Major League Baseball has utterly botched its plan to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, as owners and players have gotten nowhere in their multi-month negotiation escapade. A July 4 return, which would've served as a tremendous morale booster for the country as a whole, is no longer feasible.
The clock is running out for both sides to reach an agreement and with each day that zero progress is made, it grows increasingly more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred steps in and institutes his own agenda so that the 2020 season is played. As evidenced by their counter offers, a 50-game season isn't going to sit well with the players, and a number of them might consider not even participating.
This predicament will most certainly extend to the Chicago White Sox, who have a number of veterans who would benefit by remaining in street clothes. Here are the first three players who come to mind.
3. Jose Abreu
A week after accepting the White Sox one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer, Jose Abreu inked a three-year, $50 million extension with the club, locking him down in Chicago through the 2022 campaign. The three-time All-Star is coming off his most productive season as a pro, but sitting out would keep him with the White Sox until 2023. Though Chicago is on the come up, its probably a year (or two) away from becoming a genuine threat to the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, meaning that Abreu wouldn't miss out on much by not playing. The 33-year-old slugger is one of the few players that would benefit from just not bothering. On top of that, doing so would give him a better shot at finishing his career with the White Sox.
2. Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion's productive campaign with the Mariners and Yankees last year unfortunately wasn't enough for him to land a pricey contract as a free agent. Eventually, the White Sox brought him in on a one-year, $12 million deal. The three-time All-Star is notorious for being a streaky hitter, and a slow start out of the gates could spell doom for his market next offseason. Encarnacion would be smart to forgo this season and come back motivated in a contract year in 2021 where he would have 162 games to show what he has left in the tank.
1. Gio Gonzalez
In an effort to bolster their rotation, the White Sox signed Gio Gonzalez to a team-friendly one-year, $7 million contract. The 34-year-old left-hander could ink a more robust deal with an impressive year in Chicago, but he likely wouldn't make more than 10 (at most) starts in a 50-game season. Sitting out this year and returning fully healthy to a full slate would give Gonzalez the better chance at banking the most money on what could be his final deal as a big leaguer.