Infielder Brett Lawrie and left-hander Dan Jennings, two of the four White Sox to file for arbitration this week, avoided the process by settling with the team Thursday, Lawrie for $4.125 million and Jennings for $810,000. Right fielder Avisail Garcia settled for $2.1 million Friday.
Lawrie was acquired from the Oakland A’s in a trade for pitching prospects Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken during the winter meetings and is expected to play second base. He batted .260 with a career-high 16 homers, 29 doubles and 60 RBI last season. MLB Trade Rumors projected his salary at $3.9 million.
Jennings pitched to a 3.99 ERA in his first season in the Sox bullpen in 2015. He was bothered by a sore neck that put him on the disabled list in June and pitched much better in the second half, posting a 1.39 mark. Jennings was projected to earn $700,000 in 2016 by MLB Trade Rumors.
Garcia was projected at $2.3 million. Right-hander Zach Putnam also filed Tuesday, with teams formally exchanging arbitration figures Friday.
Garcia, 24, batted .257 with 13 homers, 17 doubles, and 59 RBI while providing uneven defense in right field during his first full season in 2015. Garcia falling short of expectations is believed to have the Sox in the market for an outfielder that would presumably move him to a different role or to another team.
At 24 it may be premature to give up on the player they received in the Jake Peavy trade during the 2013 season. There are those in the organization who believe it’s too soon to give up on Garcia, with broadcaster Ken Harrelson siding with that camp.
“I certainly have not even come close to given up on Avi,’’ Harrelson said Wednesday. “If you’re talking about pure talent he’s the most talented player on our roster. If you’re talking about the possibility of being a five-tool player, it’s Avi Garcia.
“He came back [after a shoulder injury in 2014) with high expectations out of spring training … we got off to a bad start and we didn’t hit and subconsciously it put a lot of pressure on Avi. He’s young and he tried to do too much and expanded his strike zone. Unless you’re a veteran with experience, it’s just going to go from bad to worse.’’
Putnam posted a 4.07 ERA after pitching to a 1.98 mark in 2014. His strikeout rate in 2015 was a lofty 11.8 per nine innings. He will likely come to terms Friday.