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Giolito Arbitration Situation is Business as Usual for Reinsdorf, White Sox

Giolito is the latest in a long line of White Sox pitchers to struggle to get a few extra bucks from the team under the ownership of Jerry Reinsdorf.

Lucas Giolito White Sox Arbitration
Photo: WhiteSox/Twitter

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

White Sox fans have been understandably frustrated after finding out star pitcher Lucas Giolito will have to go through arbitration after he and the Sox couldn’t come to an agreement over his salary this week. Giolito asked for $7.5 million for the 2022 season while the Sox countered with $7.3 million. A frustrated Giolito actually said the difference was closer to $50k in earlier discussions.

Giolito is the latest in a long line of White Sox pitchers to struggle to get a few extra bucks from the team under the ownership of Jerry Reinsdorf, and he probably won’t be the last.

Former Cy Young Award winner Jack McDowell went through arbitration two straight years with White Sox brass after the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He lost his bid in 1991 and had to win 20 games and throw 13 complete games in 1992 to win his case the following year. He won $4 million, which was the largest amount awarded to a player at the time. Can you imagine a pitcher today having to win 20 games and throw 13 complete games just to prove he deserved a raise? Two seasons later, McDowell left the team and signed with the Yankees.

Remember former closer Keith Foulke? After saving 34 games and helping the Sox win a division title, Foulke asked for $3.1 million for the 2001 season while the Sox offered $2.2 million. Foulke ultimately won his case and went on to save 42 more games in 2001. A year later, the Sox dealt him to Oakland, where in 2003 he led the league in saves with 43 and a year later saved 32 games and won a World Series title with the Boston Red Sox.

If you think Reinsdorf is reluctant to spend money to improve his teams, pitching is where he’s probably been the stingiest. The theory is that when pitchers reach the point in their career where they have the opportunity to cash in on their achievements, they probably are already on the downside of their career. Pitchers will never perform to the terms of the contract. The risk outweighs the reward.

The example that sticks out the most to me is Johan Santana. In 2008, the Twins traded him to the New York Mets, who almost immediately signed him to a contract worth $137 million over eight years. That was huge money at the time. Santana had a good 2008 season, winning 16 games and having a sub-3.00 ERA. But he only threw three more seasons and compiled a 46-34 record for the Mets as his body began to break down.

Reinsdorf feels there are more Santanas out there than Max Scherzers or Clayton Kershaws when it comes to spending money on top pitchers. This is how he’s been doing business for over 40 years and it doesn’t appear that will change any time soon, no matter who really holds the purse strings in the White Sox organization.

So, when Lucas Giolito leaves for the highest bidder in a couple of years, it may anger Sox fans, but it shouldn’t come as a shock. It’s just business as usual on the South Side.

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Sports - Spirits - Sustenance and Namer of Beers. Hubby to my Cuban Queen and dad to my Irish/Cuban Princesses.

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