Chicago White Sox – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-11-13T17:45:10Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[White Sox Reportedly Shopping Avisail Garcia]]> 2018-11-13T16:47:59Z 2018-11-13T16:37:53Z The White Sox are dangling outfielder Avisail Garcia in trade talks, according to’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). If a taker isn’t found, says Feinsand, the club may end up simply non-tendering the 27-year-old.

A key factor here is Garcia’s contract status. He’s projected by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz to earn a hefty $8.0MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility. With no future contractual upside — apart from a low-likelihood extension or qualifying offer — it’s mostly a rental scenario.

Certainly, the 2017 version of Garcia would be well worth that outlay. He broke out that season to the tune of a .330/.380/.506 slash and 18 home runs in 561 plate appearances. Otherwise, though, Garcia has never turned in a full season of even league-average offensive production.

Garcia was bothered by knee issues throughout the 2018 campaign and ultimately underwent surgery. That may offer some hope that his output was an aberration. He ended the year with only a .236/.281/.438 slash. Though his power increased (.202 ISO from .176 in 2017), his strikeout rate bumped up (to 26.5% from 19.8%) and his on-base percentage plummeted with his BABIP (which fell to .271 from a whopping .392).

Teams will need to decide whether to stake a bet on Garcia. Of course, the White Sox seem about as well-situated as any club to do so. While the team hopes to move forward in the standings, a short-term risk of this kind isn’t a bad strategy to pursue given the uncertainty of the South Siders’ still-emerging core.

That said, there are clear indications that the White Sox have eyes for bigger prizes — including, of course, a certain young star who’d supplant Garcia in right field. Whether or not landing Bryce Harper is a realistic outcome isn’t yet known, but moving Garcia off the roster and the books would certainly be a piece of that puzzle. It also may simply clear the deck to allow the team to pick up a different veteran or acquire a more youthful player who becomes a roster casualty from another organization. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez is obviously also a factor in the corner outfield mix, though he has spent most of his time in the minors in left field and seems quite unlikely to open the season on the MLB roster.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Sign Evan Marshall To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-11-09T19:06:05Z 2018-11-09T19:06:05Z
  • Right-handed reliever Evan Marshall has latched on with the White Sox on a minors deal. The 28-year-old has worked his way back from a near-fatal blow to the head from a comebacker line drive while pitching for the D-backs’ Triple-A club several years ago and has had brief MLB stints with the Mariners and Indians in each of the past two seasons. Marshall is still trying to rediscover the form he showed as a 24-year-old rookie in 2014, when he pitched to a 2.74 ERA with 9.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 through 49 1/3 innings in Arizona. He did post a ridiculous 1.08 ERA with a 23-to-3 K/BB ratio in 24 minor league frames with the Indians last year, but he was tagged for six runs in seven MLB innings.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Linked To Nelson Cruz]]> 2018-11-09T16:05:26Z 2018-11-09T16:05:26Z Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz seems likely to draw quite a few looks from American League clubs. Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, the White Sox “are a player” in that market, while the Astros also have some interest. Either club would have some open DH plate appearances for the 38-year-old Cruz, who turned in a .256/.342/.509 slash with 37 long balls this past season in Seattle. That homer total, remarkably, was Cruz’s lowest in the past five seasons. During that time, he’s averaged 41 big flies per season while generally producing 45 percent more offense than a league-average hitter (by measure of OPS+). Houston GM Jeff Luhnow recently discussed a desire to add to an already imposing lineup, and Cruz would certainly fit the bill in that regard.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Bryce Harper, Manny Machado]]> 2018-11-09T05:06:25Z 2018-11-09T05:06:25Z We took a look yesterday at some of the early chatter on Bryce Harper. While the early chatter has been less voluminous with regard to fellow superstar Manny Machado, there’s little doubt that he will have his moment as well. As the stage-setting GM Meetings draw to a close, let’s check in on some additional notes on the market’s most-hyped free agents.

