White Sox lock up Floyd through 2012
Right-hander agrees to $15M deal with option for a fifth year
PHOENIX -- Gavin Floyd didn't need the four-year, $15.5 million contractual agreement announced by the White Sox on Sunday afternoon to officially stamp him as a true baseball success story.
That tale already was written throughout the 2008 season, when Floyd posted a 17-8 record with a 3.84 ERA in 33 starts after struggling through three years with the Phillies and one in Chicago.
"I'm about to get married, and I have a family to look forward to," said Floyd, talking about his new deal by phone on Sunday. "I feel like I made the right decision with my family and my fiancé and my agent. We were just trying to figure out what we wanted to do.
"To be with the White Sox for four more years and hopefully longer than that, to have financial security with my family, it means a lot. I don't have to worry about arbitration or years to come. I just can go out and play."
Floyd, who was scheduled to be arbitration-eligible following the 2009 season and eligible for free agency following 2012, will receive $750,000 in '09, $2.75 million in '10, $5 million in '11 and $7 million in '12. The White Sox hold a $9.5 million option in 2013.
Back at SoxFest '08, MLB.com asked general manager Ken Williams about the possibility of locking up the team's young core to multiyear deals, focusing on first-time arbitration-eligible standouts such as Floyd, John Danks and Carlos Quentin. At that time, Williams talked about checking the general state of the economy before committing large sums of money.
Assistant general manager Rick Hahn added a few days later that these sorts of conversations usually happen during Spring Training, in a more relaxed atmosphere.
"There has to be a meeting of the minds, with a willingness also on the part of the player and the agent," said Hahn back in late January.
Apparently, that meeting of the minds did not extend to Danks and Quentin. Williams explained Sunday that the same offer given to Floyd was put on the table for Danks, but the interest wasn't returned in what the White Sox were talking about.
"At this point, as I explained to the players, 'No harm, no foul,'" said Williams, prior to Sunday's Cactus League game against Oakland. "I explained to the players that we wanted to do something in the spirit of building that next core.
"Also, as I explained to each individual player, once you have as many players under contract I believe as possible, you can begin the process of trying to win baseball games, vs. having guys that are worried so much about their statistics, individual statistics. You get to a level of play that I believe is more unselfish."
Judging by Floyd's aforementioned comments, he agrees with Williams' contractual theory. Floyd has come a long way from his days as the fourth overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, a high selection who didn't come close to reaching his potential in Philadelphia.
His arrival with the White Sox didn't exactly lead to instant success. But Floyd flourished through a starting opportunity at the end of 2007 and into '08. He came close to throwing no-hitters against Detroit and Minnesota last year, and beat Detroit on Sept. 29, 2008, to help force a one-game playoff against the Twins for the American League Central title.
Entering '09, Floyd is the No. 2 starter in the White Sox rotation. He's now a starting stalwart, as opposed to a question mark, as the team's financial commitment would indicate.
"Yeah, God moves in great ways," Floyd said. "I went from the bottom to figuring things out and being with the right team, the right coaches and the right organization. My teammates are a lot of fun. Things sort of came together, and I'm having fun doing it. That spark for baseball came back.
"It's pretty amazing, just awesome. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a player and be the best I could be. If you would have asked me three years ago if this would happen, I would have said, 'I honesty don't know.' It was not going very well at that point. Now, it's pretty real and pretty awesome."
According to Williams, the White Sox will take a step back before broaching other long-term possibilities as the team plans to do this "in stages." Closer Bobby Jenks, who earned $5.6 million through arbitration this season, is part of this young core moving forward, but in a different situation than Danks, Floyd and Quentin.
"Bobby Jenks is in a different service class and a different role, so it will be much more difficult to gauge what the value is," Williams said. "But I've had some personal discussions with Bobby with regards to how we feel as an organization about his value here and his contributions. We'll continue to talk about those things before we get to the next step.
"First and foremost, you have to believe in the player to make such overtures, and again, we've done so on a number of cases. Gavin was one who was of the same mindset and thought it was fair. We weren't so fortunate with a couple of others."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.