The White Sox have formally announced their previously reported one-year contract with slugger Edwin Encarnacion, designating left-hander Kodi Medeiros for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Encarnacion will be guaranteed $12MM for the upcoming season, the team announced, and there’s a $12MM option for the 2021 season as well. That option comes with a $2MM buyout, meaning Encarnacion’s base salary for 2020 will land at $10MM. If the ChiSox pick up the option, he’d earn a total of $22MM over two seasons. Chicago agreed to terms with Encarnacion back on Dec. 24, but it seems that the holiday season delayed the finalization of the pact.
The 37-year-old Encarnacion becomes the latest official addition in an action-packed offseason that has seen the South Siders spend more than $200MM in free agency. Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez and Steve Cishek all join Encarnacion as open-market acquisitions. The organization has also extended Jose Abreu (three years, $50MM) and acquired Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Rangers, emphatically announcing their intent to emerge from a multi-year rebuilding effort.
Medeiros, 23, was a first-round pick by the Brewers back in 2014 (No. 12 overall) but made his way to the ChiSox in the 2018 trade that sent Joakim Soria from Chicago to Milwaukee. The Hawaiian-born southpaw repeated the Double-A level in 2019 but struggled through an ugly season in what was a very pitcher-friendly league. Through 83 innings of work, Medeiros logged a 5.10 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 5.5 BB/9 and a 36.1 percent grounder rate that marked a 14 percent drop from the previous season. Not only did Medeiros walk 51 hitters in his 83 innings (only one being intentional), he also plunked 11 batters and uncorked eight wild pitches.
All in all, it was a largely miserable season for the left-handed Medeiros, whom the White Sox now have a week to trade, release or place on outright waivers. He does have a pair of minor league options remaining, so perhaps another club will take a speculative flier in hopes of sorting out the former first-rounder’s control issues. But Medeiros’ 2019 struggles in his second trip through what should be a pitcher-friendly setting should give the Sox at least a chance of passing him through waivers and keeping him in the organization.