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Avisail Garcia Rumors
The White Sox rank at the very top of the list of offseason winners compiled by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. GM Rick Hahn ticked through many of the team’s questions this winter and should have a competitive team to show for it, says Heyman. Of course, despite plenty of praise, there are still some non-believers out there. They can point to this year’s PECOTA projections from Baseball Prospectus, which see Chicago as a 78-win team. Also of note from PECOTA, which is rather down on the division on the whole: the Tigers are tabbed as a .500 club, while the Royals project to win just 72 wins after appearing in the World Series last year.
More from the south side and the AL Central:
- The White Sox are a much improved team heading into the 2015 season, but much of the optimism surrounding the club relies on the contributions of right fielder Avisail Garcia, writes Fangraphs’ Neil Weinberg. Perception appears to be that Garcia can handily outperform the just-designated Dayan Viciedo, but Weinberg cautions that we shouldn’t readily accept that as fact. Garcia’s stats to date tell a similar tale to that of Viciedo — modest on-base percentage with some power and below-average base-running and defensive skills. While Garcia’s track record is clearly smaller, the two are excellent statistical comps even when looking at their production through the age of 23. Weinberg notes that scouts have long questioned whether or not Garcia would be able to resist bad pitches and make enough contact to succeed, and the assumption that he will outperform Viciedo is based largely on perceived ceiling as opposed to likely outcomes.
- Newly-designated White Sox slugger Dayan Viciedo should generate plenty of interest, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. The American League West offers the best matches, Morosi argues, with the Mariners, Athletics, and Rangers all potentially making sense as landing spots.
- Despite some apparent suggestions, the Twins are not interested in free agent second baseman Rickie Weeks, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets. That is not terribly surprising, given that the right-handed-hitting Weeks does not play short and would presumably have needed to serve as a backup to two right-handed hitters in Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe.
- Ichiro Suzuki‘s representatives (who he shares with Twins skipper Paul Molitor) tried to generate interest in the veteran from Minnesota, but the club never saw a fit, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. As Berardino explains, Ichiro and Molitor — both incredible pure hitters — share an interesting relationship.
All signs point to the Twins promoting Trevor May to make Saturday’s start against the A’s, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Phillies in 2012’s Ben Revere trade, and he’s seen his command steadily improve since joining the Twins organization. May’s ERA has dropped accordingly, and he’s currently sporting a 2.93 mark through 95 1/3 innings at Triple-A this season. With Vance Worley now in Pittsburgh, May is the lone piece remaining from that deal. Having averaged 10.5 K/9 in his minor league career, May could prove to be a valuable addition for a Twins team that’ has long been starved for power arms.
Here’s more on the Twins and the AL Central…
- Recently extended catcher Kurt Suzuki influenced the Twins‘ decision to acquire Tommy Milone from the A’s, reports John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link). Suzuki, who has caught Milone numerous times as a former member of the A’s, made pitch to manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson and bench coach Terry Steinbach — all of which were presumably relayed to the front office.
- Following today’s trade of Vinnie Pestano to the Angels, Indians GM Chris Antonetti offered the following statement to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link): “Vinnie was a very valuable member of the organization who made some great contributions to our bullpen throughout his time with us. As we’ve had [Major League] bullpen opportunities over the course of the last month, we’ve promoted other pitchers from [Triple-A] Columbus, so we thought it made sense to give Vinnie a fresh start with the Angels. In return, we acquired a young pitcher who we think has a chance to help our Major League team in the next few years.” For his part, Pestano is excited about the fresh start, particularly due to the fact that he is a SoCal native. In a classy series of thank you tweets to the Indians organization, Pestano, who was born in Newport Beach, noted that he couldn’t imagine a better destination for a trade.
- MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes that Avisail Garcia‘s aggressive approach to his rehab from a shoulder injury has impressed the White Sox. Garcia’s injury was thought to be season-ending back in April, but an August return now looks possible. Merkin notes that the move could create an interesting roster decision, though GM Rick Hahn has noted that he will pursue August trades, so a roster spot could be created that way.
Originally recalled for a two-day period with Darwin Barney on paternity leave, Cubs second baseman Arismendy Alcantara has been informed that he will be with the team at least through the All-Star break, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Alcantara, who ranked 33rd on Baseball America’s midseason list of the game’s Top 50 prospects, says he was surprised by the news. Manager Rick Renteria offered praise for the 22-year-old, who collected his first four Major League hits in today’s contest.
Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…
- Reds right-hander Homer Bailey left today’s game after five innings due to a slight strain in his right knee, but he won’t see his name added to the list of significant injuries that have stricken contending teams today. The Reds have announced that he is expected to make his next start.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he’s glad to see Vance Worley performing well with the Pirates, though he did imply that it’s too early to say that the Twins gave up on Worley too soon: “Give him a little time to see what he does over the course of starts. We’ll talk about that in October. See how it goes. I know he’s done well.”
- The Indians are hopeful that Justin Masterson‘s two weeks on the disabled list will not only give him a chance to heal, but to help him get his mechanics back in line, reports MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway feels that Masterson’s knee has affected the way he’s been able to land during his delivery, which would explain the sharp decrease in velocity Masterson has seen this year.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn would need to receive an offer that knocks his cell phone out of his hands in order to trade Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia or Jose Abreu, writes Scott Merkin of MLB.com. However, Hahn notes that oftentimes, a trade will come together when a rival club’s initial inquiry is on a player that is unavailable, as it leads to the suggestion of alternative options.
The White Sox are willing to move second baseman Gordon Beckham, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, but Jose Quintana isn’t available (Twitter link). The 27-year-old Beckham opened the season on the disabled list and had a strong month of May after being activated, but he’s cooled since that time and is hitting .248/.302/.395. He’s under team control through 2015 and is earning $4.18MM this season after avoiding arbitration for the second time this season. It’s not entirely surprising that the team wouldn’t move Quintana, as he just inked a five-year, $21MM contract extension in Spring Training. He’s in the midst of his finest season in the Majors to this point, having posted a 3.20 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.
Here are a few more items pertaining to the Sox and their north-side counterparts…
- Left-handers James Russell and Wesley Wright are both drawing trade interest, reports Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish. Each southpaw is under team control through the 2015 season, and each has a 2.22 ERA through 24 1/3 innings this season. Wright, who is earning $1.43MM is slightly more affordable than Russell and his $1.78MM salary.
- White Sox GM Rick Hahn told reporters today that injured outfielder Avisail Garcia has been cleared to resume baseball activities (via CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes). While he has a long way to go and it’s a long shot, Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Garcia could play in the Majors again this season.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Cubs talked with the Blue Jays regarding Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel before trading the pair to the A’s on Independence Day. The Cubs were asking for Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison in addition to “at least” one of Daniel Norris, Aaron Sanchez and Dalton Pompey. That’s a steep price to pay, to be sure, though none of those prospects are as highly regarded as the centerpiece Chicago did acquire in the deal — shortstop Addison Russell.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard the same five names, though he hears that they were discussed in various combinations, and the Blue Jays didn’t discuss packages to acquire both pitchers (Twitter links). One scout tells Rosenthal that Norris and Stroman could both be No. 1 or No. 2 types of starters, and the Jays would be “crazy” to deal them.
- Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that he had extensive negotiations with the Cubs to acquire both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but he doesn’t think the Cubs could have landed a better package than they one they wound up taking from Oakland, regardless of who they were dealing with. CBS New York has highlights and audio from the conversation.
The White Sox have announced that young outfielder Avisail Garcia will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn left shoulder labrum. Acquired in last year's Jake Peavy deal, the 22-year-old will join the other main piece of that 3-way swap (Jose Iglesias) in missing the 2014 campaign.
Garcia, who has already gained 167 days of service entering the year, will remain on track to qualify for Super Two status after the 2015 season, assuming that he is able to regain an MLB role next year. In 341 big league plate appearances in his still-young career, Garcia has a .287/.323/.411 triple-slash. He was rated the game's 74th-best prospect before last season by Baseball America. The biggest loss for Chicago, of course, may simply be the playing time and development that the club hoped for from Garcia over 2014.