    • Some eyebrows raised this evening when it was observed that the White Sox had unveiled a stage set at Chicago’s United Center featuring Bryce Harper’s name. As Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports explains, there’s no reason to think this was the beginning of the roll-out of a signing; our readers from the south side can safely inform friends and neighbors that there’s nothing imminent. More likely, it’s part of a recruiting pitch for the popular young free agent, who is in Chicago today. The news shouldn’t be blown out of proportion, clearly, but that doesn’t mean it’s of no consequence. Evidently, the White Sox are serious enough pursuers that they have secured an in-person visit and are putting resources into a pitch. That certainly dovetails with recent reports and public statements from the organization indicating that the club is looking to spend. It also bodes well for Harper’s market that a team such as the White Sox is making a run at him even after he reportedly turned down a $300MM offer to remain in D.C.
    • As for the cross-town Cubs, all indications remain that they do not see themselves as a contender for Harper’s services, as’s Jesse Rogers reiterates on Twitter. As Rogers puts it, if the club is “playing possum,” it’s “doing a heck of a job” at selling the act.
    • It remains to be seen what stance the Giants will take with regard to Harper, particularly as Farhan Zaidi settles into his new digs atop the club’s baseball operations department. As John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports, though, agent Scott Boras certainly seems to see San Francisco as a viable landing spot for his client. Harper, he says, views the organization fondly — and would not only deliver value on the field, but off of it. As for the club’s viewpoint, it’s tough to say whether Harper will be deemed a sensible target. CEO Larry Baer said “there’s no restrictions” for his new top baseball decisionmaker; whether or not to join the bidding on Harper (or other hyper-expensive free agents) is “a judgment [Zaidi] is going to need to make.”
    • Of course, as Shea highlights, and Baer himself noted, that sort of outlay did not fit the M.O. of either of Zaidi’s prior two ballclubs — even those pesky division rivals to the south. Speaking of the Dodgers, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times wrote recently that Harper is a player worthy of breaking the mold (and the bank) to acquire. Beyond his qualities as a ballplayer, Hernandez argues that Harper has the star power — and the right kind of attitude — to thrive in Los Angeles.
    • Interestingly, the Cardinals, per Jon Heyman of Fancred, “do not seem interested” in Machado despite seemingly lining up from the perspective of roster need. But there has been quite a lot of discussion in St. Louis circles as to whether Harper might be a target. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch laid out the state of affairs recently. The Cards, he says, are seen as “a factor” in the market for Harper. While some would write the St. Louis organization off due to a lack of monster contracts on their ledger, it’s worth bearing in mind that the club has entered significant bids for players such as Jason Heyward (see here) and David Price (see here) in recent seasons, and also sought to acquire Giancarlo Stanton last winter.
    • And what of the Yankees? The situation hasn’t really changed since last we checked in, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post takes a crack at thinking through how things may play out. There’s little indication at present that the New York club has any real intention of going for Harper. But Machado makes for a much more intriguing roster fit, and could prove particularly tantalizing.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Show Early Interest In Corbin, Happ]]> 2018-11-07T04:42:05Z 2018-11-07T04:42:05Z
  • Morosi tweets that Happ and Patrick Corbin are among the names the White Sox have considered early in free agency, noting that the ChiSox only have one starter (Reynaldo Lopez) who threw more than 50 innings with a sub-4.00 ERA this past season. Rotation help is a clear area of need for the Sox, though competition for the likes of Corbin and Happ will be fierce. Both starters should draw interest from upwards of two thirds of the team in the league, with Corbin’s market being particularly robust given his status as the best arm on the 2018-19 free agent market.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Extend Rick Renteria]]> 2018-11-06T22:51:43Z 2018-11-06T22:51:43Z While it’s been believed that White Sox manager Rick Renteria is only under contract through the upcoming 2019 season, general manager Rick Hahn revealed at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif. that Renteria quietly signed an extension at some point (Twitter link via James Fegan of The Athletic). Hahn didn’t specify when the deal was inked or how long Renteria is now under contract but did state that the 2019 season is no longer the final year of Renteria’s deal.

    Renteria, 57 in December, signed what was reported as a three-year, $3.6MM contract to manage the ChiSox prior to the 2017 season. Now, it seems, he’s under contract through at least the 2020 campaign — if not longer.

    The White Sox are 66 games under .500 (129-195) in Renteria’s first two seasons as the team’s skipper, but that’s hardly an indictment on his abilities as a manager, given the fact that the Sox have been conducting an aggressive rebuilding effort. Renteria was named manager just in time to see Chris Sale and Adam Eaton shipped out of town, and the vast majority of Chicago’s remaining talent was traded away for prospects in the next couple seasons of his tenure.

    The Chicago front office, though, is clearly pleased with the manner in which Renteria runs the clubhouse, disseminates data and info to the team’s players and handles the Chicago media. Retaining Renteria will create some continuity for the current batch of young players as the Sox look to start supplementing the prospects they’ve accumulated with some big league additions on the trade and free-agent markets — perhaps as soon as this winter.

