Interest remains strong in White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana, writes CBS Chicago’s Bruce Levine, who reports that teams have sweetened their trade proposals for the 27-year-old over the past week. While the Astros, Pirates and Yankees have been connected to Quintana more than anyone else this offseason, there are also other clubs in the mix, sources told Levine, who adds that the White Sox could strike a deal to move him soon. Chicago isn’t in any hurry to give up Quintana, but Levine expects it to happen prior to spring training.
Many teams use the arbitration exchange as a hard deadline for negotiations on one-year deals — a “file and trial” approach which effectively means that once figures are exchanged, the only option they’ll pursue before a hearing is a multi-year deal. (The Mets and Orioles are both adopting that approach this year, and other teams to use that strategy in the past include Astros, Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, White Sox, Pirates, Reds and Nationals.)
- Two moreplayers have avoided arbitration with the White Sox, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago (via Twitter). Among those not previously reported, starter Miguel Gonzalez gets $5.9MM and reliever Zach Putnam receives $1.175MM. That clearly indicates that Gonzalez and the Sox utilized his prior-years’ arb starting points, rather than his much lower earnings with the team last year. Putnam, meanwhile, had projected for $975K.
The White Sox and Todd Frazier avoided an arbitration hearing by agreeing to a one-year, $12MM contract, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The CAA client is headed into his final season before reaching free agency and picks up a nice raise over last year’s $8.25MM payday.
The 30-year-old Frazier’s 2016 season was somewhat of a mixed bag, as he clubbed a career-best 40 homers but also posted career-lows in batting average (.225) and on-base percentage (.302). Frazier’s strikeout rate jumped more than four percent, which certainly played a role in his diminished rate stats. Overall, hit .225/.302/.464 and played in at least 150 games for the fourth straight season. He’d been projected to earn $13.5MM by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.
The White Sox have avoided arbitration with lefty Dan Jennings and righty Jake Petricka, per reports from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter) and Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link). Jennings will take home $1.4MM, while Petricka is set to earn $825K.
MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz had projected Jennings at $1.2MM, but he’ll land just north of that mark. The 29-year-old southpaw didn’t carry particularly impressive peripherals, but did turn in 60 2/3 innings of 2.08 ERA pitching in 2016. This is his first year of arb eligibility, and Jennings set himself up well with a solid platform year to go with his career 2.74 ERA over 217 total innings.
It’s also the first time through the process for Petricka, who missed much of the 2016 season due to hip surgery. He’ll fall just a bit shy of his $900K projection, but still will earn a solid raise over the league minimum as he looks to get back on track. Over four total seasons in the majors, Petricka carries a 3.31 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
Coats, 27 next month, was designated for assignment by the White Sox recently when they claimed fellow outfielder Willy Garcia off waivers from the Pirates. A former 29th-round selection by Chicago, Coats made his Major League debut with the ChiSox in 2016, batting .200/.298/.340 in a tiny sample of 58 plate appearances. Coats has spent more time in right field than any other outfield spot (by a wide margin) in his minor league career, but he does have 350 innings of work or more at all three positions. He’s also coming off a monster year in Triple-A Charlotte, where he batted .330/.394/.519 with 10 homers, 22 doubles and a pair of triples in just 332 plate appearances.
Floro recently turned 26 and, like Coats, made his big league debut in 2016. He picked up 15 innings out of the Tampa Bay bullpen and allowed seven earned runs (4.20 ERA) with 14 strikeouts against four unintentional walks to go along with a 54.7 percent ground-ball rate. Floro averaged a respectable 92.5 mph on his fastball and enjoyed a successful season at the Triple-A level, logging 50 innings with a 2.88 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 and a 56.5 percent ground-ball rate. Given his excellent control (career 1.3 BB/9 in the minors) and strong ground-ball tendencies, it seems as though he could be a candidate to be claimed if the Rays ultimately expose him to outright waivers.
