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All Up in White Sox Business Since 2005



Updated: 2016-12-09T09:32:07-06:00

 



Winter meetings transformative for White Sox

2016-12-09T09:32:07-06:00

Two major trades put second rebuilding on sounder course than first The winter meetings are over, and the White Sox made excellent use of the expo. To paraphrase Captain Bern Hembrook’s rationale to blow up the moon, they traded their two best players. They made a Rule 5 draft pick. What else could they do with it? Well, they still have Jose Quintana, David Robertson, Todd Frazier, Nate Jones, Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera ... basically, any of the two players Rick Hahn didn’t reference as young, talented players White Sox fans can enjoy. As much as Hahn ate in Maryland, he took plenty of leftovers home. The drastic action made him the toast of National Harbor, but he appears to understand better than anybody the distressing circumstances that made such newsmakers necessary. In David Haugh’s column: It felt gratifying. It felt humbling. Pause to note the correct usage of of “humbling,“ not the one flying around that means “honored.” "It feels weird, even a little uncomfortable,'' Hahn told the Tribune in an interview. "Later, when Kenny and I had moment to ourselves, we said, 'Man … people are well-intentioned in saying very kind words but we're also thinking, we just traded Chris Sale. That's something that leaves a void. We knew it was the right thing to do because of the returns we got for Chris and Adam (Eaton), but you're still taking away something the organization took pride in. That's where we're at right now." Speaking of Kenny Williams, Hahn passed up a golden opportunity to spare himself future chain-of-command questions by rejecting the idea that he’s wrestled away control over the steering wheel: "We get that (but) what people lose sight of is Kenny has deep roots in player development and scouting,'' Hahn said. "This goes back to stuff he was thriving at in the '90s, in terms of looking at amateur talent and building up the farm system. He's as excited as anyone." Excitement will be difficult to maintain with the White Sox staring at a brutal 2017, and they’ll have to be more disciplined than the last time they won the winter meetings and submarined their first attempt at rebuilding in the process. The upside is that this reconstruction should be far less delicate, as Avisail Garcia isn’t at the center of this one. That’s not a blindslide slam on Garcia, but an acknowledgement that he was a volatile prospect at the time the Sox acquired him. The corollary to Garcia this time around is Lucas Giolito, if you believe the Nationals’ side in this Washington Post article: Perhaps the most obvious takeaway of the past few days is how quickly and thoroughly the Nationals had soured on Giolito, who is still listed in some places as the third-best prospect in baseball even though anyone who watched him pitch in the majors this year couldn’t possibly reconcile that status with what they saw. Prospects take time, of course, but Giolito’s stuff fell off to an alarming degree. My regret, from late in the season, is that I didn’t more thoroughly examine what was going on here, especially when one Nationals official said succinctly, “He’s not going to be what I thought he was going to be.” If Giolito were the only player coming back from Washington for Adam Eaton, I’d be holding my breath (and nose). But he’s flanked by Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning, a pair of talented pitching prospects who reduce the risk of Giolito having already peaked. When you look at the top White Sox prospect lists from that year, the cupboard wasn’t bare, but it wasn’t ironclad (and FanGraphs’ top 10 aged as poorly as we thought it would, by the way). Here’s what the White Sox had for construction materials: Projectable starting pitchers: Erik Johnson. Projectable position players: Avisail Garcia, Matt Davidson. Projectable bench players: Marcus Semien, Carlos Sanchez, Micah Johnson. Projects: Tim Anderson, Courtney Hawkins, Trayce Thompson, Tyler Danish. In hindsight, that’s ugly for a rebuild. It wasn’t that bad at the time, though, especially considering the Sox were also int[...]