    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Chicago White Sox]]> 2018-11-06T23:02:17Z 2018-11-06T20:52:12Z MLBTR is publishing Offseason Outlooks for all 30 teams. Click here to read the other entries in this series.

    The White Sox will make pitching additions as they begin to see the light at the end of the rebuilding tunnel, and have the payroll flexibility to pursue the biggest names in free agency if they so choose.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    • Welington Castillo, C: $7.75MM through 2019.  Includes club option for 2020.
    • Nate Jones, RP: $4.65MM through 2019.  Includes club options for 2020 and ’21.
    • Tim Anderson, SS: $23.15MM through 2022.  Includes club options for 2023 and ’24.

    Arbitration-Eligible Players (projections via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz)

    Free Agents

    [Chicago White Sox Depth Chart; Chicago White Sox Payroll Overview]

    With two rebuilding years in the books, the White Sox figure to make a push toward opening their next competitive window this winter.  2019 might serve as a transitional year, with higher expectations and at least some small chance of reaching the playoffs.  GM Rick Hahn explained in September, “We’ve made no secret that when the time comes for as we’ve described adding more finishing pieces that we knew those were going to have to come via free agency.  While we are not yet in a position realistically to be adding so called finishing pieces, we are in a position where we need to be opportunistic with regards to the free agent market.”

    Let’s take a look at the White Sox payroll situation.  With only Castillo, Jones, and Anderson under contract for a total of $13.3MM in 2019, it’s wide open.  We project the team’s six arbitration eligible players to total around $36.7MM, though the team could easily jettison Avisail Garcia, Leury Garcia, and Davidson if they feel they have better options.  So the team’s likely commitments are in the $38-50MM range.  An Opening Day 25-man roster payroll in the range of $110-120MM is plausible, based on the team’s historical spending.  Bottom line: this team can afford just about any contract.

    In 2018, catching duties were handled by Omar Narvaez, Kevan Smith, and Welington Castillo.  Smith has already been lost to the Angels on a waiver claim.  Narvaez, 27 in February, has shown himself to be a capable hitter over the last two years.  He’s also been one of the game’s worst pitch framers and isn’t adept at throwing out attempted thieves.  Castillo was signed a year ago to take on primary catching duties, but he was popped in late May with an 80-game suspension for PED use.  The team is set to roll in 2019 with a Castillo-Narvaez tandem, with top catching prospect Zack Collins waiting in the wings.

    Jose Abreu just finished his fifth season as Chicago’s first baseman.  Abreu, 32 in January, has offered a stabilizing veteran presence for the White Sox.  GM Rick Hahn has surely fielded offers over the years, but Abreu’s skillset isn’t one that would likely draw a large return on the trade market.  Now, he has only one year remaining until free agency and an ever-growing salary.  There’s no reason to push for an upgrade or trade this winter, but any contract extension would have to be fairly modest in nature.

    Yoan Moncada, just 23 years old, put in his first full season as the White Sox second baseman.  The results were a mixed bag, with about league average offense and the third-highest strikeout rate in baseball.  It was still a decent season.  The idea of trying Moncada at third base or even center field has been broached, but may not be necessary for 2019.  Similarly, shortstop Tim Anderson, 25, put in a useful campaign but still has room to grow.  One of the two, more likely Moncada, may be pushed soon by 2018 first-rounder Nick Madrigal.  The Sox deployed Yolmer Sanchez at the hot corner this year, and the 26-year-old did acceptable work holding down the fort defensively and bringing energy to the team.  He may be best served back in a utility role.

    Clearly, there is room for improvement in the team’s infield.  The name on everyone’s mind: Manny Machado.  Hahn made a trade offer for Machado in December, despite the shortstop’s impending free agency.  Perhaps the idea was to help sell Machado on Chicago in an attempt to sign him before he hit the open market.  The 26-year-old would easily plug in on the left side of the infield for the White Sox, though I’m guessing the team would have a slight preference to put Machado at third base rather than his preferred shortstop.  Still, I don’t think Anderson’s presence will be a major impediment to a possible pursuit.  The White Sox check all the boxes for Machado: they have the interest, need, and payroll space.

