Chicago White Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-12T00:36:42Z WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[White Sox Place Billy Hamilton On Injured List, Call Up Nick Williams]]> 2021-04-08T17:52:50Z 2021-04-08T17:31:50Z The White Sox placed Billy Hamilton on the injured list after he tweaked his hamstring in yesterday’s ballgame. Nick Williams has been called up to take his place on the roster  while Jace Fry was moved to the 60-day injured list. Williams had to be added to the 40-man roster, per the Athletic’s James Fegan (via Twitter).

Williams will get right into the action today. He is starting in left and batting seventh against the Royals. Williams, 27, was hardly Plan A for the White Sox this season, but he’ll have his cleats in the grass for their home opener nonetheless. Eloy Jimenez, of course, was the scheduled left fielder, but he tore his pectoral in the spring and will be out for four to five months.

Rookie Andrew Vaughn has split time in left with Hamilton to start the season. Leury Garcia has been one option for left, but he’s experiencing some leg tightness of his own, though he is available off the bench, notes Fegan. Garcia may also be needed at shortstop while Tim Anderson is on the injured list. Danny Mendick gets the start at short today.

As for Williams, he’ll be making his first Major League appearance since 2019. He hit .254/.313/.420 in 903 plate appearances with the Phillies from 2017 to 2019, a 94 wRC+ for his career. His role with the Phils was largely usurped by Bryce Harper as he saw his playing time and productivity diminish significantly in 2019. Prior to that season, he had posted a 110 wRC+ and 102 wRC+ in back-to-back seasons.  He signed with the White Sox this past January.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 4/7/21]]> 2021-04-08T03:36:51Z 2021-04-08T03:36:51Z The latest minor moves from around baseball, all courtesy of Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America:

  • The Rockies recently signed first baseman Matt Adams to a minor-league deal. The slugging lefty has been assigned to Colorado’s alternate training site, per Kyle Newman of The Denver Post. Adams has played for the Cardinals, Nationals and Braves over the past nine seasons. He was a fairly significant part of Washington’s big league roster as recently as 2019, although he only picked up 51 plate appearances with Atlanta last year before being cut loose. The Rockies have tabbed C.J. Cron as their regular first baseman to start the year.
  • The Cubs signed Andrew Romine to a minors contract. The veteran utilityman has played with the Angels, Tigers, Rangers and Mariners over a big league career that began in 2010. Romine was in camp with the Twins in Spring Training but opted out after Minnesota declined to add the 35-year-old to the MLB roster. Romine’s younger brother Austin Romine is a catcher on the Cubs’ major league team, although the backstop is currently on the 10-day injured list.
  • The White Sox signed outfielder Zack Granite and right-hander Keyvius Sampson to minor-league deals. Granite is a speedy outfielder who picked up 107 MLB plate appearances with the 2017 Twins. He has since spent time in the Rangers’ and Yankees’ systems but hasn’t made it back to the big leagues. Sampson pitched in the majors with the Reds from 2015-16 and with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2018. He returned to the U.S. on a minors deal with the Giants in 2019 but didn’t get back to the majors.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Place Tim Anderson On Injured List]]> 2021-04-07T17:33:18Z 2021-04-07T17:33:18Z The White Sox announced Wednesday that they’ve placed shortstop Tim Anderson on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 5, due to a strained left hamstring. Anderson exited Sunday’s game due to tightness in his hamstring, and it would seem that discomfort has not dissipated. Fellow infielder Danny Mendick was recalled from the Sox’ alternate site in Schaumburg to take Anderson’s spot on the roster.

With Anderson sidelined temporarily, the Sox are down two of their best hitters early in the season. Anderson’s absence obviously isn’t expected to be as lengthy as that of Eloy Jimenez, who is expected to miss the majority of the season due to a ruptured pectoral tendon, but his absence will be felt in the short-term.

Anderson, 27, was out to just a 3-for-15 start in 2021, though his work at the plate since Opening Day 2019 speaks for itself. He’s been not just one of Chicago’s best hitters over the past two seasons but one of the best hitters on the planet, raking at a .331/.357/.514 batting line with 28 homers, 43 doubles and a triple in 739 trips to the plate.

