AL Notes: White Sox, Rodón, Twins, Polanco, Arraez, Royals, Pérez (

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Yesterday, it was somewhat surprising to see the White Sox come to terms with Carlos Rodón – their No. 3 overall pick turned non-tender. It’s boilerplate for teams to suggest “staying in touch” with their non-tenders, but it’s not often that someone of Rodón’s draft pedigree actually re-signs, especially for a team as all-in on 2021 as the White Sox. In most cases, the player is better off getting a fresh look with a different organization, but with new manager Tony La Russa bringing Ethan Katz to provide a fresh voice as the pitching coach, Rodón can basically get that same benefit without the hassle of a move, writes the Athletic’s James Fegan. Presumably, both the White Sox and Rodón are prepared for a future in which he doesn’t win a rotation role and ends up in the bullpen. That said, given the stakes of the season at hand, it’s safe to assume the White Sox think Rodón can hang in the rotation, giving him the inside track on landing the fifth starter spot behind Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dallas Keuchel, and Dylan Cease. Let’s circle up here in the AL Central…

  • Before signing perennial Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, the Twins consulted with a Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez about the move, tweets the Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman. Since both Polanco and Arraez stand to be bumped from their usual roles, it makes sense that the Twins checked in.  Still, it’s a courtesy that they didn’t have to observe. Polanco has been the team’s regular shortstop for most of the past four seasons. As for Arraez, projections systems from THE BAT X to Steamer to ZiPS forecast Arraez to lead the Majors in batting average, as pointed out on the Athletic’s Rates and Barrels podcast. While it’s not the 1990’s anymore, it’s still surprising to push a potential batting champ out of a regular role. That said, we tend to overrate the starting lineup on opening day, and underrate the impact and opportunity that exists for players in “bench” roles.
  • Now that J.T. Realmuto, James McCann, and Yadier Molina are all off the market, Salvador Perez can begin to imagine his own free agency a year from now. The Kansas City staple hasn’t spoken with the Royals about an extension, though he’s on the record saying he’d like to retire a Royal, per Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star. Perez fell off the map while missing the 2019 season, but he bounced back in a big way during the shortened 2020 season by slashing .333/.353/.633 over 156 plate appearances. It’s easy to imagine the Royals quietly extending the MVP of the 2015 World Series, but if he has a 2021 anywhere near his 2020, there may be legitimate demand for his services. Lest we forget exactly how highly-regarded Pérez was as the game manager of the Royals’ competitive run from 2013 to 2017, he made six All-Star games, won three Silver Sluggers and five Gold Glove Awards.  He’ll have wrapped his age-31 season when he hits free agency after 2021.

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