Chicago White Sox Rumors

Chicago White Sox trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Minor Moves: Drabek, Putkonen, Kirkman

Here are today’s minor moves from around MLB…

  • White Sox right-hander Kyle Drabek has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Charlotte, the team announced on Twitter. The former top prospect was designated for assignment on Monday in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for 2014 No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon.

Earlier Updates

  • The Tigers have re-signed right-hander Luke Putkonen to a Minor League pact, reports James Schmehl of MLive.com (on Twitter). Putkonen was in the team’s Triple-A clubhouse this morning and will pitch at Toledo in hopes of a return to the Majors. Detroit released Putkonen near the end of Spring Training after he yielded three runs on four hits and three walks with no strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old Putkonen missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, but he was a nice bullpen cog for the Tigers in 2013, tossing 29 2/3 innings of 3.03 ERA ball with 28 strikeouts against nine walks.
  • The Brewers have signed lefty Michael Kirkman to a Minor League contract, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (also via Twitter). Kirkman was released by the Rangers midway through Spring Training so that he could pursue opportunities with other teams. That opportunity clearly didn’t emerge immediately, but Kirkman will give Milwaukee an experienced arm to serve as a depth piece. The 28-year-old southpaw has a 4.98 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 across 106 2/3 Major League frames, though he does come with a reverse platoon split. Kirkman’s career was slowed by a battle with skin cancer, but he returned to the mound in 2014 and was healthy in Spring Training prior to his release.
  • A look at MLBTR’s DFA Tracker reveals four players in limbo as they await to find out if they’ve been traded, placed on waivers or released. Currently, Brandon Kintzler, Grant Balfour, Todd Redmond and Xavier Cedeno are in unresolved situations.

Quick Hits: Wilson, Rodon, Detwiler

The Dodgers released closer Brian Wilson back in December, but he’s apparently kept himself busy, recently playing Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in a live reading of Major League as the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art. Grantland’s Dave Schilling reports that the flamboyant Wilson dressed for the event in an ’80s Indians uniform and imitated Charlie Sheen’s delivery while reading for the part. Here are more quick notes from around baseball.

  • Agent Scott Boras was critical of the Cubs for their handling of the timing of Kris Bryant‘s promotion, but he has no such complaints about the White Sox promoting Carlos Rodon at a similar point in the season, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com writes. Of course, the two situations are different — Bryant had a full year in the minors after being drafted and had significant time in Triple-A before reaching the Majors, whereas Rodon, who the White Sox picked third overall last June, had neither. And Boras says that he likes that the White Sox plan to be conservative with Rodon’s innings. “The Bryant situation and Carlos’ situation are very different because of the innings issue,” says Boras. “Because of the idea that frankly, you really want this process to get a foundation to it for a pitcher rather than building — because there’s no repetition in amateur baseball that prepares you for what Major League pitchers have to go through.” The White Sox are having Rodon begin his big-league career in the bullpen, much as they did with Chris Sale.
  • Ross Detwiler has struggled to a 10.95 ERA through his first three starts with the Rangers, but manager Jeff Banister plans to stick with the slumping southpaw, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Detwiler feels he’s found a flaw in his delivery while watching video of Sunday’s start that will allow him to return to form. The Rangers picked up Detwiler in a trade that sent Chris Bostick and Abel De Los Santos to the Nationals this offseason, but his initial results are clearly not what the team expected.

White Sox Designate Kyle Drabek For Assignment

The White Sox announced that they have designated right-hander Kyle Drabek for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for top prospect Carlos Rodon, whose contract has officially been selected from Triple-A Charlotte.

Chicago claimed the 27-year-old Drabek off waivers from the Blue Jays in late March, and the former top prospect secured a spot in the Sox bullpen to open the season. Drabek, who was one of the centerpieces of the trade that sent Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays to the Phillies, totaled 5 1/3 innings with the South Siders, allowing three runs on nine hits and a pair of walks with three strikeouts.

