At 12-11, the White Sox currently sit three games back of the Twins for the division lead. They’re one and a half games behind the Indians for second place in the American League Central. As things stand, they’d squeak into the postseason as an eight seed in MLB’s expanded 2020 playoff format, but the organization that spent $169MM in free agency and $168MM on extensions for young talent surely has its sights set a bit higher. Barring some form of collapse in the next couple weeks, the ChiSox will be looking to add pieces at this year’s deadline, but GM Rick Hahn said last night that rental players won’t be his focus (Twitter link via Scott Merkin of MLB.com).
It’s an understandable outlook, given that the South Siders are only in their first season of attempting to emerge from a lengthy rebuilding process. The early returns look promising, as young players like Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson have fueled a strong offense. There’s work to be done on the pitching side yet — particularly in the rotation — but the Sox clearly aren’t interested in parting with any young talent for a one-off shot at the postseason in a bizarre 2020 campaign. Many fringe contenders could feel similarly, opting instead to focus on players who can help them at least in 2021, if not longer.
A few more notes on the ChiSox…
- Hahn also gave strong indications yesterday that pitching prospect Dane Dunning could be called on for his MLB debut against the Tigers Wednesday (link via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). The GM cautioned that he prefers not to announce roster moves until the day they happen so as to avoid unforeseen circumstances necessitating a change of plans, but he followed shortly thereafter with an acknowledgement that Dunning is firmly in the mix as an option. “I know Detroit’s throwing Casey Mize, which will be fun to see,” said Hahn. “And we are certainly having conversations about one of our good young arms, like Dane Dunning, coming to make that start.” Dunning, 25, ranked among MLB’s 100 best prospects but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018 and hasn’t pitched in a regular-season game since. He’s been working out and pitching in intrasquad games at the team’s alternate training site, however. The righty owns a career 2.94 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 429 minor league frames since being drafted by the Nationals with the No. 29 overall pick in 2016. The White Sox acquired him in the trade that sent Adam Eaton to D.C.
- Yasmani Grandal exited last night’s game with stiffness in his lower back after fielding a ball in front of home plate, Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago writes. There’s no indication to this point of how much time he’s expected to miss. The Sox have a much better backup options than many other clubs in the form of James McCann, who is out to a blistering .333/.400/.583 slash with three dingers through 40 plate appearances. That said, Grandal was the centerpiece of the White Sox’s offseason free-agent spree and offers superior defensive and framing chops to McCann. Grandal is off to a slower start in terms of hitting for power but has walked in 17 percent of his plate appearances, helping him to a .346 OBP. Duber notes that he’s also been plagued by a nagging foot issue as well, so perhaps a few days down would do him some good. Grandal has been in the Sox’ lineup early every day, spending time at DH and first base when he’s not catching.
Mize vs Dunning would certainly be a fun matchup
i feel too that someone like McCann offers a good piece to swap to a team needing catching help in return for pitching (which i take it CHW would be wanting)
And with more teams making the playoffs I think some “win-win” trades will happen.
I’m just hoping we don’t dump him for nothing since McCann has been one of our more reliable bats in the early going.
I know he had an ugly second half of 2019 but I believe he’s past that and has shown who he is—a very strong #2 catcher for us—but a very good starting catcher and an upgrade for about 50% of the other 29 teams in baseball.
The Yankees come to mind as a team that might be interested in McCann as he would provide an upgrade on what Gary Sanchez has given them defensively and somewhat surprisingly, at the plate too. The Yankees do possess a surplus of relievers the Sox could be interested in like Adam Ottavino or Zack Britton—who is a free agent at season’s end. With Aroldis Chapman returning to the team, they may view some of their bullpen arms as expendable assuming the pieces coming back are right for them, of course.
Just something to ponder. I’m sure someone will shoot this down and call it blasphemous anyway.
They should trade with the Cards. According to one loser fanboy, they have “unbelievable depth”. Just be cautious, when reality sets in, you might only get a marginal outfielder, and a bullpen piece….
they do have pretty strong depth.
Is it “unbelievable depth”? Are you flabberghasted by it? Did you sit a state of denial for hours?
Don’t listen to Clepto. He’s been drinking a lot of goldfish medication lately because he heard it blocks 5G signals from giving you brain cancer.
