Non-Tender Deadline Excitement

Good evening to all of my fellow White Sox Fans, sorry for the lack of posts lately, finals week is approaching for me and my classes and I work retail, so combine the two and you get close to no writing time.

Let’s get down to business now.

The Lord has heard my prayers, and the White Sox for now have closed the book on the Avisail Garcia era on the south side of Chicago. I say for now because they could always re-work a cheaper deal for Avi and have him come back, and knowing the White Sox, I could see that happening. For now, I’ll celebrate with great joy. Garcia compiled a 0.8 WAR (wins above replacement) over his tenure and was continuously disappointing year in and year out for the team. He was either hurt, underachieving, or was just getting lucky, so I’m happy to see him go. Thanks for nothing but empty promises Avi.

The second non-tender from the team came as a bit more of a surprise to me, as Matt Davidson was also given the boot from the roster. The defensively challenged slugger also finds himself out on the free agent market after only clubbing 20 homers in a disappointing offensive season for the team after what seemed to be a promising opening day for Davidson when he clubbed 3 homers against Kansas City. I liked Matt a whole lot more than Avisail, and hope a rebuilding team will sign him and let him chase his quest to become the second 2-way player in the Majors next to Shohei Ohtani. Thank you for the memories Matty D, I will always appreciate your dry sense of humor paired with Jason Benetti’s cracking postgame, so long.

The third major move of the day is the most telling for the Sox, as they sold high on Omar Narvaez’s stock, sending him to the rapidly churning Seattle Mariners organization for reliever Alex Colome. Colome has been one of the most solid relievers in two of the toughest divisions in baseball ( AL East & West) over the past two and a half seasons between the Tampa Bay Rays and Mariners organizations. “Matt, they needed bullpen help, they did the same thing with Soria and every other bullpen guy the past two years.” False! Colome is just under elite, and only has two seasons of control left on his contract. Why would a team like the White Sox trade 4 years of a young catcher that had a career year for only two years of someone that seems to be their leading candidate for the closers job? The answer is this: because they expect to be better each of the next two years. This move only seems to be the first of many, especially looking at letting go of two guys that aren’t going to be a part of the next championship winning club.

Another thing to take note of is the Cleveland Indians sending starting catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals, receiving back a lone outfield prospect. Cleveland has also been in the middle of trade rumors involving star pitchers Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer as the small market club tries to shed payroll to keep their contention window open. I implore Rick Hahn to pay attention to what Mike Chernoff and the Indians do this offseason, and if there is any steps backward to step on the gas pedal and push this thing along a little more. Let’s see if we can make the Tribe sweat a little. Eloy’s close, Cease is close, Collins, Burdi, Dunning, and Savala could all realistically be here soon too, so let’s make a little push if the Indians need to re-work their checkbook.

Ah yes, the Stove is Hot.

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Ghosts of White Sox Past

Good evening all! Todays post is a nice change from the rumor mill that is quite abundant with tall tales this time of the offseason. Last night I was thinking about the extensive list of all-time great players that found the White Sox in the very end of their respective careers, and decided that it would be fun/depressing to look at many of their cases. As we always say, Kenny always gets his man. Lets look at those men.

Image result for manny ramirez white sox
nydailynews.com

1. Manny Ramirez- The one time Boston Red Sock champion, the place where he made himself a household name came to the White Sox via the August 31 waiver trade deadline where the White Sox acquired him after the Dodgers wanted to shed his salary and move on from the “Mannywood” era. At the time, he was the best DH upgrade available to the team, who was trying to chase down the division leading Twins at the time. He didn’t fare so well in his time with the White Sox, in 24 games he batted .261 and only hit one homer while only driving in 2 runs. It’s safe to say that the Manny Ramirez acquisition didn’t quite pan out for the White Sox.