Drabek was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft and, at one point ranked as high as 25th on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list and 14th on Baseball Prospectus’ version of that same list. Tommy John surgery in 2012 was among the injuries that have slowed the development of Drabek, and to date, his body of work at the Major League level is rather unimpressive. In 177 2/3 innings, he’s recorded a 5.27 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 5.7 BB/9.



Rosenthal’s Latest: Redmond, Cubs, Harvey, O’s, White Sox

It would be foolhardy for the Marlins to fire manager Mike Redmond this early in the season, opines FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal in his latest notes column. Redmond is well-respected among the industry, Rosenthal notes, and he cannot be blamed for the fact that Henderson Alvarez is injured and Mat Latos has struggled so greatly. (Latos’ diminished velocity is likely a significant culprit in that regard.) Rosenthal writes that owner Jeffrey Loria needs to realize that the unstable culture he creates by cycling through managers so willingly is part of the problem in Miami.

A few more notes from Rosenthal’s latest column…

  • In the video atop his column, Rosenthal notes that Cubs top prospect Addison Russell has begun playing some second base and may eventually get a look there in the Majors. However, because he is their best defensive shortstop, Russell may eventually push Starlin Castro to third base and Kris Bryant to the outfield, or his arrival may lead to a trade of Castro.
  • Rosenthal writes about former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s decision to draft Matt Harvey with the seventh pick in the 2010 draft. The team had been deciding between Harvey and Chris Sale, but the Mets, like many other clubs, had some reservations about whether or not Sale would last as a starter. Minaya became convinced of Harvey after watching him in an April start at the University of Miami, though as Rosenthal notes, others in the front office/scouting department, including Marlin McPhail, Rudy Terrasas and Bryan Lambe all played large roles as well. Interestingly, Rosenthal adds that the White Sox were thrilled to get Chris Sale at No. 13, as they feared the Royals would select him fifth overall. Kansas City instead selected Cal State Fulelrton infielder Christian Colon.
  • Delmon Young told the Orioles that he wanted to regain some of his lost athleticism, and so the team had him work extensively with outfielder-turned-executive Brady Anderson in Spring Training. Young was the first to the clubhouse every day during Spring Training and is now has the fastest 10-yard dash time on the Orioles, per manager Buck Showalter. Rosenthal also notes that Everth Cabrera told the O’s that he knew advanced metrics pegged him as a below-average defender, and he expressed an interest in improving in that area. Baltimore is working with Cabrera to correct a tendency to retreat with his hands and “baby” the ball, as Rosenthal put it.
  • The White Sox weren’t as successful in upgrading their catching position as they’d have liked, but for the time being, they’re content with Tyler Flowers and Geovany Soto. Rosenthal notes that while Welington Castillo is widely believed to be available, the Sox and Cubs rarely make trades.

White Sox To Promote Carlos Rodon

The White Sox will promote left-hander Carlos Rodon, the third overall selection in last year’s draft, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Rodon will join the team tomorrow and will initially pitch out of the bullpen, according to Rosenthal. The White Sox will need to create both a 25-man and 40-man roster spot for Rodon.

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The 22-year-old is considered the White Sox’s best prospect and, overall, one of baseball’s top prospects. The former NC State lefty is ranked eighth by FanGraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, 12th by ESPN’s Keith Law, 15th by both Baseball America and MLB.com, and 41st by Baseball Prospectus. Rodon made a steady rise through the Chicago organization after signing for a franchise-record $6.582MM bonus compiling a line of 2.96 ERA, 14.1 K/9, and 4.8 BB/9 in nine games (six starts) across three levels. This year, Rodon has struck out 13 against four walks in his two starts (10 innings) for Triple-A Charlotte after a strong camp in which he posted 21 strikeouts versus five bases on balls in 17 2/3 innings of work.