Mendick, a career .260/.292/.404 hitter in 154 big league plate appearances won’t replicate that offensive output, but he’ll give the South Siders a solid glove to install at the position while Anderson’s injury heals. He’s in the lineup at shortstop today, batting ninth for the series finale against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tim Anderson Undergoes MRI On Hamstring]]> 2021-04-05T22:56:10Z 2021-04-05T22:55:10Z APRIL 5: Anderson underwent an MRI, and the White Sox are still waiting for the results, manager Tony La Russa told Bruce Levine of 670 The Score and other reporters. He’s unlikely to play until at least Thursday.

APRIL 4: White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was removed from tonight’s game with the Angels after suffering a hamstring injury while trying to beat out a grounder to first base.  According to the official announcement from the Sox, Anderson is day-to-day with tightness in his left hamstring.

Leury Garcia took over for Anderson at shortstop before the bottom of the first inning, and Garcia is the likely fill-in should Anderson need some time on the injured list.  Further infield depth is available in the form of Danny Mendick at the minor league level, plus other MLB-experienced players like Matt Reynolds, Marco Hernandez, and Tim Beckham who were in camp on minors deals.

Of course, there is no way to easily replace Anderson, who emerged as one of the sport’s better hitters over the last two seasons.  Anderson has hit .331/.357/.514 (130 OPS+, 133 wRC+) with 28 home runs over 739 PA in 2019-20, winning the AL batting title in 2019 and a Silver Slugger Award last season.  The White Sox were already missing one of their biggest bats in Eloy Jimenez (who will miss the majority of the season recovering from surgery to fix a ruptured pectoral tendon) as well as fourth outfielder Adam Engel, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury of his own.

Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: Chicago White Sox]]> 2021-04-05T20:18:24Z 2021-04-05T20:18:24Z The White Sox made a big starting pitching acquisition, signed the best reliever on the market, and went for a modest right field solution.

Major League Signings

Options Exercised

Trades and Claims

Notable Minor League Signings


  • None

Notable Losses

The White Sox kicked off their offseason with the firing of manager Rick Renteria and longtime pitching coach Don Cooper.  Rather than allow GM Rick Hahn to run a traditional managerial hiring process, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf decided to put Tony La Russa back in a managerial role for the first time since 2011, despite awareness of the manager’s second DUI having occurred in February 2020.  I wrote about the situation at greater length back in November.  Though the La Russa hiring brought the White Sox some backlash, it didn’t seem to have much effect on their free agent pursuits.  And as of a few weeks ago, as Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times put it, “Sox players have expressed nothing but acceptance and support for La Russa.”

At the December non-tender deadline, the White Sox made the expected decision to cut Nomar Mazara loose.  2020 marked the third consecutive year in which the White Sox received replacement-level play from their primary right fielder.  With free agent options ranging from George Springer to Joc Pederson, the White Sox instead pounced on…Adam Eaton.  I thought the club would aim bigger than a reunion with the 32-year-old, whose ceiling would appear to be something around 2 WAR.  The White Sox did not seriously engage with Springer, who went to the Blue Jays for six years and $150MM.  Pederson, intent on the chance to prove himself against left-handed pitching, landed with the Cubs in January on a contract similar to Eaton’s.

Around the same time as the Eaton signing, the White Sox swung a major trade with the Rangers to acquire Lance Lynn.  The price for Lynn’s age-34 season was steep: six years of control of 26-year-old sophomore Dane Dunning, plus a 40-grade prospect in Weems.  Dunning was considered a 50-grade prospect before the 2020 season, in which he bolstered his stock with seven solid post-Tommy John surgery starts as an MLB rookie.  Lynn is both a better pitcher than Dunning in 2021 and a more reliable one.  Lynn led MLB in innings last year, and ranked fifth with 6.46 innings per start.  He’s one of the game’s few remaining horses, and the White Sox have him at a below-market $8MM.  Lynn fits nicely into the team’s rotation with Dallas Keuchel, behind ace Lucas Giolito.

