White Sox franchise-record bonus gets Carlos Rodon in fold
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter July 11, 2014 11:12PM
First-round draft choice Carlos Rodon of North Carolina State got the third-biggest bonus paid to a pitcher in big-league history. | AP
SOX AT INDIANS
The facts: 2:05 p.m., CSN, 670-AM, 97.5-FM.
The pitchers: Scott Carroll (3-5, 4.52 ERA) vs. Zach McAllister (3-4, 5.89).
Updated: August 13, 2014 6:16AM
CLEVELAND — General manager Rick Hahn said Friday the White Sox are serious about getting “this thing” turned around. To back it up, he put Sox money where its mouth is by signing left-hander Carlos Rodon to a franchise-record $6.852 million bonus.
Rodon is the latest important, young piece in a rebuilding effort that should be accelerated by Jose Abreu’s remarkable rookie season. Hahn views Rodon, the best college pitcher and closest to being major-league ready to be had in the draft, “as a premium front-end starter with the ability to help us in Chicago in the not-too-distant future.
“We feel he fits best with our plan to turn things around and get this thing on track and get it on track quickly.
The slotted value for the pick was $5.72 million. Having until next Friday to sign Rodon, taken third overall after high school pitchers went first and second, or have him go back in the draft next year, the Sox paid well above slot. For the first time under the collective-bargaining agreement, the Sox incurred a tax of around $350,000 for going over their $9.5 million signing budget by close to $1 million.
Paying bonuses that totaled $3.4 million, they had moved quickly to sign their other picks in the first 10 rounds.
“[Chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] allowed us to stretch our budget to where we could add Carlos as the premium pick but also draft with the rest of the pool without compromising on the rest of the picks on talent to save money,’’ Hahn said. “He allowed us to extend ourselves.’’
Only Gerrit Cole ($8 million) and Stephen Strasburg ($7.5 million) have signed for bigger bonuses among pitchers. Rodon’s bonus topped the Sox’ previous high of $5.3 million for Joe Borchard in 2003.
Watching the Indians (46-46) pound out 10 hits in their 7-4 victory against the Sox on Friday was a reminder that there is a place for Rodon. Hector Noesi (3-7) allowed six runs on four walks and seven hits, including homers to David Murphy and Nick Swisher. Noesi failed to finish the fifth inning.
Adam Dunn hit his 14th homer against Corey Kluber (9-6), his 100th in his 3 1/2-year stay with the Sox.
Rodon will be at Class A Winston-Salem this week but not active. After he meets media in Chicago on Friday, he will be activated at one of the Sox’ affiliates. Because he hasn’t pitched since May 16, he might not be ready for Winston-Salem just yet. But it won’t be long. And it might not be long before he’s with the Sox — perhaps this season.
“It’s a possibility based on his ability, but we have to be cognizant of the long-term plan for this kid,’’ Hahn said. “We don’t rush anything that physically or mentally he may not prepared for.
“When he does get here, we think he’s going to be here for a while and he’s going to be a force at the front-end of our rotation.”
Rodon will pitch out of the bullpen initially to build arm strength and manage his workload.
NOTES: Gordon Beckham (1-for-30 and batting .131 in his last 26 games) was given the night off by manager Robin Ventura, who speculated that trade rumors are affecting his second baseman. “I don’t know if he would necessarily admit it, but you hear it all the time,’’ Ventura said. “It’s enough of a distraction to make it difficult to hit and concentrate, and part of that might be where he’s at.’’
◆ Right-hander Matt Lindstrom (left ankle) is throwing off a mound and is optimistic about a return to the bullpen by early August.