    Though the franchise has never even done a $70MM contract,  let alone one that could be more than five times that, there is precedent from almost 20 years ago.  Back in 1996, the White Sox signed slugger Albert Belle to a five-year, $55MM deal that was the largest in baseball history at the time.  The deal even included a clause that required Belle to remain one of the “top three salaried players for the life of the deal,” as Claire Smith wrote in the New York Times, or else become eligible for free agency.  “We’re not being fiscally irresponsible because we can afford it,” said owner Jerry Reinsdorf at the time.  On the other hand, baseball salaries have grown well beyond inflation since 1996.  $55MM in 1996 is the same as $88MM now – not $350-400MM.

    Beyond that, a push for Machado would be slightly wasted if the team wasn’t otherwise built up to contend in 2019 with major pitching additions.  Rebuilding teams have certainly signed star players “early” in the past, but getting a five-plus win season from Machado in 2019 is a key part of signing him.  So the work wouldn’t be done with just Machado. The Sox could, of course, also look to upgrade at third base with someone other than Machado.  They could attempt to trade for Maikel Franco, Kyle Seager, or Jake Lamb or sign Josh Donaldson or Mike Moustakas, for example.

    Avisail Garcia is the incumbent in right field.  Garcia had multiple DL stints for a hamstring injury this year and was scheduled for knee surgery in October.  He’s been a replacement level player for his entire career outside of 2017, and he projects for an $8MM salary in his final season before free agency.  Keeping him and hoping for a rebound is a reasonable gamble given the team’s payroll space, but the White Sox could also trade or non-tender Garcia if they are thinking bigger.  Like maybe Bryce Harper bigger?  The rationale for Harper is much the same as Machado.  That said, the White Sox have a long and often contentious history with Harper’s agent, Scott Boras.  I don’t know whether Reinsdorf has an appetite for tangling with him on a record-setting contract for Harper, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

    Left field was manned by many different players for the White Sox in 2018, mainly Nicky Delmonico, Charlie Tilson, Leury Garcia, and Daniel Palka.  The team received little production from these players, though Palka showed big power against right-handed pitching.  Generally, everyone was just keeping the seat warm for Eloy Jimenez, who is MLB-ready and currently rates as the third-best prospect in baseball.  Jimenez figures to finally get the call in late April, allowing the White Sox to control him for the better part of the next seven seasons.  Even as a rookie, he might be the team’s best player.  Jimenez could be an option at either outfield corner, and he’ll surely be a regular once he’s promoted.

    Palka, 27, was a nice waiver claim for the White Sox a year ago.  He hit 27 home runs in 449 plate appearances for the Sox this year, and even with a lot of strikeouts and scarce walks, his power plays against right-handed pitching.  His defense needs work, and he’s yet to show that he can hit lefties in the Majors.  He’s an option to replace or platoon with Garcia in right field, but may be better served in a DH platoon with Matt Davidson.  Depending on whether the Sox want to keep Garcia and how they feel about Palka’s defense, they could turn to the market for a better outfielder to pair with Jimenez.  Michael Brantley, Andrew McCutchen, and Marwin Gonzalez are the best non-Harper options in free agency.  Hahn could also go down a tier to the likes of Adam Jones or Nick Markakis, though neither projects as a difference-maker on the field next year.  The trade market has a few decent options, perhaps including David Peralta, Nicholas Castellanos, Jose Martinez, Yasiel Puig, Kyle Schwarber, and Wil Myers.

    The White Sox gave most of their center field playing time to Adam Engel, who got the job done defensively but served as one of the worst hitters in baseball.  A.J. Pollock is the only real free agent option.  He’d be a good fit for the Sox, except that they’d have to forfeit their second-highest draft pick and have their international signing bonus pool reduced by $500K since Pollock received a qualifying offer from the Diamondbacks.  There’s a price at which that makes sense.  The Sox could also hit the trade market, perhaps for someone semi-interesting like Michael A. Taylor or Odubel Herrera.

    The team also must weigh the considerable number of outfield prospects who could arrive in the Majors about a year after Jimenez: Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, Luis Alexander Basabe, Micker Adolfo, and Luis Gonzalez.  There’s an argument for simply adding a stopgap veteran to improve depth in 2019, and then evaluating which prospects are MLB ready for the following season.

    The White Sox gave most of their DH time to Davidson and Palka this year.  The pair can make for an effective platoon.  Still, if the White Sox don’t mind tying up the spot with one player, Nelson Cruz would give an excellent boost to the offense without a long-term commitment or loss of a draft pick.

