The White Sox have had extension talks with top prospect Andrew Vaughn, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2019 draft, but they’re willing to carry him on the Opening Day roster even without a long-term deal in place, writes USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. White Sox vice president Kenny Williams wouldn’t directly confirm that Vaughn is likely to make the Opening Day roster, though he certainly implied that could be in the works.
“We’d like to have that message coming from the manager,” Williams tells Nightengale, “and not me through USA Today.” Sox skipper Tony La Russa tells Nightengale that Vaughn “hasn’t made the club yet” but has made a “very good impression” to this point in camp.
That’s probably understating the matter. Vaughn has never played a game at the Double-A level, but he’s nevertheless tattooed Cactus League pitching at a .289/.396/.489 clip through 53 plate appearances. He’s fanned just nine times against an impressive seven walks, adding a pair of homers, a double and a triple to the mix.
While many clubs around the game would keep Vaughn down at the alternate training site for three weeks to buy an extra year of service time, Williams indicates that the team won’t sacrifice immediate wins even for benefit down the line.
“…[O]ur feeling is that when you’re ready to help the major-league club, there’s a spot for you,” says Williams. “…I think there is a residual effect if you play those type of service-time games. As a former player, maybe I’m a little more sensitive to it than others. If you do that, the player and the agent don’t forget any time soon.”
Last offseason, the White Sox inked veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion to serve as their primary designated hitter, but they’ve made no efforts to bring in a full-time DH this time around. The South Siders quickly brought Adam Eaton back to serve as their right fielder early in the offseason, but he’s been the lone bat added to a lineup composed largely of impressive young players.
Vaughn, one of the sport’s most promising young hitters, would only further the ChiSox’ youth movement. The former Cal star raked at a .374/.495/.688 clip in 745 NCAA plate appearances, launching 50 homers and drawing 123 walks against just 75 strikeouts along the way. He played in 55 pro games after being drafted in ’19 and put together a strong .278/.384/.449 slash through 245 plate appearances. Because the 2020 minor league season was canceled, that’s the only pro experience to date for Vaughn, though the young slugger tells Nightengale he feels he learned quite a bit while taking as many as seven to eight plate appearances daily against high-end pitching at the Sox’ alternate training site last summer.
If Vaughn were to break camp with the White Sox and never be sent back to the minors, he’d be controlled via arbitration through the 2026 season, reaching arbitration eligibility after the 2023 campaign. Leaving him in the minors for just three weeks would push that free-agent trajectory back to the 2027-28 offseason, but Williams’ comments and the White Sox’ past actions strongly suggest that’s not a priority for them. And even if Vaughn does break camp without first agreeing to a contract extension, the two sides could always continue talks about a long-term pact — be they early in the spring or next offseason.
Yeah they will. The White Sox would be stupid not to hold Vaughn back for service time reasons. The only way that doesn’t happen is if they get to hold him back for another reason. It’s funny this only came out right after Vaughn is reportedly dealing with an injury. They were going to hold him back for service time reasons before this. Now they will claim it is for injury/rehab reasons. Vaughn was going to get held back either way though.
That’s quite the crystal ball you have.
I think they’re working with the mentality that if they don’t manipulate his service he’ll be willing to sign a long term team friendly extension.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Which they’ve done with most of their core.
Michigan- you can add the upcoming contentious CBA talks to the list of reasons why he still might make the roster. MLBPU will make the topic of service time at the top of their demands in the next CBA. The 172 game = 1 year Service Time formula may change in the new CBA. That uncertainty should also influence their mentality.
Exactly what injury is Andrew Vaughn dealing with? He was the DH for the entire game today versus the A’s and leads the team in PA’s this spring by a wide margin.
I’d bet on Vaughn signing a contract extension by April 1st, perhaps even on the eve of opening day like Eloy Jimenez in 2019. Even if Vaughn doesn’t agree to terms and makes the opening day roster he is NOT guaranteed to reach arbitration or free agency any earlier. It strictly depends on his production with the White Sox. We are still talking about a hitter who has never played above the A+ level. If he struggles at any point during the season or in the future, the White Sox could still option him back to AAA and recoup their service time advantage. If that happens they would certainly be justified in demoting him, more so than with him raking during the past two springs in Arizona along with his impressive showing versus the best young White Sox pitchers at their alternate site last summer. The White Sox were very tempted to promote Vaughn late last season with their issues at the DH position but decided to roll with their veterans as they headed into their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Finally, if Vaughn doesn’t disappoint at the plate, gives the team no reason to demote him and can’t be locked up before opening day, odds are still good that he and the White Sox will agree to a contract extension sooner rather than later. That has been organizational m.o. with virtually every young core position player in their recent history. Aside from the rare pre-MLB debut extensions inked with LF Jimenez and CF Luis Robert, they have also tied up SS Tim Anderson and 3B Yoan Moncada to long term extensions, to say nothing of RP Aaron Bummer. I suspect that 2B Nick Madrigal will be joining Vaughn soon on the White Sox extension wish list. Ace Lucas Giolito figures to be their top priority among pitchers but his negotiations figure to be more difficult and costly for a number of reasons, not all of them having to do with his actual numbers on the mound.
Aaron – how many DH/1B’s can the Sox have?
In addition to Abreu and Vaughn, add in Eloy whose D in LF will cost them games, and Grandal who is signed through 2024 and needs to DH/1B some to rest from the load of catching.
