White Sox

First Pitch: Mannywood still resides in California

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First Pitch: Mannywood still resides in California

Friday, Aug. 27, 2010
9:00 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

Manny Ramirez has been cleared for landing with the Chicago White Sox. But there still are a number of details to work out before the uberslugger can suit up in baggy black pinstripes.

Chicagos waiver claim on the Los Angeles outfielder was awarded on Friday afternoon, which means the White Sox and Dodgers have until Tuesday to work out a trade.

Several factors could stand in the way of Ramirezs return to the American League. First, obviously, the two clubs could fail to agree on adequate compensation. Second, Ramirezbelieved to have already OKd a deal to the White Soxcould choose to invoke his no-trade rights and remain in Los Angeles. Third, the Dodgers could win their series this weekend at the Colorado Rockies, find themselves back in the thick of the playoff race and decide to keep Ramirez for themselves.

All that said, it would seem that the chances are better than 50-50 that Ramirez, braided locks and all, will play in Chicago before years end.

That notwithstanding, the White Sox arent holding their breaths waiting for the braids to fly at U.S. Cellular Field.

When he walks in the clubhouse, thats when its time to talk about it, Chicago captain Paul Konerko said. As far as him being a teammate, Manny can hit, everybody knows that. The guy is a Hall-of-Famer. Hes going to help any team hes on, at any time. The guy can drive in a tough run. Hes one of the best right-handed hitters to play this game, ever.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was equally wary of hopping on the bus to Mannywood.

I havent seen Manny play in years, he said. He played a couple of at-bats against us in Scottsdale. I havent seen him at all. I have to see him.

Even after it was announced that the White Sox had succeeded in its claim on Ramirez, cagey GM Ken Williams would not acknowledge that hed claimed him.

Its a gamble if you step out thereas we often dobecause in a two- or three-day period, you could be farther back or closer and you wonder whether or not you did the right thing, Williams said, varying from the duplicate waiver script he promised to deliver on Thursday.

Then theres the matter of not just whether Ramirez can play for the White Sox, but where he would play.

He can DH, hopefully he can play a little but in the outfield but Manny only plays left field and Ive got a good one playing right now, Guillen said. Im not going to take any at-bats or playing time from Juan Pierre to give to Manny. Mannys going to be DHing. I dont know. I might get in trouble talking about whether hes here or not. Well see what happens.

Hes going to help any team, but its still not done, cautioned Konerko, while adding that despite his captaincy he was not consulted on a possible Ramirez acquisition. Im sure Chicago and Los Angeles have to talk about things and details have to be worked out. And if theyre not worked out, the Dodgers can just pull him back and it doesnt get done. He cant help us tonight, I know that. Thats all Im thinking about.

Said Williams, pushing right past his customary cryptic and into downright enigmatic: It will be an interesting weekend, in more ways than one.

Or, Guillens take: At least well be talking about Manny and not about Ozzie.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

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Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."