    With James Shields hitting free agency, the White Sox are poised to lose their 2018 innings leader in the rotation.  They also lost top young pitcher Michael Kopech to Tommy John surgery in September.  Reynaldo Lopez, 25 in January, authored a dominant finish (five runs in his last 40 innings) to push his ERA under 4.00 for the year.  The Sox surely hope he’ll be a rotation fixture for the next five years or more.  Carlos Rodon, 26 in December, is under team control for three more seasons.  He limped to the finish line, allowing 28 earned runs over his last 27 1/3 frames.  Both pitchers are locked in for 2019, despite middling peripheral stats that should temper enthusiasm.

    It’s difficult to find the bright spots in Lucas Giolito’s season.  The 24-year-old righty put up a 6.13 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9, 1.40 HR/9, and a 44.4% groundball rate in 32 starts.  Nonetheless, it sounds like Giolito is penciled in for 2019.  I imagine he won’t get another 32 starts if he doesn’t take a step forward.  Dylan Covey, a 27-year-old former first rounder, had a few flashes of brilliance and should be in the rotation mix.  Top White Sox pitching prospect Dylan Cease moved up to Double-A in June and dominated, suggesting a 2019 MLB debut.  Dane Dunning should arrive in 2019, as could Jordan Stephens.  The team’s 2015 first-round pick, Carson Fulmer, struggled mightily at both Triple-A and the Majors, and will have to pitch his way back into the picture.

    Some kind of addition makes sense for this rotation.  Again, there’s really no one the White Sox can’t afford.  They can throw big money at Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, or Nathan Eovaldi, or look at more affordable options, including Hyun-Jin Ryu, Gio Gonzalez, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, or even Shields.  If he can be sold on Chicago, 27-year-old lefty Yusei Kikuchi would fit better into the team’s likely window of contention.  Garrett Richards would be another forward-looking pickup, since he should return from Tommy John surgery in 2020.  The trade market could include Tanner Roark, Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman, Alex Cobb, Robbie Ray, Dylan Bundy, and Julio Teheran.

    Hahn spoke recently of the need to “augment the rotation and the bullpen” this winter, and picked up former top prospect Manny Banuelos as a possible bullpen option.  Holdovers in the bullpen will likely include Nate Jones, Jace Fry, Aaron Bummer, and Juan Minaya.  DH/first baseman Matt Davidson could contribute more as a mop-up man, which would be a fun story.  The Sox also have interesting options who reached the Majors this year in Ian Hamilton, Jose RuizThyago Vieira, Ryan Burr, and Caleb Frare. Tommy John recipient Zack Burdi could join the mix. I wouldn’t expect the White Sox to spring for Craig Kimbrel, but there’s a slew of solid options they can go after in free agency depending on their willingness to spend.

    The White Sox payroll situation cannot be stressed enough: they could theoretically add Machado ($30MM projected annual salary), Corbin ($21.5MM), Pollock ($15MM), and Jeurys Familia ($10MM) and still have a payroll within their historical norms.  Most likely, though, the White Sox are a year too early to go nuts in the offseason.  If the team falls short on or ignores Machado and other big names, fans can still dream on a strong 2019-20 free agent class.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Chatter: White Sox, Zunino, Kimbrel, Cards, Giants, Phils, Yanks]]> 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z What role will the White Sox play in this free agent market? It’s an open question whether the club will come away with any significant players, but it also seems increasingly likely that it will be heavily involved at all levels of the market. MLBTR did not pick the South Siders to land any of the top fifty free agents, but as noted in that post, the club could pursue quite a few of the players listed.’s Jon Morosi even names the White Sox as potential pursuers of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out the case for the Sox to spend (subscription link), while Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that the club is expressing an inclination to “take a step forward now.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, indications remain that the Cubs will not spend a big chunk of change this winter, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post is the latest to report (Twitter link).

