Chicago White Sox Rumors

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

White Sox To Sign George Kottaras

The White Sox have reached an agreement with veteran catcher George Kottaras on a minor league contract, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first tweeted that the Sox were nearing a deal with the All Bases Covered Sports Mangement client.

From an offensive standpoint, Kottaras is known to have solid power and draw quite a few walks, but he’s also seen his strikeout rate climb in recent years. He’s a career .215/.326/.411 hitter in 858 plate appearances and should give the Sox some solid depth behind incumbent backstop Tyler Flowers and waiver claim Rob Brantly. Chicago also has an in-house option with Adrian Nieto, who served as their backup in 2014 after being selected out of the Rule 5 Draft. Nieto hit .236/.296/.340 and lasted the entire season with Chicago despite never having played above Class-A Advanced when he was selected.


AL Notes: Hamilton, Cabrera, Toritani

The Angels have discussed potential trades involving Josh Hamilton with the Rangers and Padres this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. That might not mean much right now — MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that the conversation between the Angels and Rangers lasted two minutes, and today’s Wil Myers deal would seem to rule out the possibility of a trade sending Hamilton to San Diego. Rosenthal himself describes recent Hamilton trade talks as merely “exploratory,” and quotes Angels GM Jerry Dipoto asserting his faith in Hamilton. “We do believe in Josh,” says Dipoto. “We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do.” There’s also, obviously, the problem of Hamilton’s trade value being down significantly right now after a mediocre 2014 season. But the possibility of the Angels trading Hamilton (who has a full no-trade clause and is owed $83MM over the next three years) could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming years. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • The White Sox are “comfortable” with Melky Cabrera‘s past troubles with PEDs, J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com writes. “Obviously we’re aware of what happened in the past and no one condones what he did,” says GM Rick Hahn. “But we are talking about an instance where there was a mistake he made and took ownership for and showed honest remorse.” Another PED suspension would cost the White Sox an entire year of Cabrera’s three-year deal, but the White Sox are confident that Cabrera’s PED issues are in the past.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos confirms that the Blue Jays have interest in Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. “We’ve scouted him quite a bit,” Anthopoulos said to Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “We have some scouts that like him and he’s someone that we’ve certainly talked about internally. Beyond that I probably wouldn’t get into anything else, but certainly a guy like that would fit.” The 33-year-old Toritani, who hit .303/.406/.415 for Hanshin in 2014, could be an option at second base for the Jays.

White Sox To Sign Brad Penny

The White Sox have signed righty Brad Penny to a minor league contract, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter links). The 36-year-old righty will look to continue his comeback with one of this offseason’s most aggressive teams.

Penny will have a chance to compete for a rotation spot this spring, Cotillo adds, though it would appear to be a longshot for him to earn a regular spot on a club that has declared its intentions to win now. Depth never hurts, of course, though another signing by the White Sox probably cannot be ruled out.

After a failed try in the spring with the Royals, Penny joined the Marlins late last year. His addition coincided with the departure of Jacob Turner, an odd move at the time and in retrospect. Penny threw 26 innings for the Fish over four starts and four relief appearances, posting a 6.58 ERA with both 4.5 strikeouts and walks per nine. ERA estimators painted a slightly better picture, but all saw him as well below average.



White Sox Sign Melky Cabrera

DECEMBER 16: The club has made the deal official (hat tip to Scott Merkin of MLB.com).

DECEMBER 15: The deal is done, per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). After earning $13MM next year, Cabrera will take home $14MM in 2016 and $15MM in the final year of his deal. He also obtains a limited no-trade clause, per Heyman.

DECEMBER 14: The White Sox have agreed to terms with Melky Cabrera on a three-year contract, 670thescore.com’s Bruce Levine tweets. Cabrera’s deal is worth $42MM, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).

The deal, which is pending a physical, is only slightly backloaded, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The White Sox will pay Cabrera $13MM in 2015. Cabrera is a client of the Legacy Agency.

