White Sox

To Cooper's delight, Sox aren't horsebleep

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To Cooper's delight, Sox aren't horsebleep

Everyone saw the predictions. Sports Illustrated had the White Sox pegged for 95 losses. Others projected an uninspiring finish in the American League Central, with the Sox maybe, just maybe, scraping .500.

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper knows the predictions. He also knows the Sox currently sit in first place.

"If I'm not mistaken, I think that all of you guys had us picked to be horsebleep," Cooper bristled to the assembled media in the Sox dugout prior to Saturday's game. "And we haven't come to that yet. There's a lot of good things going on."

Not everything is rosy for the Sox, though, who have lost four of their last six games since a nine-game winning streak came to an end a week ago. Third base remains an issue while Gavin Floyd and Philip Humber have struggled to keep their ERAs from climbing. But Cooper isn't having any of that negativity.

"We have two guys that we are trying to bring out of their inconsistency to more consistency," Cooper said of Floyd and Humber. "Weve seen them good before and we know what it looks like.

"With that being said, everyone likes to pick out our issues or our weak points or things we need to improve. We are well aware of them, first of all. Thanks to everyone for telling us. We are well aware of everything that is going on. Heres some news too: There are 30 other clubs and they all have issues too. We are not sitting and lamenting our inconsistency. We are trying actively to get it better. Thats all you can do."

While the Sox are trying to get Floyd and Humber back on track, they've successfully replaced their 65-million man with an unheralded Colombian rookie. With John Danks on the disabled list, Jose Quintana has posted a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings.

"He's going out there and he's making his way in the major leagues. I mean, this is stuff that's great to watch," reveled Cooper. "To see a kid go out there for the first time, get his first win, pitching well, trying to live his dream. That's good, that's not bad. I'm having a lot of fun watching the younger guys to tell you the truth."

Along with Quintana, Nate Jones, Addison Reed and Chris Sale have provided Cooper with that enjoyment. Sale has been especially good, as entering his start Saturday he led the American League with a 2.30 ERA.

"Listen, he was one of the baddest ass lefty relievers in the league, I know that," Cooper said. "Now we're trying to give him the chance to be one of the top-flight starters. He's on his way."

But Sale hasn't thrown over 100 innings in two years, when he tossed 136 23 innings between Florida Gulf Coast, the minor leagues and the White Sox. With a quality start today, Sale will surpass his 2011 innings total.

Cooper doesn't know if the Sox will impose an innings limit on Sale, instead choosing to play things by ear and do everything possible to get Sale as much rest as he needs.

We're certainly determining everything as we go," Cooper said. We already skipped him a start earlier when he moved to the bullpen. He's getting extra days now. Believe me, everything we can do to keep him healthy and strong and keep him going out there and doing what he's doing, it's getting taken care of."

The Sox haven't played their 60th game of the season yet. It's still early, and while the team is in first, there still are concerns that need to be addressed going forward. But Cooper is determined to not focus on the negative any more than he has to.

"For me it's a pet peeve, I guess," Cooper said of that negativity. "A lot of people like to moan, complain and cry about 'what's this guy not doing? What's this guy not doing?' Hey man, look what's happening here. We don't sit and cry and moan. There's no crying and moaning in baseball. You just got to keep going. And that's a good attribute of our club. Regardless of what happens yesterday, we come back ready to play today."

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.