MLB.com praises Rodon as the best college left-hander since David Price and credits him with a wipeout slider that explodes on hitters with two-plane break. Baseball America also ranks Rodon’s slider as his top pitch rating it 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale (20 the lowest, 80 the highest, and 50 considered average).

News of Rodon’s promotion comes two days after the crosstown Cubs officially elevated their own prospect phenom and fellow Scott Boras client, Kris Bryant. Unlike Bryant, however, there was no hue and cry over Rodon’s failure to make the Opening Day roster (and resulting service time implications) as the White Sox shipped him to Triple-A to work on his fastball and changeup command. Also like Bryant, Rodon is now on track for Super Two status (assuming he is not returned to Charlotte) and will be eligible for arbitration four times, instead of the standard three, while qualifying for free agency after the 2021 season. The timing of Rodon’s call up, though, may be more about the schedule than service time considerations. MLB.com’s Phil Rogers tweets the White Sox’s next seven games are against division foes Cleveland and Kansas City and both teams have impact left-handed bats.

Of course, even though Rodon will begin working out of the bullpen, one would imagine that his move into the rotation is inevitable. John Danks and Hector Noesi currently occupy the final two spots in Chicago’s rotation, and while Danks’ contract may keep him in the starting mix, Noesi has struggled early on and already had a start skipped. The 28-year-old Noesi has a shaky track record, to say the least, and it’s not hard to envision a spot opening for Rodon sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Minor Moves: White Sox, Indians

Here’s a look at today’s minor moves..

  • The White Sox signed right-hander Euclides Leyer, according to Matt Eddy of Baseball America (on Twitter).  The White Sox had Leyer in their system for five years before losing him to the Reds in this year’s Rule 5 Draft.  In 34 appearances for the team’s Advanced-A team, Leyer pitched to a 4.53 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9.
  • The Indians signed minor league pitcher Perci Garner, according to Eddy (link).  Garner, 26, was a former second-round choice of the Phillies but was never able to produce consistently in their farm system.

AL Central Notes: Gose, Marcum, Santana, Rodon

While the season is still very young, the changes to Anthony Gose‘s swing are showing up in his results at the plate, and Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs wonders if his revamped mechanics will lead to a surprising offensive season from the 24-year-old speedster. Upon being traded to the Tigers, Gose and Detroit hitting coach Wally Joyner worked to lower the positioning of his hands prior to the swing, and Gose is also swinging with more of an upward plane. Sullivan also points out that Gose is doing a better job of keeping his weight back, and he provides GIF breakdowns of Gose’s former swing versus his new cut. It had become clear that the old version of Gose wasn’t ever going to hit much, Sullivan writes, and while the reworked swing may be little more than “a new way to fail,” he writes that Gose’s upside with the new mechanics is greater, and the team’s recent success with reclamation project J.D. Martinez lends further reason for optimism.

A few more notes from the AL Central…

  • Shaun Marcum accepted his outright assignment to the Indians‘ Triple-A affiliate earlier today, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, and the veteran knew at the time of the call-up that he’d likely only be on the roster for one day. “He knew coming in that it was going to be one [game],” manager Terry Francona told Bastian. “After he pitched so well, we were trying to figure out maybe a way to get around [designating him]. I think after talking through it, it’s not a fun thing to do, but I think it’s probably the right thing to do.” Marcum fired five innings of one-run ball Sunday for Cleveland, striking out four hitters against three walks (although two of the free passes were intentional). Those five frames marked his first big league work since 2013, and by accepting an outright to Columbus, Marcum will be able to serve as depth for the Indians again in the future should a need arise.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan again expressed disappointment when asked by Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about Ervin Santana‘s suspension. “People are going to test positive because kids are kids and men are men,” said Ryan. “…You shouldn’t make that mistake. … If they take something, they ought to know what it is. That’s all, regardless of where you bought it or if it came from a reputable drug store or nutrition store or wherever. They’ve been educated pretty well about this program, and they know they’re going to get tested. They ought to know what’s going in (their bodies).”
  • The White Sox haven’t announced a starting pitcher for Sunday’s contest yet, but before South Side fans get excited, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago reports that the nod will not be going to top prospect Carlos Rodon. Manager Robin Ventura has said someone on the active roster will make the start. While Hector Noesi has made just one outing, off-days have allowed the Sox the opportunity to skip him in the rotation, with Jose Quintana taking his spot. Of course, the fact that Noesi struggled badly in his lone start — six walks and four hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Twins — and may be skipped in the rotation suggests that his grasp on a rotation spot isn’t necessarily all that firm. For what it’s worth, Rodon whiffed nine hitters against two walks in five innings of two-run ball in his Triple-A debut this season.

