McCann signs, but it’s bye-bye Burr, Frare, Vieira

Tough break: Frare lost his spot in the South Side bullpen with a rough 2019. Now, he’s lost his spot in the organization itself. (Topps)


The top headline today came first, as the White Sox announced they had reached an agreement with arbitration-eligible catcher James McCann on a $5.4 million deal for 2020. The now-backup backstop more than doubled his 2019 salary, perhaps fair even in light of his diminished role post-Grandal, as McCann was an All-Star and one of the few bright lights on offense last year.

Also this afternoon, Thyago Vieira was released from the 40-man roster in order to sign a contract to pitch for the NPB’s Yomiuri Giants.

Then, things got interesting. 

Bullpen mainstay in 2018 Caleb Frare and TJS rehabbing bright light in the 2019 pen Ryan Burr both were refused contracts by the White Sox. This removes them from the 40-man roster. While there’s a chance Burr, injured, will re-sign on the South Side, the likelihood that Frare won’t receive significant interest around the league is almost nil.

Yolmer Sánchez, already DFA’d last week, did not receive a contract offer from the White Sox, either. 

The losses of Vieira, Burr and Frare reduce the 40-man roster to 36, which fuels speculation for a move — or a series of moves — this week.

Four players were offered contracts, putting them on track for arbitration hearings next year to determine final salaries (MLBTR arbitration estimates in parenthesis):

Alex Colomé ($10,300,000)
Leury García ($4,000,000)
Evan Marshall ($1,300,000)
Carlos Rodón ($4,500,000)

Losing Frare reduces the number of MLB-ready bullpen southpaws to just Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry, so surely something must be cooking in Rick Hahn’s kitchen. With free agent bullpen lefty options already reduced to almost nil, perhaps there is a crafty Rule 5 or DFA snag Hahn has in mind, if not a trade.

As our James Fox pointed out, all three of these pitchers being cut on the same day signals a strikeout for the Sox system, even if all three players were lottery tickets:

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Actor (final credit: murdered by Albert Einstein in "Carnage Hall"), musician (Ethnocentric Republicans), and Nerf hoops champion, Wiffleball aficionado and onetime bilingual kindergarten teacher, Brett Ballantini also writes about baseball, basketball and sometimes hockey, publishing at the NBA, MLB, NHL, and for Slam, Hoop, Sporting News, the Athletic, and others. He was CSN Chicago’s Blackhawks beat writer for their first Stanley Cup season of 2009-10, and took over the White Sox beat after that. He currently is the editor-in-chief of South Side Hit Pen and managing editor of SB Nation's South Side Sox. He also wrote a book about Ozzie Guillén but is running out of space, so follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and he'll probably tell you even more about himself than you ever wanted to know.

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Will
Will
7 months ago

Ahh yes…. the good ole’ sideswipe agenda tweet. The money couldn’t be spent…. but now we know it was wasted. But, if it couldn’t be spent, it was going to go to waste unless the front office did something. They did. It didn’t work out. No more or less wasted than if the front office sat on it and watched it burn.

Right Size Wrong Shape
Right Size Wrong Shape
7 months ago
Reply to  Will

Not exactly. They got a look at some guys with promising arms, but it didn’t work out. I don’t really see how you can criticize the Sox too much for those moves. Now giving away pool money rights when you ARE allowed to spend it…

Will
Will
7 months ago

I’m not criticizing the Sox FO.. in fact, I’m saying exactly the same as you. The tweet contained in Brett’s article takes the swipe and shows the writers anti-FO stance.

Mark Liptak
Mark Liptak
7 months ago

Sox simply cutting more flotsam and jetsam. But it continues to say a lot about the Sox ability to judge talent at both the amateur and Major League levels. That still has me very concerned considering the rebuild and the talent still needed to be acquired to put them back into contention.