GM: White Sox don't have the money for Figgins

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For years now the White Sox have been linked to Chone Figgins via various trade rumors, but now that he’s a free agent general manager Ken Williams made it clear yesterday that he won’t be pursuing the speedy infielder, saying: “We don’t have that kind of money.”
Williams’ sudden lack of interest in Figgins is especially interesting given that he’d just finished talking about the White Sox’s need for “that ideal leadoff guy” and previously indicated that the team wouldn’t be re-signing Scott Podsednik.
However, the Chicago Sun-Times notes that Podsednik may have revised his demands after Williams scoffed at his initial asking price, perhaps opening the door for a return to Chicago. Podsednik hit .304/.353/.412 with 30 steals and 75 runs in 132 games after joining the White Sox on May 1, but hit just .243/.299/.369 in 2007 and .253/.322/.333 in 2008. By comparison, Figgins hit .298/.395/.393 with 42 steals and 114 runs this season and has batted .291/.363/.388 for his career.
There’s no doubt that Figgins is far superior to Podsednik as a leadoff man and the White Sox could clear room for him at third base by playing the recently acquired Mark Teahen in right field, which would also improve their defense. Payroll restraints may simply make that impossible, but it’s also worth noting that Figgins qualified as a Type A free agent in the rankings released yesterday and thus may have fewer suitors now that teams would relinquish their first-round pick for signing him.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.