No one listens to clepto, but good to have that context.
Seriously I’d worry about anyone that needs to be told to not listen to Clepto.
NFL's San Diego Waves
I wish gifs were allowed.
Give this big baby a bottle. They’re crying cause they’re probably hungry.
Rocket arms are easy to find; consistently good pitching is much more difficult to acquire. Maybe Bauer but the Reds wouldn’t do that for McCann, etc.
As much as I’d love to see Trevor Bauer suit up for the White Sox, I just can’t see the Reds coming off of him outside of an overwhelmingly heavy return for them.
From the looks of things where they stand now, the Reds are a team that appears to be extremely well-built for the 2020 Postseason with four starters they’re confident in and a potent offensive attack—even if it hasn’t been fully realized to this point. .
Grandal’s bunions won’t magically disappear, unfortunately. The constant squatting on the balls of his feet is only going to make the problem worse. Hope he gets through this season, but it’s not looking good.
I wonder if it was Grandal‘a bunions that recently caused him to miss TWO pitches to the same batter, BOTH with a man on third. His framing skills might be ok – but his blocking and receiving skills are below MLB average.
I’ve read some of your non-Sox posts, and you actually seem fairly bright, or at the very least, informed. I think you’d do pretty well on maybe a political message board or maybe something involving U.S./World current events.
MLB isn’t the right stage for you. I equate you with MLB to Dennis Miller when he was on MNF. Miller’s a smart guy, but that was a fiasco MNF would’ve taken back in a heartbeat. Miller didn’t understand any of the nuances of the NFL. He came across as a casual fan who if he “watched” a game at a bar, he was mostly socializing with others as the game was on in the background.
You sound like a casual fan who doesn’t know any of the nuances of MLB. When you do actually watch a game, you take a few plays away from the game and think that’s how that player or team plays every game.
My advice is to stick to what you know best (and that is not MLB). The rest of us see right through your feeble attempts at making it look like you’re an expert of the game. It sounds like you’re better than that.
Grandal regularly is at the top of the list of passed balls by catchers – that is not a good thing. Otherwise, he is very good defensively.
Let’s take up a collection for Dogbone so he can afford his own studio apt. Grandmama is tired of having to cook clean and pick up your toys
Maybe I missed something, but where do you see anything about bunions. Not saying you’re wrong, but it suggests it was a lower back issue.
Then again you could replace “bunions” with “lower back issues” (and change a few words) and it’s still appropriate to your post.
The Rays need to get McCann. Zunino is terrible
Ouch. That is a salty name you have there. =D
Rays might be better talking to the Dodgers, who have a stable of good young catchers.
Funny, you actually raise a good point. I don’t think the Rays will want a rental. The way they operate, I think they’d rather have a young catcher under more team control.
I’m actually impressed, Dogbone. I never thought I’d say this, but nicely done. Give us more posts like this one.
So much for my other post toward you on this thread.
I think the Rays could match up pretty well as trade partners, too. They have a surplus of intriguing pitchers—both starters and relievers—but they have been hit hard by injuries so far.
Two relievers that could realistically be available (as in not Nick Anderson) and definitely have my attention would be Diego Castillo and Peter Fairbanks.
I’m not going to speak on their importance to the Rays, as I don’t know the value that the front office has put on them but I would be very interested in a trade that could be built around James McCann for Diego Castillo.
If this is a straight up 1 for 1, if I was the Rays, I wouldn’t take that deal. We (as in Rays fans) know how good and nasty Castillo is and he is controllable for so long compared to McCann who is a rental. If I’m the White Sox, I’d take that trade straight up. If it’s not a 1 for 1 and y’all want Castillo that bad, then y’all would have to give up a couple top 20 prospects in that trade for TB to even hear you in my opinion.
And if the Sox do call up Dunning to pitch Weds it won’t be against Casey Mize but one of the other Tigers top 50 MLB prospects, LHP Tarik Skubal. This kid may end up being better than Mize or Matt Manning (the Tigers other top 25 MLB pitching prospect). Last year in AA Erie, Skubal struck out 179 batters on 122 2/3 IP. So even though it’s not Mize vs Dunning it still should be a great matchup!
Skubal is today, Mize is Wednesday
oh just saw your second message, NVM.
