White Sox avoid arbitration with Cease, 6 more players

January 11th, 2024

While trade rumors cloud ’s future, his salary for the coming season is set. The White Sox on Thursday agreed to terms on one-year deals with Cease and their other six arbitration-eligible players, closing their arbitration dealings without having to exchange figures or go to a hearing.

Salaries were also announced:

• RHP Dylan Cease: $8 million
• INF : $4.3 million
• 1B : $3.25 million
• RHP : $3 million
• RHP : $3 million
• RHP : $1.3 million
• LHP : $800,000

Cease, a second-year arbitration-eligible player, gets a healthy raise off his $5.7 million salary from last season. The 28-year-old posted a 7-9 record and 4.58 ERA in 33 starts, striking out 214 batters over 177 innings. His 10.881 strikeouts per nine innings ranked second among eligible American League starters, while his 3.72 FIP ranked ninth.

General manager Chris Getz said on Tuesday that Cease continues to prepare for the upcoming season with the White Sox.

“We’ve continually spoken to Dylan,” Getz said. “He’s got a very strong relationship with [pitching coach] Ethan Katz, [manager] Pedro [Grifol], and is building a relationship with [senior pitching advisor] Brian Bannister, one of our new hires. And that’s always been very consistent with Dylan; he’s always preparing for what’s in front of him.

“He’s fairly unique in how he does not get distracted. And that’s what makes him a special pitcher, and a pitcher that could pitch for any club in any city. That’s why his value is so high.”

Having his salary set for the season could add to Cease's value, providing some cost certainty for interested clubs as they try to figure out potential payroll scenarios. Cease would be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before potentially reaching free agency after the 2025 season.

Lopez, acquired from the Braves in November along with Soroka in the Aaron Bummer trade, made $3.7 million last season. He batted .231 with one home run, 25 RBIs and a .632 OPS between Kansas City and Atlanta, but he supplemented that with nine outs above average while playing all around the infield.

Vaughn was arbitration eligible for the first time after batting .258 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .743 OPS last year. Kopech is in his second year of eligibility, having made $2.05 million last year.