USATSI_8063396_154513410_lowresThe move continues an offseason transformation for the White Sox, who so far have traded for Jeff Samardzija and signed David Robertson, Adam LaRoche and Zach Duke to help aid a team that won 73 games in 2014. The switch-hitting Cabrera is a proven offensive player, and at age 30, there’s no reason he can’t produce at least a couple more productive, high-average seasons, as he did in 2014, when he batted .301/.351/.458 in 621 plate appearances for Toronto.

If anything, three years seems rather light for a player of Cabrera’s age and talent. MLBTR’s Steve Adams predicted in October that Cabrera would receive five years and $66.25MM. The average annual value of his contract will, apparently, be slightly higher than that projection, but the difference in years is still significant. Cabrera rejected a four-year offer from an unknown team because his preference was to play for the White Sox, tweets CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.

Still, that Cabrera would receive a three-year deal was perhaps somewhat predictable after watching his market develop. It was surprising in the past week to read reports suggesting that the Mariners and other teams were unwilling to go past three years for Cabrera. (Cabrera had also previously been connected to the Orioles, Royals, Giants and Reds.)

While Cabrera isn’t a strong defensive player and he walks infrequently, he’s batted above .300 in three of the last four seasons, typically with a bit of power. His solid season in 2014 figured to put his past PED connections mostly behind him, too, especially since the examples of Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz provide precedent for PED-connected players receiving lucrative long-term deals.

Cabrera will presumably slot into left field in Chicago, bumping Dayan Viciedo from a starting spot. Viciedo hit just .231/.281/.405 while playing poor defense last season, so Cabrera represents a big upgrade. The Mariners, who were seen as front-runners for Cabrera, also have shown interest in Viciedo. Perhaps Cabrera’s pact with the White Sox will clear the way for a trade that sends Viciedo west.

Cabrera rejected the Blue Jays’ qualifying offer earlier this offseason, so Toronto will receive an extra pick at the end of the first round of the 2015 draft. The White Sox’ first-round pick, No. 8 overall, is protected, and they already gave up their second-round pick to sign Robertson, so they will have to sacrifice their third-round pick once their signing of Cabrera is complete.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Minor Moves: Teahen, Pridie, Kelly, Worth, Francisco

Former Royals infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen has retired from baseball, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. Now 33 years old, Teahen last appeared in the Majors in 2011 and most recently split the 2013 season between the D-Backs’ minor league system and indy ball. Teahen had an outstanding 2006 season in which he batted .290/.357/.517 with 18 homers and 10 steals, but he was never able to repeat that success. Teahen eventually found himself the recipient of a three-year, $14MM extension with the White Sox that provided the bulk of his $21MM career earnings. All told, he will finish his career as a .264/.327/.409 hitter in 3171 plate appearances.

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league…

  • Outfielder Jason Pridie and right-hander Merrill Kelly have signed with the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The 31-year-old Pridie has received cups of coffee in each of the past three seasons but accrued most of his big league service time with the 2011 Mets when he batted .231/.309/.370 in 236 PA. He’s perhaps best known for being part of the trade that sent Delmon Young to Minnesota and Matt Garza to Tampa. Kelly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He’s posted a career 3.40 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 527 1/3 innings and reached Triple-A for the first time in 2014.
  • Former Tigers infielder Danny Worth has signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks, reports MLive.com’s Chris Iott. Worth received offers from multiple clubs, including one who had interest in him as a pitcher, Iott adds (Worth pitched twice in 2014 and actually throws a decent knuckleball). The 29-year-old Worth is a career .230/.293/.295 hitter with Detroit and a .242/.320/.350 hitter at the Triple-A level.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports (via Twitter) that the D-Backs have also signed former big league outfielder Ben Francisco to a minor league deal. Francisco, now 33 years of age, didn’t see big league action in 2014 but has a career .253/.323/.418 batting line in parts of seven big league seasons.
  • Eddy also tweets that the Red Sox have signed right-hander Nestor Molina and catcher Luke Montz to minor league deals. Molina struggled in parts of three seasons in the White Sox’ minor league system after being acquired in the Sergio Santos trade. Montz is a 31-year-old veteran with 56 big league plate appearances and a .232/.318/.456 batting line in parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level.
  • The Royals have signed infielder Gabriel Noriega, tweets Eddy. Noriega is described by Eddy as a slick fielder who made a couple of Royals Top 30 prospects lists. The 27-year-old hit .275/.299/.360 between Double-A and Triple-A in the Mariners organization last year.
  • The Marlins have acquired righty Craig Stem from the Dodgers to complete the Kyle Jensen trade, Miami announced. Stem reached Double-A last year at age 24, but struggled mightily upon his promotion. The Dodgers are now expected to designate Jensen for assignment to clear room for the signing of Brandon McCarthy, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets.
  • First baseman Clint Robinson has joined the Nationals on a minor league pact, Ryan Walton reported on Twitter (and Robinson himself confirmed through a tweet). The 29-year-old has scant MLB experience, but torched the PCL with a .312/.401/.534 line over 499 plate appearances last year.
  • Dan Johnson is set to reach a minor league deal with the Astros, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. Johnson is 35 and has not reached triple-digit MLB plate appearances since 2010 (and 2007 before that), but owns a lifetime .281/.401/.509 slash at the Triple-A level.
  • The White Sox have added lefty Zach Phillips on a minor league deal, Eddy reports on Twitter. As Eddy notes, the South Siders have been loading up on LOOGY depth this offseason. The 28-year-old has seen sporadic big league action, with 15 2/3 innings to his credit over 2011-13, and spent some time last year playing in Japan.
  • The Indians have added catcher Brett Hayes and corner outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands on minor league deals, Eddy tweets. Hayes has appeared in six-straight big league seasons, though he’s never seen more than 144 plate appearances in a season. Sands, 27, has mostly played at the Triple-A level in recent seasons, but did get 227 plate appearances in 2011 (.253/.338/.389).
  • After being non-tendered, Jose Campos (Yankees) and Gus Schlosser (Braves) have returned to their prior organizations, Eddy reports on Twitter. Both righties have moved into swingman roles in their organizations, though Campos has yet even to reach High-A while Schlosser saw 15 games in the big leagues last year.

AL Notes: Rios, Mariners, Rangers, Murphy, Twins

Here’s the latest from the American League:

  • With Melky Cabrera off the board, Alex Rios remains on the Mariners‘ radar, tweets Bob Dutton of The News Tribune. Cabrera agreed to a three-year contract with the White Sox yesterday, which should pay him roughly $14-$14.5MM per season.
  • MLB.com’s Greg Johns entertains other scenarios (both external and internal) in which the Mariners can fill their vacancy in right field.
  • The Rangers have $10-12MM in financial flexibility remaining; but, because of the health questions surrounding their core players, they could sit on that cash until midseason when they will have had time to gauge what kind of team they really have, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
  • Cleveland.com’s Paul Hoynes wonders if Indians outfielder David Murphy is more of a platoon player at this stage of his career and believes a reader’s proposed trade of Murphy to the Mets for Ohio native Jon Niese would favor the Indians.
  • The White Sox have filled many holes with their high-profile acquisitions this offseason, but right field, second base, third base, and catcher remain areas of concern, opines Jim Margalus of South Side Sox.
  • The Twins have invested heavily in the free agent market this offseason and last because payroll was shed and there’s optimism over the performance of Minnesota’s young core, writes 1500ESPN.com’s Phil Mackey.

AL Central Notes: Cabrera, Viciedo, Scherzer, Tigers

Melky Cabrera didn’t receive any four-year offers, so he chose to play in his preferred Eastern half of the country and sign a three-year pact with the White Sox, tweets Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com (link in Spanish). Cabrera became the latest splashy acquisition for the White Sox late last night joining Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, and Zach Duke in an effort to bring the club from 73 wins in 2014 to contention in 2015.

