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Giolito, López agree to terms, avoid arbitration

Yoelqui Céspedes and Nick Williams also join the fold

MLB: Wild Card-Chicago White Sox at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox, breaking news themselves as is their norm, tweeted out just before today’s arbitration-avoidance deadline that they’d come to agreement with their remaining two possible cases, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López:

The Giolito agreement is rather audacious, as the ace accepted, for some reason, more than $1 million less than MLBTR had projected for him ($5.2 million). Even Reynaldo, who may never see another payday north of $2 million, took $100,000 less than estimated ($2.2 million).

This means that aside from a $100,000 bump given Evan Marshall, the White Sox effectively chiseled four of their five arb eligibles to save some $1.2 million overall. Understanding that the arbitration process is unpleasant, this doesn’t seem to be what the MLBPA has in mind when it comes to getting less-experienced players paid. And on the White Sox side, jeez man, what gives?

The White Sox also made their international signings official ... perhaps? Multiple tweets have been sent out confirming both Yoelqui Céspedes and Norge Vera, among other minor international signings. However the White Sox only have officially confirmed Céspedes, who signed for a $2,050,000 bonus, indicating per the release that they “expect additional international signings in the coming weeks.” Brett will update or re-write his Céspedes piece from last month to make this official on SSS, otherwise we’ll wait for official word on Vera and any others.

Also, per Bob Nightengale, the White Sox have a minor league deal with outfielder Nick Williams ($900,000, if he makes the club). The 27-year-old was a Texas Rangers second-rounder in 2012 and is a fallen prospect. In 2017, Williams hit .288/.338/.473 with a 12 home runs, 14 doubles and two triples in 343 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies in his rookie season. But he faltered in Philly from there. While Williams had a great Triple-A season in 2019, he has otherwise has failed to follow up on his strong debut. Williams spent 2020 at the Cincinnati Reds alternate site, seeing no MLB action.

This move is being likened to the Nomar Mazara trade a year ago, but obviously Mazara had far more major league experience, and success, than Williams. That’s why the signing — on the same day Rick Hahn signaled the South Siders’ offseason shopping was over — is best seen as fourth outfielder insurance.

As it is a minor league deal, Williams remains off of the White Sox 40-man roster, leaving it at 39 players.