Decision to let Jim Thome go may cost White Sox the division

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This offseason the White Sox chose not to re-sign Jim Thome in large part because manager Ozzie Guillen urged general manager Ken Williams to let him go, saying he preferred to cycle various players through the designated hitter spot and make the lineup less homer dependent.
Thome signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Twins and has batted .273/.391/.593 in 253 plate appearances, producing the sixth-best OPS in MLB behind only Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Albert Pujols.
And last night he beat Guillen and the White Sox with a dramatic walk-off homer in the 10th inning.
Meanwhile, the White Sox have gotten a combined .235/.305/.399 line from the DH spot, with Mark Kotsay drawing the most starts at the position. There is still a ton of baseball left to be played and even with the Twins now up four games on the White Sox in the AL Central you can realistically point to any number of players on either team as the “difference” in the standings, but it sure is easy to focus on Thome simply switching sides.

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.