    Clearly, the White Sox are an interesting team to watch. Even if it’s arguably a bit premature for significant investments, it certainly doesn’t hurt that they play in the sport’s worst overall division. Elsewhere …

    • The competition in the AL West seems to be driving the Mariners to sell. It’s unclear as yet how deep the cuts will go, but talks are already opening up. The M’s are chatting with the Rays about catcher Mike Zunino, per Rosenthal (via Twitter). With two years of control remaining, the 27-year-old backstop presents an interesting alternative to the free agent market for catchers. He’s an inconsistent but high-powered offensive performer who is generally seen as a quality defender.
    • The Cardinals and incumbent Red Sox are among the suitors for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, according to Jon Morosi of Kimbrel is among the players who appear to be candidates to land earlier-than-usual contracts, by Morosi’s reckoning. (He mentions a few possible landing spots for others on his list, though it’s not apparent that the connections are based upon more than his analysis.)
    • Certainly, it seems the motivation is there for the Cardinals to pursue significant players. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, the St. Louis front office is looking hard at ways to improve. GM Mike Girsch says the team has a competitive roster as things stand, but wants to exit the offseason with “a division-leading roster.” The piece is full of worthwhile reading for Cards fans, particularly those interested in gaining some perspective on the team’s market positioning in relation to Harper and Machado. All told, it seems reasonable not to rule the Cards out as a possible pursuer of any free agent.
    • Manny and Bryce are popular considerations for most teams, of course, even if they won’t realistically be pursued by all that many organizations. The Giants are perhaps a likelier suitor than may be evident from a passing glance, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While the San Francisco organization struggled last year, has quite a few big contracts on the books, and doesn’t currently have a GM in place, Shea says that this kind of ownership-driven decision could still be pursued.
    • Lost in the hype for those popular young free agents is the never-ending search for pitching. While the rotation was and is a strong suit for the Phillies, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. Indeed, as Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes, it could make sense for the organization to use some trade assets to add a starter — in addition, of course, to pursuing a superstar position player on the open market. Salisbury tabs southpaws Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks and James Paxton of the Mariners as two particular names to watch.
    • Likewise, as they consider their pitching options, the Yankees will look at the still-developing trade market. Per Heyman, via Twitter, the Yanks have at least some level of interest in the top arms that have newly entered the sphere of trade candidates. New York’s brass will meet with their counterparts with the Indians, who are dangling Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees are also said to have some interest in Paxton. Those three are among the game’s better starters, so it’s hardly surprising to hear the connections.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rick Hahn On Yoan Moncada, Team Needs ]]> 2018-11-04T03:18:27Z 2018-11-04T03:18:27Z
  • Yoan Moncada has called second base home since the White Sox acquired him from the Red Sox in 2016, but it’s possible he’ll head to a new position next season. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday (via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicag Sun-Times) that Moncada’s open to switching spots, “but we’re going to wait to see how this offseason plays out before we fully commit to any reconfiguring of the infield. It’s a possibility and if it were to happen we’d likely firm that up before we head to spring training.” Shortstop, third base and even center field have come up in the past as potential long-term landing spots for Moncada, whose athleticism has been a key selling point since his days as a star prospect. Now, if Chicago’s truly considering moving the 23-year-old Moncada off second, it could help inform its offseason plans.
  • In addition to discussing Moncada’s status, Hahn highlighted which areas the White Sox will try to upgrade this winter. “We need to augment both the starting rotation and the bullpen,” he said (per Van Schouwen), though he cautioned that the White Sox must keep their “long-term focus” in mind. At the moment, Chicago has the payroll room to make substantial upgrades, but it’s also coming off a 62-win season – its sixth straight sub-.500 campaign. As such, it’s unclear just how aggressive the White Sox will be this winter, but Hahn noted that he hasn’t ruled out pushing for contention in 2019. “It’s not unintentional having the flexibility we enjoy going forward,’’ Hahn said. “That was a secondary goal of the rebuild, to make sure we had flexibility and economic strength when the time was right to spend and add on to what we’ve accumulated. Whether we use it this offseason or next we’ll see.’’
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[White Sox Acquire Manny Banuelos]]> 2018-11-01T18:52:18Z 2018-11-01T18:38:11Z The White Sox have acquired lefty Manny Banuelos from the Dodgers, per an announcement from the Chicago organization. He’ll go onto the 40-man roster, James Fegan of The Athletic adds on Twitter. Corner infielder Justin Yurchak is headed to Los Angeles in return.

    Banuelos, 27, has long been considered a promising talent but has only briefly seen MLB time. He spent all of the 2018 campaign working at the Dodgers’ Triple-A club, where he split his time between the rotation and the bullpen.

    All told, Banuelos threw 108 2/3 innings last year, carrying a 3.73 ERA with 10.5 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9. He could be an interesting candidate for a multi-inning role and figures to enter Spring Training with a chance at cracking the Chicago pen. The organization had to place him on the 40-man roster to keep him from minor-league free agency.

