Chicago White Sox Rumors
As the White Sox look to rebound from their 99-loss season, everyone is available on the trade block. Well, almost everyone. Avisail Garcia, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and the newly-acquired Jose Dariel Abreu are off limits, executives told Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
Meanwhile, multiple MLB execs confirmed that the White Sox are open to any and all avenues to reconstruct the roster, outside of moving those four players, of course. General Manager Rick Hahn wouldn't comment on three of the four but he did take the time to say that Sale is off limits.
“There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success,” Hahn said. “Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.”
With a solid pitching core anchored by ace Chris Sale already in place, the White Sox will primarily focus on adding offense this winter, general manager Rick Hahn told MLBTR on Tuesday: "Obviously having been bottom of the league in runs scored, walks, on-base percentage, toward the bottom in slugging, we've got a lot of position player needs or need for improvement at the very least."
Hahn plans to address the issue on the free agent and trade markets over the winter, though he feels he's already begun to make strides in adding more offense to his club: "Having [Avisail] Garcia for a full year, we think, is going to help. Adding Jose Abreu, we think, is going to help. But there's still a few areas we need to get better at from a position player standpoint."
While Hahn elected not to specify which specific areas, he did specify that his preference would be toward left-handed hitters to help balance out what is becoming an increasingly right-handed lineup. Garcia and Abreu are both right-handed, as are Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers and Josh Phegley.
Hahn would likely have little trouble finding interested parties were he to make some of his pitching depth available in order to add a young bat that would fit with the club's long-term plans. Chicago has a nice depth of pitching from which to deal, and Hahn admits that they've already begun to receive a number of calls as a result:
"I think [our pitching depth] gives us a nice head start on this transition. At the same time, because of that, our pitchers have been fairly popular, at least with other clubs, maybe trying to start some conversations about addressing some of our position player needs."
Hahn says the peculiar composition of his rotation -- Sale, Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago and John Danks are all left-handed -- wasn't by design but rather a case of four of Chicago's five best options simply happening to be left-handed. "I think if you were to sit down and ideally map out a rotation from scratch, you wouldn't say 'I want four lefties and one righty,' but when those are clearly four of your five best, that's what we go with. We'll see what it looks like come Opening Day."
There are also a number of free agents who could fill needs for the White Sox. While Hahn preferred not to get into specific names or positions, the White Sox have a clear need at catcher after their incumbent backstops combined to bat just .195/.237/.323 in 2013. While Brian McCann would seem to clash with their long-term plan, a younger free agent catcher without a draft pick attached would be the switch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who thrives from the left side of the dish. Tim Dierkes, Mark Polishuk and I each predicted that Saltalamacchia would sign with the White Sox in MLBTR's Free Agent Prediction contest, and Tim projected a four-year, $36MM deal for Salty in his free agent profile.
The latest from the AL Central..
- Free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf had breakfast together at the GM Meetings in Orlando, Florida, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter) cautions not to read into it.
- The Indians aren't optimistic about their chances of re-signing Scott Kazmir this winter, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Tribe would be interested in a one-year deal for the left-hander but believe he's certain to have multi-year offers after resurrecting his career in Cleveland this past year, posting a 4.04 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.
- The Royals would like to reunite with Carlos Beltran but they fear being outbid by large market clubs like the Yankees, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wonders if the Twins might give Bronson Arroyo a three-year deal to anchor their rotation. Meanwhile, sources tell Rosenthal the Giants are among the teams considering Arroyo, but they would prefer to strike a quick, affordable two-year deal for a No. 4 starter.
- The White Sox like Curtis Granderson, but they may feel that he's not worth the type of contract that he will command or losing a second-round pick, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com.
- Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer looks at some of the Indians' internal candidates that could help fill the void if Ubaldo Jimenez goes elsewhere. “I think Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister are capable of doing that,” said pitching coach Mickey Callaway. “But we need them to stay healthy and log innings like Ubaldo did the last two years.”
- Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press examines Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays as a possible trade target for the Twins.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs tackles the question of whether the Tigers should trade Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello this winter. Yesterday, we learned that Detroit is open to dealing one or the other.
We heard earlier today that the Brewers explored a trade for Mets first baseman Ike Davis but talks went nowhere, and that the Brew Crew aren't going to deal Norichika Aoki. Let's check in elsewhere around the NL Central...
- The Pirates have been looking at "high upside" starting pitchers in their initial round of free agent calls, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (Twitter link).
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that his team is open to discussing a long-term deal with second baseman Neil Walker, FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reports (Twitter link).
- Also from Morosi (Twitter links), the Pirates will probably add a starter from outside the organization if A.J. Burnett retires or signs elsewhere. Huntington said Burnett hasn't yet given the Pirates any indication if he will retire or pitch in 2014.
- David Freese has seemingly gone from World Series hero to forgotten man in St. Louis. Bernie Miklasz of the St Louis Post-Dispatch looks at the Cardinals' options with their once-star third baseman and where he fits into the club's plans.
