Two months after extending Luis Robert, and less than a year after doing the same with Eloy Jiménez, the White Sox have locked in a contract for another young star, reportedly signing 26-year-old groundball specialist Aaron Bummer to a five-year extension worth a minimum of $16 million. The deal also includes options for Bummer’s 2025 and 2026 seasons, for $7.25 and $7.5 million, respectively, with $1.25 million buyouts in each year. If Bummer receives certain awards considerations, the final option year could be worth up to $10 million.
All told, the White Sox have guaranteed themselves a minimum of five and a maximum of seven years of Bummer’s services at a maximum cost of $32 million. Bummer has guaranteed himself $16 million. I suspect both parties will leave this deal feeling satisfied. As Bob Nightengale noted this is the largest extension given to a non-closer who has yet to qualify for arbitration in major league history. While the breakdown in the traditional closer role and the rise of elite sixth- and seventh-inning relievers makes that distinction somewhat less notable than it might have been a few years ago, this is still a major deal.
You may have already read Devan Fink’s detailed analysis of Bummer’s sinker earlier this month, but if you didn’t, here are the numbers that likely prompted the White Sox to put guaranteed money on the table: Bummer’s groundball rate in 2019 was 72.1% (second in the majors), he generated 14 runs on his sinker alone (also second), and he generated barrels on only 2.3% of batted ball events (third). Those numbers look a lot like those of another star reliever of recent vintage, Zack Britton, and it is indeed Britton who Bummer trailed in the first two categories. Read the rest of this entry »