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White Sox, Yoan Moncada agree on 5-year, $70 million extension

Moncada becomes the latest White Sox youngster to sign a big deal.

Yoan Moncada and the White Sox have agreed to a five-year, $70 million extension.
Yoan Moncada and the White Sox have agreed to a five-year, $70 million extension.
Charlie Riedel/AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The future not only seems to have arrived for the White Sox, but it will have a little more stability after a source confirmed the Sox have a contract extension in place with third baseman Yoan Moncada.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the five-year deal would include a club option for a sixth season, and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the deal is for $70 million, while the option is worth another $20 million.

The Sox were not expected to announce the deal Thursday.

The five years on the deal would take Moncada, 24, beyond his arbitration years and through one free-agent year and would cover two free-agent years if the option is exercised.

Moncada was discussing the possibility of an extension earlier in camp.

“Honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to that,” Moncada said. “My focus is just in the game and preparing myself to be in the best position that I can be for the season. Just work hard. That’s my goal right now.”

Acquired in the December 2016 deal that sent Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Moncada erupted in 2019 with a .315 batting average and a .367 on-base percentage. He hit 25 home runs with 79 RBI and lowered his strikeout total to 154 after leading the American League with 217 in 2018.

The pending deal could have affected the switch hitter at least slightly this spring as he has opened Cactus League play 2-for-16 (.125) with no extra-base hits. He also has struck out six times in the six games he has played.

Putting some life-changing business behind him might be just what Moncada needs to get going with three weeks left before Opening Day.

“Yes, I feel comfortable on this team,” Moncada said. “I have been feeling comfortable on this team since the moment I came here. I actually see myself on this team for a very long time.”

While the free-agent deal in November with catcher Yasmani Grandal drew major attention, the Sox have been busy locking up their impressive young core. They also agreed to a six-year, $50 million deal with outfielder Luis Robert that could keep him through 2027 if two club options are exercised.

Last spring training, the Sox agreed to a six-year, $43 million deal with outfielder Eloy Jimenez that would take him through 2026 if two club options are exercised. Less than two weeks ago, the Sox agreed to a five-year, $16 million deal with left-hander Aaron Bummer that also includes two option years.

Moncada’s productive 2019 figures to have him in the No. 2 spot of the order with more regularity behind shortstop Tim Anderson. He spent a majority of his time there last season (300 plate appearances) but had at least 40 plate appearances in three other spots in the lineup — leadoff, cleanup and the No. 5 hole.

“I’m dealing with a human being, and I do take into account where guys feel comfortable,” manager Rick Renteria said about Moncada at the start of spring training. “If you’re trying to change spots in the lineup where they can bat, you’ve got to do it subtly, and you’ve got to make sure you’re having conversations with the guy, and ultimately the player has to feel good about where they’re at. But, yeah, do I take it into account? Absolutely.”

To Moncada’s credit, he was trying to put thoughts about a contract in the periphery. Now he can at least forget about the negotiation process.

“Obviously, money is a big part of our career,” Moncada said. “What motivates me is just playing baseball. That’s what gives me real joy. . . . [A contract] is not my concern right now. I just want to play baseball and enjoy the game and do great things.”

Contributing: Daryl Van Schouwen