I’m sure this will sort itself out, but the Sox are expanding a lot of the percentage of the payroll on one dimensional guys – not counting that it helps a team if the 1B can field the position well, and none of the Sox 1B’s are even ML average (no matter ow much Abreu has improved).
The more I’m looking at the Sox the more I see that D as a impetus to them getting to a WS. No one hits their way into the series. Teams that go deep in the playoffs all have good pitching and at least decent defense. And good pitching stops good hitting. The Sox are looking like the Mets the past few years and the Twins of 3-4 years ago. You can’t HR your way to championships. At some point they’ll have to bring up guys that can both hit and field, as well as make some moves.
The White Sox have a ‘nice’ problem on their hands. They have an issue with their glut at 1B/DH but it is still better to have too many great hitters than not have enough, no?
I remember the Pittsburgh Pirates having a similar problem during Willie Stargell’s HOF career in the 1960’s and 1970’s. ‘Pops’ put up the kind of offensive numbers from the left side of the plate that the White Sox expect of right-handed hitting Eloy Jimenez in the middle of their lineup going forward. Like Jimenez, Stargell was defensively challenged out in LF and also spent some time on the disabled list but his bat was essential. The Pirates also had some other quality players who they had to utilize at 1B and unlike the White Sox, they had no DH option back in the day or even in the NL at the tail end of ‘Pops’ great career.
Somehow, the Pirates were able to work through their dilemma and keep Stargell around for 18 seasons in Pittsburgh. He earned two World Series rings and won an NL MVP award late in his career at 1B in 1979. The White Sox will have to figure something out similar with Jimenez and they have the added position of the DH available to them.
Assuming the White Sox will retain Eloy, Jose Abreu and Andrew Vaughn for the foreseeable future, I would probably give Vaughn first crack at LF, move Jimenez to the primary DH role and keep Abreu at 1B where he is most comfortable as an offensive force. Vaughn will begin 2021 as the White Sox primary DH and a backup to Abreu at 1B. As a regular DH and as a long time college and pro first baseman, there is no reason why Vaughn can’t continue getting pre-game reps out in LF during the upcoming season. He began the process last summer at their alternate site, continued it this spring and can stay on that same path early in 2021. The White Sox should have a pretty good idea of Vaughn’s potential ability on the grass in the coming months. If he passes and continues to produce in the DH role then they should consider giving him game reps out in LF as the season progresses.
If and when Jimenez returns to the lineup, the White Sox should begin utilizing him more and more in the DH role. Perhaps by midseason, Eloy and Vaughn can do a timeshare between 1B and LF with the latter becoming more of an option on the grass down the stretch. Of course, this is all predicated on Jimenez being OK with his current injury sooner rather than later.
Down the road, Jimenez can transition to a possible role at 1B with Abreu nearing retirement. Vaughn will also be in the mix at 1B, especially if the White Sox two latest ‘elite’ Cuban outfielders pan out in the next few years. I could easily see the team rolling with an all-Cuban OF of Yoelkis Cespedes, Luis Robert and Oscar Colas as soon as 2023 with an older Abreu becoming a part-time producer between 1B/DH and with Vaughn and Jimenez getting the lion’s share of playing time at those two positions. If not, one of Vaughn or Jimenez as sluggers in their prime should fetch a pretty good return for another team need down the road, perhaps a SP or their next core catcher.
Yeah exactly. One can be traded. Though I don’t think 1B/Dh types get the huge haul any longer. They’ll still have surplus value on their deals. If the Sox decide that’s how they’re going to go at some point.
Jimenez and Vaughn have the potential to be generational sluggers if they max out on their respective hitting and power tools. That alone would fetch a significant haul it they are dealt anywhere in their prime seasons.
The jury is still out on Eloy’s ability to become a competent first baseman. Vaughn has less concerns around the bag but his prowess in LF is still unknown. I’m guessing with a pitchers arm he would at least be passable on the grass and probably better than Jimenez in short order.
Hopefully the White Sox system depth in the outfield, especially with those two highly regarded Cubans, will make all this moot with Jimenez and Vaughn just establishing themselves at 1B and DH once Jose Abreu decides to retire. In the meantime, the White Sox could just mix and match with the trio between 1B/DH and in LF with Vaughn and Eloy.
Have been watching MLB since the mid-50’s. I can’t tell you the number of can’t miss sluggers that came up and were going to blast balls into the stands at a prolific rate. Few did. Some I remember – Cliff Johnson, Alex Johnson, heck how about Joey Gallo. I remember the Tiger had a guy that Sparky Anderson said: “He plays bat”. The guy had a few decent years, then bounced around and disappeared – I don’t even remember his name. I don’t remember well over a dozen guys names that flamed out after a few years..
The trouble with projecting the guys you’re talking about is that they’re not athletes. They’re muscle-bound power hitters. If they were athletes they could play a position well. When guys are that much bigger, stronger they can manhandle the competition for a while. But the problem is, they tend to put on weight over the years, lose some coordination, get injured a lot (see Stanton and others) and do not age well.
