Chicago White Sox Rumors

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

Quick Hits: Deadline Prospects, Valencia, White Sox

Over at Fangraphs, Kiley McDaniel has placed current grades on all of the 58 prospects that he counts as changing hands at the deadline. Among the eight players to get a rating of 55 (on the 20-80 scouting scale), three went from the Rangers to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal: catcher Jorge Alfaro, outfielder Nick Williams, and righty Jake Thompson. No other club gave or received more than one such player at the deadline, in McDaniels’ estimation. It’s an interesting read and a great resource for assessing the summer prospect haul. Check it out before voting in tonight’s poll on which team made the shrewdest moves to build out their current roster.

A few more quick notes to round out he day:

  • Athletics assistant GM David Forst explained that the club was happy to have a chance at claiming infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. The 30-year-old was a roster casualty after Toronto’s flurry of deadline moves, despite his strong season thus far. “Danny is having an excellent year offensively,” said Forst. “His defensive versatility and track record of success against left-handed pitching fit our roster very well.” As Slusser notes, there’s some down-the-line benefit for Oakland, which also recently picked up Felix Doubront as a Jays cast-off: Valencia can be controlled for two more seasons via arbitration after earning $1.68MM in his first trip through the process this year.
  • The White Sox have promoted Nick Hostetler to the post of scouting director, as John Manuel of Baseball America writes. Previous director Doug Laumann will take a senior advisory role with the club. Hostetler has served in various scouting roles with the club since 2001.

East Links: Valencia, Lucchino, Utley, Espinosa

We’ve already had a collection of NL East Notes and Red Sox Notes earlier today on MLBTR, but there’s always more news flowing out of the two Eastern divisions…

  • The Orioles, Rangers and White Sox are three of the likeliest teams to obtain Danny Valencia, an MLB source tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation.  Of these clubs, Chicago would have the inside track since they have the higher waiver priority than Baltimore or Texas (presuming, of course, that the four teams behind the Pale Hose don’t put in a claim of their own).  Valencia was rather surprisingly designated for assignment by the Blue Jays and he isn’t expected to clear trade waivers.
  • Larry Lucchino could one day land in the Hall of Fame, but the Red Sox have a very capable replacement for their President/CEO in Sam Kennedy, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe writes.  “This is Sam’s time,” one team source said. “Everybody in the building knows that.”  Abraham writes that there have been internal concerns in the past that Kennedy would leave the Red Sox to become president of another team. Other teams and even businesses outside of baseball have recruited Kennedy over the years.  Now, he’ll stay in Boston as he succeeds Lucchino.
  • The AL East landscape changed at the trade deadline, Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun writes.  The Blue Jays stole all the headlines in the division, but Schmuck believes that the Orioles found better offensive chemistry with their acquisition of Gerardo Parra.  Schmuck also gives his thoughts on the rest of the division, including the Yankees, who apparently hold their farm system’s best talent in very high esteem.
  • Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, an August trade candidate, is making progress on his rehab assignment and could rejoin the big league club soon, as MLB.com’s Nick Suss writes. When he does get back, he’ll go straight to the starting lineup, even if he’s not in Philly for long. “There’s no way I’m just going to let him sit on the bench,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “Because he’s got value and I think he’s got a lot left.”
  • Danny Espinosa has played a big role for the Nationals this season, but with their regular infield starters back, Espinosa is in a playing-time crunch, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Times writes.  His versatility makes him a prime bench piece, however, and as Janes notes, Espinosa could well find regular time again if veterans need a rest or if the Nats suffer further injuries.
  • Despite selling off key pieces at the deadline, Marlins president Michael Hill says there will be brighter days ahead in Miami.  “There’s optimism in South Florida,” Hill told MLB Network Radio (on Twitter). “We feel like we have a great core…We’re looking at an ace in Jose Fernandez and one of the best power hitters in Giancarlo Stanton.”