The White Sox added Giolito’s former high school pitching coach, Ethan Katz, but weren’t successful in locking up the righty to a long-term deal.  On March 1st, Giolito said to James Fegan of The Athletic, “There haven’t really been discussions about an extension, which is fine.  I think the organization knows that I value myself. I know kind of what I’m worth.”  The White Sox did engage with Giolito at some point after that comment was made, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.  The White Sox haven’t reached an in-season extension with a player anytime recently, and they may have to try again with Giolito in the spring of 2022, when he’ll have four years of MLB service under his belt.  The most recent comparable might be Kyle Hendricks’ March 2019 deal, covering one arbitration year and potentially four free agent seasons for a $55.5MM guarantee.  As someone actively involved in the players’ union, Giolito probably isn’t keen on giving much of a discount.

The White Sox would eventually round out their rotation in late January with the signing of Rodon.  Having non-tendered him a few months prior, it’s clear that the White Sox wanted to retain their 2019 Opening Day starter only at their price.  The White Sox drafted Rodon third overall in 2014.  He was in the Majors the following year and peaked with a 2.7 WAR 2016 campaign before injuries set in, culminating with May 2019 Tommy John surgery.  Rodon returned last summer to make four appearances, but then got a “wake-up call,” as he described it, when the Sox non-tendered him in December.  Having experienced the White Sox throughout their rebuilding phase, he didn’t want to miss out now that they’re a contender.  After an impressive spring training, I’m intrigued to see what a second act might look like for the 28-year-old lefty.

In addition to Lynn, Chicago’s other major strike of the offseason was the signing of the best reliever on the market, Liam Hendriks.  As a 32-year-old, Hendriks wasn’t going to get the five-year contract standards set by Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.  Hendriks (or his agent) was instead seemingly intent on setting an average annual value record for relievers.  That’s how we wound up with a contract structure I’d never seen before, a three-year $54MM deal that includes a fourth-year club option in which the buyout value of $15MM matches the option price.  So Hendriks is getting $54MM no matter what, but with the fourth year not technically guaranteed, the AAV is $18MM.  So why wouldn’t the White Sox pick up the 2024 option?  If it’s declined, the buyout is paid in ten annual installments, so there’s a modest benefit to the club in the event Hendriks is completely undesirable for ’24 whether due to injury or poor performance.

Unique contract structure aside, the White Sox landed a lockdown stopper who put up a 1.79 ERA, 38 K%, and 5.7 BB% from 2019-20 over 110 1/3 innings.  He led all traditional relievers in innings over that period and has proven himself capable of going more than one inning.  Relievers are a fickle bunch, but it looks like the White Sox acquired a relief ace they can lean on heavily in the postseason.  Hahn has put together a flamethrowing bullpen.  Four of their current relievers – Codi Heuer, Michael Kopech, Garrett Crochet, and Jose Ruiz – actually throw harder than Hendriks’ 96.3 mile per hour average fastball.  It’s also a largely untested bullpen behind Hendriks, with four current members who have yet to reach 31 career innings.

Though not exactly part of their offseason, March saw a couple of major, related developments for the White Sox.  Eloy Jimenez ruptured his left pectoral tendon during a spring training game, requiring surgery with a 4-5 month recovery timeline.  A few days later the club selected the contract of 2019 first rounder Andrew Vaughn, making good on their pledge not to manipulate his service time even though they’ve been unable to sign him long-term thus far.  Not only is the club convinced Vaughn will successfully make the jump from High-A to the big leagues (with alternate site time in-between), but they’re also asking him to learn left field to replace Jimenez.

Even before the Jimenez injury, the White Sox elected not to bring in a full-time designated hitter to replace Edwin Encarnacion.  Backup catcher Zack Collins snagged the Opening Day DH assignment, with third catcher Yermin Mercedes riding a hot streak to get the next three starts.  Once Mercedes cools off, others will surely filter through the DH spot as well.  The White Sox probably aren’t dying to see more of Jimenez in left field once he recovers, so he may join the DH rotation as well.  The best solution might be to try to make the pieces fit until July, at which point the club will know more about Jimenez’s timeline and can acquire someone with real outfield experience.