Minor Moves: Jimenez, Tuiasosopo, Schlereth, Jones

Matt Eddy of Baseball America has released the latest installment of his Minor League Transactions roundup, which contains several yet-unreported moves, as usual. All transactions in today’s Minor Moves post are via Eddy, unless otherwise noted…

  • The Phillies have announced that left-hander Cesar Jimenez has cleared outright waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Jimenez was outrighted over the weekend to clear a roster spot for right-hander Sean O’Sullivan, but he’ll accept a third outright assignment from the Phillies and hope to get another look in the big league bullpen soon. Jimenez did have the option to reject the outright in search of other employment, but he elected to remain with the organization.

Earlier Moves

  • The White Sox have added utility man Matt Tuiasosopo on a Minor League deal after he was released by the Orioles earlier this month. The 28-year-old infielder/outfielder hasn’t appeared in the Majors since posting a solid .244/.351/.415 batting line in 191 plate appearances with the Tigers. Those numbers are significantly better than Tuiasosopo’s career numbers in the bigs, and he batted a less convincing .240/.357/.379 in 487 PAs between the Triple-A affiliates of the White Sox and Blue Jays in 2014.
  • Daniel Schlereth‘s name is among a slew of farmhands released by the Tigers. Detroit inked Schlereth to a Minors deal back in January (without a camp invite), but he didn’t pitch in a game in Detroit’s system before being released. Schlereth was a useful member of Detroit’s bullpen back in 2010-11 after being included in the Max Scherzer/Ian Kennedy/Curtis Granderson three-team blockbuster, but shoulder injuries have derailed his career.
  • The Orioles have re-signed right-hander Devin Jones on a Minor League pact, which is of particular note due to the fact that Jones was the pitcher traded to the Padres in exchange for righty Brad Brach. The 24-year-old Jones made 25 starts between the Class-A Advanced and Double-A levels of Baltimore’s system in 2013, but he pitched just 37 1/3 innings with the Friars’ Double-A affiliate last year, working to a 7.23 ERA with an unsightly 20-to-12 K/BB ratio.

Quick Hits: Guillen, Diamondbacks, Nava

White Sox executive Kenny Williams says baseball needs personalities like that of former manager Ozzie Guillen, Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago writes. “I think it misses personality and characters and a guy who has had as much success as he has and has much baseball knowledge as he has and has a desire to be in uniform and should be in uniform somewhere,” says Williams. “Hopefully he gets another chance to show it.” Williams and Guillen had their differences when Guillen was with the White Sox, of course. The White Sox allowed Guillen to depart for Miami, where his tenure as manager of the Marlins was brief and unfortunate. He hasn’t managed since, although he’s expressed interest in returning. He now is an analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.

  • Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart sees pitching as the key to improving the franchise’s fortune, the New York Times writes. “Everything depends on pitching,” says Stewart. “So as quickly as our young pitchers can mature is going to determine whether we contend or don’t. I know we’re going to hit and catch the ball. Those things are givens.” The Diamondbacks’ emergence will thus depend on young pitchers like Jeremy Hellickson, Rubby De La Rosa, and Archie Bradley, who makes his big-league debut today.
  • The Red Sox received inquiries about outfielder Daniel Nava this spring, Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets. The team declined to trade Nava despite a surplus in their outfield, however, feeling that Nava was more valuable in a Red Sox uniform than on the trade market.