I like a lot of the Sox players. But watching Abreu play 1B the past 5 years has been painful. Eloy and Vaughn remind me of so many of those players. They look like NFL linemen. 3B and 2B are fine. Robert looks to me like a guy that will move to a corner OF, unless he turns out to be a Mike Trout…..and how many Mike Trout’s have there been? With 2B and 3B blocked off, Anderson will need to move to LF or 1B in a few years (unless they trade him) – a contender cannot put up with his D at SS.
To me it’s all about team balance. Defense – particularly up the middle – and pitching is essential to be a perennial contender. When teams try to outhit shortages in those areas, they tend to stall and subsequently be broken up.
Sox have a long way to go, and it’s far too early to determine what additional parts they’ll bring onto the team. Rick Hahn is very sharp – Kenny Williams is not.
That’s a pretty good analysis on the current roster makeup in Chicago. Echoes what I think a lot of people have been saying. White Sox fans have been pretty boisterous toward anyone thinking they won’t be the 8-year consecutive WS winners, but hopefully today’s bitter pill with Eloy will help them see that a bit clearer.
None of those former players you mentioned had the elite batting skills that both Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez have already shown at the MLB level or that Vaughn promises once he debuts. I get your point about athletes versus sluggers but up until Tim Anderson that strategy had mostly backfired with Kenny Williams draft picks.
I am hopeful that Jimenez and Vaughn can approach the hitting level of recent past sluggers with limited defensive acumen like Manny Ramirez and Frank Thomas. Jose Abreu has already made his case as one of the White Sox all-time sluggers. I’m confident that Jimenez and Vaughn will be much closer to those generational hitters than Cliff Johnson, Alex Johnson or strike out king Joey Gallo. I’m also reasonably confident that Jimenez and especially Vaughn will play better defense at 1B than what the ‘Big Hurt’ was able to provide before becoming a permanent DH. If Abreu has been “painful” for you to watch at 1B I shudder to think of the adjective you had for Thomas around the bag, lol
Btw: I enjoy conversing with other long time White Sox fans like yourself and PeteWard. You have us both beat with your Sox fandom by about a decade or so. God Bless you my friend!
1. I’m not a White Sox fan. I’ve lived around the country and always followed teams an all markets as best I could. The Sporting News, followed by cable, followed by MLB.TV worked fine – although I haven’t followed the sport much 2 of the past 4 years as it became political.
I like to watch teams being built. I love watching teams jell. And I have teams like they Royals that I watch even when they stink because they want their players to do the fundamentals.
2. Frank Thomas was an athlete to me. Manny was hardly muscle-bound, he may have been the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen. Sorry, Eloy and Vaughn look to be like ball crushers, not much else at this point. That can change.
3. I wish the Sox well, but nothing in ML is guaranteed, nor does it go the way most want it to. Ultimately it’s played on the field by the participants.
4. As Dayton Moore (Royals GM) said a few days ago – all teams have weaknesses (as do 98% of the players). We can say his team should do this with this guy, get rid of that guy, being in another guy……it’s fun.
But I get surprised every year by things. This year I saw Alec Bohm show up in Phillies camp playing a solid ML 3B – his was poor in 2020. Worked his tail off in the off-season. I find that more attritive then all the theories, projections, etc. I’m curiously watching Michael Wacha and Chris Archer with the Rays. Both of them look good in ST – not so much overpowering, just confident and pitching well. The Rays do have a way of getting something out of veterans that they seem to have lost. Don’t believe either will revert to past peak form. But if they have decent years and help the team win – well, that’s why I follow the sport.
I still appreciate conversing with other ‘old-time’ fans like myself. I also understand better why you have made a few ‘controversial’ claims regarding White Sox players. You don’t see them on a daily basis like ChiSox fans. You are pretty far off base when it comes to your assessment regarding the skill level and “athleticism” of young White Sox players Eloy Jimenez and Andrew Vaughn, not too mention trashing Jose Abreu’s defense at 1B while also boasting of Frank Thomas’ superior “athletic” ability. Enough said.
No, they will sign Vaughn long term making service time moot!!
I’m gonna varmit for the second time today.
Feeling squirrelly are you?
Almost spit out my coffee with that one.
Somehow this is still service time manipulation.
not manipulating service time is service time manipulation because ANGER
Its up to the players to fix this in the next cba. This imo is worth striking for.
I do agree but we need to remember that the players union typically only cares about the needs / wants of the veterans. And the first thing they will ever sacrifice is benefits to the newest members / people that are not members yet.
I know, different sport completely with a different “minor league / developmental system, but service time manipulation being allowed is similar to how the NFL players union allowed for scaled back capped rookie contracts and 5th year options for first round picks. In every single league the newest members or rookies have dramatically scaled contracts compared to veterans even when you often see the younger cheaper players dramatically outperforming the much higher paid veterans.
They will never be able to strike over this. It’s alogical to think otherwise. For instance, no arbitrator will ever rule on the side of the player – it would restrict the organization’s decision-making ability and the arbitrator would take on the role of determining the player’s level of competition, unilaterally.
They won’t do that for so many reasons. And the CWS publishing this is just a PR move so they can deny it later if they do hold him back.
Alogical is an illogical word
And the rest of what you wrote is, well, illogical.
Even as a White Sox fan, I kind of agree. I mean we’re one of the few teams that don’t do this, or at least don’t put ourselves in position to do so. But it still bothers me that it’s so common all around the rest of the Majors. All it does is push back a good player’s payday/earning potential back a full season and in turn, we hardly ever see anyone under 28 or 29 years old hit free agency which obviously creates this very dull and slow-moving offseasons.
