Chicago White Sox Rumors

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

Minor Moves: Aaron Thompson, Chris Bassitt

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

  • The Twins have selected the contract of lefty Aaron Thompson, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets. Thompson will take the roster spot vacated when the Twins lost Sam Deduno to the Astros’ waiver claim. Thompson, 27, posted a 3.98 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 52 innings this season at Triple-A Rochester. The former Marlins first-round draft pick appeared briefly in the big leagues with the Pirates in 2011.
  • The White Sox have selected the contract of pitcher Chris Bassitt from Double-A Birmingham, Fred B. Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune tweets. The White Sox also optioned Scott Carroll to Triple-A Charlotte and recalled pitcher Eric Surkamp. Bassitt will start the second game of Chicago’s doubleheader against the Tigers tonight (against another pitcher making his big-league debut, Kyle Ryan). The 25-year-old Bassitt has pitched well in 34 2/3 innings at Birmingham this year, posting a 1.56 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.

White Sox To Pursue Victor Martinez In Free Agency

The White Sox are preparing to make a run at Tigers DH Victor Martinez in free agency, Bruce Levine of 670TheScore.com reports on Twitter. Martinez, 35, is playing out the final year of the four-year, $50MM pact he signed to join Detroit before the 2011 season.

Chicago will have an opening for a veteran slugger with both Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko playing on expiring contracts. The pair has split duties at the DH position this year, but the switch-hitting Martinez would presumably occupy the role with just one roster spot. Of course, Dunn also provides something of a cautionary tale. He posted a .731 OPS over four years with the White Sox, which actually fell slightly below league average, making his $56MM deal a devastatingly poor investment given his lack of defensive flexibility.

Martinez, of course, proved a better investment than did Dunn, even though he no longer spends time behind the dish. Over three seasons in Detroit (he missed all of 2012), Martinez has put up a .318/.375/.479 slash with 52 home runs. He’s been even more impressive this year, bumping his line up to .327/.395/.555 and swatting a career-best 26 long balls.

In spite of his age, Martinez’s bat will obviously be enticing to many American League clubs. One major wild card remains whether or not he receives a qualifying offer from the Tigers, which could prove a particularly strong disincentive to teams that are not all-in on the immediate future. In that respect, of course, the White Sox represent an interesting suitor, as a move for Martinez would represent a signal that the team believes its contention window was opened.


Lindstrom Hopes To Return To White Sox In 2015

Right-hander Matt Lindstrom is a free agent at season’s end, but he told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com that his preference is to return to the White Sox, with whom he spent the past two seasons. Said Lindstrom: “I’d like to be a part of something special. We’ve definitely seen the offense pick up here and I think we’re seeing some guys in the starting rotation learning on the job. I’d like to be a part of it here in Chicago.”

The 34-year-old opened the season as Chicago’s closer, but he’s spent much of the 2014 campaign on the disabled list following surgery to repair a subluxed tendon in his left ankle. Lindstrom had a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings when he initially hit the disabled list, though he had posted a fairly worrisome 11-to-9 K/BB ratio in that time. Since returning from the disabled list, he’s struggled through a pair of three-run outings, causing his ERA to soar to 5.09.

However, Lindstrom had a quietly strong season for the Sox in 2013, turning in a 3.12 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a very strong 55.6 percent ground-ball rate in 60 2/3 innings — the second-highest innings total of his eight-year career. Lindstrom is earning $4MM this season after the ChiSox exercised a club option on his deal following the 2013 season.

It sounds like there’s at least some interest on behalf of the Sox as well, or at least some interest from manager Robin Ventura. “You’re always hoping you have someone in each area of your team that guys can draw from who has experience,” Ventura explained to Hayes. “Matty has that.”



Central Notes: Polanco, Wada, Twins, Sox, Rodon

The Pirates will send top prospect Gregory Polanco back to the minor leagues today, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). However, Polanco’s demotion is likely to be relatively short-lived, as the 22-year-old could rejoin the team as soon as next Monday, when rosters expand. Polanco got off to a blazing start to his MLB career, but he’s cooled significantly since that time. He’s hitting .241/.308/.349 on the season as a whole, but he batted just .219/.276/.337 from July 1 through present day. Rosenthal tweets that Jose Tabata is expected to get the call to replace Polanco for the time being.

