, Brett and his SSS front office brought back Rodón on a $2 million deal but no roster guarantee; he slotted in as a lefty out of the pen/sixth starter, but that was a flier more than anything else. Mazara was offered the same deal originally, but once the roster took shape the SSS White Sox downgraded the offer to a minor league deal; Mazara ended up heading to Japan.
Anthony Caccione’s analysis of draft picks from 2000-09 revealed that the average No. 1-5 pick in the draft (Rodón was plucked at No. 3 by the White Sox in 2014) yielded 9.4 WAR and took 1.7 years to debut in the majors. Rodón put up 6.5 bWAR in his career and debuted on April 21, 2015, shaving about a year off off the average arrival time.
FanGraphs research pegged the No. 3 overall pick at $38.2 million in 2019, which falls roughly in line with Caccione’s research of the early 2000s; translated today to WAR, FanGraphs would expect 8.3 WAR from a No. 3 pick.
Thus, with both estimates, Rodón falls short, but not terribly so. After all, the southpaw’s career was marred by injury, reaching the 20-start mark just three times and never starting more than 28 times in a season; he pitched in just 11 games in 2019-20, starting nine.
Mazara had a disastrous single season with the White Sox, missing the start of the truncated year due to strep throat and never hitting his stride upon return. He registered -0.3 bWAR, thus worse than a replacement player, with a slugging percentage (.294) some 141 points lower than his four-year career in Texas.
The White Sox 40-man roster is now down to 38.
The White Sox did welcome back one veteran, Jace Fry, who signed for $862,500 to avoid arbitration. MLBTR estimated Fry would get $1 million out of the arb process.