The White Sox will step into the prickly arbitration process for the first time since Keith Foulke forced their hand in 2001. Avisail Garcia filed an arbitration salary of $6.7 million while the White Sox filed a click lower at $5.85 million.
avi garcia files at $6.7M, chisox file at $5.85M
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 12, 2018
The indomitable Yolmer Sanchez joins Garcia in the Arbitration pool as Sanchez and the South Siders couldn’t reach an agreement. Meanwhile, Jose Abreu agreed to a sweetheart deal at $13 million while Carlos Rodon, Leury Garcia and Luis Avilan all reached agreements with the White Sox.
White Sox agree to terms with four players: pic.twitter.com/UkDpVB7w6f
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 13, 2018
$850,000 is a trivial sum by Major-League-Baseball standards but it seems Garcia is trying to prove a point. Avi made $3 million last season and this figure was surprising given his persistent gaffes and strong candidacy as a non-tender last season. Yet, Garcia stuck it to his critics and filed the type of season in 2017 that everyone had been waiting for. But the other side of this coin is that the league doesn’t believe in Garcia anymore, thus the lack of any trade-market value. With each dollar more Garcia demands, the pressure meter ticks a bit higher, and we already know that Garcia doesn’t do well with expectations.
And the true difference between what Garcia is asking for and the White Sox are offering is illustrated by two monumental contracts hashed out on Friday. Josh Donaldson and Kris Bryant received historic contracts as a reflection of what they’ve already earned, not what they are currently worth. If it were the other way around the contracts would be flip-flopped and Bryant would be making $23 million. But Avi deserves to be rewarded for what he did last season and the parties are far too close in figures for this foray into arbitration to get ugly.
Let’s face it, the White Sox stole another season at a discount from Abreu. The Cuban veteran ranked eighth in the American Leauge in Batting Average (.304), seventh in RBI (102), twelfth in home runs (33) and seventh in OPS (906). Among first baseman in the A.L. Abreu ranked second in batting average to Eric Hosmer, second in RBI to Edwin Encarnacion, and first in OPS. There is a wealth of talent at first base around the league and perhaps that is why Abreu and his agent felt $13 million wasn’t worth quibbling over.
Abreu is only the third player in major-league history to blast 25 or more home runs and drive in 100+ RBI in his first four seasons. The others were Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols. But considering Pito was supposed to only make $11.5 million this season under his old contract, he might just pack it in and call it a win.