Chicago White Sox: Yoan Moncada extension came at perfect time

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago White Sox seem to be changing gears this season. The shift from rebuilding to building a competitive team has started. The ability to sign Yoan Moncada to an extension now is perfect timing.

The Chicago White Sox look to be guilt for sustained success on paper. The team has locked up their young talent for years to come. After a breakout campaign in 2019, the team signed Yoan Moncada to a five-year, $70-million extension. This seems like a large sum of money, but in reality, the Chicago White Sox are getting a huge discount.

The Chicago White Sox acquired Moncada from the Red Sox in their blockbuster trade involving Chris Sale. At the time, Moncada was one of the top prospects in the minors. He did not fully live up to expectations when he first arrived in the majors, but last season was a different story.

Moncada hit .315 last season after averaging .233 in his first two seasons. The big difference is how he cut down on his strikeouts. In 2018 he led the league with 217. Last season he cut that down to 154. Moncada was ninth in WAR in the American League with a 5.7. He was tied for 12th in the MLB with an oWAR of 5.2.

This is not all, Moncada’s exit velocity increased over two percent and this clearly led to his increase in home runs from 17 in 2018 to 25 in 2019. To top it off, he made the switch from second base to third base as the White Sox prepare for Nick Madrigal to move up from the minors. Moncada actually performed better defensively at third base than he ever did at second.

Now, Moncada may have had a fluke year, but I highly doubt it. All signs are pointing towards the nearly 25 years old to finally finding his way at the plate in a manner we all projected. What worked out well for the Chicago White Sox is timing. After the year Moncada had, he is worth way more than a $70 million extension.

The extension will put Moncada into his 30th birthday season, which means the White Sox are getting a significant discount. The contract essentially takes up his pre-arbitration and arbitration years and puts him into his first year of free agent eligibility. According to FanGraphs valuation via ZiPS, had Moncada gone through the arbitration process, he would have earned over $157 million. That number would have jumped to $191 million had the club exercised his option.

Because Moncada succeeded earlier in his career, the Chicago White Sox will be able to retain him at a discounted rate for the next five to six years. It seems that the White Sox understand this methodology since they have recently done similar contract extensions with Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.

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With the young core players locked up and the team bringing in some key free agent assets, the White Sox are in prime winning mode for the next few years. At least on paper. We shall see how it translates to the field in a few months.