AL Central Notes: Dombrowski, Tribe, Samardzija

Daniel Norris‘ career as a Tiger got off a fantastic start today as the newly-acquired left-hander held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings work.  Norris allowed four hits and a walk while striking out five to earn the victory.  Here’s more from around the AL Central…

  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski is confident that last week’s trades have replenished the club’s reserves of young talent, Chris Iott of MLive.com writes.  “We changed the outlook of our organization at the upper levels, which we needed to do,” Dombrowski said of the trades as a whole. “We have traded so many guys in the past. Ideally, you don’t want to be in this position. But based on where we were, we think this gives us an influx of guys who can help us going into next year. It puts us in a good spot going into next year.
  • The Indiansacquisition of pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky from the Cardinals for Brandon Moss was the best trade deadline deal of any team over the last week, Fangraphs’ David Laurila opines.  Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter) is similarly effusive about the deal for the Tribe, calling it “a flat out heist for” Cleveland.
  • Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addresses some moves that the Indians made and didn’t make at the deadline as part of a reader mailbag.  Of note, Hoynes says the Tribe didn’t plan to pick up David Murphy‘s contract option for 2016 and that the Carlos Carrasco trade talks “were window shopping for future reference” rather than a concerted effort to trade the right-hander.
  • Jeff Samardzija remained focused on pitching while trade rumors swirled around him, so the righty said not much has changed for him in remaining with the White Sox, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin writes.  Samardzija is excited about Chicago’s recent play and hopes they can keep building towards a late-season playoff push.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/1/15

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

  • The Mets have signed pitcher Tim Stauffer to a minor league contract, according to the MLB transactions page. Stauffer was released by the Twins earlier this summer and signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in mid-July. He posted a 6.60 ERA in 15 innings with the Twins. Over a 590 inning major league career, he has a 3.94 ERA with 6.73 K/9 and 3.05 BB/9. In his heyday, he worked between 90 and 92 mph. He averaged just 88 mph with his fastball during his stint with Minnesota.
  • The Giants have released pitcher Erik Cordier, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. MLBTR has learned that Cordier’s deal included opt out clauses on July 1, August 1, and September 7. The 29-year-old righty performed well in the minors. In 34 Triple-A innings, he posted a 1.04 ERA and 11.16 K/9. However, his command and control left something to be desired with 6.49 BB/9.
  • The White Sox have signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo and assigned him to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, the Knights have announced. Viciedo was, of course, a longtime staple of the White Sox outfield, but they released him in February, avoiding paying most of what would have been a $4.4MM arbitration salary. He played briefly this year for Triple-A Nashville in the Athletics system, hitting .221/.282/.336.
  • The Red Sox have outrighted infielder Jemile Weeks and assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal tweets. The Red Sox designated Weeks for assignment on Wednesday when they added Josh Rutledge to their roster. Weeks has hit .207/.307/.310 in 199 plate appearances for Pawtucket this year.
  • Former Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers is headed to Korea, where he’ll get $1MM to play for the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. In the midst of yesterday’s trade deadline madness, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch tweeted that the Yankees had released Rogers. The 29-year-old Rogers posted a 6.27 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 33 innings with New York this season.

AL Central Notes: Cespedes, Tigers, White Sox

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and Mets GM Sandy Alderson got to know each other a little bit better on Friday.

We must have had at least 20 conversations with Sandy Alderson today,” the Tigers GM said, according to Jason Beck of MLB.com (on Twitter).

All of that talking wasn’t for nothing as the two sides agreed to a deal sending Cespedes to New York this afternoon. The Mets didn’t want to part with Michael Fulmer until today, but they had a change of heart that paved the way for the deal. Here’s more out of the AL Central..

  • The Tigers made the Yoenis Cespedes deal with the Mets with the belief that they’ll be reunited again this winter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.
  • Dombrowski said the Tigers didn’t come close to making any other trades, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • White Sox GM Rick Hahn is a little bit frustrated that he couldn’t make a splash today as he was optimistic something would get done, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com tweets.  In the end, he says that the cost did not justify the return.
  • Hahn said the only big change in the White Sox‘s strategy was considering short-term rentals, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Ultimately, however, he didn’t want to hurt the club’s long-term future.

Yoenis Cespedes Rumors: Friday

Yoenis Cespedes is the Tigers’ top rental piece now that David Price is in Toronto. He’s widely expected to be dealt today following the trades of Price and Joakim Soria, especially because he cannot receive a qualifying offer at the end of the year, even if the Tigers keep him. (Cespedes’ contract calls for him to be released at its end so he can reach free agency despite not having six years of service.)