I take that back, they have officially switched it up to where Skubal will start today (Tuesday) and Mize on Weds. Going to be interesting to see what these guys can do, especially if it’s Dunning pitching for the Pale Hose!
Put ego aside, admit mistake and bench or DFA weak link EE. Mercedes can hit better as DH blind-folded and give them a jolt at 10yrs younger. Rest of lineup just has to improve in case of the vets and Robert/later Madrigal upon return will learn on the job this season.
Hope they are very careful w/Dunning. Might be better off out of the BP this year coming off TJS-his command has been a bit off and may push it. Flores Jr worth a look for spot starts. Reality is they are 6-1 against rebuilding Det/KC and 6-10 vs teams that are actually designed to be competitive. No need for short-sighted trades. Keep promoting from within like Foster/Heuer and possibly learn that some current perceived weaknesses will not require more bad FA signings next offseason.
Hahn will never do that. He had same opportunity last year after Manny’s buddy choked, and he went with AJ Reed, Palka then Collins instead. EE and Grandal will both have to get hurt for that to happen.
@cws19 Could not agree more that Mercedes is flat out better than Encarnacion today. His numbers in AAA last year were actually better than Luis Robert. He looks like a hella hitter to me, takes walks/high on base pct, whole package. It’s not fair to judge hitters right now, a lot of guys struggling due to very limited spring training. But still, I think Mercedes is their best DH.
Of the trade suggestions people have posted, I don’t think they plan on dealing McCann. Their best bet for a trade partner is a team out of contention that might be willing to deal a very mediocre veteran starter (or reliever) to cut costs, without requiring that much in return. They are not going to get anybody good without giving up something substantial, which I do not see them doing… but they might be able to get a low quality, veteran starter who is healthy enough to contribute for a marginal fringe prospect or something. That is their best hope at helping themselves I think.
Couldn’t agree more with the first part. I’d MUCH rather see a combination of Mercedes/Collins at DH than EE. The fact that Mercedes didn’t get at=bats over Wellington Castillo last year is absolutely disgusting. I would understand if service time was a factor (I wouldn’t like it, but I’d understand), but we’re talking about a 27 year old minor leaguer. The “kid” rakes everywhere he goes; he has earned his shot.
How about this – trade McCann to Cleveland for one of their shamed pitchers. Chi Sox need pitching, Cleveland needs offense, McCann looks like a pro at the plate these days.. Just a thought.
Sure. Zach Plesac would be great. Driving around and bitchin in his Lincoln. Alright alright alright.
Someone in one of the other MLBTR articles (can’t remember which one) that brought up the Super 2 threshold, happening right about now (if it hasn’t just already passed). It makes me think that’s why Hahn isn’t committing to Dunning until Wed. He wants to make sure Dunning makes it past Super 2.
Potentially that’s huge regarding any callup. Of course it ultimately depends on how well that player progresses. Let’s say that player turns into a stud. A team could save millions of dollars by avoiding Super 2 with that player ($5MM to $10MM wouldn’t be out of the question). Sounds like a slimeball time manipulation tactic, but if you’re looking at it through a GM’s eye, that’s a smart move.
Though I acknowledge Hahn’s time manipulation tactics, I don’t knock him for it. They are very smart (and legal) moves. Kind of like Boras being the poster child of slimeballs, yet if I’m a superstar player, he’s my agent without hesitation. You don’t have to like the slimeball or his tactics to be thankful for it as a fan.
I don’t think the White Sox are anywhere near as desperate for pitching as it once seemed. Despite a laughably bad first time through the rotation, the starters still rank 13th in ERA/FIP (8th in xFIP). The bullpen has been about the same, if not slightly better despite a rough start as well. The only thing they NEED is a lockdown lefty for the back of the bullpen, and that’s only if Bummer isn’t going to come back anytime soon – I don’t trust Detwiler in high leverage situations yet, and Fry is just terrible.
If they can get/stay healthy (a major stretch thus far) and the lineup can find any sort of consistency (or get ANYTHING from Grandal/Encarnacion/Mazara), the team will be in really good shape.
*and TA7 is an absolute beast right now
It all hinges in Dunning. Bullpen looks intriguing, but starting depth is nonexistent, and Gonzalez keeps laboring through not even five full innings.
