Last Friday, one piece of South Side drama came to an end. After a tumultuous sequence of initial discussions, the Chicago White Sox and star pitcher Lucas Giolito finally agreed on a contract to avoid arbitration.
When the Sox and Giolito first came to the table, they were reportedly off by $50,000. The club filed a $7.3 million offer while the Sox ace submitted $7.5 million. With the fight over such a relatively small amount of money, Giolito was frustrated and fans were concerned. Such actions could push Giolito away from the franchise and the White Sox would seemingly have no shot at signing him to a long-term extension down the road.
Taking Talks To The Top
Despite a bleak initial outlook, negotiations never got to the arbitration phase thanks to some important lines of communication. Lucas Giolito took talks to the top and spoke directly with Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. In the aftermath, the two sides agreed on a $7.45 million deal.
“I was upset initially on deadline day, but being able to have full communication and talking it through with Jerry made a huge difference. Overall it was such a positive getting to know each other better and understanding both sides of the situation,” Giolito said.
Speaking directly to the White Sox Chairman was clearly important Giolito. And building trust through this interaction could be a key factor in the big righty’s next contract.
Lucas Giolito and a Potential Contract Extension
Following up, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times asked Giolito if he had any discussions with Jerry Reinsdorf regarding an extension.
“I made a couple comments [smiles]. ‘I love this organization, love this team, there’s no other place I want to be.’ I’ve got another couple years here to step my game up and be that elite guy and make something happen in future,” Giolito responded.
Fond of the organization and recognizes he still has his work cut out to earn a big payday? Those remarks should provide a more hopeful outlook for the future than his pre-settlement tone.
But a multi-million dollar question still remains: is Giolito worth big money over a lengthy term? While he has been fairly consistent over the last three seasons, a big step up this year would force the White Sox front office’s hand.
With Lance Lynn on the shelf to begin the season, now is Lucas Giolito’s time to shine. Carrying the White Sox rotation and providing leadership for young hurlers Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech might just result in the payday he and the South Side faithful desire.
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