- It has been assumed that Carlos Beltran will leave the Cardinals this winter but GM John Mozeliak tells reporters (including MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch) that it isn't quite a done deal. "I still think it's a situation where the door's open but we haven't made any decisions either way. In time, we'll see," Mozeliak said.
- Jed Hoyer isn't surprised by the Jeff Samardzija trade talk, the Cubs general manager tells reporters (including ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers). “Teams know we’ve had discussions with him and we haven’t signed him. That's part of it," Hoyer said. "I think teams will certainly inquire about him. He’s really proved over the last two years he has great stuff and is a tough competitor. I think teams will ask us about him so to that extent there could be rumors." Samardzija is reportedly unlikely to sign an extension and he has been linked to the Nationals and Diamondbacks in recent rumors.
- Also from Hoyer, he says the Cubs will be looking to add veterans to replace Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus' clubhouse leadership.
- Chicago native Curtis Granderson would be a big addition both on and off the field for Cubs or White Sox, yet as CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes notes, both teams' focus on adding younger talent makes them hesitant to give up the second round draft pick it would take to sign Granderson.
The Royals are among the clubs with interest in free agent pitcher Phil Hughes, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Kansas City pitching coach Dave Eiland knows Hughes well from his time spent with the Yankees and is a fan of his. A return to New York isn't in the cards as both sides recognize that a change of scenery would be best. The latest from the AL Central...
- With Ervin Santana looking for a $100MM contract, the Royals are prepared to move on to look for other pitching options, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes. Besides Hughes, the Royals also have interest in Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson. "We want a bat, but in our meetings, the main thing we talk about is finding someone to put between [James] Shields and [Jeremy] Guthrie," one Royals official said.
- In regards to those bats, Dutton says the Royals have interest in bringing Carlos Beltran back to Kansas City and maybe signing Rafael Furcal as a second baseman. Furcal may have enough suitors to remain at shortstop if he wants.
- A Twins source tells 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson that "we can only hope" on the possibility of A.J. Pierzynski signing with the team. Wolfson notes that Pierzynski might be more apt to sign with a contender, however. The Twins are rumored to be taking an interest in the catching market since Joe Mauer will be a full-time first baseman in 2014.
- With Rick Porcello reportedly being shopped, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders the Tigers and Twins could swing an intra-division trade.
- In his latest piece on fixing the Twins, Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN looks at how much money Minnesota can spend this winter and how they can best allocate it.
- While the top catching option available (Brian McCann) could land a nine-figure deal, the White Sox appear to match up with free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, writes Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com. Chicago would like an improvement behind the plate after neither Tyler Flowers nor Josh Phegley impressed last season.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Pirates GM Neal Huntington has had a lot of ups-and-downs over the course of his tenure in Pittsburgh, but his confidence never wavered, writes Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “If (Bob Nutting) made a different decision a year ago, I would have walked out the door believing this organization was much better off than when we walked in the door, and believing that they were a few good decisions away from being a playoff-caliber team,” Huntington said. “(I'm) very grateful, very thankful, that we had the opportunity to see the 2013 season to its fruition. My hope is that all it has done is reinforce that commitment and that bond, because we've got a lot of talented people doing a lot of good things.” Here's more out of the AL and NL Central..
- A.J. Burnett may prove to be too pricey for the Pirates, but Tom Singer of MLB.com suggests a creative solution to help facilitate a reunion. The veteran pitcher wants to spend as much time with his family as possible, so Singer wonders if Burnett might be willing to take a page out of Roger Clemens' book and sign with the club in the summer. That would allow the Bucs to only pay him a prorated portion of the eight-figure deal the pitcher likely seeks.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (via Twitter) that he'd like to trade a young starting pitcher for a "young controllable shortstop." The Cards have been heavily rumored to be seeking a shortstop to give them an upgrade over Pete Kozma.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox wonders why Paul Konerko's future with the White Sox hasn't been resolved yet. The slugger struggled through injuries in 2013 and Margalus gets the sense that beat writers are more keen on seeing him return to Chicago than fans.
Matt Murton and Randy Messenger are close to extensions with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, Kyodo News reports. It's possible that both could have drawn interest from major league teams, as each was excellent in 2013 for the Tigers. Murton, who had a nice .297/.365/.444 campaign all the way back in 2006 with the Cubs, led Japan's Central League in hits in 2013 for the third time in four seasons. Here's a look at the latest from MLB's Central divisions:
- Cubs hitting coach James Rowson will leave for the Yankees organization, a source tells Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Rowson, who was named the Cubs' top hitting instructor in June 2012, will assume the title of minor league hitting coordinator in the Bronx.
- Rick Renteria's journeyman career included stops in four organizations and three tours in Mexican baseball, Gonzales writes in a profile of the new Cubs manager. Padres first base coach Dave Roberts had high praise for his former colleague, commenting that "there's not a player who has come across Rick Renteria and hasn't gotten better."
