The White Sox have declined their club options for designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Gio Gonzalez, per a team announcement. The club has picked up infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia’s $3.5MM option.
Retaining Encarnacion would have cost the White Sox $12MM, but they’ll move on from him without having to pay a buyout. Conversely, Gonzalez will receive a $500K buyout in lieu of the $7MM salary he could have earned next season. These are hardly surprising decisions by Chicago, as both Encarnacion and Gonzalez disappointed after joining the White Sox in free agency last offseason.
While Encarnacion is one of the most prolific sluggers in recent memory, having totaled eight straight 30-home run seasons before 2020, this year was a nightmare for him. He continued to show above-average power (10 home runs, .220 ISO), but Encarnacion limped to a .157/.250/.377 line across 181 plate appearances. Considering he brings no defensive value to the table and will turn 38 before next season, it was surely an easy call to cut the cord for the White Sox.
Like Encarnacion, Gonzalez fell well short of his career-long track record as a member of the Sox. The 35-year-old has eight seasons of 30-plus starts under his belt, but he spent most of this campaign in the bullpen. Gonzalez wound up with four starts in 12 appearances and a 4.83 ERA/5.50 FIP with 9.66 K/9 against 5.4 BB/9 over 31 2/3 innings.
The White Sox could have bought out Garcia for $250K, but they’ll instead keep the versatile 29-year-old. While Garcia had an abbreviated season because of a thumb injury, he did slash a respectable .271/.317/.441 with three homers and a 14.3 percent strikeout rate in 63 trips to the plate.