White Sox

Forced time off for Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico the latest wrinkle in White Sox waiting game

Forced time off for Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico the latest wrinkle in White Sox waiting game

Any notion of instant gratification for the White Sox took a couple blows this weekend.

Everyone knows this rebuild is nowhere near complete, with much of the team’s projected future roster still developing in the minor leaguers and contending still a couple years off. But the dual excitements that accompanied Yoan Moncada’s promotion to the big league roster and Nicky Delmonico’s smoking start to his major league career were slowed with both youngsters hitting the disabled list during this series with the visiting Detroit Tigers.

Now, because of the well-known timeframe for the rebuild, there is no panic in the streets over Moncada and Delmonico forced into time off. Their absences at this time of year won’t affect a pennant race or be the difference in a postseason berth.

But how does this time off, at this specific time in their early tastes of big league baseball, affect their development moving forward?

“You’re hoping that they’re healthy and they’re able to continue their development by being out there between the lines and playing,” manager Rick Renteria said ahead of Sunday’s game. “Hopefully it doesn’t affect them too much. You want them to be in there and get as many at-bats as possible and the experience. Each person’s different in how it will derail or affect their continued progress in most instances. … Hopefully it doesn’t affect either one of them.”

Renteria says that because in his mind, both guys were playing well before they were put on the shelf.

That’s demonstrably true of Delmonico, who was nearly unstoppable during his first 22 games in the majors. Delmonico wasn’t expected to be a huge part of the White Sox future — and even this hot start hasn’t moved him into the projected 2020 lineup yet — but he’s been a very pleasant surprise, showing that there could perhaps be an embarrassment of riches in the highly rated White Sox farm system.

Delmonico went to the DL with a .307/.429/.573 slash line. That’s a 1.002 OPS for the non-math majors out there. He’s got six homers, 12 RBIs and 15 walks compared to 14 strikeouts. He was tearing it up.

The concern, of course, is that this undesired stretch of time off could slow down that promising start.

“It is (frustrating),” Delmonico said Sunday. “Nothing I can do but try to treat it as much as I can and get ready to get back out there.”

The story is different for Moncada, at least from a statistical standpoint. He’s slashing just .188/.328/.356 in his 30 games since joining the White Sox.

But Renteria thinks the DL stint comes at an unfortunate time for Moncada, too, considering he, in the manager’s opinion, was just starting to turn it on at the plate.

“I still say that Moncada’s approaches have been really good, it’s just a matter of starting to understand a little bit more and recognition of the softer secondary pitches that he’s been swinging and missing at in the zone,” Renteria said. “Ironically, the day we brought him out (of the game with shin splints), he hit a breaking ball right-handed, it was an off-speed pitch down the left-field line to kind of get going. And he scored on that particular play later on.

“He’s starting to find that slot, that place where he’s recognizing pitches a little better, especially the secondary pitches. He definitely knows the strike zone. It’s not like this guy’s chasing pitches. This guy knows the strike zone, and it’s just a matter of getting more and more comfortable recognizing the secondary pitches that he can do damage with.”

White Sox fans are plenty aware that the organization is in the middle of a long-term waiting game. But now, with two youngsters on the DL — much-heralded pitching prospect Reynaldo Lopez is on the major league disabled list, too — it's clear there will be bumps along the road to the apex of the rebuild.

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again?

He was the guy who helped bring a World Series championship to the South Side in 2005 hasn't been a big league skipper since 2012, in his one ill-fated season managing the Miami Marlins. But his name has come up as a social-media suggestion for open jobs for years, including just two winters ago when the White Sox needed to replace Robin Ventura.

But Guillen, who spent eight seasons as the White Sox manager, said on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast that he hasn't interviewed for any jobs since leaving the Marlins and discussed the trend of hiring young managers who just recently finished their playing careers.

"A couple tried, not to interview me but say, 'Can we talk to you about it?' And I knew I'm not going to be the manager of that team," Guillen told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien. "When you look at the manager list, you're going to interview me and you have kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, Ozzie. What's the chance I'm going to manage that team? None. 'Thank you for thinking about me,' and it's cool.

"I've known I'm not going to be the guy because the list. Before, they interview you for a managing job, it's two or three or four guys. Now they've got 30. Nowadays, it's harder to become a manager than win the World Series. Because there are so many interviews.

But does that mean he'll never manage again?

"I think my time's going to come up, maybe," Guillen said. "I always think about (former Florida Marlins manager) Jack McKeon. Jack McKeon was out of baseball for 30 years and all of a sudden came out and won the World Series (in 2003). ... I hope I don't die before that. Jack was 70-plus when he was managing. But we'll see."

Guillen talked about his hopes to be more involved in the White Sox organization after the way his tenure ended back in 2011, saying he hopes to be at spring training with the team one day.

"I'd like to go to spring training with them, that's the first time I'm going to say that, just because I see everybody in baseball, they're bringing former players to the field," he said. "But the problem is, I go there, here we go. 'Why is it ... you're coming here?'

"I don't (want to be a distraction), and I never will be."

Hear more of Garfien's interview with Guillen on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Avisail Garcia was great last year for the White Sox.

But does that mean he's a long-term part of this rebuilding team or a potential trade piece?

How Garcia follows things up in 2018 will go a long way in determining the answer to that question, as well as a perhaps more pressing one: Will Garcia still be on the White Sox when the 2018 campaign comes to a close?

Whatever your scouting-eye impressions might have been, statistically, Garcia was one of baseball's best hitters last season. He ranked second in the American League with a .346 batting average. Only league MVP Jose Altuve ranked above Garcia. The White Sox right fielder also ranked sixth in the AL with a .380 on-base percentage. His .885 OPS ranked in the top 10 in the Junior Circuit.

It was the much-anticipated breakout for a guy who's had big expectations ever since he hit the bigs as a 21-year-old in 2012, when he carried a pressure-packed comparison to Detroit Tigers teammate and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. After coming to the South Side in a mid-2013 trade, his first three seasons were impacted by injuries and featured an unimpressive .250/.308/.380 slash line with only 32 homers in 314 games.

But last season, that all changed. He had a career year, slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 80 RBIs, 27 doubles and 171 hits. Garcia was named to the AL All-Star team and established himself as the second best hitter on a team where the best hitter, Jose Abreu, is one of baseball's most productive and most consistent.

So can he do it again? That remains to be seen, of course. The scale of the improvements in so many statistical categories make one think that Garcia being able to do it two years in a row would almost be as surprising or more surprising than him doing it just once.

But if Garcia can repeat his performance, at least in the season's first few months, he could potentially draw the eyes of numerous contending teams looking for a bat to add to their lineups. One season of production perhaps wasn't enough to demand the kind of return package Rick Hahn's front office got in return for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana. But a few good months at the outset of 2018 could draw plenty of interest, making the question of whether Garcia will stay in a White Sox uniform for the entirety of the season a valid one.

All that being said, Garcia's situation — he's under team control for two more seasons — allows the White Sox to be flexible. Garcia's still young, entering his age-27 season. The White Sox could opt to keep a talented hitter, extend him and make him a part of the rebuilding effort, penciling him into the lineup of the future alongside younger hitters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Or they could wait to move him, perhaps next offseason or at the 2019 trade deadline.

But Garcia's performance will dictate how viable each of those options ends up being. He finally put it all together in 2017. In 2018, he'll have to keep it all together.