- Gonzales and Colleen Kane, also of the Tribune, preview the offseasons ahead for the Cubs and their South Side neighbors. In the article, Cubs President Theo Epstein reiterated that free agent signings must help the Cubs both now and in the future. "We wish there were a free agent market for young players ... There's not," Epstein lamented. While the Cubs' strategy is to bide time and wait for "that one guy who might make sense," the front office may target a starter or bullpen help this offseason, Epstein adds.
- While the White Sox's signing of Jose Dariel Abreu in October will likely be their largest offseason move, they must still address team legend Paul Konerko's status with the club, Kane and Gonzales write. Catching also looms as a prominent need for the Sox, and could be addressed via the trade market. As the article notes, the Blue Jays are believed to have interest in second baseman Gordon Beckham.
- The Twins will have to add minor leaguer A.J. Achter to their 40-man roster by Nov. 20 if they want to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes. Achter looks to vie with around 10 other players for two Twins 40-man spots.
- Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that money was likely a factor in the Indians' decision to draft Tyler Naquin, whom they selected 15th overall in 2012, over Michael Wacha. A teammate of Naquin's at Texas A&M, Wacha was eventually selected with the 19th pick by the Cardinals and signed for the full slot value of $1.9MM.
The Tigers would love to hammer out an extension with Max Scherzer, one of three finalists for this year's AL Cy Young award, but Tim Dierkes wrote yesterday that it is highly unlikely to happen this winter. The standout hurler is projected to earn $13.6MM in arbitration this year and his rising price tag could even lead Detroit to explore a deal this offseason. Here's tonight's look around the AL Central..
- The Royals have yet to discuss an extension with Eric Hosmer, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). "I’m locked in for another four years, and we have guys whose contracts expire before mine," Hosmer said. The 24-year-old hit .302/.353/.448 with 17 homers this past season.
- The Twins have formally expressed interest in free agent hurler Ervin Santana, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (via Twitter). Santana could prove to be too pricey for Minnesota, however, as Tim predicts that he will command a deal in the range of $75MM over five years.
- Walk year disappointments and poor investments have made it difficult for the White Sox to take advantage of the qualifying offer system, writes Jim Margalus of South Side Sox. The White Sox could have gotten one for Jake Peavy last year, but they instead signed him to a two-year deal and flipped him to Boston in a deal that netted them Avisail Garcia.
The Twins have a host of problems to address, but their biggest shortcoming is their starting pitching, writes Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN. Twins starting pitchers ranked last in the American League in ERA, innings, strikeout rate, and Wins Above Replacement in 2013.
Here's your list of today's outright assignments and minor moves from around the league...
- The Braves have added two minor league relievers -- lefty Ryan Buchter and righty Wirfin Obispo -- to the club's 40-man roster, per the International League transactions page. The move was designed to prevent both pitchers from qualifying for minor league free agency. Buchter, 26, fanned 15 batters per nine innings last year in 62 Triple-A innings to go with a less-flattering 7.4 BB/9, and ended up with a 2.76 ERA. The 29-year-old Obispo, meanwhile, put up 9.9 K/9 against 4.9 BB/9 in Gwinnett over 63 2/3 innings of 3.53 ERA ball. Both could get a look for an MLB bullpen role in Spring Training.
- The Pirates have outrighted Felix Pie off their 40-man roster, and the outfielder has elected free agency, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune (Twitter link). The 28-year-old former top prospect hit just .138/.194/.172 in 31 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2013 and slashed .251/.321/.390 in 396 plate appearances at Triple-A Indianapolis.
- The White Sox have outrighted right-hander Simon Castro to Triple-A Charlotte, removing him from the 40-man roster, the team announced on Twitter. Castro twice appeared on Baseball America's list of Top 100 prospects as a Padres farmhand and found himself headed to Chicago as part of the Padres' trade for Carlos Quentin. Though he was sharp in his big league debut this season, totaling 6 2/3 innings in the Majors, Castro limped to a 5.83 ERA in 92 2/3 innings at Charlotte.
The White Sox have exercised their $4MM club option on right-hander Matt Lindstrom, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin (on Twitter). Lindstrom's option contained a $500K buyout, essentially making this a $3.5MM decision for White Sox GM Rick Hahn and his staff.
Lindstrom, who turns 34 in February, was the only option decision that the White Sox had to make this offseason. The veteran flamethrower turned in a 3.12 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and 55.6 percent ground-ball rate in 60 2/3 innings in 2013. Lindstrom's fastball was once again blistering, checking in with an average velocity of 95 mph.
Lindstrom will re-join a relief corps that is fronted by closer Addison Reed and also includes hard-throwing setup man Nate Jones. While the White Sox have a number of internal options, it wouldn't be surprising to see them add at least one more veteran arm for the 2014 season. Their bullpen depth took a hit this season when they traded Matt Thornton to the Red Sox and Jesse Crain to the Rays.