    As for Yurchak, the 22-year-old scuffled through his second professional season, managing only a single home run in 363 plate appearances. But the 2017 12th-rounder did sport impeccable plate discipline numbers and showed better pop in the preceding campaign.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Exercise Option On Nate Jones, Decline Option On James Shields]]> 2018-10-29T20:25:38Z 2018-10-29T19:55:20Z The White Sox announced Monday that they’ve exercised their $4.65MM club option on right-hander Nate Jones and declined a $16MM option on righty James Shields in favor of a $2MM buyout. The Sox also reinstated Michael Kopech from the 60-day disabled list, filling a 40-man spot for the bulk of the offseason. Kopech underwent Tommy John surgery late in the season. Chicago’s 40-man roster now contains 34 players.

    It’s the first of three club options that the White Sox hold over Jones, who turns 33 in January. His contract also comes with a $5.15MM option for the 2020 season and a $6MM option for the 2021 campaign. Both come with $1.25MM buyout figures attached to them.

    Jones missed nearly three months of the 2018 season with a pronator strain in his right arm but was, as usual, a high-quality bullpen option for the Sox when healthy. In 30 innings of relief this season, he pitched to an even 3.00 ERA with a 32-to-15 K/BB ratio, four homers allowed and a 39.5 percent ground-ball rate. Control was a bit more of an issue for Jones than in a typical season, but he’s averaged a manageable 3.3 walks per nine innings in his career, making the recent blip a bit less concerning. Jones also maintained his premium velocity, averaging 97.2 mph on his fastball, which no doubt contributed to his strong 13.6 percent swinging-strike rate.

    The veteran Shields has become synonymous with the ill-fated deal that brought him to Chicago in the first place (wherein then-unheralded but now-elite prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. went to the Padres), but the 36-year-old had somewhat of a rebound season in 2018. While his 4.53 ERA won’t do much to impress anyone, Shields started 33 games and pitched in 34 overall, racking up 204 2/3 innings while averaging 6.8 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9. He’ll turn 37 in December and may be a far cry from his peak seasons as “Big Game James,” but he displayed in 2018 that he’s still plenty durable and can provide some serviceable innings at the back of a thin rotation — likely at a highly affordable rate on a one-year deal.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Outright Danny Farquhar, Rob Scahill, Ryan LaMarre]]> 2018-10-26T19:15:29Z 2018-10-26T19:15:29Z The White Sox announced that outfielder Ryan LaMarre and right-handers Danny Farquhar and Rob Scahill have been outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte after clearing waivers. All three will become free agents.

    Farquhar will garner the most attention of the trio, as the 31-year-old endured a terrifying brain aneurysm in the White Sox’ dugout earlier this season and was subsequently rushed to the hospital. Farquhar required emergency surgery and, to the relief of teammates, fans and players throughout the league was discharged from the hospital a few weeks later. He ultimately made an emotional return to the clubhouse to visit his teammates, who honored him by hanging his jersey in the bullpen during his absence, the day after being released from the hospital. And on June 1, the ChiSox invited Farquhar to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

    Suffice it to say, Farquhar’s baseball future is somewhat up in the air. He didn’t throw a pitch in the Majors after suffering the aneurysm, though his neurosurgeon said at the time of his release from the hospital that it was possible the right-hander would be able to pitch again in future seasons. Given his uncertain future and a projected $1.4MM salary in arbitration, it was only logical for the Sox to make the roster cut from a business standpoint. It does seem there’s a chance that Farquhar and the others could return to the organization.

    “We do plan to continue to stay in touch with these players and their representatives over the coming months to see if it makes sense for any of them to remain with our organization as we head into the 2019 season,” general manager Rick Hahn told reporters (Twitter link via Scott Merkin of

    Scahill, 32 in February, pitched five innings for the Sox this season, yielding three earned runs on five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He’s logged 149 2/3 frames at the MLB level over parts of seven seasons with the Rockies, Pirates, Brewers and White Sox, compiling a 3.85 ERA with 6.0 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in that span.

    LaMarre, 30 next month, split the year between the Pale Hose and the Twins, batting .279/.322/.382 in a career-high 180 plate appearances. A career .268/.336/.389 hitter in parts of three Triple-A campaigns, the right-handed-hitting LaMarre is capable of handling all three outfield positions.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Angels Claim Kevan Smith, Designate Joe Hudson]]> 2018-10-26T18:50:40Z 2018-10-26T18:34:01Z The Angels announced Friday that they’ve claimed catcher Kevan Smith off waivers from the White Sox and cleared a spot on the 40-man roster by designating fellow backstop Joe Hudson for assignment.