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2. Ken Griffey Jr.- Who could possibly forget the Junior era on the South Side? In 2008 at the July 31 trade deadline, the White Sox sent Nick Masset and Danny Richar to the Reds in exchange for 3 months of the all-time great centerfielder. Griffey’s stay wasn’t nearly as disastrous as Ramirez’s, but Ken definitely was not in Hall of Fame form during his stay at 35th and Shields. We are talking about a guy that was asleep during a game, was called to pinch hit and then hit a homer in that at-bat, so maybe it’s not all bad. And of course who can forget him throwing out Michael Cuddyer at home in the blackout game? So Griffey did leave his great imprint on the franchises history after all. The ten time gold glover hit 3 home runs and drove in 18 runs for the team down the stretch, and also contributed 10 doubles as well.

Image result for jimmy rollins white sox
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3. Jimmy Rollins- Oh boy, this one was rough. In 2016, the Sox made one last push for the playoffs, and needed a shortstop after Alexi Ramirez was allowed to walk away from the team. Tim Anderson was doing well in the minors and was looking like he was close to the Majors, so the front office sought out a cheap answer that could be easily dispensable once Tim was ready for the big stage. Enter the 37 year-old Jimmy Rollins. Rollins signed a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training with the goal of getting an every day job in the infield instead of signing up for a utility role with his hometown team, the San Francisco Giants. Ultimately, Rollins was released after a terrible showing for the Sox to make way for our current shortstop, Tim Anderson. The former MVP hit .221 in 41 games, contributing 2 homers and 8 RBI’s, and stole 5 bags in the last and worst season of his career.

Image result for andruw jones white sox
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4. Andruw Jones- In 2010, the White Sox signed the outfielder for $500 grand with additional incentives to prove that he could show up in shape and play another full season. He was far from the once dynamic teenager that debuted for the Braves in 1996, but the front office thought it was a low-risk, high reward situation to bring in the 33 year old outfielder. This signing wasn’t the worst, Jones appeared in 107 games and had just under 300 plate appearances and was able to club 19 homeruns in that time, and also drove in 48 runs as well. Definitely not the worst signing the front office has had, but Andruw joins this list for sure.

Image result for Mark kotsay white sox
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5. Mark Kotsay- Kotsay’s time with the Sox was extremely unmemorable. Kotsay was dealt to the White Sox from Boston in 2009 for Brian Anderson, and then re-signed with the club in the offseason after. He primarily was in a first base, DH role for the club where he only hit 11 homers and batted just over .250, for a very disappointing 147 games. Once again, another cheap band-aid option used by the front office for the 2010 season.

Image result for Kevin Youkilis white sox
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6. Kevin Youkilis- Ah yes, the greek God of walks. Definitely one of the better mid-season acquisitions for the front office, but let’s face the music. Youk was not in his prime when he was acquired, nor was he close to the Boston Red Sox version that made him famous. He did plug third base well for the Sox during his time, but because he went to Japan just two years after his acquisition, he goes on this list.

The list goes on and on with names like Adam LaRoche, Alex Cintron, James Shields, Nick Swisher, Dioner Navarro, Omar Vizquel, Geovany Soto, Brett Myers, and Jeff Keppinger. The guys I went into depth with were my favorites. Isn’t it fun going down memory lane?

If you have your own favorite, let me know! Message me on twitter or e-mail me, both can be found on my contact page.

 

Under the Radar: Kade McClure

Good afternoon all! Today I continue with the 3rd edition of my Under the Radar prospect series that puts a spotlight on some promising youngsters that are hidden in the shadows of the Eloy Jimenez’s and Dylan Cease’s of the organization. Today’s spotlight will be shone upon right hander Kade McClure who had his season cut short with injury this past year.

The 22 year old right hander was drafted by the White Sox in the 6th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Louisville, which seems to be a feeding station for young Sox arms. He’s listed at 6’7 but many in the industry think he’s about 6’6 or so, not a big difference but still. With being such a big man, he does fall into the stereotype of not having the most repeatable delivery and mechanics. When he’s at his best, Kade gets a ton of groundballs and can fill the zone with quality strikes. When he’s at his worst, his mechanics get loose, the release point goes awry and he doesn’t necessarily miss the zone entirely, but he can get erratic within the zone and give hitters some easier pitches to hit.

