Hector Santiago, who came back to the White Sox this offseason on a minor-league deal, has come up with a strategy to combat the fastball decline that often comes with aging, James Fegan of The Athletic writes. The southpaw plans to bring back the screwball he threw in his days as a rookie. “I have not gone a day this offseason or in spring training where I have not thrown a screwball,” he said. “I’ve thrown a screwball in both my BPs and my only bullpen. It’s almost taken over my changeup. Lot of people say it’s gone, but nah, I just substituted my changeup for my screwball and I throw a lot more screwballs than changeup.” Notably, his arm motion for the screwball is similar to that of his changeup, which could help with deception in his delivery as he uses both to play off his fastball. Fegan notes that Santiago could be at the “top of the heap” of the White Sox’ MiLB free agent arms, if he can return to health and effectiveness.
A few other small items out of the AL Central…
- Much has been made of the fact that young Indians lefty (and 2016 postseason hero) Ryan Merritt is out of options and faces an uphill battle to make the club’s rotation out of spring training. But the 26-year-old isn’t focused on that right now, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “I’m really not going to get caught up in what’s going to happen a month from now,” he said. “I can control today. And, when I show up tomorrow, I can control what I do that day.” Merritt has a career 1.74 ERA (albeit in just 20 2/3 major league innings), but is most famous for starting Game 5 of the 2016 ALCS for the Indians, allowing zero runs across his 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays. Cleveland would go on to win that game, punching their ticket to the World Series.
- New Tigers lefty Francisco Liriano will compete for a spot in the club’s rotation during spring training, GM Al Avila says (via Jason Beck of MLB.com). However, if he’s unable to make the club in that capacity, he’s willing to pitch out of the bullpen. It’s possible that the 34-year-old’s best days are behind him, as he’s posted consecutive seasons with an ERA north of 4.60. Even as a reliever with the Astros last season, he posted a 4.40 ERA down the stretch with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. Still, if he can show some flashes of his peak performance with the Pirates from 2013-2015, he’d represent a solid option for a Tigers club that is largely devoid of secure rotation options outside of Michael Fulmer.
- Erick Aybar recently signed with the Twins, but Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets that the infielder had received interest from the Reds and Rangers as well. He reportedly chose the Twins because he liked their opportunity best. In a later tweet, Berardino reports that Aybar will make his spring training debut on Monday (though Aybar told manager Paul Molitor that he was ready to play in today’s matchup).
Pitching is taken care of for our Sox. Now we need to sign Moose to a 1-2 year contract to take car of 3B. Then sign Carlos Gonzalez to switch between the OF and DH. We all know we have the money available to do so. If they don’t live up to expectation, the Sox will be rid of them after the season. If they perform, then we get a top 10 prospect from some other team in a mid season trade.
Sure it sounds so easy to do lmao, you need to be a GM and we’ll see how easy it really is.
I think signing Moustakas (especially to a short term deal) would be counterintuitive for the White Sox and their rebuild when you factor in the draft pick they’d give up to sign him. Sure, they could potentially get back a decent prospect at the deadline, but it’s hard to rely on that happening (what if he gets injured, there aren’t enough teams with a need at third, etc.) so I think they’d be best served to hold off for now.
I’m not a White Sox fan, but I understand the reasoning behind wanting proven players. But they could have gotten a stable veteran like Frazier or Nunez for a lot cheaper without giving up a pick, and I think they’d be better served to see more of what Delmonico and Davidson can do anyway. CarGo would be a good fit for them though.
I like Santiago and expect to see him as part of the regular rotation. If he is not up to the job, it will open up a spot for one of the Sox’ numerous young arms. Cargo would provide a good left-handed bat with pop. He has lost a step in the field but has a strong arm. The Sox have some in house options at 3b. Forget Moose.
Oh ok so you sign Moose and lose a draft pick and you do it on a one year deal? In a season you are not ready to win? But you are doing it so you can trade him mid season after losing your pick and someone is giving you back a pick and you benefit how?
Not getting a top 10 prospect for either of those guys
Hector Santiago openly admits that there has not been one day go by this spring where he wasn’t a screwball.
I hope to keep Merritt, but if we trade him I wonder if we could do something along the lines of:
Merritt for Hunter Renfroe
Merritt for Dan Vogelbach
Oh, please no, not Vogelbach.
He wouldn’t be nearly enough for Renfroe and I wouldn’t take Vogelbach for free
Pitches Love Velocity
Definitely not enough to land renfroe. Nice dream though.
For preller to trade renfroe hed have to receive a player or two he views that hold more value to the organization long term than keeping renfroe does.
I need an opinion; If Judge is for some reason available at #5 in my fantasy draft (where I’m picking), should I honestly take him, or pass on him? I’m thinking about passing, only to see how he adjusts in his second year. That could be dumb, but that’s just my opinion. What do you guys think (I do yahoo fantasy, not espn or anything else)?
Id pass. I wouldn’t draft him in the 1st round. I wouldn’t touch him til the end of the 2nd or beginning of the 3rd round. Go with one of Trout, Altuve, Harper, Arenado, Stanton, Goldy, Turner, or Betts. I actually like both Correa and Bryant a ton, also. I’d definitely pick one of those ten guys. Really depends on your leagues settings.
I disagree if he’s there late in the first and you got that sandwich pick it could be worth it. For #5 pick, I’d hold off. He’s sent to regress and didn’t keep up his pace last year, but a little of that could be the grind on a young player. Still he’s got a lot of protection in that lineup and the leagues best homer in hitter to mentor him through the rough patches.
Pass on him, especially at pick 5 where u can take someone that is more established like Harper, Stanton, or Betts
Definitely pass… I had the 5th pick and took Harper because Trout, Altuve, Stanton, and Kershaw went before. Harper will put up better numbers. Judge will put up more HR but i think his avg is going to be low. 200
The only way Liriano can get back to his 2013 -15 version is if the entire league forgets that his slider never ends up in the strike zone and swing early in the count. The entire league figured that out in 2016 and he has been roughed up since.
Tribe would be making a mistake to let Merritt go. I’d keep him over Z-Mac.
The Screwball. Only pitch rarer than the Knuckle ball. Hope this kid brings it back from extinction.
My understanding is that the circle change has essentially replaced the screwball. It does pretty much the same thing but is much easier on the arm.
Hopefully the new pitching coach for the Tigers and Gardenhire can get Liriano on track. The cost was relatively low and the Tigers probably won’t be competing while they rebuild so if he plays well it could be more young players down the road to build on.
Aybar picks the team with the best opportunity. Aka the one that actually offered a contract to play.