White Sox avoid arbitration with Beckham, De Aza
CHICAGO -- The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza on Friday, avoiding arbitration with the two players and leaving the team with no arbitration eligible players remaining.
Beckham will earn $4.175 million in base salary for 2014, a jump from his $2.975 million salary in '13. The second baseman has one more year as an arbitration-eligible player in '15 before reaching free agency. De Aza will receive $4.25 million, a move up from his $2.075 million salary last year. The left-handed-hitting outfielder also has one more year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.
Injuries that included the removal of a fractured left hamate bone, a strained ligament in his left wrist and a right quad strain literally had Beckham limping to the season's end and limited the 27-year-old to 103 games. He still produced a .267 average with 22 doubles, five homers and 24 RBIs.
Beckham's fielding percentages at second in two of the last three years -- .990 in 2012 and .989 in '11 -- represent the second and third highest at that position in franchise history, trailing only Nellie Fox's .9901 percentage from 1962. Defense has never been the issue for Beckham, but he also seems to be in the strongest place offensively since his breakout rookie campaign of '09.
"There's a difference between trying to tell yourself that you are in a good spot and knowing you are in a good spot," Beckham told MLB.com during a recent interview. "Right now, I know it and feel it. I know I'm getting better for all the right reasons."
De Aza, 29, hit .264 with 27 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 62 RBIs, 84 runs scored and 20 stolen bases over 153 games last season, his fourth as part of the White Sox. He set career highs in hits (160), home runs, RBIs, runs scored and games, and his eight leadoff homers rank third in franchise history behind Ray Durham (20) and Tim Raines (nine).
There's little doubt that De Aza was one of the steadier offensive forces for the White Sox in '13, although he did strike out 147 times. But he struggled both defensively and on the basepaths, problems that certainly weren't only restricted to De Aza on a 99-loss team.
In '14, assuming the roster stays as it currently looks, the plan is for De Aza and Dayan Viciedo to split time in left field, with Adam Eaton in center and Avisail Garcia in right. Viciedo and the White Sox agreed to terms on a one-year, $2.8 million deal earlier in the week, also avoiding arbitration.
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.