The Chicago White Sox answered one more offseason question Tuesday night as CSNChicago’s Dan Hayes reported the team plans to offer contracts to its arbitration eligible players; a list that includes Tyler Flowers, Hector Noesi, Javy Guerra, Nate Jones, and Dayan Viciedo.
There had been rampant speculation until yesterday about whether or not the Sox would tender an offer to Viciedo. Tuesday was also notable for who the team did not tender, as they declined to offer contracts to relief pitchers Scott Carroll and Scott Snogress.
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The White Sox decision to tender Viciedo is significant because the outfielder stands to earn $4.4 million next season in arbitration according to mlbtraderumors.com. White Sox fans are probably not giddy about the idea of paying more than four million bucks for the replacement level production they witnessed last season. However, Viciedo was the victim of a .261 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) in 2014, which contributed to his dismal .231 batting average. It’s possible the team is counting on a bounce back season from Viciedo, as his BABIP had only dropped below .300 for a single season once prior to 2014. Viciedo never batted below .255 prior to last season.
On the other hand, White Sox general manager, Rick Hahn, may be confident the team will be able to trade the Cuban slugger before the team heads to Arizona in the spring. Viciedo turns 26 in March, and is under team control until 2018, so it’s likely there will be a couple of teams willing to give up a prospect for two, maybe even a major league ready relief pitcher, for “Tank’s” 20+ home run power.
Addition By Subtraction
The White Sox decision to non-tender Snodgress and Carroll should not be a surprise. Carroll did not fare well last season in Chicago, posting a 4.80 ERA in 129.1 innings, while his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) was nearly identical at 4.77. Snodgress, who spent most of the 2014 season in Double-A Birmingham, struggled during his Arizona Fall League assignment, allowing 11 ER in 12.0 innings. It’s possible the White Sox could resign Snodgress to a minor league contract, but his 4.33 ERA over the last two seasons in Birmingham and poor performance in Arizona may have convinced the White Sox to move on.
Letting two relief pitchers leave the organization, when the bullpen needs substantial upgrades, signals the White Sox must continue to seek out and add bullpen talent this offseason. Whether the Sox do so via trade or free agency remains to be seen. If the Sox plan on utilizing Carlos Rodon as a reliever in 2015, Rodon and Zach Duke will the give team two quality lefties in the ‘pen. That means Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams will probably look to add a veteran right-hander to the mix.
November was a busier month than usual for the Southsiders, and it doesn’t look the like the fun will end anytime soon. As Sox fans find answers to their questions in the form of breaking headlines and personnel decisions, each answer will likely lead to another question until the final roster is set and the first pitch of the White Sox regular season is thrown April 6th, 2015 at Kauffman Stadium.
* All advanced stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com