Meanwhile, Chicago will presumably give most of the playing time at the corner outfield to Alejandro De Aza (who was displaced at center by the trade for Adam Eaton) and Dayan Viciedo. While it has long been believed that one of those players could be available in trade, the South Siders will surely be less inclined to move one of them at this point. The team also has Leury Garcia and just-recalled Jordan Danks available in the outfield.
White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia has changed representation, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reports (on Twitter). MLBTR has also learned that Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar has switched agencies as well. Garcia, who had been represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council, will now be represented by Octagon. Villar, formerly with Kinzer Management Group, is now represented by MDR Sports Management.
Both 22-year-olds saw their first significant taste of big league action in 2013. Garcia, the key component of Chicago's Jake Peavy trade, slashed .283/.309/.422 with seven homers in 256 plate appearances. Villar, one of the players Houston received from the Phillies in 2010's Hunter Pence trade, received 241 PAs and batted .243/.321/.319. While he showed very little power, Villar showcased his speed by swiping 18 bases in just 58 games.
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As the White Sox look to rebound from their 99-loss season, everyone is available on the trade block. Well, almost everyone. Avisail Garcia, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and the newly-acquired Jose Dariel Abreu are off limits, executives told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
Meanwhile, multiple MLB execs confirmed that the White Sox are open to any and all avenues to reconstruct the roster, outside of moving those four players, of course. General Manager Rick Hahn wouldn't comment on three of the four but he did take the time to say that Sale is off limits.
“There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success,” Hahn said. “Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.”
The White Sox made one of the first big strikes of the offseason when they agreed to sign Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68MM deal. We've already collected some reaction to the Abreu signing and heard what it could mean for Paul Konerko's future with the Sox, so let's expand our look at the Windy City's baseball news to include the latest on the Cubs…
- "Depending on what is considered major," Abreu's signing will probably be the only major White Sox free agent move of the offseason, MLB.com's Scott Merkin writes. The Sox could still make further moves via trades, as Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham have drawn some interest from other teams.
- Also from Merkin, GM Rick Hahn goes into detail about how the three-team trade from last July between the White Sox, Red Sox and Tigers developed. Chicago got an important piece for the future in Avisail Garcia while the deal is currently having a big impact on the ALCS, with Jake Peavy starting for Boston and Jose Iglesias starting at shortstop for Detroit.
- Jim Thome won't be the next White Sox hitting coach, Hahn told reporters (including CSN Chicago's Charlie Roumeliotis) during a conference call today. Still, Hahn praised Thome's work as a special assistant to the GM and predicted he would become a coach in the future.
- An NL executive tells Peter Gammons that while the White Sox may have overpaid for Abreu, they have "one of the half-dozen thinnest farm systems in the game and Abreu doesn’t cost them a draft choice." Gammons also hears mixed reviews of Abreu from a scout and a general manager, though the GM's team still offered Abreu $40MM.
- Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed with the Cubs today about their managerial opening and now the club will move onto the next step of its hiring process, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Martinez joins Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria as contenders for the job, and while Renteria just underwent hip surgery, he is still "considered a very strong candidate."
- The Cubs would prefer to hire a bilingual manager since they have so many important Latin American prospects, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter links). Speaking Spanish isn't "a must" but it could be a tiebreaker if the Cubs are weighing equal candidates. Hinch is the only one of the four who doesn't speak Spanish, though the Cubs could still hire him to manage and hire Spanish-speaking coaches instead.
- CSN Chicago's Dave Kaplan spoke to several sources around the game about the four candidates. Martinez is seen as the clear best choice, Renteria was praised though there were some doubts about him as a first-time manager, Acta's unsuccessful stints managing the Indians and Nationals are strikes against him and Hinch drew scathing reviews. Kaplan, for his part, thinks the Cubs should hire Brad Ausmus.