Adam Eaton delivered despite doubters

2016-12-08T11:30:02-06:00

Fan favorite had anti-fans in media during three great seasons in Chicago The White Sox’ estate sale continued apace on Wednesday. A day after pulling the football away from Washington by shipping Chris Sale up to Boston for a haul of prospects headlined by Yoan Moncada, Rick Hahn let Nationals GM Mike Rizzo turn rumors into news by acquiring Adam Eaton. All it cost were Rizzo’s three best pitching prospects. Lucas Giolito leads the way, but he’s backed up by Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning in case Giolito’s skeptics are warranted. This is not a lopsided deal, although the volatility involved could make it look like it 10 years from now, one way or another. With the shock from the Sale trade fading a little, and with another big deal to reinforce the message, some of the embarrassment has faded into optimism. Sure, it’s all leading to a huge step back in 2017, it points to a greater vision than rolling with faith over unfavorable projections. The White Sox are no longer half-assing it. And they’ve started by getting rid of the redder asses. Sale’s flare-ups are well covered, but Eaton leaves with three great seasons and various murmurs about his vaguely irritating character. On 670 The Score on Tuesday, Steve Stone talked about the way the clubhouse stands to improve as certain personalities find homes elsewhere. Sale was mentioned by name, which is fair since he led two attempted mutinies against his bosses in 2016. But Dan Bernstein interjected with “Adam Eaton?” and then giggled as Stone tried to talk around it. Bernstein isn’t alone. We saw David Haugh do the same thing by painting Eaton as a phony in his infamous “fourth outfielder” column. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were warranted. Eaton showed that side a couple times, most notably when he called Drake LaRoche a “leader.” It could’ve been the tip of a sizable iceberg for all I know. It’s also for all I care. Despite his flaws -- flaws not egregious enough to be addressed directly, it seems -- he was also a consistently excellent performer on a team that had so few of them. He answered every on-field doubt that he brought to Chicago by the end of his tenure. Would he stay healthy? He played 153 and 157 games in his last two seasons. Would he perform in a full-time role? He posted on-base percentages of .362, .361 and .362 in his three years as a leadoff man. Did he have enough arm strength? After skidding way too many of his throws from center field, a move to right finally helped him calibrate his launch angle, as he racked up a league-high 18 assists. He didn’t steal as many bases as anticipated, but he made up for that deficit by providing way more pop. It’d be hard for any player to duplicate a season as closely as Eaton did last season. PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K BA OBP SLG OPS+ 2015 689 175 28 9 14 56 58 131 .287 .361 .431 122 2016 706 176 28 9 14 59 63 115 .284 .362 .428 119 Here you had a player who bucked every stereotype about a position player added by the White Sox — not only did he outpace expectations, but he did so immediately, and he kept improving. On top of that, he made a positive impression on fans, especially kids. So the conversation often turned to where and when we can’t see him, because beggars have the inalienable right to choose no matter how the saying goes. I’ll be watching to see how Eaton fares under Dusty Baker in Washington. Baker’s shortcomings as a strategist are well known, but he has a job because he brings a big presence and can roll with strong personalities. Conversely, the White Sox tried to import leadership with Adam LaRoche, and boy did that backfire. By starting with Sale and Eaton, you can frame it as though the White Sox prioritized purging LaRoche’s sect from the clubhouse. That looks more like a coincidence. Judging from the chatter around Jose Quintana’s trade value, Sale is held in higher esteem by other front offices. The Nationals have been hustling for action -- we know they wanted Sale, and they were also pu[...]



White Sox select RHP Dylan Covey in the Rule 5 Draft

2016-12-08T08:55:24-06:00

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The White Sox selected RHP Dylan Covey from the Oakland A’s today in the major league portion Rule 5 draft. The White Sox passed on the minor league portion of the draft and no one was selected from the Sox in the major league or minor league portions of the draft.

Covey was a former first round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. He went unsigned after a post-draft physical diagnosed him with diabetes. He instead went to University of San Diego and was drafted by the A’s in 2013. The White Sox drafted two players from USD in 2013 and two more in 2014 so the Sox are likely very familiar with Covey.

Covey has progressed steadily through the minor leagues. Unfortunately, he left his sixth start of last season with a strained oblique and never left the DL. The A’s didn’t really have a choice but to leave him off their 40-man this offseason.

Covey was the A’s #20 prospect on MLB.com. From the scouting report on MLB.com, he sounds like a White Sox reliever.

Covey can run his fastball up to 95 mph but typically sits between 91-93 mph, with heavy sinking action that results in a ton of groundball outs. His above-average curveball is his best secondary offering, and he's become more adept at mixing his slider and changeup, though neither pitch is particularly advanced.