The bad thing with the rotation is we probably won’t get an answer this year on whether or not Lopez can stay in the rotation. All we have is one bad inning from him that’s attributed to his shoulder injury. Even if he’s back at the end of the month, he will probably get only 5 starts, and they’ll probably take it easy on him in Sept. This shortened season would’ve been the perfect scenario to find out where to put him.
I would lean toward putting Lopez in the back of the pen, but it would’ve been nice to get that last decent sample size this season before committing to that.
Next year it looks to be Giolito, Keuchel, Cease, (?) Kopech, and #5 (which could be Dunning, Rodon, Lopez, or possibly a F/A). It’s hard to commit to Kopech right now for obvious reasons. Ditto for Rodon. I’m not putting Crochet into that mix either (maybe ’22 depending on his development). That’s a lot to put on Dunning before he’s even thrown a pitch.
The back of the pen already looks pretty full, especially in terms of righties. Assuming health, they’ll go into next year with Giolito/Keuchel/Cease as the only guarantees. Kopech/Dunning/Rodon/Lopez can fight it out for the last 2 spots. Unless they plan on moving around some pieces, adding a FA to this mix just seems pointless.
I would love to see Rodon get/stay healthy and take a backend spot so they have a second lefty, but I also would be fine with him getting some run in the bullpen. He could potentially be the second lefty stopper they need (behind Bummer), with the extra benefit of being able to eat some innings in a pinch.
On a somewhat related starting pitching note, I would really love for them to use one of their bullpen days or off days to shuffle the rotation. I would much rather throw Cease between Keuchel and Gonzalez. I don’t like the idea of opposing teams getting comfortable because we are throwing soft tossing lefties against them in back-to-back games. It probably wouldn’t make a huge difference in the long run, but I’d like to mix it up and throw different looks at opponents.
I think Quintana will be back in a Sox uniform next year. Seems like a great fit, and he probably won’t be super expensive because he hasn’t been great with the cubs. He still threw 170 innings each of the past 2 years, with respectable numbers, and might do better with the team he started out with. It may seem like overkill, but if they really want to win, they need guys who are much more reliable than Lopez or Rodon, or even Dunning since he won’t have enough experience to really know what you can expect. If Kopech is ready and steps into a rotation spot next year, fantastic… but his choice to opt out was kind of weird, and who knows, he might not want to play next year either. I like his future, just would not put the team in the same position they are this year, relying on too many guys with marginal probability of success and/or health in Rodon’s case.
I think Gio Gonzalez is looking better, but not good enough to justify picking up a 7 million dollar option. I think they will buy him out for sure. So next year, Giolito/Keuchel/Cease/Quintana with one spot left for Kopech, Rodon, Lopez, Dunning. If more than one of them is successful, great, they can use another reliable long relief guy. Unless Lopez is wonderful when he returns, I think their best hope is Kopech, followed by Rodon and Dunning. But Rodon does not seem like he can make more than about 5 or 10 starts a season due to injury.
Very good point moving Cease between Keuchel and Gonzalez. It shouldn’t be too difficult, they have 2 off days sandwiching the Pirates series next week. Plus, it’s not like Gonzalez is pitching like a Cy Young candidate, so it should be easy to push him back.
And regarding another lefty in the bullpen, I wouldn’t mind seeing Crochet make it up this year. I doubt it will actually happen, but he’s got to be better than Fry. There’s a one-year wonder for you in Fry.
I think adding a FA starter is essential rather than pointless. Their starts out of their 4 and 5 pitchers this year have been horrific for the most part, injuries and below mediocre. I think if they sign a solid FA like Quintana, then all those guys fight for one spot and not two. Rodon has proved over and over that he cannot stay healthy and is really out of the mix, Lopez looked terrible and like his 2019 form in his first start, Dunning has never even pitched in AAA and will be totally unproven going into next year at best even if he has some success, and Kopech sat out this year and so will be coming off a year he did not pitch at all. We might be lucky to get one starter out of that group, hopefully Kopech. They can’t count on getting that lucky trying to get two starters out of that group, when not even one of them can be considered solid. It is a large part of why they have not won a series against anybody other than Detroit or KC. They thought they addressed their starting pitching depth in the offseason sufficiently, and it appears they were mistaken.