Personally, I hope it gets fixed in the next CBA.
I’m not sure I would agree that the White Sox don’t do it, they just do it differently.
Most, if not all of the players the White Sox signed to early extensions are going to leave a lot of money on the table. Chicago knows this. They also know that by giving them these contracts, they can tell the player they can get called up to the majors earlier.
So the player ultimately has two options: sign the extension (which is bad for them long-term) or be held in the minors until it benefits Chicago (which is also bad for them).
The White Sox should hope and pray that service time manipulation DOESN’T get addressed in the next CBA, because they’ve only been able to do this because it exists. They’ve just found a different way to leverage it.
The White Sox are one of the few teams to believe when they say these things. They’ve already shown their commitment to young players by locking them up to guaranteed contracts before making it to the majors. Vaughn would be smart to lock in guaranteed earnings now, as you never know what can happen in the future. This first contract would set him and his family up for life. Maybe he sacrifices $10M – $15M of potential future earnings by doing so, but if he invests his money wisely, he can easily make up for that. If he bets on himself and takes the minimum this year, a small raise next year, etc.. he’s taking a big risk. It paid off for Mookie but there are countless of examples where great prospects never reach their potential due to injuries or just not being able to hack it at the major league level.
Chicago seems pretty confident they’ll be able to lock him into a contract so why not let him make the team out of camp? Even if he decides to bet on himself, he will be grateful that the Sox allowed him to make the team out of camp and get to free agency a year earlier. That would only help Chicago’s chances of re-signing him should go that route.
The next CBA has to address this ridiculous service time rule anyways. My thoughts are if a player is on the active roster for at least 82 games, that counts as a full service year. Some teams would still hold the player down in the minors until 82 games have been played, but for really good prospects, teams will need that bat or arm in the roster well before July so they’ll be much more willing to allow the player to make the team out of camp vs. waiting 3 weeks for the player to ‘improve their defense’ or ‘improve their control’.
He would be younger than a lot of these ex-college players when starting his MLB career, but I do agree that taking the money is probably a good idea. This guy might have actually benefitted from the lack of a minor league season. Think about if he had been promoted to AA, etc. and even struggled a little bit; there would be zero chance of him starting the 2021 season on the Sox roster.
I’m a Sox fan so I’m rooting for him, but there is definitely a chance that he looks completely overmatched coming out of the gate.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Overmatched maybe but batting 8th should help. Also Vaughn has demonstrated oodles of confidence, much like “Mr 3000” spanky Madrigal
LOl! I don’t recall Andrew Vaughn being quite as brash (can I say cocksure here?) as Nick Madrigal was with his goal of 3000 hits. That said, Vaughn does have a great supporter in Lucas Giolito. The White Sox ace was impressed enough with the slugger’s hitting ability against him during last year’s ‘Summer Camp’ to call Vaughn “a pain in my ass”.
Dumpster Divin Theo
This. Dorothy Mantooth is more like Dorothy long in the tooth, but this.
more like figgins good points even if they do get a little long, and if you get to bored you can steal his bottle of Glengoolie Blue.
Baseball is about manipulating rules. Intentional walks, shifts, etc. If the players want to get rid of the service time issue, give up arbitration.
Arbitration = allowing a judge who knows nothing about baseball to pick a winner and loser.
Vaughn likely has two options: sign the extension and lose a lot of money OR spend more time in the minors and lose a lot of money.
Can we seriously stop pretending that the White Sox are being so benevolent here? Using service time manipulation to strong-arm players into signing extensions that are bad for them isn’t a good thing.
And chances are, the White Sox will be the ones leading the charge against the players when the players try to correct this in the next CBA. The White Sox NEED this to continue so they can leverage it for their advantage.
Andrew Vaughn in 20 games: 13 H in 53 PA, .289 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .396 OBP, .489 Slugging, .885 OPS. 23 years old.
Bobby Witt Jr. in *14* games: 11 H in 40 PA, .289 BA, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .325 OBP, .526 Slugging, .851 OPS. 20 years old.
I don’t care who has or hasn’t played X amount of games above AAAAAAAA. Last time I checked/remembered/thought, aside from the obvious lock-in’s, ST is about seeing who shys away from the rest in terms of talent, who would make a great addition to the MLB roster.
Andrew Vaughan: Not confirmed, but will most likely break the team.
Bobby Witt Jr: Minors.
Just putting that out there.
Witt never played college and didn’t overwhelm in rookie ball, plus he struck out way more than he should, top level talent but could use some development
Andrew Vaughn: 23 with 3 years of collegiate ball, over 100 ABs in High A, plays a non-demanding position and may just DH, on a contending team.
Bobby Witt JR: 20 with just rookie ball experience, plays a premium position, team is not contending this year.
You can not care about all the other factors, but they still matter in reality. Also, that OBP is a huge difference considering the averages. Why isn’t Witt walking? Why was he striking out? Plate discipline is one of the biggest indicators of long term success and mastery at a level. Batting average is not.
Andrew Vaughn not only excelled in college he did it at an elite level at the University of California in the Pac-12 for three season including his freshmen season when he also pitched some. Vaughn was not only considered to possess the top bat during his 2019 Draft Class but also among the best coming out of college for the last decade.
