Aaron Bummer bounced back in a big way in 2019. And on Saturday, the Chicago White Sox rewarded him in an even bigger way.
Bummer agreed to a five-year, $16-million contract, plus two club options that could extend the deal through 2026.
Bummer will receive $1 million in 2020, $2 million in 2021, $2.5 million in 2022, $3.75 million in 2023 and $5.5 million in 2024. The White Sox hold team options for $7.25 million in 2025 and $7.5 million in 2026 (paying $1.25 million buyouts for either season).
The 26-year-old southpaw went 0-0 with a 2.13 ERA and one save, 27 holds, 60 strikeouts and a 0.99 WHIP over 58 relief appearances with the Sox in 2019. He ranked among AL relief leaders in inherited runners scored percentage (second, 19.4), first-batter efficiency (tied for fourth, .115), holds (tied for sixth), ERA (seventh) and opponents average (tied for ninth, .184).
Bummer’s 27 holds were the third-highest, single-season total in White Sox history, trailing only Barry Jones (30 in 1990) and Nate Jones (28 in 2016). And Bummer’s 2.8 bWAR is tied for the 17th-highest reliever total in White Sox history, and the highest total since 2003.
The fireballing lefty owns a 3.12 ERA with 36 holds and 112 strikeouts in 125 games over three seasons with the White Sox. He originally was selected by the White Sox in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Nebraska.
While this commitment may signal that the White Sox see Bummer as their future closer, one thing is certain, at least per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale: Bummer’s extension is the largest given to a non-closer who has yet to qualify for salary arbitration in baseball history.
The White Sox also announced that they tore up Leury García’s one-year, $3.25 million deal struck in January to avoid arbitration. The club has added an option year to the deal, making the contract good for $3.25 million in 2020, with a team option for $3.5 million in 2021 ($250,000 buyout).
Also on Saturday came the traditional flurry of contract agreements in advance of Cactus League play. Thus Micker Adolfo, Luis Basabe, Zack Burdi, Dylan Cease, Zack Collins, Jimmy Cordero, Dane Dunning, Adam Engel, Bernardo Flores Jr., Matt Foster, Jace Fry, Carson Fulmer, Lucas Giolito, Ian Hamilton, Michael Kopech, Jimmy Lambert, Reynaldo López, Danny Mendick, Yermín Mercedes, Yoán Moncada, José Ruiz, Blake Rutherford and Seby Zavala all signed (minimum or near-minimum) deals with the team. At this point, everyone on the 40-man roster is under contract for 2020.
Last but not least, due to prolonged rain in the deserts of Arizona, today’s Cactus League opener against the Angels has been rained out. The White Sox will make their debut on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Park.