- White Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada, who was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston, tells CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes that the magnitude of being a part of such a high-profile trade isn’t lost on him. “I also have expectations about myself because of the trade,” Moncada said via his interpreter. “This team gave up a lot to get me. I feel very humbled for this opportunity.” Moncada said that despite playing some third base last year with the Red Sox, his natural position of second base is his “favorite” position to play, and he hopes to remain there. However, as was the case in Boston, Moncada said he’d be willing to move anywhere on the diamond if asked by the ChiSox.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that another key piece in that Sale trade, right-hander Michael Kopech, has changed representation and is now a client of CAA Sports. The 20-year-old Kopech boasts a triple-digit fastball and split the 2016 season between the White Sox’ Low-A and Class-A Advanced affiliates, making a dozen starts and compiling a 2.08 ERA. Kopech tossed 56 1/3 innings, and while he battled his control (33 walks, five hit batters, 11 wild pitches), he also racked up an impressive 86 strikeouts against much older competition (especially in High-A). His switch is now reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database.
- Though the Braves have added three veteran pieces to their rotation this winter, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman suggests that the club will continue to pursue a controllable, top-flight hurler. He cites Jose Quintana of the White Sox and Chris Archer of the Rays as the likeliest targets; indeed, Atlanta has long been connected to both, among plenty of other organizations. It would surely represent something of a surprise at this point were the Braves to make a major strike for a starter, but the organization has proved willing and able in the past to pull off significant deals at any stage of the year.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman suggested in an appearance on the YES Network that his organization is all but done with its offseason roster moves, as Jack Curry of YES reports (Twitter links). Though he’s still checking in on available free agents, Cashman says it’s 99.9 percent likely that there won’t be any significant new additions.
The long-time New York front office man also addressed the club’s reported pursuit of White Sox lefty Jose Quintana. Chicago’s asking price is simply too high, says Cashman, with Curry reporting that the rebuilding South Siders are seeking “at least 3 elite prospects” in return for the talented southpaw.
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To date, the Yankees have made two significant additions in lefty Aroldis Chapman and outfielder/DH Matt Holliday. But the club is set to rely on quite a few younger players as it continues an effort to transition to a somewhat leaner, more sustainable roster.
It’s certainly arguable that there’s work left to do. The rotation, especially, has quite a few questions and could obviously stand to be upgraded. And there’s some reason to think another bullpen lefty might be desirable. Unless something changes, though, it appears that the Yankees are more or less prepared to head into camp with the current mix of MLB talent available to them.
Shortstop/second baseman Everth Cabrera hasn’t taken a major league at-bat since 2015, but that could change this year. Cabrera has signed a minor league contract with the White Sox, he announced earlier this week (via La Prensa in Nicaragua). The deal includes a non-roster invitation to big league camp.
Before agreeing to join the White Sox, Cabrera hadn’t been involved in a transaction with a major league team since the Giants added him on a minors pact in July 2015. That came after both the Padres and Orioles cut Cabrera, who hit a paltry .208/.250/.229 in 105 plate appearances with Baltimore in his latest big league action.
Cabrera was a legitimately useful player at times in San Diego, where he led the National League with 44 stolen bases in 2012 despite only playing in 115 games. The switch-hitter then made the All-Star team in 2013 and posted a .283/.355/.381 line and 37 steals in 435 PAs; however, MLB hit Cabrera with a 50-game performance-enhancing drugs suspension that August stemming from his ties to the Biogenesis scandal.
Cabrera, who turned 30 in November, has been playing in his native Nicaragua. When he returns to the States, he’ll join a rebuilding Chicago club in need of middle infield depth, though that could change if star second base prospect Yoan Moncada becomes a full-time big leaguer in 2017. For now, the Sox’s projected shorstop-second base combo consists of Tim Anderson and Brett Lawrie. Reserve Tyler Saladino is coming off a respectable year, but fellow backup Carlos Sanchez has been woeful offensively since debuting in 2014.
- The White Sox have released hard-throwing righty Jorge Rondon so that he can sign with Chunichi in Japan. They had previously signed him to a minor league deal after he posted a 2.67 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 pitching in the bullpen of the Pirates’ Triple-A Indianapolis bullpen in 2016.