He’s also got some control issues, walking 5.2 batters per nine innings last season. He’s a “Coop’ll fix ‘em” special and, because of his Rule 5 status, get’s penciled in as the last man in the bullpen for next season.

With the addition of Covey, the White Sox 40-man roster goes to 40.




Adam Eaton trade to Nationals is official

2016-12-07T17:50:22-06:00

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Sox get RHPs Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning in return.

The White Sox rebuild is now in full swing. The White Sox has traded Adam Eaton to the Nationals for RHPs Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning.

Eaton leaves the team after his third season here. He joined the organization in a three way trade that sent Hector Santiago to the Angels and netted Eaton from the Diamondbacks. Over his time with the Sox, he racked up two triples titles and was a contender for the Gold Glove in right last season after an amazing season there defensively.

Lucas Giolito is the #2 or #3 prospect in baseball right now depending on who you ask. The Nationals drafted Giolito in 2012 in the first round, three picks after Courtney Hawkins. He’s also consistently been a top 100 prospect since before the 2013 season. This was even with Tommy John surgery which limited his first minor league season to a single start. Last season he split time between AA, AAA, and the majors (with a side trek to low-A to prevent a long flight it seems). Although he was stellar in the minors, he struggled in the majors mainly due to walking 16 batters in 21⅓ innings. He had a 6.75 ERA and 8.21 FIP for that Nationals.

Giolito threw his mid-90’s fastball a lot for the Nationals last season, just under 70% of the time. He essentially only has a change and curve with a couple tries each with a sinker and slider.

Reynaldo Lopez was the Nationals #3 prospect and came into MLB.coms rankings at #38. Like Giolito, he also split time between AA, AAA, and the majors for the Nationals. He had some control issues in Washington, walking 22 in 44 innings. He also struck out 42 batters for a 4.91 ERA and 3.92 FIP. This uneven level of results isn’t unexpected for a rookie pitcher, but it looks like his Aug. 18th start against Atlanta is something to checkout on MLB.tv. Over seven innings, four hits, two runs with one earned, walking two, and striking out eleven.

Like Giolito, he only throws a four-seam fastball, curve, and change. His fastball comes in a little faster, averaging about 97 mph and topping out just over 100 mph in some late season appearances out of the Nationals’ bullpen.

Dane Dunning was the Nationals first round pick last June out of Florida and was their #6 prospect. He’s also got a mid-90s fastball, but his changeup is a little more advanced than his breaking pitches so he’ll need some polishing next season but easily projects as an average starter at least.

After updates on MLB.com, Giolito, Lopez, and Dunning become the #2, #4, and #10 prospects for the Sox respectively. Charlie Tilson, yesterday morning’s #5 prospect, is now #11. The White Sox now have six top 100 prospects.

Although Giolito and Lopez both spent some time on the Nationals last season, don’t be surprised if they start at Charlotte to work on some additional secondary pitches. They are far from the typical White Sox pitching repertoire so expect some rocky outings next spring from both of them. Dunning was a first rounder last season, so Winston-Salem seems like an appropriate place for him to land to start next season while working on his breaking stuff.

With this trade, the White Sox 40-man roster goes up to 39 with the addition of Lopez and Giolito. The Winter Meetings end tomorrow morning with the Rule 5 draft.




White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals

2016-12-07T16:13:46-06:00

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Pending physicals

Yesterday, the White Sox traded off Chris Sale. With that monkey off the front office’s back, they settled into their next task — selling everything that isn’t nailed down. Everyone thought the Sox would go back to the Nationals to see if maybe they’d be interested in Chris Sale. It seems they’re looking at an outfielder not named Andrew McCutchen.

Zing!

By the way, Boston visits the GRF, May 29-31. It’ll be a must-attend affair if Sale is scheduled to start any of those games.

Fangraphs: White Sox begin teardown in best way possible

Jeff Sullivan ponders if the White Sox got more than what the Atlanta Braves received in exchange for Shelby Miller last year. Regardless, even though Yoan Moncada is not a lock to succeed, he could be the remedy for those hurting watching Sale leave.