There must be something in the waters of northern California. Nick Madrigal (2018/OSU/#4) and Spencer Torkelson (2020/ASU/#1) were also considered the best pure hitters in the MLB Drafts surrounding Vaughn. Each were born and raised in northern California, attended Pac-12 schools and were in the top-4 of their respective drafts.
Same hitting coach in the case of Vaughn and Torkelson — brother of Johnny Gomes. Supposed to have made a big difference in power. One of them hit only one HR in high school.
As a coach pointed out in an interview yesterday…..
Every player that makes the major leagues was a star / superior player wherever he played before – high school, college, minors.
Most get up to the majors only to find that they have to take a lesser role with the team, as even guys with poor stats are better players.
If you think Bobby Witt Jr. would outperform Hanser Alberto with the Royals this year, no. Witt would get smoked against ML pitching and his defense wouldn’t hold up. His stats (and every other minor leaguer) in ST this year were playing against minor leaguers, washed up veterans on an invite, and ML starters that are pacing themselves as they get ready for the season.
Just putting that out there.
Witt looks likely to be a very good player, but I don’t think he’s ready yet. At best, he comes up later this year, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t come up until next year.
And who are the ABs against? Different when the games are for real.
@Samuel, @kcmark – The same can be said for both players. I’m assuming they’ve both had “big league pitching experience” at the alternate training sites last year, but when it comes to actual game formats, they’ve (for the most part) faced minor league pitching, and ML veterans who are on a minor league deal.
@Samuel – I’d be careful there. You’re making it sound like thats all there is in ST. You have still got folks like Giolito, Cole, Bieber, Rosenthal and all the other ML stars who make appearances.
I don’t care much for ST in terms of sitting through games as much as I do in the regular season, but I’m assuming that in their starts, Witt is more of a leadoff guy, and Vaughn is more of a cleanup (or in that ballpark) type hitter. ST starters pitch 2, 3, maybe 4 innings? I’m not gonna go back and do all the math, but they more than likely have had at bats against the ML stars we all know.
call me crazy but what are your thoughts on service time setup like in the nhl. once your on the 26 your clock starts and after x games up (x being a min % of games you played that season) counts as a year of service time, after your 1st 3years with the club your a restricted fa where “any team” can sign you but you have to give up top picks depending on the contract value and the team with your rights have to match the deal. i know it’s not a perfect system but it’s a better system we have now and teams get to keep there homegrown players for 6 years or get good comps for them. players get paid more fairly on what there doing now. btw i would love to here your guys thoughts on this proposal and if you don’t like what can you come up with that’s better. (side note the “what can you come up with that’s better” is not ment as a shot or sarcasm but a genuine what is a better proposal than what “1 idiotic fan came up with”)
the NHL developmental structure is drastically different from that of the MLB
wasn’t really comparing there development structure more of how they handle “rookie” contracts work, and this is the only system i can see both sides agreeing too.
This is the way they should have always handled things.
I think the difference this year is La Russa. He probably has more control over the roster than any manager since Ozzie, and probably more than he did.
@max i will say this about tlr watching for 15+ years in stl he has the mind of a gm/pbo and on the field manger. when it comes to contracts and dealing with agents is where he fails but tlr has always believed that if i can get a young player decent playing time and win he is going to be on the club. tlr has always been about getting his bench regular playing time for 2 reasons regulars need time off from bb and bench guys need time in the field so they don’t rust. a lot of gm’s now don’t like tlr because he is about winning now and trusts his coaches to help develop new talent not about this “seasoning” bs we see now which also needs to be addressed.
All of TLR time as manager in STL, he was top 25% highest in MLB in team age. His first 5 years in STL, he was in the top four in team age (despite just an average .500 winning %!!!).
I may have missed a season somehow but im not going back.
That is one hell of a sample size to consistently have top aged teams. I can’t imagine its any better in OAK.
Im not saying that I disagree that he doesn’t play young players. Maybe he just somehow didn’t have many good young players to give playing time to. Or the older players acquired were overly exceptional.
LaRussa prefers veterans. That has always been true. However, if a young player shows he is the best option and he is mentally ready to play the game the way Tony wants it played, he is not afraid to go with the young player. Pujols, Molina, and Wainright are proof of that. But there are plenty of examples of young players who got ran out of town because they couldn’t get along with LaRussa. Overall, I think this is a bad marriage, but we’ll see.
tlr gives kids chances he did all the time in stl but when they got there chance they didn’t take off with it. maybe some guys didn’t get a fair shake for whatever reason but when your trying to win you can only give so many chances before you move on. finally tbh if i was a cws i’d rather have tlr making my on field moves than hann.
No minor league season really hurt guys like Vaughn. He’s already 22 and will be 23 in the first week of April. Last season, he would have likely have already gotten playing time at both Double-A and Triple-A. It also hurts that the minor league season is delayed for a month. At least then they could have at least gotten him a month’s worth of playing time at AAA before promoting him, but they can’t really do that now. I think he needs a little bit of seasoning in the upper minors because he hasn’t played above A+ yet.
