- Todd Frazier hopes to stay with the White Sox even if the team undergoes a rebuild, as Frazier tells MLB.com’s Scott Merkin that he would embrace the role as veteran leader of a younger clubhouse. “If I was here, shoot man, it would be great. I know what it takes to lead a team….These guys understand that I care for all of them. If that’s the way [GM Rick Hahn’s] going, and I’m still here, I’ll take that with open arms,” Frazier said.
- Robin Ventura wants to return as the White Sox manager in 2017, though he tells Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times that “you have to have somebody ask you to do it and all that. That’s stuff that happens after the season is over, if you get there.” The Sox are on pace for the fourth straight losing season of Ventura’s tenure, and the skipper is in the last year of his contract.
- During an appearance on WSCR Radio’s “Inside The Clubhouse” show (hat tip to CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine), White Sox GM Rick Hahn said that discussions with manager Robin Ventura and the coaching staff about their futures with the team will wait until the end of the season. While the Sox have had another underachieving season, the lack of talk isn’t necessarily a sign that Ventura and company could be in trouble, as “we had the same conversations a couple of years back, when he was in the last year of his deal that time,” Hahn said. “Even as a player, [Ventura] played out the last year of his contract, and focused on the end of that particular season. He let the contractual stuff go until the end of the season, and that is our plan at this point.” Ventura quietly signed a two-year extension during the 2013-14 offseason, prior to his last season under his previous contract as Chicago’s skipper.
- The White Sox certainly aren’t a lock to deal left-handed ace Chris Sale during the offseason, but there will unsurprisingly be plenty of suitors if they shop him. Non-contenders are likelier to enter the mix for the 27-year-old, and teams will generally be more open to including major league players and 2016 draft picks in their offers.
- White Sox reliever Zach Putnam had surgery Thursday to remove a bone fragment from his right elbow, the team has announced. The team further notes that the ligament was intact, and that Putnam will begin rehab next week. Putnam was off to a great start this season, with a 2.30 ERA, 9.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings, but he went down with the elbow injury in late June and hasn’t pitched since.
[Related: Updated White Sox Depth Chart]
- White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson will miss the rest of the season after tearing his hamstring in his MLB debut, as Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. Tilson was only just acquired, in exchange for reliever Zach Duke, and moved straight to Chicago’s major league roster. After recording a hit in his first turn at the plate in the majors, he popped his hammy chasing down a fly ball and now needs surgery. Regarded as a speedy, contact-oriented player, Tilson was set for something of a showcase over the last two months of the season; instead, he’ll have to rehab and look to impress his new team next spring.
There’s been rampant speculation on White Sox ace Chris Sale since mid-July reports that the South Siders would listen to offers on their ace. The asking price has been said to be staggering — as many as five highly regarded prospects/young MLB-ready players — but teams are of course intrigued by the possibility of adding a pitcher of Sale’s caliber that can be controlled through 2019 for about $41MM (including the remainder of this year’s salary).
- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that the White Sox are saying they’ll hang onto both Sale and Jose Quintana, barring a late dramatic change.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Red Sox aren’t actively discussing Sale with the White Sox (Twitter link).
- The Red Sox and White Sox had some late-night talks pertaining to Sale, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (on Twitter). Nightengale adds that if Sale is moved — and that is a huge “if,” it should be noted — the Red Sox and the Dodgers are likely destinations. Jon Paul Morosi said in appearance on the MLB Network this morning that he considers the Red Sox to be the likeliest destination for Sale, though a trade is very far from a sure thing.
- FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Red Sox have indeed talked to the White Sox on Sale recently, but Chicago is seeking “at least” four young players from Boston, including “three of [their] best.”
- Heyman wrote this morning that the Red Sox, Rangers and Dodgers are seen as three of the most likely landing spots in the event of a trade due to the strong farm systems and bulk of MLB-ready talent that each has to offer. However, he also tweeted earlier that the Rangers and White Sox haven’t spoken about Sale recently. Notably, the Rangers have been focused on other trade options, including Jonathan Lucroy.
The White Sox have interest in Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). Chicago had checked in on Puig over the winter but he wasn’t available at the time, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter), who says that’s quite the opposite at present.
Puig, 25, has undeniably had a down year on the field even as he is said to be improving in his attitude and approach. Though he remains a quality defender, Puig is running out a below-average batting line that falls well shy of the top-notch production he put up earlier in his career. He does remain controlled beyond the year, of course, though he can opt into arbitration — which means the cost of those years could float with his performance.
Those teams have reportedly at least engaged on Chicago’s top starters, Chris Sale and perhaps also Jose Quintana, though it’s entirely unclear at this point how the interest in Puig could relate. Indeed, Los Angeles could conceivably have interest in a variety of the South Siders’ players — including starter James Shields, closer David Robertson, outfielders Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera, and third baseman Todd Frazier. To be clear, none of these players has been connected directly to Los Angeles; I’m pointing them out only because the trade possibilities seem wide open at present.
- Chatter surrounding White Sox ace Chris Sale continues to suggest that he’s an unlikely trade candidate, but the mere possibility of a trade certainly warrants attention. The Rangers, Dodgers, and Red Sox are three clubs still working the phones to see if something can be worked out, per Heyman, who goes on to discuss some of the names being kicked around in possible deal frameworks.
Duke, 33, is pitching well in the second season of a three-year, $15MM contract signed with the White Sox prior to the 2015 campaign. He currently leads the American League with 53 relief appearances, though he’s clearly been deployed in a largely specialized role, as he’s totaled just 37 2/3 innings in those 53 contests. Duke has posted a 2.63 ERA with 10.0 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 and a 58.8 percent ground-ball rate. While Duke has been used in left-on-left matchups with great frequency, he’s held right-handed opponents in check this season (albeit with the help of a .238 BABIP). He’ll give the Cardinals some needed bullpen depth and join Tyler Lyons and Kevin Siegrist as a third left-handed option for manager Mike Matheny.
Duke is earning $5MM this season — of which about $1.78MM remains — and is owed $5.5MM for the 2017 season as well. Cardinals fans may recall Duke from his days with the Pirates, but he reinvented himself as a reliever with the Brewers in 2014 and parlayed a brilliant season with Milwaukee into his current contract. Since that 2014 breakout, Duke has a 2.87 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 57.2 percent ground-ball rate.
Tilson, meanwhile, ranked 10th among Cardinals prospects on Baseball America’s midseason update of the organization’s top prospects and 12th on MLB.com’s version of the Cards’ top 30. BA writes that he has some of the best speed in the organization and strong contact skills but bottom-of-the-scale power. MLB.com agrees, noting that he’s selective at the plate, can bunt for hits and is capable of hitting to all fields but lacks pop. Tilson has the speed and range to play center field, and both reports indicate that he can be at least a fourth outfielder in the Majors, if not an everyday player whose game is geared toward speed, contact and defense.