Here’s more from the game’s Central divisions…

  • Though the Cubs have been making headlines by stockpiling high-upside young talent, the success of 33-year-old left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada is making the organization consider him as an option beyond the 2014 season, writes the Chicago Tribune’s Fred Mitchell“He is pitching very, very well. There are decisions that have to be made. He certainly has put himself in a good position,” manager Rick Renteria tells Mitchell. Wada, who signed a minor league deal this offseason, pitched to a 2.77 ERA in 113 2/3 Triple-A innings this season, and he’s continued his success in the Majors. Since being promoted, Wada has turned in an outstanding 2.56 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 37.8 percent ground-ball rate in 45 2/3 innings. Sabermetric ERA estimators FIP (3.55), xFIP (3.61) and SIERA (3.50) all feel that while he’s been a bit fortunate, he’s still been highly effective.
  • Speaking with Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twins GM Terry Ryan clarified a comment that he made last week in which he suggested that manager Ron Gardenhire would return in 2015. Ryan explained that his comment was made off the cuff, without any consultation, and that no one’s job — including his own — was guaranteed in 2015. Twins owner Jim Pohlad did state last fall that Ryan’s job as GM was his for as long as he wanted to remain GM, but “everybody’s got a breaking point,” Ryan said to Miller. “I would never hold Jim Pohlad to that statement, because it wouldn’t be fair to him. We’re losing way too many games here for anybody to put that kind of faith in anyone.”
  • White Sox general manager Rick Hahn appeared on the Mully and Hanley show last Friday and said that his staff is pleased with the results of the 2013-14 offseason, and he expects to be active in free agency this offseason. Hahn also sang the praises of top pick Carlos Rodon, saying that he’s even more advanced than the team had anticipated, and his transition to pro ball has been nearly seamless. Hahn did downplay, to an extent, the rumors surrounding a potential September callup for Rodon: “…ultimately the decision to bring him up or not bring him up is going to be about what’s best for his long-term development. We’re going to have to be real cautious before we decide just to bring him up and run him out there in big league games this year.”

Angels Acquire Gordon Beckham

6:01pm: The Angels initially claimed Beckham off waivers, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (on Twitter).

5:07pm: Kay clarifies that the Angels will send a PTBNL or cash considerations to the White Sox in exchange for Beckham, not both, as he initially announced (Twitter link).

4:35pm: Angels director of communications Eric Kay announced today that the team has acquired second baseman Gordon Beckham from the White Sox in exchange for a player to be named later and cash considerations (Twitter link). The Angels can clear a 40-man roster spot for Beckham by placing the injured Garrett Richards on the 60-day disabled list. The team announced earlier today that Richards is out six to nine months due a torn patellar tendon in his left knee that will require surgery.

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Beckham, 27, has struggled this season with the White Sox, hitting just .221/.263/.336 in 390 plate appearances. The former No. 8 overall draft pick hasn’t panned out the way the White Sox hoped back in 2008 as he is a lifetime .244/.306/.374 batter despite playing the majority of his games in the very hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.

Park-adjusted metrics such as OPS+ (83) and wRC+ (82) suggest that Beckham has been about 17 to 18 percent worse than a league-average hitter over the course of his career, although the offensive bar for a middle infielder is considerably lower than that of a corner infielder/outfielder. While he’s hit lefties at a .309/.349/.454 clip in a small sample this season, his career split — .245/.313/.375 — is pretty even with his career mark against right-handed pitching.

Beckham will bring some degree defensive versatility to the Angels, and Jeff Fletcher of the O.C. Register tweets that he will come off the bench. Beckham has played primarily second base for the Pale Hose in his career, but he broke into the Majors primarily as a third baseman back in 2009 and was initially drafted as a shortstop out of the University of Georgia. Defensive metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved have pegged Beckham’s glove as roughly average over the past four seasons.