Here are today’s Cespedes rumors…

  • The Angels have had discussions with the Tigers regarding Cespedes, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

Earlier Updates

  • Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post tweets that the Nationals do not have interest in Cespedes.
  • The Nationals are a surprise possibility for Cespedes, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. GM Mike Rizzo is said to love him, Heyman notes. It’s somewhat unclear where Cespedes would slot into the Nationals’ outfield if everyone is healthy, though. Heyman also lists the Mets as suitors for Cespedes, and rumors do suggest that the two sides are at least having preliminary talks.
  • The Tigers‘ asking price on Cespedes is currently high, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, with the belief being that Detroit would ask the Orioles for Kevin Gausman in return. The Orioles, reportedly, are loath to part with the former No. 4 overall pick.
  • The Orioles could still make a Cespedes trade work even after acquiring Gerardo Parra, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. Corner outfield help has been the Orioles’ top target over the past week.
  • Olney’s colleague, Jayson Stark, tweets that other clubs feel that the White Sox are struggling with how the impact of Cespedes or fellow corner outfielder Justin Upton would impact the current roster. The ChiSox already have a logjam at first base, DH and the corner outfield. I’d suggest that Avisail Garcia could be demoted to Triple-A. The Sox remain high on him, but he’s not showing much power and has struggled in the field. As of yesterday, the Sox had flipped the switch from “seller” to “buyer” and were said to be aggressively pursuing offensive upgrades, including Cespedes and Upton.

White Sox Aggressively Pursuing Bat; Interested In Upton, Cespedes

4:00pm: The White Sox are interested not only in Cespedes but also in the Padres’ Justin Upton, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter).

2:41pm: The White Sox are flipping the script and aggressively pursuing a bat, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. Among the many players they’ve inquired about, per the report, is Yoenis Cespedes of the Tigers.

It remains unclear at present precisely where the club would like to add. Cespedes, of course, is a rental outfielder, but Chicago has received fairly marginal production at almost every spot on the diamond. First base (Jose Abreu) and center field (Adam Eaton) seem to be the only two positions where an upgrade would not make any real sense, though obviously the team is unlikely to replace veterans like Alexei Ramirez (at short) and Melky Cabrera (in the outfield). That Cespedes holds interest seems to suggest that Chicago is willing to take time away from Avisail Garcia and/or Adam LaRoche (the team’s right fielder and primary DH, respectively).

More importantly, perhaps, is the question of what kind of price the club might be willing to pay to get something done and whether the team is considering a move for controllable assets. Chicago is not exactly in an enviable position, though the team has played better of late. The division-rival Tigers are selling despite the fact that they are only one game behind Chicago in the standings. The White Sox are 11.5 games back of the leading Royals, and remain two-and-a-half out of Wild Card position.

With the team pursuing a bat, it would seem highly unlikely that righty Jeff Samardzija will be moved. That had already seemed to be the case, so perhaps it isn’t surprising to learn that the club prefers to enhance its chances with an addition, rather than simply standing pat.


AL Central Notes: Twins, Polanco, Tigers, White Sox

The Twins announced the call-up of highly-regarded shortstop prospect Jorge Polanco, who will take the roster spot of Trevor Plouffe as he heads to the paternity list. It’s unclear as yet whether Polanco — currently rated the 89th overall prospect in the game by MLB.com — will stick around for a lengthier stretch. He has already seen two brief cameos, and Minnesota probably hopes he’s the future at the position. But the team is struggling to find consistency at shortstop now, as it continues to remain in contention. GM Terry Ryan said yesterday that he isn’t ruling out the possibility of adding a shortstop in the next three days, as MLB.com’s Betsy Helfand reports“If you’ve got a chance to get better, then you look at it,” Ryan said. “If you’ve got a chance to just do something to make a move, that wouldn’t be very smart, either. We’ve got three of them here.” Polanco now joins that group, which also includes Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar, and Eduardo Nunez. As I noted in breaking down the shortstop trade market, Minnesota figures as a possible participant, and could find some veteran options available at reasonable prices.