Even with the Jimenez injury, the White Sox have a solid chance of making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.  Though a Jerry Reinsdorf team going all-in might not involve $100MM contracts, I expect the Sox to continue to be aggressive in their own way in the coming years.  Their contention window is now fully open.

How would you grade Chicago’s offseason? (Poll link for app users)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[White Sox Finalize Season-Opening Roster]]> 2021-04-01T22:58:46Z 2021-04-01T22:58:46Z The White Sox finalized their season-opening roster Thursday, announcing they have selected the contracts of outfielder Billy Hamilton and outfielder/first baseman/designated hitter Andrew Vaughn (previously reported). They also placed outfielder Eloy Jimenez on the 60-day injured list as he recovers from a torn left pectoral tendon, while Adam Engel (strained right hamstring) and left-handed reliever Jace Fry (microdisectomy) went to the 10-day IL. Additionally, the White Sox outrighted lefty Nik Turley. Because Turley has been outrighted in the past, he’ll have the right to elect free agency.

The most experienced player in this group is Hamilton, whom the White Sox signed to a minor league contract two weeks ago. Hamilton’s chances of making the roster increased significantly when they lost both Jimenez and Engel to injuries. The former Red, Royal, Brave, Met and Cub will open the season on Chicago’s fifth outfielder behind Luis Robert, Vaughn, Adam Eaton and Leury Garcia.

While the 30-year-old Hamilton has never hit much in the majors, where he has posted a .241/.296/.325 line through 3,125 plate appearances, his speed and defense have kept him in the league. Hamilton has stolen 305 bases on 376 attempts – good for a success rate of 81-plus percent – and totaled 72 Defensive Runs Saved with a 56.2 Ultimate Zone Rating as a center fielder. That combination could make him a useful reserve for the White Sox.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Claim Bernardo Flores Jr.]]> 2021-04-01T19:34:28Z 2021-04-01T19:28:45Z The Cardinals announced Thursday that they’ve claimed lefty Bernardo Flores Jr. off waivers from the White Sox. He’s been optioned to the Cards’ alternate training site. The waiver claim fills the Cardinals’ 40-man roster.

Flores, 24, was Chicago’s seventh-round pick back in 2016 and made his big league debut this past season, tossing two innings and yielding a pair of runs. He’d have spent the 2020 season at the Triple-A level had there been a minor league season, but his top level aside from that brief two-inning cup of coffee in the big leagues has been Double-A. The southpaw has posted strong numbers in parts of two Double-A campaigns, working to a combined 3.04 ERA with an outstanding 4.6 percent walk rate and a 52 percent grounder rate — albeit with a below-average 18.8 percent strikeout rate.

Flores will give the Cardinals some depth both in the rotation and the bullpen. He has a pair of minor league options remaining, so he can be shuttled between Triple-A (or the Cards’ alternate site) and the big leagues over the next two seasons if he sticks on the 40-man roster.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[White Sox To Select Andrew Vaughn]]> 2021-03-31T03:59:00Z 2021-03-31T03:58:41Z Prized White Sox prospect Andrew Vaughn has made the team’s Opening Day roster. He isn’t on Chicago’s 40-man, so the team will need to select him.

The White Sox could have gained an extra year of service time by keeping Vaughn down for the first few weeks of the season, but executive vice president Ken Williams said last week that wouldn’t be a motivating factor in their decision. The team was true to its word. If Vaughn doesn’t return to the minors, he’ll be controllable through 2026 and eligible for arbitration after 2023, though the White Sox could certainly extend him before then, as they’ve done on multiple occasions in recent years with offensive building blocks such as Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert.

General manager Rick Hahn stated Tuesday (via James Fegan of The Athletic), “Having Andrew around will be a positive for this offense.” The White Sox expect Vaughn to factor in at designated hitter, first base and left field, according to Hahn.