The Angels will have control of Beckham through the 2015 season if they wish, as he is arbitration eligible for the final time this offseason. Beckham’s agents at Relativity Sports avoided arbitration with the White Sox by securing a one-year, $4.18MM contract this winter. He is owed roughly $913K of that figure from now through season’s end. Despite the down performance in 2014, Beckham will be in line for a slight raise, making him a non-tender candidate following the season.

That Gordon reached the Angels means he either cleared waivers earlier this month or went unclaimed by every other team in the American League, as Anaheim currently possesses the best record in the Majors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL Central Notes: Swisher, Rodon, Royals

The Indians have announced that 1B/DH Nick Swisher will be out for the next eight to ten weeks after having surgery on both knees. That would suggest he’s out for the rest of the season. Swisher was in the midst of a disappointing season in the second year of his $56MM deal with Cleveland, hitting .208/.278/.331 in 401 plate appearances. Here’s more from the AL Central.

  • GM Rick Hahn says the White Sox haven’t yet decided whether they’ll promote 2014 third overall draft pick Carlos Rodon once rosters expand in September, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. If they do promote him, they could use him as a starter. The White Sox recently promoted Rodon to Triple-A Charlotte after pitching well in four appearances for Class A+ Winston-Salem.
  • We still can’t get a clear read on the 2013 James Shields / Wil Myers trade between the Royals and the Rays because some of the secondary players involved haven’t yet reached their potential, Rob Neyer of FOX Sports writes. For example, the Rays received minor league infielder Patrick Leonard in the deal, and he’s currently hitting .293/.372/.470 in 476 plate appearances for Class A+ Charlotte (the Charlotte team based in Florida, not the Triple-A team mentioned above) as a 21-year-old. Also, 25-year-old Mike Montgomery, another Rays acquisition, has gradually improved at Triple-A.

White Sox To Release Charlie Leesman

AUG. 20: The White Sox have requested unconditional release waivers on Leesman, tweets Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.

AUG. 16: The White Sox have designated lefty Charlie Leesman for assignment in a flurry of roster moves, Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago tweets. The White Sox also activated Avisail Garcia, moved Moises Sierra (oblique) to the disabled list, promoted Eric Surkamp and moved Javy Guerra to the bereavement list. Garcia, the key return in last year’s Jake Peavy trade, has not played in the big leagues since April due to a labrum injury. His surgery was previously believed to be season-ending, so he’s coming back ahead of schedule.

Leesman, 27, has only appeared in one game for the White Sox this season, an April start in which he only averaged 86.5 MPH on his fastball. He has, however, proven to be a good pitcher at the Triple-A level. He performed well at Triple-A Charlotte in 2012 and 2013 and has pitched 68 innings there this season, posting a 4.10 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.


Quick Hits: Harvey, Rodon, Dodgers, Astros

After going through a number of difficult times with MLB, Rob Manfred is more than ready to take over as commissioner, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. Manfred started working for MLB as an outside counsel in 1994, so he definitely knows what a crisis situation is all about.  More from around baseball..

  • In a radio interview last week, Matt Harvey reiterated that he is eager to get back to action for the Mets and said he is throwing in the mid-90s in his sessions. Later, manager Terry Collins got in touch with the star hurler. And I explained to him, I understand that,” Collins said of Harvey’s desire to get back to pitching, according to Newsday’s Marc Carig. “But the process is right now, you’ve got to understand it’s the big picture, and the big picture is 2015. So back off.” 
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post explores why the Mets and Cubs, who seem perfectly suited to swing a trade (pitching for a shortstop), have yet to take the leap. A NL executive tells Sherman the Mets “don’t make a lot of trades and that is because they really don’t like to give up what they perceive as their big talent, unless they can convince you to give them $2 for their 35 cents.
  • White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters, including MLB.com’s Scott Merkin, he will consider promoting Carlos Rodon (the third overall selection in this year’s draft) when the rosters expand in September. “If he’s doing well enough to come up here, yeah,” Ventura said. “If he’s available and he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go. I would like to see it but he’s got to be ready to go.” Rodon, who is not on the White Sox’s 40-man roster, was promoted to Triple-A yesterday.
  • Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (on Twitter) if the club can “find a reliever that can help us late in the games we will consider it.”
  • The Astros have decisions to make on a pair of injured right-handed relievers, reports MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Matt Albers (out since April with shoulder tendinitis) has a 2015 club option and Jesse Crain (who has been sidelined since undergoing surgery for biceps tendinitis last October) signed a one-year deal in January and Astros GM Jeff Luhnow would like to see them pitch this season before deciding their fates. “It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games.” said Luhnow. “I’m sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year.” 

