When Gail Fischer asked Mark Buehrle on Friday's edition of Chicago Tribune Live if he ever considered the Cubs during his free agency, the former White Sox starter gave the most politically-correct answer possible.
Buehrle, speaking like someone who grew up a Cardinals fan and played a dozen seasons for the White Sox, then elaborated.
"I had friends and family who pretty much said said 'hey, if you go to the Cubs, I'm gonna boo you every time you pitch, every time you take the mound,'" explained Buehrle. "It's hard to say. Obviously, it would've been one of my first choices, being in Chicago, playing for the White Sox -- I think every White Sox fan would turn to start hating me if I went over to the Cubs side. But never say never, there's a lot of crazy stuff that happens in the game. It would've been tough, but you never know."
That doesn't sound like someone who seriously would've considered overtures from the Cubs.
The entire interview with Buehrle is worth a listen, as in it he explains how tough it is for him and his family to leave Chicago. It's not just about leaving his teammates, it's about leaving ushers, parking attendants and neighbors he's become close with since joining the Sox in 2000.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen