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Mazara, Rodón non-tendered by White Sox

Fry agrees to 1-year deal; Menechino, Cairo talk '21
@scottmerkin
December 2, 2020

CHICAGO -- The White Sox announced Wednesday that they've declined to tender 2021 contracts to left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodón and outfielder Nomar Mazara. The White Sox also agreed to terms on a one-year, $862,500 contract with left-handed pitcher Jace Fry, avoiding arbitration. All remaining unsigned players on the White Sox

CHICAGO -- The White Sox announced Wednesday that they've declined to tender 2021 contracts to left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodón and outfielder Nomar Mazara. The White Sox also agreed to terms on a one-year, $862,500 contract with left-handed pitcher Jace Fry, avoiding arbitration.

All remaining unsigned players on the White Sox 40-man roster have been tendered contracts for the 2021 season. Following the moves, Chicago's 40-man decreased to 38.

These moves involving Rodón and Mazara were not exactly surprises. Mazara was acquired in a trade with the Rangers during the 2019 Winter Meetings and targeted to bring his 20-home run power to right field.

But the left-handed hitter was slowed at the end of Summer Camp due to a strep throat and never came close to reaching his full potential. Mazara, 25, slashed .228/.295/.294 with one home run and six doubles in 149 plate appearances over 42 games.

Rodón, who turns 28 on Dec. 10, was the team’s top pick in the 2014 Draft at No. 3 overall. He debuted in 2015, but his 3.75 ERA over 26 games and 23 starts in ’15 marked the lone sub-4.00 ERA of his parts of six years with the White Sox. The best season for Rodón was 2016, when he finished with a 9-10 record, 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts over a career-high 165 innings and a career-high 28 starts.

His lone Opening Day start came in 2019 at Kansas City, as he became the seventh homegrown pitcher to start a season opener for the White Sox since 1991. But injuries were the biggest issue for Rodón, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2019 after undergoing shoulder surgery on Sept. 27, 2017, pitching 42 1/3 innings combined over the past two seasons.

The White Sox rotation seems set with talented young hurlers behind Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, and that configuration doesn’t factor in veteran additions made during this offseason. So, it looked as if Rodón would be used out of the bullpen by the White Sox.

“A great deal of consideration and analysis goes into our decisions to forego the arbitration process and instead engage with players and their representatives as free agents,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “We plan to stay in contact with both Nomar and Carlos and evaluate their possible fit with our club as we move forward through the offseason.”

Mazara hit .267 over his last nine games and could be a lower-cost option for the White Sox to put into their right-field mix, depending on the results of their offseason pursuits. Fry, 27, went 0-1 with a career-low 3.66 ERA, one hold, 24 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings and a .225 opponents average in 18 relief appearances last year. It was the reliever’s fourth season with the White Sox.

Menechino has one goal

White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino returns for his second year as hitting coach and already has had good talks with new manager Tony La Russa. On Wednesday, he said that the club has a singular goal of winning the 2021 World Series.

“For coaches, we always feel that way. But if you ask the players, and I think they're really excited about it, there is no going back,” Menechino said. “It is World Series or bust, you know? And that's the right attitude to have.

“We have to go there. Our goal is to win it and that's it. Pressure, no pressure, whatever it is. That's the goal for every Major League team, even though some of them know, ‘Hey, we're not ready yet.’ But the bottom line is, that's why you put the uniform on, it's to win a championship.”

Cairo ready for new role

Miguel Cairo had some family-related concerns before taking the White Sox bench coach job on La Russa’s staff.

“It was a little premature for me,” Cairo said. “I really wanted to wait for my daughter to graduate from high school: She’s a sophomore, but I cannot pass on this opportunity to be besides a Hall of Famer. That’s going to be an unbelievable experience.”

Cairo played parts of four seasons in St. Louis for La Russa during his 17-year-career.

“I learned so much about the game,” Cairo said. “One of the reasons I played so many seasons is because of him and the coaching staff in St. Louis. You always keep learning, and this is a great opportunity for me to learn from him, being beside him and the same team as a coach.

“I learned how to win,” Cairo said. “He hates losing. I hate losing.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.