Yoan Moncada signs extension: Lucas Giolito next?

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MESA, Ariz--  For the White Sox young core, the contract extensions just keep on coming.

Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, Luis Robert and now Yoan Moncada have all signed long term deals to remain with the White Sox for many years to come.

The present looks great.  The future even greater.  

“I’m very happy with this extension.  That was something that I really wanted just to have for a long run with this organization, and I’ll be able to do it now with this extension,”  Moncada said through a team translator following the White Sox 6-3 win over the Cubs in a Cactus League game at Sloan Park. “This team has a lot of young talent.  We all can be able to carry this team to win a World Series championship. That’s our goal. That’s something that makes you feel very excited.”

Moncada says his new agent was the first to contact the White Sox about a possible extension around two weeks ago.  Now the deal is done and official: $70 million over the next five seasons, with a club option for 2025 worth an additional $25 million.  Add the free agent deals for Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel, Edwin Encarnacion, Gio Gonzalez, and Steve Cishek, and the Jose Abreu extension this offseason and the White Sox will be shelling out $335 million in guaranteed money, and close to a half-billion dollars if all the options get picked up.

The money is being spent.  And spent. And spent some more.

“It was a good opportunity.  I think you have to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves.  That’s what I did,” Moncada said. “I wanted to be with this team, too, and that’s another factor.  With all these (contract extensions) happening, I can say that I’m going to play along Eloy and Luis Robert for a very long time.  That’s going to be a key for the success of this team.”

Now that so many of the young hitters have signed extensions, it does leave you to wonder about their pitchers, and one in particular.

Could Lucas Giolito be next?

While there aren’t any signs that such discussions have taken place between Giolito and the White Sox about a new deal, the White Sox top starter from 2019 would seemingly be the next logical player to potentially sign a new contract past his arbitration years which end following the 2023 season.

After throwing one scoreless, hitless inning against the Cubs in his first Cactus League start of 2020, Giolito indicated that he’s focusing right now on baseball, not his bank account.

“That’s not something I’m thinking about for me.  I’m more like present moment. What more can I do this day to improve and become a better player?  All that stuff. The money, the contracts, that’s all going to fall into place if I keep focusing on what makes me successful,”  Giolito said.

Both Giolito and Moncada have come a long way since last spring training when both players were surrounded with question marks after rough seasons in 2018.  But both players had enormous turnarounds in 2019. Moncada finished 3rd in the American League in hitting (.315) and dramatically cut down his strikeouts, while Giolito made the All-Star team, finished 6th in Cy Young Award voting and was a finalist for a Gold Glove.

“It’s come full circle. I struggled greatly in 2018 and (the White Sox) stuck with me. They let me go out there every five days and pitch. I don’t think a lot of other organizations would allow that to happen. I was able to make adjustments and have a good year last year,” Giolito said. “Now I want to be one of those guys who leads a pitching staff, helps to lead the team in general.  I feel like that’s part of being a top of the line pitcher is you’re going to be a leader out there. You’re going to take the ball with authority each and every time. I’m glad that we have that mutual respect between me and the coaches, the organization and me. It’s been great.”

The buzz and mood in the White Sox clubhouse has had a different feel this spring.  It’s a team loaded with talent that’s coming together with a common and realistic goal of making the playoffs. For players like Giolito and Moncada, two-plus seasons of losing has brought them closer together. 

From one teammate to another, Giolito is quite pleased to see Moncada join the White Sox extension club.

“It’s awesome. It’s been cool to see the club locking up all these young guys, putting faith in these guys,”  Giolito said. “I just congratulated him earlier today. First time I saw him since the news broke yesterday. He gets to have a little more money in his pocket. That’s always a good thing.”

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