For White Sox, all eyes on Carlos Rodon, Nomar Mazara as non-tender deadline approaches

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(670 The Score) The up-and-coming White Sox have a few key roster decisions to make with the non-tender deadline looming Wednesday evening.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, the team’s first-round pick in the 2014 amateur draft, could be one of the higher-profile players in MLB to not be extended a contract to move forward in arbitration. Rodon, who turns 28 on Dec. 10, is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $4.5 million in arbitration, and he has been plagued by inconsistency and injuries in recent seasons.

That included in 2020, when he dealt with shoulder and back issues and posted an 8.22 ERA in four appearances in the regular season. Rodon was once viewed as the future ace of the White Sox’s staff after they traded Chris Sale to the Red Sox in December 2016, but he has made just 43 appearances across the past four seasons.

Right fielder Nomar Mazara, 25, is also a candidate to be non-tendered after a rough first season in Chicago in which he hit .228 with one homer, 15 RBIs and a .589 OPS in 42 games.  Mazara is projected to make $5.9 million in the arbitration process. If the White Sox non-tender him and Rodon, that would free up more than $10 million to use in free agency or in trade acquisitions this offseason.

White Sox ace Lucas Giolito, right-hander Reynaldo Lopez, reliever Evan Marshall, reliever Jace Fry and outfielder Adam Engel are also arbitration-eligible. Chicago will need to extend contracts to retain their rights.

Of those, Lopez may be the biggest question mark. He’s coming off two disappointing seasons, posting a 5.52 ERA across that span. But with a new pitching coach joining the organization and the 26-year-old Lopez projected to make $2.2 million in arbitration, it seems likely that White Sox brass will want to take one more shot at resurrecting a pitcher who showed promise in 2018.

Arbitration is the process for determining salaries for players with less than six years of service time. The first step is the team tendering a contract to a player for the upcoming season. If the team doesn’t do so, that player becomes a free agent. If a contract is extended, teams and players negotiate a salary figure. If they can’t settle, they exchange salary figures in mid-January and an independent panel then chooses one of the two figures as the player’s salary if the sides end up going to a hearing.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.