Kade was looking to add to the Sox bounty of young starters this season before a season ending knee injury. In 8 starts at Low A Kannapolis before the injury, his stats looked like this:

41.2 Innings Pitched

1.20 WHIP (Walks + Hits per inning pitched)

42 Strikeouts

14 Earned Runs

Kade really was looking to have a season in which the organization would have to take a serious look at his talents and possibly task him with aggressive promotions to test his abilities. Since he is still just 22 until February and he was already in Low A and did make 8 starts there, dependent on his results upon return, the White Sox could get him right back on track and put him in High-A Winston-Salem earlier in the year with the purpose of getting him to Birmingham by the end of the year. By no means is Kade a front-line starter, but I’ve never heard of a team not desiring starting pitching depth. So a big guy like Kade who could help fill out the back end of a rotation with quality innings is a valuable asset to possibly have. Hopefully he comes back from his injury strong and we could see Kade possibly in 2020 in Chicago.

Don’t let the Door hit you on your way out

Good Afternoon all, as you can assume by the title, you’re probably right. Today we’re talking about Avisail Garcia and the report that broke through yesterday about his possible (non)future with the White Sox.

The news broke yesterday from MLB insider Mark Feinsand via twitter that the White Sox are actively trying to trade disappointing 28 year-old outfielder, Avisail Garcia. The big man has one year of team control left, in which he is projected to make somewhere between $7-8 million in arbitration. Feinsand also states in the tweet that if Rick Hahn can’t find a taker for Garcia, the belief around the league is that Hahn will just non-tender his contract and send Avi out onto the free agent market. All of this is coming on the heels of Ken Rosenthal reporting that the team had a deal in place to send Garcia to Houston at the deadline last year for Frances Martes, but ultimately fell through. The Sox shouldn’t expect to get much if anything in a deal that sends Avisail out of Chicago. Between the inconsistency, only one year of control left, low accumulated Wins Above Replacement, and a mid-September arthroscopic knee surgery, there are many questions for any team courting the Sox for Garcia’s services. I would expect Avisail to be more or less included in a salary dump type of trade where the Sox take on a rather bad contract in an effort to either get a young player to add to the major league team along with the bad contract, or add more prospects to their system a la a speculated Matt Kemp deal that was theorized last offseason.

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A speculative deal I personally thought of was taking on half to 2/3 of the Zack Greinke deal in order to get Jake Lamb along with him, and send Avisail along with Luis Gonzalez, Blake Rutherford, and Jordan Stephens. Only speculative, but kind of nice to think about. Sox get a third baseman and a veteran starter that can continue to pitch quality innings in the rotation. Oh well.

The report raises an even bigger question though:

If the White Sox were content with doing some one year deals this winter and due to injuries, letting these prospects have another season to grow and mature, why wouldn’t you just hold onto Garcia for the last season of his deal? On the flip side, if the White Sox are actively trying to rid their lineup of the right fielder, who is going to take his place next season? This report along with others, continue to validate that Rick Hahn will be aggressive this offseason. With only Eloy Jimenez being written in pen for next season in the outfield (after the team gains the extra year of control) and with Avi seemingly on his way out, the White Sox would have to fill 2 outfield spots if they intend to contend. I have a hard time envisioning next years opening day outfield being Delmonico, Engel, and Leury Garcia (who also could be in danger of a non-tender) with Ryan Cordell on the bench. It’s tough to see any scenario making that particular arrangement a reality. All signs so far have pointed to Rick Hahn being active and aggressive this offseason too, which only reinforces my point. We’ll know by November 30, the non-tender deadline on whether or not Avisail will be plugging up right field for the Sox next year.

Under the Radar: Anderson Comas

Good Afternoon all, since the Brynny Harpado rumors have died down since the GM meetings concluded last week, I’ll settle back into writing with the second edition of my “Under the Radar” prospect series. Luis Mieses was the subject of my first edition, and you can read that here. Today, I’ll look at fellow outfield international signee in 2016, Anderson Comas.