Here’s more on the White Sox and the rest of the AL Central Division:

  • The White Sox‘s acquisition of Cabrera could pay off for Jose Abreu, writes JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com.
  • The White Sox are sure to trade Dayan Viciedo after signing Cabrera and Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter) wonders if the Mariners could be a possibility. The Mariners were interested in signing Cabrera, but lost out when the White Sox offered $42MM over three years.
  • Tigers assistant GM Al Avila told Jim Duquette of SiriusXM (via Twitter) the club has had “no conversations” with Max Scherzer‘s camp. Last week, an industry source told MLB.com’s Jason Beck even though Scott Boras has openly said the Tigers won’t receive a chance to match an opposing team’s final offer for the hurler, Boras will, in fact, give owner Mike Ilitch a chance to match “at least as a professional courtesy.”
  • The Tigers have long coveted Yoenis Cespedes and would have made a stronger bid for him in 2012 had Victor Martinez not suffered a season-ending knee injury in January of that year, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Tigers President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski says right-hander Alex Wilson, acquired from the Red Sox along with Cespedes, is not just a throw-in but will compete for a bullpen spot in Spring Training, reports Fenech in a second article.

White Sox, Mariners In “Serious Talks” On Dayan Viciedo

The White Sox and Mariners are engaged in “serious talks” about a deal involving outfielder/third baseman Dayan Viciedo, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reports on Twitter. Chicago is looking to receive a bullpen arm in return.

Viciedo is still only 25 years old and has established himself as a twenty-plus home run power bat. But his on-base and defensive abilities have lagged, and he has actually been a sub-replacement-level overall player (by measure of fWAR) over the last two seasons. At a $4.4MM projected arbitration salary, per MLBTR/Matt Swartz, Viciedo could be headed towards a non-tender next year if he cannot turn things around.


Marlins Acquire Andre Rienzo From White Sox For Dan Jennings

The Marlins have acquired righty Andre Rienzo from the White Sox in exchange for lefty Dan Jennings, Miami announced.

Jennings, not to be confused with the Miami GM of the same name, owns a career 2.43 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 across the last three years.  The left-hander will celebrate his 28th birthday not long after Opening Day.

Rienzo, 26, has made 21 starts and seven relief appearances for the White Sox over the last two years.  In that time, he has posted a 5.89 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9.


White Sox Sign David Robertson

WEDNESDAY: The deal is official. Robertson receives $10MM next year and a $1MM raise in each successive season, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribne (via Twitter).

TUESDAY, 11:44am: Robertson has a limited no-trade clause with the White Sox that will allow him to block trades to five teams, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).

MONDAY, 11:59pm: Robertson’s deal is worth $46MM over four years, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). He will receive limited no-trade protection, according to Mark Feinsand of New York Daily News (on Twitter).

USATSI_8120293_154513410_lowres11:39pm: The White Sox have agreed to sign David Robertson to a four-year deal worth more than $40MM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value. Robertson is represented by All Bases Covered, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.

Robertson just missed the ~$50MM Jonathan Papelbon-type deal that he was said to be looking for, but he did out-earn fellow free agent Andrew Miller, who will be pitching late in games for Robertson’s former club.  The incumbent Yankees were reportedly open to going to a fourth year, but it’s not clear if they ever presented him with an offer of that length.

The White Sox are making a massive splash at this year’s Winter Meetings.  In addition to adding Robertson, the White Sox appear to be on the verge of acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics.  Some observers felt that the White Sox were in need of a rebuild this winter, but they apparently believe very strongly that they can win in 2015.

Last month it was reported that Robertson had serious interest from at least six clubs and the Astros and Yankees were among the teams known to be in the mix.  Robertson entered this offseason as the 13th ranked player on Tim Dierkes’ Top 50 Free Agents list, making him the highest ranked reliever of the winter.

Robertson rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer, so New York will get an extra pick at the end of the first round of next year’s draft as compensation. The White Sox’ top pick, No. 8 overall, is protected, but they’ll sacrifice their second-round pick, No. 45 overall, once the Robertson signing becomes official.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.