White Sox decline 2021 options on Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez

The White Sox picked up the $3.5 million club option on infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia on Friday and, as expected, declined options on designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Gio Gonzalez.

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The White Sox declined the option on designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.

The White Sox declined the option on designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion.

Paul Sancya/AP

The White Sox picked up the $3.5 million club option on infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia on Thursday and, as expected, declined options on designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and left-hander Gio Gonzalez.

Encarnacion’s option was for $12 million with no buyout. Gonzalez’s option was for

$7 million with a $500,000 buyout.

Encarnacion, Gonzalez, left-hander Jon Lester of the Cubs, right-hander Corey Kluber of the Rangers and lefty reliever Brad Hand of the Indians were among the major leaguers who became free agents Friday when teams declined their options, many the victims of budget cuts following a regular season without fans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Also cut loose were Brewers infielders Jedd Gyorko and Eric Sogard and Phillies relievers David Robertson, Héctor Neris and David Phelps.

The AL champion Rays declined 2021 options on right-hander Charlie Morton and catcher Mike Zunino but say they remain hopeful of re-signing them.

There are 175 players who became free agents following the World Series and about 15 more can go free this weekend. Among the remaining decisions are on player options by Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, Boston designated hitter JD Martinez, Cincinnati outfielder Nick Castellanos and Mets reliever Dellin Betances.

Teams must decide by 4 p.m. CST Sunday whether to make $18.9 million qualifying offers to eligible former players who went free.

“I think there’s a recognition that flexibility is important right now, and we don’t know what the next couple of months are going to look like,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “We don’t know what the environment is going to be as we do plan for a spring training in the 2021 season. So we have to remain flexible. And that desire for flexibility has likely contributed to some of the decisions we’ve seen throughout the industry over the last couple of days.”

The Sox also reinstated right-hander -Michael Kopech from the restricted list after he opted out of the 2020 season, as well as right-hander Jimmy Lambert from the 60-day injured list.

The Orioles claimed Sox infielder Yolmer Sanchez off waivers, a day after the Sox signed infielder Tim Beckham to a minor-league contract. Beckham will earn $1.35 million in 2021 if he makes the team.

Encarnacion, 37, was a disappointment despite hitting 10 home runs. He batted .157/.250/.377 in his first year with the Sox. Gonzalez, 35, also in his first season with the Sox, was 1-2 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 games, including four starts. He battled shoulder -issues and was left off the roster for the wild- card series against the Athletics.

Garcia batted .271/.317/.441 with three homers in 16 games. He tore a thumb ligament sliding headfirst into first base, went on the injured list Aug. 11, had surgery and missed the rest of the regular season. Garcia, 29, returned for the wild-card series and started Games 1 and 2 but was hitless in six plate appearances.

Beckham, 30, who did not play in 2020, was suspended 80 games in August 2019 for using performance-enhancing drugs. He batted .237/.293/.461 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI in 88 games for the Mariners in 2019, and he owns a .249/.302/.431 hitting line with 63 homers in six seasons with the Rays, Orioles and Mariners.

The Sox’ 40-man roster is at 36.

Contributing: Associated Press

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