White Sox

Frankie Montas provides intriguing option for White Sox going forward

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Frankie Montas provides intriguing option for White Sox going forward

Frankie Montas lights up the radar gun and has the off-speed pitches to keep major league hitters off-balance. 

He’s got the type of arm that would be ideal in the bullpen during the late innings, but the other element Montas brings to the team is his experience as a starter.

In the minors, Montas has been used a starter. This year in Birmingham, the right-hander started 23 games and had a good deal of success, going 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA while striking out 108 and walking 48. 

Montas flashed on Sunday why he was the No. 3 prospect in the team’s organization according to MLBPipeline.com coming into the year. 

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After getting himself into a jam in the sixth inning against the Twins when he loaded the bases and allowed a RBI hit to Joe Mauer with only one out, Montas used his dynamic arsenal to battle and get the young and talented Miguel Sano and Trevor Plouffe, who feasted on Sox pitching all weekend, swinging. 

“I was like ‘Come on, don’t let them score’ and just hit the spot and make good pitches,” Montas said.

Sunday was only Montas’ third major league appearance, but it was also his longest. The other two outings he only went one inning each. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was pleased to see Montas take advantage of the situation the team was in by working through tough innings.

“I thought he battled well,” Ventura said. “Even in some situations loading up the bases in the middle of their lineup, he found a way to find something and get out of it. For him to get in there and go multiple innings was big for us to eat up some innings because (Chris) Sale didn’t go that long.”

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Montas likely won’t factor in to the rotation picture for 2016 but could be a tempting option coming out of the bullpen to go along with other power pitches such as Nate Jones, Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam. Another option, thanks to Montas’ history as a starter, would be to have him as the “long man” in the bullpen when a starter is pulled early. 

Catcher Tyler Flowers admitted he and Montas still have some work to do to get on the same page with his breaking balls but the rookie’s stuff is good enough to make hitters look silly.

“I thought he did a really nice job executing pitches later in counts, going for the strikeout and making sure he's down,” Flowers said. “That only works when you can throw it for strikes, and he was doing that.

“Plus he throws 100, so that helps, too. Little leniency as far as the command with the fastball. That also makes hitters tend to chase more pitches with the breaking ball. You kind of have to gear up for 98, 100, so you can get some funky swings on off-speed pitches.”

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.