It became easier to envision Vaughn making Chicago’s season-opening roster when the club received the devastating news of Jimenez’s ruptured pectoral tendon last week. Jimenez underwent surgery Tuesday and remains likely to miss at least five to six months, Hahn said. The hope is that Vaughn will help fill Jimenez’s enormous offensive void.

Now 22 years old, Vaughn is a former University of California standout whom the White Sox drafted third overall in 2019 and then signed to a $7.2MM-plus bonus. Vaughn hasn’t gotten above High-A ball since then, but he has held his own in the minors, having slashed .278/.384/.449 in 245 plate appearances. He has also looked ready for prime time this spring with a .279/.375/.459 line and six extra-base hits (three doubles, two home runs and a triple) in 61 at-bats.

Along with Vaughn’s addition, the White Sox made a handful of other roster moves Tuesday. They optioned infielder Danny Mendick to their alternate site and reassigned fellow infielders Tim Beckham, Zach Remillard and Matt Reynolds, outfielder Nick Williams, and right-hander Ryan Burr. The club also made the previously reported release of catcher Jonathan Lucroy official.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[White Sox Sign Jake Lamb]]> 2021-03-30T17:15:20Z 2021-03-30T17:15:04Z TODAY: The Sox officially announced the deal, confirming that Lamb’s deal is a Major League pact.  In a corresponding move, left-hander Nik Turley was designated for assignment.  Turley was claimed off waivers from the Athletics last week.

MARCH 29: The White Sox have an agreement to sign free agent third baseman Jake Lamb, pending a physical, per Robert Murray of FanSided (via Twitter). Lamb spent the spring with the Atlanta Braves, who ultimately stuck with Pablo Sandoval as their backup at the hot corner. He will need to clear waivers before this deal is official.

Lamb should have a certain degree of comfort with White Sox manager Tony La Russa. La Russa was the Chief Baseball Officer of the Diamondbacks during Lamb’s heyday from 2014 to 2017. Lamb hit .250/.336/.462 with 69 home runs in 1,752 plate appearances over that span. Injuries hit Lamb hard since then, however.

He did have a small-sample resurgence with the A’s last year, posting a 141 wRC+ in 49 plate appearances with Oakland. Combined with 50 plate appearances in Arizona where he posted just a 14 wRC+, however, and the numbers balance to 77 wRC+, almost exactly matching his mark from the previous two seasons.

The White Sox are a little light on depth, but it’s not exactly clear where Lamb might fit. The logical jump is that Lamb’s signing is a reaction to losing Eloy Jimenez, but there’s not a natural way to shift the roster to make that line of thinking track. Yoan Moncada plays Lambs’ natural position at third, though he has offered to play the outfield in the past, including last offseason when Chicago was entertaining making a run at free agent Anthony Rendon. That would seem to be a lot to ask of Moncada coming off the difficult season he endured in 2020.

More than likely, he’s simply slated for organizational depth. If he’s added to the Major League roster, he could see time at designated hitter in the event that Andrew Vaughn either doesn’t make the roster or does make the roster and spends time in left field, where he’s started two of the past three spring games.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Eloy Jimenez Out At Least Four Months Due To Ruptured Pectoral Tendon]]> 2021-03-30T03:12:23Z 2021-03-30T03:10:47Z MARCH 29: Jimenez will undergo surgery Tuesday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. His recovery will take four to five months.

MARCH 25: The White Sox roster has taken a crucial blow before the season is even underway, as general manager Rick Hahn announced Thursday that left fielder Eloy Jimenez has suffered a ruptured left pectoral tendon and will require surgery. He’s expected to miss five to six months of action, putting his season in jeopardy. Jimenez exited yesterday’s Cactus League game with an apparent injury to his left arm after he attempted to rob a home run.