I very much agree that teams should fill out their rosters with their best players regardless of service time issues. That said , the one fallacy that always comes up is that by not sending a players down to get one more year of control or paying large increases in salary to younger players pre-arb seasons will somehow garner extra favor with the player and agent. By doing those things will not get a player to accept the best offer you can make when they hit FA or oil you make your best offer to extend before FA. If the offer is close to what the market is, then you have a chance. If other teams can out bid you, you will still lose the player and they will thank you when they leave. A team like the Sox have the ability to be one of the teams that can out bid many others. About 2/3 of the league will always get out bid by the top 1/3 teams and their better players won’t give you a big discount to stay because you were nice to them for several seasons.
not a practical use of a roster spot at this time
@darkside830 i agree but only on this because i don’t follow cws (i semi follow the chc because there in my division) if the cws don’t really have a path for vaughn with regular playing time then he is better served in the minors so he can get ab, you do no favors to the kid being a “bench bat” imo either he is an everyday guy right now or you keep him on the farm and bring him up because of an injury.
Starting DH: either from the start or whenever he comes up.
Vaughn’s role would be primary DH if he breaks with the club (occasional 1B work). They wouldn’t have him out of the lineup much.
Kinda hard to keep a guy in the minors for 3 weeks to “develop” when there are no minors for the first month.
Really, this decision has nothing to do with his readiness, or even if there are minors.
It’s going to hinge, 100%, on whether or not Vaughn signs a team-benefitting extension. If he doesn’t, then he should probably expect to be in the minors for a while longer.
If that was the case, this story doesn’t appear.
I honestly think the combination of Vaughn’s relationship to Giolito through agents, and TLR’s outsized influence on JR pretty much means we should NOT expect any extension and time soon, but should expect arguably the best DH option to actually play DH on opening day.
Not holding him back probably means they are close to a deal much like with Eloy Jimenez in ’19 and Luis Robert last year
Dumpster Divin Theo
And Moncada and TA before them
Here’s hoping, but I have to admit I’m a little leery on a big extension to a one-dimensional player. Robert at least had a Byron Buxton-esque floor: good speed, great defense, some power when he stumbles into one. That’s not an All-Star, but it is a decent starter on a good team. If Vaughn doesn’t hit, he has practically no value. Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be successful. I just see more risk of him failing to live up to an extension than I saw in Robert.
I believe the entire service time thing is much ado about nothing.
I’d like to see a breakdown of how many top prospects played 6 years in the majors with the team that brought them up; or even played 6 years in the majors.
The star players are visible. The majority of the players wash out, and we forget about them as the new “star” players take our attention.
As for the Sox, they’re determined to lead the league in DH/1B types.
Kris Bryant has made more money in his career than Eloy Jimenez, and Eloy didn’t have his service time manipulated.
So I agree, service time manipulation is a lot more nefarious than most people play it up.
And again, what the White Sox are doing, in my opinion, is far worse. Because they are taking advantage at a time when most of these guys have absolutely zero leverage to turn down the extension.
This should be a surprise to no one. The White Sox respect talent, regardless of longevity in the league. I think it is disgraceful how young players who produce are so underpaid, manipulated, and generally get screwed over in the MLB. Get her done, Hahn.
Do you feel the same way about washed up vets who take up a roster spot and block younger talent? Because clubs will not admit a mistake and eat the money. See Chris Davis.
Not sure what your post has to do with anything I said.
“I think it is disgraceful how young players who produce are so underpaid, manipulated, and generally get screwed over in the MLB.”
Yes, like taking a guy like Eloy Jimenez or Yoan Moncada, and buying out their arbitration years at just a fraction of what they can likely make 3-4 years from now.
Go look at what star players are getting paid in their 5th and 6th years of service (last and second to last arb years)… Eloy has a 16.5M option for those years. That’s anywhere from 50-75% of what he could very easily make when he gets to that point.
This whole branding the White Sox as a team who “aren’t manipulating their players” is a farce. Using a roster spot as leverage to get players to sign extensions that cost them significant money in the long run is manipulation, and one could argue is worse than holding them back for a couple of months.
It’s a shrewd move by the White Sox front office, but it is the farthest thing from benevolence.
I wouldn’t call it benevolence. It’s a risk by the White Sox and with risk should come the potential for reward. Take Vaughn for example. He’s not going to win any GG’s, even though he should become passable as a defender. He’s terribly slow, too, so all of his value is going to come from his bat. It’s plausible that he’ll get to the majors and not be able to adjust when pitchers make adjustments to him. Now he is of little value. Should he sign an extension, the Sox are still on the hook for that money, whereas if they don’t, they can just non-tender him. The player gets enough money to be set for life if they’re smart and the team gets what they hope is a discount on FMV for future services. Besides, nobody’s putting a gun to these players’ heads. They have every right to say no and go all the way to free agency, like I believe Giolito will.
Giolito is in a much different position than Vaughn is now (or Robert or Jimenez were when they signed theirs). Giolito saying “no” has little effect on his playing career at this point. He’s already in the majors, and has been for a few years.
Vaughn isn’t already in the majors. Nor were Robert or Jimenez. The White Sox, pretty clearly, used those deals to get massive discounts on future earnings for those players and very likely used the service time manipulation issue to leverage those players into signing deals that were bad for them.
It’s like saying, “hey, we charge $150 for an oil change, but at least we don’t make you spend money on fixes you don’t need.”
The White Sox aren’t just guessing on these players. They are being very, very shrewd in getting these long-term extensions early on. They know they can save anywhere from 20-40M per player over the course of 6 years by getting them locked in.