Possible Qualifying Offer Players Who Could Be Dealt

Next year’s free agent market contains plenty of players who could receive qualifying offers — David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Heyward, and others. Here’s a look at potential qualifying offer recipients who have the best chance of being traded this season, thus preventing them from receiving that designation.

At issue, of course, is draft pick compensation and forfeiture. A team extending a qualifying offer to a player receives a draft pick in return if the player signs elsewhere. The signing team also gives up a draft pick. But a player who has been traded in the season before he becomes a free agent can’t be extended a qualifying offer and thus isn’t attached to draft picks. That can be an important consideration for teams shopping for free agents, as we’ve seen in recent years in the cases of Kyle Lohse, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales, whose markets have all shrunk in part because of the qualifying offer.

Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, Reds. The Reds are off to a 4-0 start but still aren’t that likely to contend, which means that Cueto and Leake could hit the free agent market this summer. Trading Cueto, in particular, would be a great way for the Reds to add to their collection of young talent. Leake might be somewhat trickier to trade, since the Reds’ return might not be worth that much more than the draft pick and negotiating leverage they would forgo by dealing him.

Ben Zobrist and Scott Kazmir, Athletics. Billy Beane’s trade for Zobrist this offseason was a somewhat surprising one to begin with. The Athletics could easily contend, but if they don’t, Beane seems unlikely to sit still, and finding a new home for Zobrist wouldn’t be difficult given his versatility. Kazmir is another possibility — if he performs at his 2014 levels, he could receive a qualifying offer if the A’s contend or be traded if they don’t.

Alex Gordon, Royals. The Royals haven’t discussed an extension with Gordon, who would undoubtedly be an attractive trade target if the Royals were to fall out of contention in the AL Central. They’re currently 4-0, however, and there’s still the matter of Gordon’s $12.5MM option. Exercising it would likely not be an optimal financial decision from Gordon’s perspective, but he’s expressed interest in doing so before. If he were to make clear to the Royals that he planned to do so, he almost certainly wouldn’t be a trade candidate.

Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy, Padres. San Diego gambled heavily this offseason on the Padres’ ability to win in 2015. If they don’t, A.J. Preller doesn’t seem like the sort of GM to hang onto two key players who are due to become free agents. One possibility if the Padres were to trade Kennedy or especially Upton would be to acquire big-league talent in return, much like the Red Sox did when they dealt Jon Lester last summer. That would enable the Padres to re-tool for 2016, when they’ll still control most of the players they acquired over the winter.

Yovani Gallardo, Rangers. The Brewers exercised what was effectively a $12.4MM 2015 option ($13MM minus a $600K buyout) before trading Gallardo to Texas. His market value likely is somewhere near the value of a qualifying offer, and extending him one wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Rangers if he performs well this season. They could easily trade him rather than doing that, although that might be somewhat difficult given all the higher-impact starters who might be available and the value that would disappear if the ability to extend Gallardo a qualifying offer were to vanish.

Jeff Samardzija, White Sox. The new-look White Sox are 0-4, and GM Rick Hahn has said he will be “nimble” in turning his attention to the future if the organization’s moves to contend this summer don’t work out. That might mean Samardzija could be traded for the third time in a year. He would likely command significant value on the trade market.

Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, Orioles. Davis and Wieters are worth watching, although it’s somewhat unlikely that they’re valuable enough to receive qualifying offers and that they become trade candidates. Davis had a down season in 2014, while Wieters continues to struggle with health problems (and there’s currently no timetable for his return from an elbow injury). If Davis and Wieters are productive and healthy, the Orioles could well contend, and thus it’s unlikely they’ll be traded. If they aren’t, they might not be qualifying offer candidates.