An absence of any length for Jimenez would have been a notable hit to the White Sox’ chances, but losing Jimenez for the majority of the season is a particularly emphatic gut punch for the South Siders. Jimenez, 24, belted 31 homers as a rookie in 2019 and improved across the board in his rate stats in 2020, slashing .296/.332/.559 with 14 dingers and 14 doubles in just 226 trips to the plate. He was on a tear this spring as well, hitting .319/.360/.532 with two homers, two doubles and a triple in 50 plate appearances.

The injury is particularly significant for the Sox due to the lack of experienced replacements in camp. Utilityman Leury Garcia has outfield experience but seems unlikely to be pressed into an everyday role, and the top options on the 40-man roster — Blake Rutherford, Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez — have yet to play in the Majors beyond two stray plate appearances for Gonzalez. The Sox do have Billy Hamilton and Nick Williams on minor league deals, but neither has hit much in his recent sample of big league work.

Meanwhile, Hahn called the notion of recently signed prospect Yoelki Cespedes (Yoenis’ younger brother) jumping directly to the big leagues “premature” (Twitter link via’s Scott Merkin). The GM also suggested that the club will get presumptive designated hitter Andrew Vaughn some work in left field as the Sox evaluate internal options (Twitter link via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune). Vaughn is already looking likely to be thrust into the Majors after skipping both Double-A and Triple-A, and tackling left field would present another challenge given that his history is as a first baseman. Speculatively, this seems like a case where the solution lies outside the organization.

There ought to be multiple options around the league for the White Sox to consider in the coming days as veterans opt out of minor league contracts with other teams. Jay Bruce has just such a clause in his Yankees contract, for instance, and he’s not a lock to make the club. New York also has the out-of-options Mike Tauchman, who has drawn trade interest from as many as eight teams. The Reds are facing a similar quandary with slugger Aristides Aquino. Unsigned options on the free-agent market include Josh Reddick, Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jonathan Lucroy Granted Release By White Sox]]> 2021-03-29T17:04:20Z 2021-03-29T16:53:53Z The White Sox have released veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy from his minor league contract, reports FanSided’s Robert Murray (via Twitter). The decision leaves Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes as backup catching options still in camp. The Sox have already optioned Seby Zavala, and Yasmani Grandal is of course slated to serve as the primary catcher again in 2021. The Athletic’s James Fegan tweets that Lucroy asked for his release after being informed that he would not crack the Opening Day roster.

Lucroy, 34, appeared in 14 games with the Sox during Spring Training but only tallied 23 trips to the plate. It’s a small sample of work, but he hit well in that time, going 6-for-18 with a double and drawing five walks against just one strikeout. He’d long looked like a very plausible backup option behind Grandal, but it seems the Sox will instead turn things over to younger, in-house alternatives.

Keeping Lucroy would’ve required opening another 40-man roster spot. They’ll already need to do so for Andrew Vaughn at the very least — assuming he makes the club, as expected — and could need to do so for Jake Lamb, depending on the terms of the agreement he reached with the South Siders earlier this morning. Eloy Jimenez can be moved to the 60-day IL to create one such opening, but the Sox may not be keen on finding ways to open too many additional spots.

Lucroy was arguably MLB’s premier catcher at one point, but that was back in 2016 and his subsequent decline has been precipitous, to say the least. Since Opening Day 2017, Lucroy has posted a combined .248/.315/.305 batting line that clocks in at 24 percent worse than league-average production by measure of both OPS+ and wRC+. His once-vaunted framing numbers have tumbled as well, as has his ability to catch opposing base thieves. Lucroy appeared in just one big league game last year, with the Red Sox, and did not tally a plate appearance.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Gio Gonzalez Announces Retirement]]> 2021-03-25T19:42:52Z 2021-03-25T19:15:34Z Veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez took to Instagram this afternoon to announce his retirement from baseball after a 13-year Major League career. The 35-year-old Hialeah, Fla. native was in camp with the Marlins on a minor league deal and called simply donning the jersey of his hometown club one of his “biggest dreams.” However, Gonzalez also added that his “body wasn’t keeping up with [his] mind.” The lefty offered a heartfelt thanks to the Athletics, Nationals, Brewers, White Sox, Yankees and Marlins organizations.

