Although there is an epic amount of snow on the ground in Chicago, spring is in the air. The White Sox are scheduled to arrive in Phoenix by this upcoming Thursday and it seems many players are already on site.
Definitely easier to count who isn’t reporting early https://t.co/zmmEheXxpP
— James Fegan (@JRFegan) February 11, 2018
Nicky Delmonico and Tim Anderson arrived over the weekend while a flock of prospects has rolled in as well. Michael Kopech was en route to Arizona on Sunday and it appears Zack Collins and others are on campus as well. It was reported earlier in the offseason that Jake Burger moved to the Phoenix area for the winter to accelerate his development and embrace the work ahead of him.
The anticipation of laying eyes on Luis Robert in the states has many gawkers clamoring for the first round of batting practice in Glendale. There is no word on whether Robert is in town yet or not, but given his propensity for Instagram stories, I’m sure there will be an announcement when he arrives.
Besides the natural warmth that every White Sox fan longs for during Spring Training there are a few loose ends the South Siders must tie up. The White Sox lengthy history of avoiding arbitration (since 2001) was foiled last week when Yolmer Sanchez won his arbitration case against the club.
Yolmer Sanchez won his arbitration hearing vs. White Sox and will receive a salary of $2.35 million in 2018.
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) February 7, 2018
The White Sox countered with $2.1 million and it seems silly to quibble over $235,000 but Sanchez made his point and took it to the bank. Sanchez will play a major factor with the Sox this season given his versatility, but Avisail Garcia‘s arbitration outcome is top-billing.
Garcia had a break-out season in 2017 and offers a difficult calculus in determining his value. Garcia filed at $6.7 million while the White Sox countered at $5.85 million leaving $850,000 gap — not a nominal sum. Arbitration has an ugly side where players and teams get nasty with each other and occasionally, relationships become irreparable.
Given the questions around the league about whether Garcia can repeat the kind of season he had last year, it seems the White Sox have a fair argument. Garcia made $3 million last season and was a strong candidate to be non-tendered in the offseason, but the White Sox were wise to stick with the hulking slugger and if he can reproduce something near his 2017 figures he could become a valuable trade candidate. No one, especially Garcia, wants this process to cast a pall over Glendale and the raging optimism around the complex.
Competition will be fierce in 2018 for roster spots and new faces (Daniel Palka) could play their way into a regular role.