Chicago White Sox Rumors
The White Sox are back at home after a 3-7 road trip, and they were 7-9 overall heading into an afternoon matchup against the Twins. But GM Rick Hahn says he isn't concerned about his team's slow start, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports. "With just about 10 percent of the season played, I don't think you can draw any grand conclusions about where things sit right now," Hahn said. And with so small a sample, Hahn isn't about to start making big moves. "It certainly is a temptation to explore other options, but it's way too soon to avert from the plan except when forced to due to injury," he says. Here are more notes from the American League.
- The Angels' lack of pitching talent could cost GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Mike Scioscia, and pitching coach Mike Butcher their jobs, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times argues. The Angels are currently 6-10, and their starting rotation has a 5.62 ERA. But DiGiovanna says owner Arte Moreno might ultimately be most responsible for the Angels' current roster construction, as Moreno's "infatuation with marquee names" led the team to sign hitters Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to enormous contracts. Instead of signing Hamilton, the Angels could have tried to retain Zack Greinke, who ended up heading north to the Dodgers. Among Dipoto, Scioscia and Butcher, Butcher's seat is the hottest, DiGiovanna says. Firing Scioscia seems much less likely, due to Scioscia's enormous $50MM contract.
- Scott Kazmir will make his Indians debut tonight, and it will be his first big-league appearance in over two years, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes. After being released by the Angels in May 2011, Kazmir pitched for the independent-league Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012. He won a spot in the Indians' rotation out of camp, but his 2013 debut was delayed by a rib cage injury.
In his latest edition of Full Count, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link) gives the Yankees credit for realizing that Vernon Wells still had a lot left. The big stumbling block in trade talks between the Yankees and Angels was how much of the $42MM deal the Bombers would pay for. Discussions stalled until the spring when the Yankees lost Mark Teixeira to injury and their interest was renewed. Here's more from Rosenthal..
- If the Phillies fall out of contention, Cliff Lee could become a trade target once again. They declined to trade him last August after the Dodgers claimed him on waivers, but it would make sense to make a deal if they're not winning. However, Lee is earning $25MM per season through 2015 and has a $27.5MM vesting option for 2016. On top of that, he can only be traded to nine teams without his permission. The Phillies may have trouble making a deal for Lee because of those issues, but a shortage of quality starting pitching could lead to a swap with a contending team. Rosenthal lists the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Cardinals as teams that could be interested, depending on their needs.
- Don't expect a Mariano Rivera-style victory lap for Paul Konerko as he won't make up his mind about his future until after the season. The decision will likely hinge on multiple factors, including how he plays, whether the White Sox want him back, and whether another club would be a potential fit. The D'Backs made a run at Konerko the last time he was on the open market, but that first base job now belongs to Paul Goldschmidt.
- Francisco Rodriguez could look elsewhere if he doesn't make the Brewers' roster in 30 days, but Milwaukee is probably his best option. He'll earn the prorated portion of a $2.25MM salary if he makes the squad, plus incentives.
26-year-old Yankees righty Phil Hughes makes his third start of the year tonight against the Diamondbacks after being hit hard in his first two outings. He's a free agent after the season, and John Harper of the New York Daily News opined on Saturday, "Hughes is a useful pitcher who probably will get a multi-year contract with a National League team that will hope his 4.41 career ERA will improve if he pitches in a roomier ballpark against lineups without a DH." Elsewhere around the American League:
- Why did the Red Sox target Shane Victorino during the offseason? WEEI's Alex Speier lists four reasons: defense, the lack of draft pick compensation required, the ability to get him on a shorter term, and his fit in their market.
- "When you get to a point that I am in my career, no-trade (clauses) mean nothing to me," said White Sox righty Jake Peavy to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, in explaining why he didn't require one in his recent two-year deal with the team. Peavy hopes to win a World Series in Chicago, but he acknowledged that if the Sox look to trade him at some point, it would only be if the team is not contending. Peavy was nearly traded to the Blue Jays in October before signing, we learned Tuesday from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
- "I'm not going to manage again," Tony La Russa told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports amid "industry speculation" that he could replace Mike Scioscia as Angels manager. La Russa, currently working in the commissioner's office, intends to eventually join a team in an executive capacity.
The Blue Jays were involved in some of the biggest trades of the offseason, but things could have played out differently had it not been for a last-minute extension between the White Sox and Jake Peavy. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes that the Blue Jays were close to acquiring Peavy from the White Sox prior to the signing of that two-year, $29MM extension.
The White Sox would've sent $4MM to Toronto along with Peavy in exchange for a player or players whose value exceeded a compensatory draft pick in the eyes of Chicago GM Rick Hahn. Effectively, the Jays were looking at getting Peavy on a one-year, $18MM. Presumably, this is the near-deal that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was referring to back in January.
Peavy himself acknowledged to Davidi that he had heard "some rumblings" about discussions between White Sox and another team, but went on to say that he wanted to remain in Chicago as he felt he had "unfinished business" with the South Siders.
