What agent B.B. Abbott worked out was that Sale would sign for slot, but he’d be used as a reliever this year. First, that protects his arm, as he’s thrown a number of innings this spring. That’s win number one. Win number two is the fact that the White Sox are shooting to bring him up to the Majors as a bullpen arm sometime in August or September. That doesn’t just qualify him to get about $70,000 in Major League pay. That also brings him the benefits of the Player’s Union. Not only does that mean he’s on the 40 man roster, that means he gets split pay next year when he’s in the minors as a starter. That’s the difference between about $30,000 and $65,000, the minimum for a player on optional assignment with at least a day of Major League service time. He’s also going to be eating away at his options next spring, and the chances of him not ever getting Major League pay go way down once he’s on the 40 man roster. See how we’re eating away at that $344,000 difference in bonuses between signing now and in August?
I had similar thoughts as well. If the White Sox put Sale on the big league roster (40-man roster) this year, the difference between signing now and August gets erased.