Nightengale: Chris Sale trade could key titles for both Red Sox, White Sox

It should be obvious that the Boston Red Sox are the favorites to win the American League pennant. Many, like USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, think they are the favorites to win the World Series in 2017.

I’m sure the Chicago Cubs will have a lot to say about that, so it’s probably best to pump the brakes on duck boats and parade plans. However, Nightengale thinks the return for Sale could put the White Sox in a position to win the World Series in 2019. That should merit both feet slamming on the brakes with that proclamation until we see what the returns are for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Jose Quintana in the upcoming weeks.




Chris Sale trade start of painful admission, transition

2016-12-07T08:57:27-06:00

White Sox front office couldn’t get out of its own way, and others pay the price Imagine seeing your friend post a photo of his new Tesla on Facebook. You “like” the post, maybe out of social obligation, but it’s still impressive. It’s not so impressive when you find out it replaced the Aston Martin he totaled in a classic texting-after-soiling-self-while-driving accident. You click “unlike.” That’s where the White Sox are at right now after trading Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. Yoan Moncada, along with Michael Kopech and Luis Alexander Basabe, are good prospects who make the White Sox’ high minors a thousand times more interesting. Moncada in particular stands a chance of being a rare White Sox position player who makes baseball look easy and entertaining, rather than thankless toil undertaken in order to get into heaven. But the White Sox only acquired that amazing baseball talent by surrendering Sale, who had already climbed to the sport’s elite. They only acquired Moncada because they failed to build a credible contender around Sale despite some star assistance and a relatively clean payroll. They only acquired Moncada because the roster had suffered wear and tear from costly swings and misses (OK, some were foul tips), so much so that the front office looked at scar tissue over the next three years and couldn’t see a winner underneath. Worst of all, dealing Sale with three years remaining on his deal seemed inevitable, and in large part because the White Sox set staggeringly low expectations for a manager. They let the previous situation deteriorate to the extent that “not actively undermining the on-field product” became the sole qualification to retain the position. Robin Ventura was as good a self-taught manager as I am a self-taught guitarist (scouting report: some feel, hasn’t developed, can’t/won’t hang), and yet the White Sox ultimately tied the success of the Sale era to Ventura’s ability to figure it out. If that sounds familiar, it’s the same strategy deployed by legislators when they want to torpedo a bill. That’s the part that I’ll never understand. While it’s the front office’s problem when a player flops or gets injured, there’s at least one degree of separation that diminishes the culpability. They had no such excuses with their choice of manager. When it came to finding somebody more qualified, they just ... didn’t wanna. We’ll never know whether Rick Renteria or any other manager could have extracted the four extra wins to at least make the White Sox ever consider adding at the trade deadline. I feel comfortable saying there was zero risk in trying the last year, and I said so before the clubhouse exploded on Ventura twice, with Sale at the center of both uprisings. Ventura’s departure preceded Sale, but not in any meaningful way since there won’t be a Sale start without him. The same front office that botched the first rebuilding effort gets to start a second one. The actual punishment trickles down to the fans and the marketing folks, who are deprived of the most overpowering pitcher in White Sox history because others couldn’t do their jobs. (Please treat your season-ticket representative with respect, please.) Perhaps the administration has learned from the first one. During the post-trade media conference, Rick Hahn said: There is no rush to do it from that standpoint. It's much more important to do it right than to do it quickly. Do it too quickly, do it hastily without the proper vetting of targets could put yourself in a worse predicament, if you aren't careful. He was talking about the trading of players, but it’s just as important in the ramp-up that follows, lest the White Sox’ rebuilding hopes rest on a middle-of-the-pack 30something National League slugger again. Perhaps the White Sox have greater knowledge of their limitations, but they started the offseason by h[...]



Podcast: Goodbye, Chris Sale

2016-12-06T20:07:12-06:00

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The emergency podcast will be streamed live starting at 7 pm CT/ 8 pm ET.

To listen, click play below:

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The next South Side Sox podcast will be on Monday, December 12th with guests Jim Callis of MLB.com and Dan Szymborski from ESPN.com. I bet if I ask nicely, Dan will share us the early 2017 ZiPS projections for the White Sox.