One day after tweeting there was “no amount of money” that could convince him to play for new White Sox manager Tony La Russa, Marcus Stroman opted to forego free agency altogether.
The pitcher accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets, staying in Queens on a one-year, $18.9 million contract. The White Sox, in the market for starting-pitching upgrades this winter, won’t even get the chance to pursue Stroman now that he’s off the market.
Though other players, such as free agent Trevor Bauer, often reject qualifying offers with the expectation of landing a much bigger payday, you can’t blame Stroman for his decision in an unpredictable offseason that has the potential to be tough on players. Following a season without paying customers in the stands, there’s plenty of speculation that teams could limit spending and attempt to save anywhere they can, perhaps driving down free-agent salaries and leaving some players without jobs.
Even had Stroman not accepted the Mets’ qualifying offer, though, he might not have been a realistic option for the White Sox.
One day after news broke that La Russa was charged with a DUI in October, Stroman took to Twitter, responding to tweets. He called the hire “baffling on all measures” and pointed to the Hall-of-Fame manager’s past comments on athletes protesting the police killings of Black Americans, saying “peace of mind” was more important than any contract that could be offered.
Bauer, for what it’s worth, listed his own questions for the White Sox regarding La Russa in a 20-minute YouTube video Tuesday night, discussing the DUI charge as well as potential concerns regarding La Russa’s nearly decade-long hiatus from managing.
But whether Stroman truly disqualified the White Sox as a landing spot or not, he’s made his decision just one day later. He’ll be heading back to the Mets, and the White Sox will have to look elsewhere to add to their starting rotation.