Gio Gonzalez | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

“My heart and mind are finally at peace with my decision,” Gonzalez wrote at the conclusion of his post. “Here’s one last tip of the cap! I’m coming home to my wonderful family. I love u!”

Gonzalez was the No. 38 overall draft pick by the White Sox back in 2004 and had, to say the least, an unconventional career arc with the team. Chicago traded him to the Phillies in Dec. 2005 as part of the Jim Thome blockbuster, only to reacquire him a year later alongside Gavin Floyd in the trade that sent Freddy Garcia to Philadelphia. Gonzalez was close to big league ready at that point and looked as though he could make his debut with the team that originally drafted him … until the White Sox again traded him away — this time to the Athletics as part of the return for Nick Swisher.

Between his draft status, his inclusion in trades for three high-profile big leaguers and his annual placement on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list from 2006-09, it was clear that Gonzalez was highly regarded within the industry. It took him a bit to deliver on that talent, but he did so in a big way with a breakout showing in 2010, when he tossed 200 2/3 innings of 3.23 ERA ball and solidified himself as part of the Athletics’ rotation.

That marked the first of six consecutive seasons in which the durable Gonzalez would make at least 27 starts and pitch to a sub-4.00 ERA. Oakland, as is often the case, traded him when he was on the cusp of arbitration eligibility, shipping him to the Nationals in return for a prospect package of four future big leaguers: A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock.

Gonzalez was nothing short of excellent in Washington, finishing third in National League Cy Young voting in his first season as a Nat. He inked a five-year, $42MM contract extension with the Nats in Jan. 2012 and would go on to spend the next seven seasons in D.C. under the terms of that deal (which contained a pair of club options). Gonzalez’s first season with the Nationals was his best, but he finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting in 2017 — his final full year with the club. In parts of seven years there overall, Gonzalez racked up 1263 1/3 innings of 3.62 ERA ball and helped the Nats to four postseason berths.

With the Nats out of playoff contention in 2018, they traded Gonzalez to the Brewers for a pair of prospects. Gonzalez was brilliant in five starts down the stretch with Milwaukee, helping pitch the Brewers into the postseason. He re-signed with the Brewers in April 2019 after being granted his release from a minor league deal with the Yankees organization and again pitched quite well, tossing 87 1/3 frames of 3.50 ERA ball.

In the 2019-20 offseason, Gonzalez had a full-circle moment when he signed a one-year contract to return to the White Sox. He finally took the mound with his original organization on July 26 last summer. Gonzalez was tagged for six runs in his first appearance, but he bounced back with 28 innings of 3.54 ERA ball for the South Siders the rest of the way.

Gonzalez will walk away from baseball as a two-time All-Star who twice finished sixth or better in his league’s Cy Young voting. Long one of the game’s more underrated starters, his career body of work stands as a testament to his consistency: in 1933 innings, Gonzalez went 131-101 a 3.70 ERA and 1860 strikeouts. He earned more than $73MM in a career valued by Baseball-Reference at 30.1 wins above replacement and valued by FanGraphs at 32.1 WAR. Gonzalez never won a ring but appeared in the postseason five different times, made a pair of All-Star Games and was always good for an entertaining interview. It was a strong career by any measure, and Gonzalez will head into retirement having left his mark on several fanbases and countless teammates and coaches around the sport.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Billy Hamilton Looks Likely To Make White Sox's Opening Day Roster]]> 2021-03-25T03:53:01Z 2021-03-25T03:50:43Z
  • Billy Hamilton looks likely to make the White Sox Opening Day roster, Scott Merkin of writes as part of a reader mailbag. The speedster is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Presumptive fourth outfielder Adam Engel will start the season on the injured list, aiding Hamilton’s chances of breaking camp with the team. Hamilton has really struggled at the plate in recent years, but his speed and outfield defense should make him a useful bench piece. If he indeed makes the club, he’ll need to be added to the Sox’s 40-man roster.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Williams: White Sox Won’t Hold Vaughn Back For Service-Time Reasons]]> 2021-03-24T23:49:15Z 2021-03-24T23:49:15Z The White Sox have had extension talks with top prospect Andrew Vaughn, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2019 draft, but they’re willing to carry him on the Opening Day roster even without a long-term deal in place, writes USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. White Sox vice president Kenny Williams wouldn’t directly confirm that Vaughn is likely to make the Opening Day roster, though he certainly implied that could be in the works.

