AP source: White Sox agree to deal with Edwin Encarnación

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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract with veteran slugger Edwin Encarnación, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

Encarnación is due $11 million in salary next season and a $1 million signing bonus, with the White Sox holding an option for the 2021 season.

Encarnación hit 34 home runs in 109 games for Seattle and the Yankees last season. The three-time All-Star led the American League with 21 homers when the Mariners dealt him to New York in June. But the Yankees declined an option for next season after he was limited by oblique problems down the stretch.

Encarnación batted .249 with 13 homers and 37 RBIs in 44 regular-season games with the Yankees. He hit .308 while New York pounded Minnesota in the AL Division Series, but slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against Houston.

Encarnación, turns 37 on Jan. 7, has eight straight seasons with more than 30 homers. He has 414 homers in 15 years with Cincinnati, Toronto, Cleveland, Seattle and New York.

He figures to serve as the designated hitter and play first base along with slugger Jose Abreu.

The White Sox have been loading up around a promising young core, hoping to challenge in the AL Central after seven straight losing seasons. Encarnación joins former AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and catcher Yasmani Grandal as big-money additions this offseason.

The White Sox agreed Saturday to a $55.5 million, three-year deal with Keuchel, a day after finalizing a one-year contract with two-time All-Star pitcher Gio González. They also brought back Abreu on a $50 million, three-year deal and acquired outfielder Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers.

The White Sox were 72-89 last season, well behind the 101-win Minnesota Twins and 93-win Cleveland Indians. But they believe they are in position to make a big jump after missing the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since their 2005 World Series championship. That’s because young players established themselves in the majors and promising prospects remain in the pipeline.

Tim Anderson led the majors with a .335 average last year. Yoán Moncada had a breakthrough season, hitting .315 with 25 homers and 79 RBIs. Eloy Jiménez showed pop as a rookie, with a .267 average, 31 homers and 79 RBIs. Prized outfielder Luis Robert figures to debut next spring, and top prospect Nick Madrigal might also be ready to get significant time at second base.

Keuchel and Gonzalez will join a rotation led by All-Star Lucas Giolito that also includes Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease. Promising young right-hander Michael Kopech is also expected to return following Tommy John surgery.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.