It was a busy day on 35th and Shields. Rick Hahn and company were making a deal official, agree to terms on another and avoiding arbitration with two key players.
Liam Hendricks Deal Official
OFFICIAL: The #WhiteSox have agreed to terms on a four-year, $54-million contract with free agent All-Star closer Liam Hendriks, which includes a $1-million signing bonus.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 15, 2021
In the least surprising news of the day the White Sox officially welcomed Liam Hendriks to the organization. Rick Hahn expressed his excitement with the move saying “We feel we’ve added another premium piece here to outgrowing core and we are very excited for what it means for our pitching staff going forward.” Hendriks also meet Chicago media.
“I want to thank the White Sox organization for believing in me and giving me this opportunity to start on this road to a ring”
He also gave high praise to his teammates calling Yasmani Grandal the best catcher in baseball.
Avoid Arbitration With Lucas Giolito
Rick Hahn crossed a huge item off his to do list by securing Lucas Giolito for the upcoming season. The White Sox were able to avoid arbitration by agreeing to terms on a $4.15 million one year contract. Giolito finished seventh in the 2020 Cy Young voting and made history by throwing a no-hitter against the Pirates in August. He finished that game with a career high 13 strikeouts. In his only postseason start he flirted with a perfect game against the Athletics. He ended up with the win capping off an impressive season that saw him post a 4-3 record with an 3.48 ERA, 97 strikeouts and a 1.04 WHIP. He ranked second in the AL in strikeouts, third in opponent average and fourth in opponent slugging percentage. For his career Giolito is 31-28 with a 4.33 ERA, four complete games, three shutouts and 484 strikeouts in his 80 starts with White Sox.
Avoid Arbitration With Reynaldo López
Breath easy White Sox fans Reynaldo López is returning for the 2021 season. The White Sox avoided arbitration with the 27 year old right hander by agreeing to a $2.1 million dollar deal. While that is not news that will get White Sox fans excited it is a deal that made sense for the White Sox. López had a down year in 2020. He went 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in eight starts. It marked his fourth season with the White Sox since bring acquired in the Adam Eaton trade. He has shown flashes of brilliance like in 2018 when he finished the season with a 3.91 ERA. He was one of the few bright spots on a team that lost 100 games in 2018. That is what has made his recent struggles so frustrating. In 2019 he allowed the most earned runs in the league. His ERA ballooned up to 5.38. Overall he is 21-31 with a 4.76 ERA, one complete games, and 374 strikeouts. With Ethan Katz, he has undergone an arm action adjustment with the hopes he can reclaim his top velocity and rediscover a curveball that was almost non existent last season.
Agree to Terms With Yoelqui Céspedes
The team also announced on Friday that the White Sox had agreed to terms with the No. 1 international prospect Yoelqui Céspedes. The deal was reported on December 22nd but due to the International signing period not starting until January 15th, the White Sox had to wait until today to announce it.
Céspedes is a five tool player that has bulked up nearly 20 punts since defecting from Cuba. He is the younger half-brother of current MLB outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Like his brother, Yoelqui is very talented. MLB.com profiles him as a five tool player with above average tools across the board. He put up some impressive scouting grades. On a 20-80 scale Yoelkis received a 50 hit grade, 60 run grade, 55 fielding grade, 55 power grade and 60 arm grade. Those are very high marks that should only improve with some seasoning in the minor leagues.