    “We’d like to have that message coming from the manager,” Williams tells Nightengale, “and not me through USA Today.” Sox skipper Tony La Russa tells Nightengale that Vaughn “hasn’t made the club yet” but has made a “very good impression” to this point in camp.

    That’s probably understating the matter. Vaughn has never played a game at the Double-A level, but he’s nevertheless tattooed Cactus League pitching at a .289/.396/.489 clip through 53 plate appearances. He’s fanned just nine times against an impressive seven walks, adding a pair of homers, a double and a triple to the mix.

    While many clubs around the game would keep Vaughn down at the alternate training site for three weeks to buy an extra year of service time, Williams indicates that the team won’t sacrifice immediate wins even for benefit down the line.

    “…[O]ur feeling is that when you’re ready to help the major-league club, there’s a spot for you,” says Williams. “…I think there is a residual effect if you play those type of service-time games. As a former player, maybe I’m a little more sensitive to it than others. If you do that, the player and the agent don’t forget any time soon.”

    Last offseason, the White Sox inked veteran slugger Edwin Encarnacion to serve as their primary designated hitter, but they’ve made no efforts to bring in a full-time DH this time around. The South Siders quickly brought Adam Eaton back to serve as their right fielder early in the offseason, but he’s been the lone bat added to a lineup composed largely of impressive young players.

    Vaughn, one of the sport’s most promising young hitters, would only further the ChiSox’ youth movement. The former Cal star raked at a .374/.495/.688 clip in 745 NCAA plate appearances, launching 50 homers and drawing 123 walks against just 75 strikeouts along the way. He played in 55 pro games after being drafted in ’19 and put together a strong .278/.384/.449 slash through 245 plate appearances. Because the 2020 minor league season was canceled, that’s the only pro experience to date for Vaughn, though the young slugger tells Nightengale he feels he learned quite a bit while taking as many as seven to eight plate appearances daily against high-end pitching at the Sox’ alternate training site last summer.

    If Vaughn were to break camp with the White Sox and never be sent back to the minors, he’d be controlled via arbitration through the 2026 season, reaching arbitration eligibility after the 2023 campaign. Leaving him in the minors for just three weeks would push that free-agent trajectory back to the 2027-28 offseason, but Williams’ comments and the White Sox’ past actions strongly suggest that’s not a priority for them. And even if Vaughn does break camp without first agreeing to a contract extension, the two sides could always continue talks about a long-term pact — be they early in the spring or next offseason.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Eloy Jimenez Dealing With Left Shoulder Discomfort]]> 2021-03-24T20:53:55Z 2021-03-24T20:53:55Z White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez departed the team’s game Wednesday with discomfort in his left shoulder, James Fegan of The Athletic was among those to report. He suffered the injury while trying to rob Athletics catcher Sean Murphy of a home run. The White Sox will have more information on Jimenez’s status Thursday.

    While it’s unknown whether Jimenez will miss any regular-season time as a result of this issue, he’s one of the last players the World Series-hopeful White Sox can afford to lose. Jimenez had a terrific rookie year offensively in 2019 and then posted even better numbers last season, when he slashed .296/.332/.559 with 14 home runs in 226 plate appearances. The 24-year-old’s 140 wRC+ ranked 28th among 142 qualified hitters.

    If healthy, Jimenez will join center fielder Luis Robert and right fielder Adam Eaton in the grass at the outset of the season. The White Sox also have Leury Garcia, Luis Gonzalez, Micker Adolfo and Blake Rutherford on their 40-man roster in the event of a Jimenez injured list stint, and veterans Billy Hamilton and Nick Williams are in the organization as further outfield depth.