Here’s more from the AL Central:

  • As they approach the deadline, the Twins should exercise caution in making deals for their short-term impact, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN writes. He advocates for a bullpen addition or two, at a relatively low cost, as the best way to balance the team’s solid position in the Wild Card hunt with its long-term interests.
  • Indeed, even with the Royals making big moves to bolster their already high-performing roster, the Twins do not seem inclined to respond to keep up with their division rivals. As MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports on Twitter, Ryan indicated that his moves won’t be dictated by what Kansas City has done: “You still have to do what’s right for your own club,” he said. “You’re not going to be reactionary.”
  • The Twins have steadily enhanced their reliance on analytics, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press writes“It’s probably not at the level the Pirates were at and are at,” says Twins manager of major league administration and baseball research Jack Goin, “but it’s significantly better (than it was). This is just kind of a natural evolution.” You’ll want to give the full piece a read for an interesting look at Minnesota’s changing philosophies.
  • After another rough loss yesterday, the Tigers should be deadline sellers, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press opines. While Detroit is still on the periphery of the Wild Card race, four and a half out, the club has now dipped 13.5 games back of the division-leading Royals. For George Sipple of MLive.com, given the club’s veteran core, there’s a case to be made in either direction — adding pieces or selling off expiring veteran contracts — but no real argument for standing pat.
  • With the White Sox now climbing past the Tigers in the standings, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that he believes there’s a better chance of Detroit moving David Price than there is of Chicago parting with Jeff Samardzija. Both will hit the open market after the year, of course. It’s worth bearing in mind that the latter has far less trade value, making it somewhat easier for the White Sox to keep him and plan to recoup prospect value by extending a qualifying offer after the season (with expectations that it will be declined).

White Sox Waiting To Decide On Dealing Samardzija

9:44pm: Chicago is waiting to see where they stand after their current series to decide whether to move Samardzija, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

6:28pm: The Blue Jays are showing the strongest interest in Jeff Samardzija of any interested team, reports Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (Twitter link). The Giants, too, have recently checked in on Samardzija, according to Hayes.

[RELATED: Blue Jays Show Interest In Craig Kimbrel]

Toronto’s focus is said to be on the rotation, and they’ve been connected to Samardzija a number of times over the past week. Of course, the Jays are also said to be casting quite a wide net.

As for San Francisco, it’s still unclear whether the club is more than an opportunistic buyer for starters. Recent reports have indicated that the team would like to add a major arm, but may not be willing to extend itself to do so.

On the White Sox side of things, Hayes reported last week that the team is becoming “increasingly willing” to trade Samardzija, who is earning $9.8MM this season and is a free agent at year’s end. That being said, Chicago has still not given a “definitive signal” to other clubs that it will move Samardzija, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets.

With the Wild Card race still not completely out of reach, it seems that the White Sox may be taking things down to the wire. Then, there’s the fact that other, bigger chips may need to move (or be declared off-limits) before Samardzija can be marketed to his maximum value.


Stark’s Latest: Giants, Hamels, Price, Orioles, Gallardo, Alvarez

The latest deadline rumblings from Jayson Stark of ESPN.com

  • The Giants are still searching for starting pitching, but they’re only looking at top-of-the-rotation arms to pair with Madison Bumgarner in a playoff rotation, Stark hears. San Francisco has checked in on both David Price and Cole Hamels, but they’re not considered a favorite to land Hamels from the Phillies, and there’s still no definitive sense that Price has been made available by the Tigers. Yesterday, Stark reported that the Dodgers and Rangers were emerging as the favorites in the Hamels market.
  • The Orioles are speaking with other clubs to get a feel for what kind of return they could get if they market Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Tommy Hunter and Bud Norris, Stark hears. However, rival clubs feel the O’s will only sell if they slide to six or more games back in the Wild Card race — and they’re 3.5 games out with four to play before the deadline at this time. If they make up a bit of ground, they could add a bat, but Stark says it’d likely be a bench piece as opposed to a bigger name. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said last week he would be a buyer regardless of the team’s play, though others have suggested that the Orioles could still end up selling if they struggle enough.
  • Adding help that can be controlled beyond 2015 is the priority for the Rangers, which is why they’re targeting Hamels, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner while also listening to offers on Yovani Gallardo. However, according to Stark, those moves aren’t linked, and Texas could acquire a rotation piece for 2016 but also hang onto Gallardo. Personally, I think Gallardo’s pitched well enough to warrant a qualifying offer. A draft pick and improved odds of making a late run (especially if they do add another rotation arm) present enough value that the Rangers shouldn’t feel obligated to simply take the best offer for Gallardo if the proposed packages aren’t all that impressive.
  • The Pirates are now likely to hang onto Pedro Alvarez after shopping him without success for several weeks. They’ve asked the Brewers, White Sox and Rays about Adam Lind, Adam LaRoche and James Loney, respectively, but with Alvarez in the fold, they’re not likely to make a move at first. Stark adds that multiple sources downplayed the recent reports connecting Pittsburgh to the Red SoxMike Napoli.