Comas, a young man still at 18 years old, has a long and lanky frame at 6’3 and 185 pounds, but shows that he has some serious potential to fill out as he matures. Comas’ $450,000 bonus was the second biggest behind Josue Guerrero (nephew of Vladimir and cousin to Vladimir Jr.) and his $1.1 million dollar bonus back in the July 2nd, 2016 bonus signing period. Comas heirs from San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic and is showing early that he might be a clear steal for the Sox, and could be an up-and-coming young star in the Sox system, adding to their wealth of outfield prospects. Lets dive into the numbers that Anderson put up in the Arizona Rookie league this year in 41 games:

AVG: .306

Hits/At-bats: 49/160

Extra-Base Hits: 9

RBI: 22

BB: 7

All of these numbers may not be very impressive on first sight, but you have to keep in mind that he did this in a limited number of games. When you look more at what the industry has to say about him, it only sways your perception even more to the positive. The big left-handed thrower has seen much more time in right field due to his plus arm, but could be suited for either corner outfield spot when it’s all said and done. South Side Sox deemed him as the best outfielder on the final Arizona League White Sox roster. Looking at Anderson’s frame and projectability, he could be a solid starting outfielder in the major leagues one day, with a floor of being a fourth outfielder. The White Sox may just have another hidden gem in their glut of outfield prospects.

Rumors swirl as GM Meetings Conclude

credit for featured picture: @SoxOn35th, @b_son4

As the General Managers meetings conclude in Carlsbad, California, rumors are swirling around the Windy City that the Cubs may not be the only team with an increased payroll come spring training. Jon Paul Morosi, Ken Rosenthal, and Jon Heyman all have linked the White Sox to various free agents including Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, J.A. Happ, Patrick Corbin, and Nelson Cruz, along with many smaller reports linking the White Sox to closer Jeurys Familia.

Now it is very early in the offseason, let me remind you. But quotes from Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn captured by the Athletic’s James Fegan have said that having all of this payroll flexibility was no coincidence, and that they have all of this available money for a reason. I’m not saying that we’ll sign these players, but it’s encouraging when both of your head front office executives are speaking about being aggressive with a wide open payroll. I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Now of course, these guys have to want to sign with the White Sox. and we’ll have to see just how effective Jerry Reinsdorf, Kenny Williams, and Rick Hahn’s advertising to free agents really is.

The big thing that got White Sox twitter buzzing this morning was a picture of an electronic banner at the United Center (venue for the Jerry Reinsdorf owned Chicago Bulls) featuring Bryce Harper’s name next to the White Sox logo and the number 34, which happens to be Bryce’s jersey number. The tweet has since been deleted, but was screenshotted and still captured on the social media, and has been a talking point for White Sox fans all morning, and is pictured below. You interpret the message.
White Sox fan-page “Sox on 35th” has a graphic designer who features great work for many Chicago teams named Brandon Anderson. (I feature his work in the cover picture) And to ensure this pictures validity, he stated that he ran this picture through photoshop filters and confirmed that this tweet is 100% genuine. (You can follow him @b_son4 on twitter)

This may be a product of the new sports network that the Bulls, White Sox and Blackhawks will be a part of in the near future and could be put into the pitch for Bryce and his representatives. It seems that the White Sox are actually putting together a real and bonafide sales pitch to not just Bryce Harper and his brand, but maybe other free agents as well. I personally am still not going to get my hopes up too high, because so much can happen with star free agents, especially one that is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, which Harper is. I will say however, that the White Sox do have a young, talented core of players, play in a major city in the nation, a great farm system, payroll space enough for all of King Midas’s silver, and will soon have a brand new platform to launch Harper and his brand that he maybe didn’t have before and that other organizations won’t have in the near future. Along with promoting his brand, he could now have cross promotional opportunities across the hockey and basketball markets for his brand with the Bulls and Blackhawks in this hopeful new and shiny sports network compromised of the three major sports teams in a major city.

Not to make this more and more promising, but major spenders like the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, and Red Sox are all seemingly staying out of the Bryce Harper market due to various reasons ranging from having other positions of need to having a restricted payroll situation. This leaves the Phillies, White Sox, Giants, and Nationals as the four biggest possible players for Bryce’s services. I have to say, Chicago is the most attractive of all 4 cities but hey, I’m biased.