Davidi notes that while the trade didn't end up going through, it helped to lay the groundwork for the Blue Jays' eventual blockbusters with the Marlins and Mets. Anthopoulos and president Paul Beeston had to obtain permission from ownership to exceed payroll to acquire Peavy, and that permission carried over into the eventual trades to acquire Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey.
WEDNESDAY: The White Sox have requested release waivers for Leesman to grant him his unconditional release, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).
The left-hander turned in a 2.47 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 26 Triple-A games last season, his first time at that level. The 26-year-old has been with the White Sox organization since being drafted by the club in 11th round of the 2008 draft.
Steve Adams contributed to this post.
Today's minor moves...
- Reds infielder Jason Donald cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, according to the International League transactions page. He'd been designated for assignment on Sunday. The 28-year-old hit .277/.365/.441 in 296 Triple-A plate appearances last year.
- The White Sox added righty Jason Berken to their Triple-A roster, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Berken, 29, tossed 19 2/3 big league innings in 2012, mostly for the Cubs, but was removed from their 40-man roster in October. For the Orioles' Triple-A club, he posted a 3.50 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 0.63 HR/9 in 144 innings last year. Four years ago, Baseball America explained that Berken can throw strikes with any of his four pitches, but doesn't have swing-and-miss stuff.
- The White Sox also released outfielder Stefan Gartrell, tweets Gonzales. Gartrell had signed a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp. The 29-year-old hit .251/.335/.452 over 472 plate appearances last year for the Braves' Triple-A affiliate.
Baseball America has released this useful chart showing where each of baseball's 100 best prospects is currently playing. Elsewhere around baseball:
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says the club's deal with Jose Valverde does not include a Major League side, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com. Dombrowski acknowledged that he "talked extensively" with Valverde agent Scott Boras "throughout the last couple months" about the Tigers' former closer, in spite of reports that the Tigers were not interested. The team decided that the deal was beneficial because "if this makes us the best team, then, great, and if it doesn't, then we don't have any commitments."
- The Rays organization is fully stocked with major league ready talent after its offseason moves, writes Bill Chastain of MLB.com. Manager Joe Maddon says that the club "sent some Major League players back to Triple-A this time," which is "not so good for them and good for us." In particular, Chastain cites players such as pitchers Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, and Alex Colome, along with hitters Wil Myers and Tim Beckham, as ready to step in on the MLB level. According to Maddon, "if anything were to happen, we have the guys in tow."
- White Sox outfielder Dayan Viciedo, another Boras client, appears content to sit back and let his agent decide whether or not to seek an extension, writes Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Viciedo says he has already been "very privileged" to have signed a four-year, $10MM deal as an international free agent from Cuba. The 24-year-old will reach arbitration eligibility in 2015, unless he qualifies for Super Two status.
- Both the Mariners and Yankees made bad decisions relating to a player named Wells, writes ESPN.com's Dave Szymborski (insider sub. req'd). Szymborski opines that Seattle's decision to go with Jason Bay over Casper Wells and New York's acquisition of Vernon Wells are among the worst moves of the spring.
The White Sox signed infielder Tyler Greene, tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. He'll presumably add to the club's infield depth at Triple-A. With less than three years of Major League service, the White Sox can control Greene for a while if he proves useful.
Greene, 29, hit .230/.274/.400 in 330 plate appearances for the Cardinals and Astros last year. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow acquired Greene, a former draft pick of his in the first round in '05, from the Cards in August of 2012. Though the Astros would go on to trade Jed Lowrie, they added Ronny Cedeno at shortstop in March, leading to Greene's release last month.
Here's a look at the latest out of the American League Central..
- White Sox manager Robin Ventura believes that this year's team has more potential than last year's squad, thanks in part to offseason additions that make them a stronger postseason team, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. The White Sox kept their starting pitching in tact while adding Jeff Keppinger and Matt Lindstrom to the fold.
- Jason Beck of MLB.com wonders if the Tigers might make a move for Casper Wells after he was designated for assignment by the Mariners yesterday. Detroit had interest in making a move for Wells towards the end of spring training and will likely have to work out a trade for the outfielder before he hits the waiver wire if they want to grab him.
- The future is now for Twins prospect Aaron Hicks, writes MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. The center fielder, who is ranked 72nd on Baseball America's Top 100 list and 98th on MLB.com's Top 100, was given the starting job despite the fact that it starts his service clock earlier.
The White Sox have acquired Lars Anderson from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations, according to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter). Anderson was designated for assignment by Toronto on March 29th to free up room for waiver claims Alex Burnett and Clint Robinson.
Anderson, 25, spent most of the 2012 season at Triple-A, where he posted a .250/.353/.396 batting line in 470 plate appearances. He also has 30 games of big league experience to his credit with the Red Sox from 2010-12.
The first baseman has done his best impression of Carmen Sandiego, having moved around quite a bit this offseason. Anderson went from the Indians to the D'Backs in the three-team Shin-Soo Choo deal and before a series of roster moves led him to the White Sox, then the Blue Jays, and finally back to the White Sox.