The Chicago White Sox began Friday with five arbitration-eligible players.
That number is down to zero after they reached agreements on one-year deals with each player, including American League Cy Young Award runner-up Dylan Cease.
Cease and the Sox agreed to a $5.7 million deal. The Sox also avoided arbitration with pitchers Lucas Giolito ($10.4 million), Michael Kopech ($2.05 million), Reynaldo López ($3.625 million) and José Ruiz ($925,000).
Cease went 14-8 with a 2.20 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 32 starts in 2022, finishing second in Cy Young voting to Justin Verlander. He was second in the AL in ERA, strikeouts and opponents’ average (.190) and third in strikeouts per nine innings (11.1). This was his first time qualifying for arbitration.
“Coming in second (in Cy Young voting) and not being an All-Star says a lot about the season he had and how he finished,” Sox pitching coach Ethan Katz said during a November video conference. “That wasn’t a distraction to him. It did bother him when he didn’t get announced being an All-Star. Getting this (recognition in the voting) is a little bit more rewarding.”
This was Giolito’s third time qualifying for arbitration; he agreed to a $4.15 million deal in 2021 and $7.45 million last season. The right-hander looks to rebound after going 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA — his highest since 2018 — and 177 strikeouts in 30 starts in 2022.
“He has always bounced back,” Katz said. “And last year was frustrating to him and he’s highly motivated.”
Kopech went 5-9 with a 3.54 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 25 starts, returning to the rotation after spending most of 2021 as a reliever.
Ruiz went 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA in 63 relief appearances. He had 68 strikeouts in 60⅔ innings.
López, who has a history of starting, became a strong source out of the bullpen. He went 6-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 61 outings (one start).
“I think he really loves the role he’s in, being a lockdown guy in the bullpen,” Katz said. “He really thrived at that.”