For comparisons sake, let’s compare Eloy Jimenez to a notorious contract manipulation case: Kris Bryant.
In their first six seasons here’s what they made (or will make):
Add in year 7, which is 2021 for Bryant, and Eloy’s first option year:
Factor in that Eloy will hit years 5 & 6 of his service time in 2024 & 2025, and that other players have reached last season arb salaries in the 30M range in recent years, Eloy is leaving a TON of money on the table. In year 6, he’s making 13.8M. That’s about 35% of what a player of his caliber will likely make in a final year of arbitration now.
The White Sox know this. And they play this whole benevolence card with their top prospects, when really, they are using the service time manipulation issue to get players to sign deals that might actually be worse than having their service time manipulated.
It’s actually pretty gross when you look at the numbers and realize what they are doing.
Your math is terrible. If 13.8M is 35% of FA value, you think he’s worth about $39.4M? Just no.
And it’s worked out for them so far, but there’s no guarantee it will continue to work out. Guys could stall out or get injured. Eloy may have torn something. If he’s never the same, the Sox lose on that deal and he wins. So is it still terribly unfair for Eloy? He got the security he wanted. Sox got what they hope is a discount. I don’t find it “gross” so much as a win-win. Any of these guys could be leaving money on the table or getting much more than they’re worth. We won’t know until it actually happens.
Your analysis assumes that the player will be very good in years 6 and beyond and is leaving a “ton” of money on he table. That is not a sure thing. If the player doesn’t live up to expectations, then the team is stuck on a lot of wasted payroll. It’s not like every hot young player holds up.
Taking a risk has a value. Guaranteeing money to a player who has yet to prove himself is a huge risk. Take Robert for example. What if he never gets better than a 35% strike out rate or if he blows out a knee and losses a lot of his speed.
The early deals are two way risks: risk for the owner if the player doesn’t fully develop; risk for the player in loss of future earnings.
Wins for both: team has predictable payroll and potential for saving money in the later years; player has attained financial security for himself, his children, and his grandchildren
You guys both understand that the White Sox will absolutely carry insurance on those contracts, right? It’s not like a business is just handing out 40M “hoping” they are right. They’ll have ways to recoup a percentage of that money if these guys get hurt.
Of course there’s risk. Every contract has risk.
But pretending that the White Sox aren’t engaging in the same game that other teams are because they sign their rookies to comically team-friendly deals shows nothing other than you can’t see what’s actually taking place.
The White Sox wouldn’t be able to sign a single team-friendly pre-debut extension if service time manipulation weren’t a thing. They would have zero leverage to ask a player to give up significant levels of future earnings.
As for the risk, no. They know what they are doing. It’s not like they are giving these deals to fringe prospects like Gavin Sheets. These are going to the guys they know will be really good.
It’s just as grimy as service-time manipulation. But when the player would be better off to have his service time manipulated, this is actually worse. Much worse.
Excellent synopsis gogosox59
You can insure hurt and unable to play. You can’t insure poor performance.
By accepting these deals, the player is buying himself “insurance”.
Countless “can’t miss” players have “missed”.
As far as the “well, the players agreed” argument, if a player feels the risk is worth it, that’s between them and the parties that depend on the deal. I don’t care what Eloy and his agent think is right.
But if we’re going to frame this as the White Sox being benevolent in the midst of other teams manipulating their players, then it’s false. 100% false and you have fallen for it.
Buying out future arbitration years for pennies on the dollar, knowing you can save tens of millions in the future on a player isn’t benevolent. It’s playing the same game, just with a different tone.
If you think it’s just as simple as “hey guyzzzz, we think Eloy is gonna be really good… let’s throw $43 million his way!!!” then I don’t think you actually comprehend what’s going on.
The White Sox aren’t handing out free money. There are deep, deep levels of actuarial application that takes place in the front office to make these deals. And they are made because the White Sox have a good feeling that they’ll save themselves significant amounts of money in the long run.
Which is exactly the same mentality as the teams manipulating service time… but because it’s packaged differently, you all think it’s better.
I don’t think in any way the the Sox are being benevolent in any way. They are doing what they think is good business for themselves.
You seem to think that what they are doing is risk free. It isn’t risk free. If you absorb a risk, then you have to have an off-setting reward otherwise why take a risk.
The tougher decision has to be made by the player. The player has to decide what is his risk tolerance. In a very real sense, taking these deals are betting against yourself, but have you ever taken “insurance” at the blackjack table.
I don’t think it’s risk free. But I think the “risk” is overstated. The White Sox side of that risk is far more minimal than you’re suggesting it is.
However, I’d contend that the players have less leverage than you think. It’s not as simple as, “is this risk worth taking”, and more of a “can I even afford to not take this contract offer?” That sounds like the same thing, but it’s not.
If the alternative to me not taking the contract offer is to have my service time manipulated, and thus give you an extra year of cheap production, or give you 6 years of service at a team-friendly price, what choice would be reasonable to accept? Of course I’ll take the contract. The White Sox WANT me to take that “risk”.
Not to mention, I have an agent who wants me to take the contract. And possibly someone who helped give me startup money who needs me to take the contract. And other people who need me to do it.
There’s next to no leverage for the player, and you can believe that the White Sox know this full well.
