Middle infielder Everth Cabrera picked up a minor league contract with the White Sox last week, according to a report by La Prensa in Nicaragua. The 30-year-old has not played professional baseball since 2015, when he was released by the Giants after refusing to play for their Triple-A affiliate when he did not get a September call-up.
Prior to his dispute with the Giants, Cabrera saw some major league action with the Orioles through the first half of 2015, batting .208/.250/.229 with two stolen bases in 105 PA. It’s a far cry from the league-leading 44 bases he stole with the Padres back in 2012, and even though he’s reportedly made strides in the Nicaraguan professional baseball circuit since then, he’ll face some stiff competition for a roster spot in the spring.
As the White Sox roster currently stands, Brett Lawrie figures to have a lock on second base, while Tim Anderson is expected to cover short. Unless Cabrera can prove he’s retained some of the speed that earned him an All-Star nomination in 2013 (or, at the very least, his .283/.355/.381 batting line), it’s difficult to picture him winning a starting role in 2017.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
White Sox’ general manager Rick Hahn has made no secret of his desire to restructure the team’s roster this offseason, as Craig noted earlier this month. Per a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Hahn is open to trade offers for any rostered player with three or fewer years of control left on their contract.
A full-scale rebuild may or may not be in the cards for the club after their 78-84 finish in 2016, but it’s an idea that Hahn has been playing around with, at the very least. A report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provided some insight into the general manager’s offseason strategy in early November, revealing that “more than one GM has said that White Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business on just about his entire roster.”
The list of players with less than four years of control on their contracts is a lengthy one that includes left-handers Chris Sale and Dan Jennings, right-handers James Shields, Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, David Robertson and Miguel Gonzalez, outfielders Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia, and infielders Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu and Brett Lawrie.
Chris Sale and fellow left-hander Jose Quintana have drawn the most interest from teams around the league, with talks reportedly initiated by the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, and Braves. Last week, Williams declined to comment on any potential trade negotiations for Sale, though Cafardo noted that the ace’s name has still surfaced in conversations with other GMs.
Quintana’s name, on the other hand, has not. Whether the White Sox are waiting on the right trade offer for the lefty or whether they’re intending to retain some of their core players during the rebuild remains to be seen.