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


AL Notes: Hamilton, Twins, Dunn, Yankees

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia is less-than-thrilled with Josh Hamilton and feels that he’s not quite the player he was when he was with the Rangers, writes Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News.  “Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.” More out of the American league..

  • The Brewers and other clubs are looking for relievers, but a Twins official tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter) that another August deal is doubtful.
  • White Sox skipper Robin Ventura knows that Adam Dunn has a tough decision on his hands as he considers retirement after the 2014 season, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.  “That’s always a tough decision for guys,” Ventura said. “When they get where he’s at and Paul and all those guys that are of age, you get close and you might see the end. You don’t know. It’s a tough decision. This is something he’s done most of his adult life. It’s important. It’s still fun. You just never know. I’ve also heard guys talk that way and end up playing five more years.”
  • In case there was any doubt about his intentions, George A. King of the New York Post writes that Alex Rodriguez has been spotted working out at the University of Miami, where the baseball stadium is named after him, and at UCLA in Los Angeles.  The 39-year-old former MVP has three years and $61MM remaining on his contract with the Yankees.
  • The Yankees aren’t rushing Masahiro Tanaka back, but they are favoring an approach more proactive than protective, writes Brendan Kuty of the Star-Ledger.  “I think it’s important that we know he is healthy,” manager Joe Girardi said, “and the only way to find out is to get him in games.”  The Yankees’ $175MM investment threw fastballs from flat ground last week.

Quick Hits: Rodon, Bryant, Blue Jays, Russell

Top White Sox prospect and 2014 No. 3 overall draft pick Carlos Rodon has been promoted to Triple-A Charlotte, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune tweets. As anticipated, Rodon has moved quickly through the minors — he pitched 9 2/3 innings with Class A+ Winston-Salem, striking out 15 batters while walking five. The promotion to Charlotte (for whom he’ll start on Tuesday) means he’s skipping Double-A, which in turn likely means the White Sox think he’s close to being ready for the Majors. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Top Cubs prospect Kris Bryant left Saturday’s Triple-A Iowa Cubs game with a foot injury, Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register writes (Twitter links). The injury was the result of a foul ball Bryant struck off his foot a few days ago. His foot is being X-rayed. The seriousness of the injury is unclear, but his coaches did seem to know about it before tonight. Bryant’s departure from the game set off speculation that he had been promoted to the big leagues, but it does not appear that he has been. He has a ridiculous .306/.415/.648 line in 234 plate appearances so far with Iowa.
  • Two MLB insiders believe that Addison Russell will eventually become the Cubs’ starting shortstop despite the team’s surplus there, Jorge Arangure of the New York Times reports. “From what I’ve seen, [Starlin] Castro moves for sure,” says one. “Russell has the edge over [Javier] Baez.” Baez, for his part, says he enjoys playing second base.
  • The Blue Jays have optioned reliever Chad Jenkins to the minors five times this season, and he’s just one of several Blue Jays who have been optioned four or more times this year, Brendan Kennedy of TheStar.com writes. Kennedy points out that the Jays have made more non-trade, non-injury roster moves than any team this season, about 40% more than the average team. GM Alex Anthopoulos says the Blue Jays option players in order to avoid having other players land on the disabled list. “We definitely haven’t used the waiver wire much this year, but we have consciously optioned players back and forth to avoid DL placements,” he says. For example, the Jays have had Liam Hendriks spot start three times in order to get their starting pitchers more rest. Of course, Kennedy writes, a limited number of players can be optioned, and so all the Jays’ roster moves can have the effect of moving one group of players up and down regardless of how they perform.
  • Brewers owner Mark Attanasio says the team is trying to improve its bullpen, making waiver claims for relievers as recently as today, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy tweets. The Brewers’ bullpen got off to an extremely hot start in April but has struggled a bit since.