The Tigers won the three-way Curtis Granderson deal with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. With Granderson fighting through an injury-riddled season and Ian Kennedy now in San Diego, Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson have been crucial contributors to what is extremely likely to be a division-winning season for Detroit. The Tigers have also acquired Miguel Cabrera, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez via trade, Sherman points out.
"I learned not to care what others thought, only what we thought," says GM Dave Dombrowski. "The guys who are ranking, they have never seen our players." Sherman argues that one key to Dombrowski's success as a trader has been his willingness to deal his prospects. Also, Dombrowski isn't concerned with fleecing the other team, and is willing to give good value to get good value, Sherman says, citing this summer's swap of Avisail Garcia for Jose Iglesias (part of the Jake Peavy deal) as an example. "We didn’t want to trade Avisail Garcia," says Dombrowski. "We think he is going to be a very good player. The question for us is how good is the player we are getting back. We think Jose Iglesias is going to be a very good player, too." Here are more notes from the American League.
- In the wake of the death of owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, the Mariners' future is uncertain, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports writes. One possibility might be the return, in some capacity, of former GM Pat Gillick, who currently works for the Phillies. "People here think very fondly of him,” says Scott Weitz, a sports law attorney from Seattle. "I don’t think anybody would be disappointed if he took on a role with the team." It's also unclear whether Yamauchi's stake in the team will be sold — his 55% of the team is now controlled by Nintendo of America.
- Manager Bo Porter will be back for the Astros in 2014, although it's unclear what will happen to his field staff, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets. The Astros have suffered through a 51-101 season, but it isn't as if a large percentage of the Astros' struggles can be pinned on their manager or his staff — 2013 was clearly a rebuilding year.
Before looking ahead, let's take a quick look back at former Braves shortstop Johnny Logan, who passed away yesterday. The four-time all-star racked up over thirty wins above replacement in his thirteen year career, most of which were accumulated during his 1953-61 run with the Braves in Milwaukee. Remaining in Milwaukee and becoming an avid supporter of the Brewers, Logan was also one of many golden era ballplayers to respond generously to letters from fans. Read Tom Haudricourt's obituary and this excellent biography from Bob Buege for more on Logan. Here are some notes from around the league:
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer does not sound optimistic about the chances of pulling off any August deals, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. While the team might be interested in bringing back youth in exchange for players like Kevin Gregg, Dioner Navarro, David DeJesus, and Nate Schierholtz, Hoyer says that such players "are not likely to clear [waivers]."
- Meanwhile, Hoyer says he is pleased with the development of the club's pitching corps. "I certainly feel much better about our pitching than I did a year ago," he said. "You read the game reports and we have better arms down there than we did a year ago. We just have to keep doing that year after year after year after year." The club seems primed to get an extended look at one of the young hurlers it added in its flurry of July trades. Wittenmyer reports that Jake Arrieta –who was acquired in the Scott Feldman deal — is expected to take a spot in the team's rotation for the rest of the season. Arrieta, who has made one successful spot start for the Cubs, owns a 3.56 ERA with 39 strikeouts (against 16 walks) over 30 1/3 innings with Triple-A Iowa.
- With the Nationals' future managerial needs becoming an increasing priority, the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore writes that Pirates coach Jay Bell could be another name to watch. Much like previously mentioned possibility Matt Williams, Bell was a hard-nosed ballplayer who has a history with GM Mike Rizzo. Given his less developed track record on the bench, however, Kilgore says he may profile more as a coaching option at this stage.
- The White Sox are not hesitating to challenge recently-acquired youngster Avisail Garcia. After the club cleared a lineup spot by dealing outfielder Alex Rios, Garcia will make his first start for Chicago today. According to MLB.com's Joey Nowak, via Twitter, the Sox seems committed to playing Garcia in center field. His former club, the Tigers, had viewed Garcia as a corner outfielder, fellow MLB.com writer Jason Beck tweets. While opinions vary, Baseball America's Matt Eddy opines that Garcia can handle center, at least while he's young.