    Smith, 30, has spent parts of the past three seasons with the White Sox, totaling 146 games and 497 plate appearances with a .281/.318/.376 batting line, seven homers and 23 doubles in that time. He’s struggled enormously when it comes to controlling the running game, though, posting an anemic 14 percent caught-stealing rate. From a pitch-framing standpoint, Baseball Prospectus has given Smith rougly average marks between the Majors and minors over the past few seasons while rating his blocking skills to be below average.

    Smith is out of minor league options, meaning he can’t be sent to the minors next year unless he first clears waivers — assuming he even sticks on the 40-man roster all winter, which is far from a given.

    As for Hudson, the 27-year-old hit well with the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates for the Angels this season, albeit in minuscule sample sizes. Hudson notched a .970 OPS in seven games with the Double-A club before moving up to Triple-A and hitting .311/.380/.478 in 101 PAs. He’s also drawn solid framing marks over the past couple of seasons in the minors and has a career 43 percent caught-stealing rate.

    Hudson went 2-for-12 in a late-season cameo with the Angels — a brief stint that marked his MLB debut. Generally speaking, however, he’s struggled with the bat in the upper levels of the minor leagues, hitting just .196/.297/.289 in parts of three Double-A seasons.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[International Notes: Kikuchi, Gaston, Jimenez]]> 2018-10-22T14:06:45Z 2018-10-22T14:06:09Z It’s already been reported in Japan that the Seibu Lions intend to post ace left-hander Yusei Kikuchi for Major League teams this offseason, but the pitcher himself said after his team was eliminated from the postseason that he has not yet made a firm decision (link via Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times). “Well, the season just ended,” Kikuchi said. “…Regarding the future, it’s not all up to me. I haven’t had a chance to talk with the team.” Kikuchi, 27, added that he needs to spend time with his family to ponder the decision before making any firm request. Coskrey writes that the Lions have publicly acknowledged that they would honor Kikuchi’s request if he ultimately wishes to be posted. Kikuchi turned in 163 2/3 innings of 3.08 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 for the Lions this season. In 1035 1/3 career innings in Japan, the three-time All-Star has a 2.81 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 — including a combined 2.58 ERA over the past four seasons.

    If he is posted, Kikuchi would be free of international spending restrictions and could negotiate with all 30 MLB clubs on a contract. The new posting system between MLB and NPB would require Kikuchi’s new team to pay a fee equal to 20 percent of his contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of his next $25MM and 15 percent of anything beyond that (including incentives, option buyouts, etc.).

    A few more notes on the international market…

    • The Marlins spent virtually all of their international bonus pool on brothers Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., meaning right-hander Sandy Gaston almost certainly won’t be joining the Miami organization. Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald reports that Gaston’s camp is seeking a bonus north of $2MM for the 17-year-old flamethrower, with both the Orioles and Rays listed as potential landing spots. Baltimore has a reported sum of near $6.5MM left to spend on international amateurs, while Tampa Bay’s remaining international pool is in the $3.5MM range at present.
    • The White Sox have signed infielder Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez, reports Ben Badler of Baseball America (via Twitter). Scouting information on the younger Jimenez brother is virtually nonexistent, though it should be noted that the White Sox are barred from spending more than $300K on any international amateur signing due to their pool-shattering $26MM agreement with Luis Robert from the 2016-17 signing period, meaning Enoy couldn’t have received an especially large bonus. That certainly doesn’t mean that Enoy isn’t without upside — many high-profile Latin American players sign for only a few thousand dollars — but whatever the exact amount of the bonus was, it undoubtedly falls well shy of the $2.8MM the Cubs paid to sign Eloy back in 2013.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Looking At The White Sox 40-Man Roster Bubble]]> 2018-10-21T23:41:59Z 2018-10-21T23:41:59Z
  • The White Sox are still in rebuilding mode, so The Athletic’s James Fegan (subscription required) figures the team will take the long view on offseason roster placements in regards to out-of-options players and potential Rule 5 picks.  Since Chicago is likelier to keep players who can provide more help for the future than help in 2019, thus leaving the likes of Leury Garcia, Kevan Smith (both of whom are out of options), and others on the bubble.
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