White Sox, Yoán Moncada agree to extension

Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen

Locked in: Yoán Moncada signed a deal that could keep him with the White Sox through 2025. (Clinton Cole/South Side Hit Pen)


Rejoice, White Sox fans. The front office increased the odds of a contention window expansion today. Yoán Moncada and the White Sox have agreed to an extension that could keep Moncada on the South Side through the 2025 season. Previously, Moncada was set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

South Side Hit Pen’s own James Fox really was on top of things last Monday, wasn’t he? Can’t say I’m surprised.

Ken Rosenthal was the one who officially broke the news this afternoon.

This deal will guarantee Moncada $70 million over the first five years (2020-24). When all is said and done, Moncada could earn $90 million depending on the White Sox’s decision after the 2024 season. For the first five years, the AAV will be $14 million, and if the White Sox pick up the option for 2025, the AAV will be $15 million.

Considering Moncada’s performance in 2019, this deal appears to be a bargain for the White Sox. Moncada slashed .315/.367/.548 with a 141 wRC+, putting his offensive production well above average. Moncada’s defense at third base was an improvement over what we had seen from him at second base. According to FanGraphs, Moncada was 4.3 defensive runs more valuable than an average third baseman in 2019 (had been 3.7 runs below average at second base in 2018). If we combine such strong production with the bat and the glove, we get a player who is really freaking good. Like, 5.7 fWAR in only 132 games good.

Skeptics note that 2019 was Moncada’s first year where he was clearly above league average, and his strong season at the plate was aided by a .406 BABIP. While he has yet to put up back-to-back strong seasons, Moncada’s approach at the plate was entirely different in 2018 versus 2019. In 2018, Moncada displayed a lack of aggressiveness at the plate that resulted in lots of backward K’s on the scorecard. While Moncada walked frequently (10.3%), he struck out a ton (33.4%), and when he put the ball in play, it was not particularly sharp contact (90.6 mph average exit velocity).

In 2019, however, we saw a different kind of hitter. While Moncada’s more aggressive approach resulted in less walks (7.2%), he struck out much less often (27.5%), and his average exit velocity of 92.8 mph ranked seventh in the majors. When players hit the ball hard, and they run as fast as Moncada (72nd percentile for sprint speed, per Baseball Savant), they tend to end up with a high BABIP. Sure, .406 is unsustainable, but it is not quite as crazy as many pessimists believe.

So, is Moncada going to be a 141 wRC+ player for the remainder of his contract? Probably not. But, can we count on him to be above average on a consistent basis? After last year, that seems like a safe bet. For that reason, this is an excellent extension, and it is surprising that they managed to pull this off for that price. Bravo, front office, for getting this deal done!

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Joe graduated in 2018 with a degree in economic consulting from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, also minoring in Japanese and studying abroad in Nagoya for a semester. He grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, but moved to Indianapolis after graduation. The White Sox are his favorite team in all of sports, and he considers it a blessing to have the opportunity to write about them on this great platform. He squeaked by with the 2018 #SoxMath championship despite intense competition from colleague Ashley Sanders. That experience helped put him on the map, as he started contributing to South Side Sox shortly afterward. Joe looks forward to delivering all sorts of content about our team.

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Mark Liptak
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Kudos to the White Sox for finally starting to act like a “big boy” / big market club. They keep tying up the core players while giving them room financially to continue to get talent where they need it. Now tie up Giolito, Kopech and Madrigal.

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I disagree with this take. The Sox have yet to start acting like a big market club. The closest they came is signing Grandal. The Moncada extension is definitely exciting, but the reason is that it gives them less of an excuse to not act like a big market team. Until they actually sign some top free agents to contracts that hurt a little on the back end and get above an average MLB payroll, I’m not willing to lump them in with the big boys.

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There is some truth to your comment but also remember it takes two to tango. The Sox have offered in the past only to be turned down for various reasons. They have the room with these extensions to do exactly what you say but again, the other person has to say “yes.”

Other players knowing that this core group is going to be around for awhile should make it easier for them to say, “yes.”