White Sox

Carlos Rodon pitches around five walks in White Sox loss

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Carlos Rodon pitches around five walks in White Sox loss

Major league hitters have shown Carlos Rodon they’re not afraid to lay off his wicked slider-fastball combo.

One outing after he issued six walks, the rookie walked five more batters in a six-inning start on Wednesday. He was much better this time as he limited the Cleveland Indians to one run but Rodon has room for improvement. The White Sox lost to the Indians, 4-3, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday.

“I mean it’s different, guys are a little more patient,” Rodon said. “You just have to throw strikes. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, that’s it right there.”

When Rodon was promoted last month, general manager Rick Hahn said this would be the final step in the left-hander’s development. Even with top-flight talent, the White Sox expect some growing pains for Rodon.

In his second and third starts, Rodon ran into patient clubs in the Oakland A’s and Cleveland Indians, teams that weren’t chasing his slider. Rodon only threw strikes on 13 of 29 sliders on Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

“They lay off those good sliders that usually get chased (in college),” Rodon said. “They got in those counts where they can hit and it’s tough.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Holding a 1-0 lead, Rodon issued a leadoff walk to Jose Ramirez in the sixth and he stole second base. Rodon then walked Ryan Raburn before Nick Swisher singled to load the bases with one out. Mike Aviles’ sac fly tied the game at 1 but Rodon stranded a pair of runners when he got Brandon Moss to fly out to deep left.

Same as he did out West, Rodon flirted with trouble in the early innings. He stranded a pair of runners in the first inning and man in scoring position in the second. Two double plays got Rodon out of trouble in the third and fourth innings.

“The way he fought back and got out of (the sixth) was a positive,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “As he goes along he's going to get better with command and things like that. The stuff is there, definitely. But cleaning it up, being able to get through that without giving the other team opportunities, you've got to make them beat you. You can't give them stuff like that.”

[MORE: Eaton crushes rare home run in loss]

Rodon has walked 19 batters in 22 1/3 innings. But he likes how he pitched in tight spots on Wednesday, especially with the help of a pair of double plays.

“Not great, not bad, just in between,” said Rodon, who has a 4.03 ERA. “It’s tough with five walks, gets the pitch count up, but two good double plays turned by that tandem right here, one of the best in baseball, I think. Especially when you see those double plays turned right there. That was impressive. But just leadoff walks hurt.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.