White Sox

Chris Sale: White Sox must play through distractions as deadline approaches

chris-sale-0521.png

Chris Sale: White Sox must play through distractions as deadline approaches

The White Sox have put themselves in the position where the perception is they ultimately will sell off parts and Chris Sale knows this.

The four-time All-Star has seen his team headed this direction each of the past two seasons as the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline approaches. Outsiders believe they’ll soon be there again with a Jeff Samardzija trade almost certain.

While Sale has an advantage over most of his teammates -- he’s confident he won’t be traded -- he said he has learned to block out the noise. Not only do he and his teammates think they’re still in the postseason picture after winning nine of their last 12, but Sale wants to avoid any diversions to stay effective.

“I don’t have Twitter,” Sale said this week from the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. “I don’t have Facebook. I don’t have any of that crap. I don’t read it. I don’t pick up the newspaper. It’s all distractions, really. It’s a bunch of stuff that people write that don’t know what they’re talking about -- no offense. I don’t pay attention to it. I have a job to do and that’s be a pitcher for my team.”

[MORE: Source - White Sox prospect Frankie Montas to join club Friday]

The White Sox face an uphill battle to even be in consideration for the playoffs. They open the second half 5 1/2 games out in the wild-card race and currently sit in eighth place for the two spots.

Their performance has surprised opponents, who struggle to see how a team with such a strong rotation finds itself in the position it’s in.

“They’re a good team," said Pittsburgh ace Gerrit Cole. “We’ve all been in those situations where stuff doesn’t go your way. They’ve got really good players, good approach. I don’t foresee them playing like that the rest of the year. They’ve got a good squad. They’ve got the most dominant starter in baseball, they’ve got one of the best closers. Adam LaRoche and Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, they have a tremendous team. Unfortunately they’re where they’re at right now, but there’s plenty of baseball left. Anybody can get hot, especially with a team with those names. Don’t count them out because they’re really, really good.”

Josh Donaldson said it’s all about the pitching. Donaldson’s Toronto Blue Jays came to town last week with the hottest offense in baseball only to have Sale, Samardzija, Jose Quintana and John Danks hold them to eight runs in four games, three of which they lost. Few teams have done that to Toronto this season, Donaldson said.

“When you walk out of there you realize they have some top-of-the-line starters,” Donaldson said. “To me their pitchers are pretty darn good.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Buy a Chris Sale jersey]

David Price said the Detroit Tigers have endured a similar struggle as the White Sox this season. He believes Detroit, which has won seven of the teams’ 12 meetings, is better than their current 44-44 record. But given how many talented teams there, he’s not surprised when any team struggles or when another unexpectedly flourishes, like 49-40 Minnesota.

“It’s just whether or not they come together and do it night in and night out,” Price said. “On paper (the White Sox) have a very good team and that’s always surprising, just like the Tigers right now. We’re not a .500 ballclub by any means. We haven’t played our best baseball yet.”

Sale thinks the only way that will continue to happen for the White Sox is if they avoid the distractions. Over the previous two weeks, Sale said White Sox players had begun to do the little things necessary to win. He believes they’ve gotten over the shock of their poor start and “everything has just kind of been clicking,” he said.

The key now is for them to continue to play the same way and shut out what everyone else has to say.

“That’s kind of the mindset we should all take is let’s not worry about what this guy says or that guy says,” Sale said. “Let’s worry about what we as a group are doing and do that together and if we keep winning it’s going to be hard to split us up.”

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

0225-mike-moustakas-carlos-gonzalez.jpg
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

mickeradolfo.jpg
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.