CHICAGO -- The White Sox avoided arbitration with their two remaining eligible players, Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza, by agreeing to one-year deals on Friday. Beckham's contract is for $2.925 million, while De Aza will earn $2.075 million.
Beckham, the 26-year-old second baseman whose .9899 fielding percentage in 2012 ranked second at the position in franchise history behind Nellie Fox's .9901 in 1962, received a raise from the $520,000 he earned last season in his first year as arbitration-eligible. Beckham didn't have the perfect showing that he wanted in his fourth big league season, hitting just .234.
But Beckham definitely made progress offensively from the previous season, while putting forth Gold Glove caliber defense.
His 16 home runs represented a career high, and his 60 RBIs were his second-highest single-season total while hitting primarily from the ninth spot in the order. Beckham recently told MLB.com that he felt in a good place at the plate at the end of the 2012 campaign.
"In general, I felt like I turned a corner at the end of last year," Beckham said. "I don't know how to describe it, but I'm encouraged. I guess it's the first time in a while that I actually truly believed in myself.
"You can have fake confidence, where you don't believe it in your gut. And there have been times over the last couple of years, doubts, where I said to myself, 'Maybe they are right.' At end of this year, I don't know how to describe it but there's now a maturity and better understanding of the game: the focus it takes, the routine.
"I'm sure people are tired of hearing that I turned a corner," Beckham said. "I'm tired of hearing it to be honest. I believe I belong and I want to show what I believe. I have a great family behind me, a great support staff, a great team, a great organization. There's a lot that don't believe, but the organization does and that says enough."
De Aza, the team's 28-year-old leadoff man and center fielder, hit .281 with 29 doubles, nine home runs, 50 RBIs, 81 runs scored and 26 stolen bases over 131 games. De Aza's four leadoff homers tied for the fifth-most in franchise history and were the most since Ray Durham hit a team-record six in 2001. He received a raise from $495,000 in 2011.
With the announcement of these two one-year deals, reliever Keith Foulke remains the last player whom the White Sox went to an arbitration hearing with back in 2001. Foulke received an increase from $445,000 to $3.1 million.