That’s why I say it’s really grimy. It’s actually significantly worse, in my opinion, than service time manipulation. Because the White Sox are packaging two terrible options and presenting it in such a way that the worst option is the only one to choose.
“You guys both understand that the White Sox will absolutely carry insurance on those contracts, right?”
I put up with you demagoguery and thought your nonsense funny, but the above line got me.
#1. Insurance on ballplayers is quite expensive. It’s not easy to get.
#2. Clubs take out insurance on a small percentage of players – primarily the superstars. Many clubs are holding no insurance policies on their players.
#3. Insurance companies will not insure 100% of a players salary. The percentage they will insure is based on their internal policies. Their rates are based on their actuarial tables developed by their departments or on contract with an outside firm, and insurance companies are not in business to lose money. The higher the percentage of a contract a club wants to take out, the higher the cost of the premiums per dollar insured.
You are correct about this – locking any player in today for the next few years is a good business move. It’s why we see so many teams trying to extend players. The US Fed has already said they’ll accept inflation. The more money the US government prints the less the dollar is worth. People that take their $1,400 stimulus check today and put it into Bitcoin will be the smart ones. The $1,200 check from last year is now worth $5,770 – $6,000; the $600 check from late 2020, is worth $800-$900. Were I an agent I’d demand my player be paid in Bitcoin.
P.S. We have a Dentist in our area that is advertising on radio to deposit the $1,400 with him, and in turn he’ll give your family $1,600 of dental work in the future. What a joke. His rates will soon be going up as the cost of all his supplies, rent and insurance will as well.
I never stated that insurance pays back 100% of the cost. I didn’t even hint at it. But if it can help recoup even 50% of the cost, it’s typically worth it. The point to that was that the White Sox have numerous options to mitigate the risk they are taking on these contracts, insurance being one of them.
The idea, however, from Sox fans on here that the White Sox are just taking on a boat load of risk and the players are getting paid is so laughable.
The White Sox know exactly what they are doing. They aren’t just handing out money to popular young players. This is as shrewd as those who are engaging in service time manipulation. They are just packaging it differently.
Also, LOL at thinking someone calling out the White Sox for their chicanery makes one a “demagogue.”
This attempt to make the White Sox look like a benevolent team who “doesn’t manipulate service time” is a pure joke when you see that they do everything they can to sign them to comically team-friendly deals.
It’s like a computer hacker saying, “at least I don’t break into houses and steal your stuff!”
The White Sox are paying these young players more than they’d make in pre-arb and arbitration in most cases. The fact that they’re still young enough for an even bigger contract mid-career makes that a win for both parties.
I get that you don’t like the White Sox, or whatever, so you have to put a negative spin on A BEST PRACTICE in the MLB. but you calling it “chicanery” is just ridiculous.
No, chicanery is paying one of the best players in the league $4MM after arguing over $200K in arbitration proceedings. That kind of nonsense needs to stop.
You don’t think Tim Anderson would make more than $25M through that process? Or 50M for Robert? 43M for Jimenez? 16M for Aaron Bummer?
Based on the opinions I’ve read people on this site give for those players—you included—I don’t believe you actually think that.
Again, the White Sox know exactly what they are doing. This is pretty shrewd. There’s also good reason why they are doing these deals in volume: even if one fails, they’ll make up for it in the aggregate. (It’s what a lot of venture capitalists do to help eliminate risk: if one fails, it’s a good chance the other 4 help cover that loss.)
It’s total chicanery to suggest that you’re actually helping the player by saying you won’t screw them over, but you’re actually doing it in a different way.
Sorry that not everyone slobbers over the supposed “brilliance” of Rick Hahn. It’s okay that you root for the White Sox, but just acknowledge they are just as scummy as all the other teams when it comes to manipulating players.
Ha, I love the way KW put that.
I don’t know. His opponent quality number was kind of low…..
Same hitting coach in the case of Vaughn and Torkelson — brother of Johnny Gomes. Supposed to have made a big difference in power. One of them hit only one HR in high school.
I’m honestly surprised. I realize this is not tantamount to saying he’ll break camp with the team, but he has relatively little experience in the minors and the Sox have so many weapons already. Part of me would rather they carry three catchers and shift them around to the DH slot, with Collins taking most of the reps while he continues to learn from Grandal and Lucroy. That said, I can’t ignore that Vaughn has been quite good so far. I didn’t expect him to be that good in his first year, but his approach so far has given me hope that I was wrong.
Building a brand…. What do players say about the White Sox? the international signings they have made are not by chance… A consistent winning percentage will follow in the years to come
White sox are saying all the right things. But that’s because they saw what happened to the Mariners. You can’t say you’re manipulating service time so go the other way and say “yeah, we could break camp with this kid”.
It’s all BS. The White sox have to protect the team. When it comes down to it they’ll issue a statement along the lines “after much thought, this kid never had any at bats above AA so we’re going to give him more time in the minors”. And it may be true, but this narrative was already written. Vaughn starts the year in the minors.
This is a public ploy to get Vaughn to sign a ridiculously team-friendly extension. Nothing more.
What are the White Sox doing? What have the White Sox done? Garret Crotchet was up last year without any minor league experience…. Doing right by the team and organization does not exist in a vacuum. They are protecting a reputation that they have built by consistently also doing right by the players.
lol Cubs fans
“Anyone who doesn’t slobber over the White Sox is a Cubs fan”