Bryce Harper would just be the start of the solution, we need more than just Mr. Harper. Time will tell, we must be patient. Pray to whatever deity you believe in that Rick Hahn has a good pitch, and Jerry Reinsdorf is ready to spend some serious cash.

Above all else always remember, Go White Sox.

GM Meetings Open

Featured Image from: southsideshowdown.com

Good evening folks, tonight we welcome the unofficial “official” start to the offseason as the GM Meetings open in Carlsbad, California this week. Most of the time during these meetings, it is more about getting the foundation of deals and getting the feel for new General Managers around the league. Or even talking about changes around the game, with this years theme revolving around a change in the trade deadline, it is much more dormant than it’s brother, the Winter Meetings which will be appropriately held in Las Vegas this year due to the high stakes free agents in this years class. But for those very reasons, this years GM Meetings could be the most active of those in recent memory. Let’s take a look at the massive rumors that came from day one of the meetings as it pertains to our Sox.

Jon Paul Morosi, Ken Rosenthal, and Jon Heyman all mentioned the White Sox being “in” on mega-star Manny Machado, including Jon Paul Morosi having them not just in on Machado, but in on both Manny and fellow 26 year-old franchise star Bryce Harper. You read that right, both of them.

The articles raise a huge question that wonders if it is possible for the White Sox to sign one of or both stars to their own mega-deals, and as it’s incredibly improbable, the White Sox are one of two teams in the Majors that have the available payroll to offer both stars their own respective lucrative contracts, with the other residing in the city of brotherly love, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies have available payroll, a good young core, and needs at both positions. The big obstacle for the Phillies is with Bryce Harper, who would replace the talented Nick Williams or the stable Odubel Herrera which are not particularly attractive options when Rhys Hoskins was one of the worst defensive outfielders in the Majors last year. Hoskins had to move to left field for Carlos Santana’s $60 million contract last winter. Other than that, they’re a great fit for both Machado and Harper.

The White Sox have no obstacles for signing either, they would have to non-tender Avisail Garcia for Bryce Harper, but that’s not an issue for me at least. And as far as Machado, I think he would have to start at third base and maybe end back up at shortstop later. The point is that Jerry Reinsdorf could turn into Mike Illitch and start spending money like he never has before at a later age, realizing that his time may be running low to get another winner. Both men (Harper and Machado) are going to command $30+ million dollars per year, and with the Sox’s payroll topping out at $140 million (estimation) and only having around $40 million after projected arbitration salaries and pre-arb salaries, signing both would only bring them up to $100-110 million per year. Now I’m not advocating that we buckle ourselves financially for the future, look how the Cubs are having to operate this offseason, and how terrible the Tigers rebuild will be due to the Miguel Cabrera and Jordan Zimmerman contracts, and I don’t want to end up like either situation. But then again, we can’t control when either men  will become free agents again or what kind of capacity their talent will be once they are. So maybe it is time to capitalize on this financial opportunity the White Sox have given themselves.

Let’s just hope the rumors and aggressive outlook that Rick Hahn is giving is for real and isn’t just smoke in the room waiting to clear out to reveal Lonnie Chisenhall, Bartolo Colon, and Chase Headley hiding behind it.

On a side note, I want to point out how weird and awkward that both the Giants and Orioles went to the meetings without General Managers and are still doing their hiring processes. The Giants have been aiming for higher-up candidates such as the Brewers’ David Stearns, The D-Backs’ Mike Hazen, and the Cubs’ Jason McCloud, but recently have put the Dodgers’ GM Farhan Zaidi on the top of their wish list, so we’re waiting on an answer from the Giants. The Orioles on the other hand, are a complete mess. There is absolutely no other way to put it. Nobody has any idea about what’s gone on since they’ve dismissed their Manager-GM duo of Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette. The Orioles are easily the most messed-up organization in baseball, and I personally hope that they find either a manager or general manager soon since they have neither, baseball needs a historical franchise like Orioles.