White Sox

How the A's have fared in Jeff Samardzija deal with White Sox

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How the A's have fared in Jeff Samardzija deal with White Sox

The trade winds are starting to blow in baseball.

On the South Side, nobody knows which way those winds are blowing for the White Sox, either as buyers or sellers. 

But the one trade general manager Rick Hahn made in the offseason that will have an impact on the future of the Sox was the deal that brought pitcher Jeff Samardzija back to the Midwest and with his childhood team, the White Sox.

[SHOP: Buy a Jeff Samardzija jersey]

Samardzija has pushed aside a rough start to the season, posting a 6-4 record with a 4.02 ERA in 18 starts with the Sox. 

But with every trade there are two sides to the transaction.

Infielder Marcus Semien, catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo and pitcher Chris Bassitt were the pieces Hahn shipped off to the Oakland Athletics to complete the deal.

A half season certainly isn't long enough to determine who won the trade, but let's take a look at how some of the ex-White Sox players have done so far with their new team.

[MORE: Sox to call up Frankie Montas]

Marcus Semien (.256/.301/.395 8 HR, 22 RBI, 7 SB)

Semien was thought to be the key piece to the deal. With the White Sox, he never got consistent playing time but he had the flare for the dramatic, coming up in the clutch during games. Now that he's got consistent playing time (started 85 games this year), we are able to see more of what kind of player Semien could possibly become. Unfortunately for the A's, he hasn't provided a lot of production. The worse part for the A's has been his defense. Semien leads the majors with 28 errors. In comparison, White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has made only 10 errors this year.

Josh Phegley (.269/.318/.487 5 HR, 18 RBI)

Phegley seemd to have been a victim of the numbers game with the White Sox last season. Tyler Flowers wasn't going anywhere and the team also signed Geovany Soto to be the back-up. Phegley, the 38th overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, has started 34 games for the A's this year and has provided some pop in the lineup. The biggest issue for Phegley is he's behind Stephen Vogt on the depth chart. Vogt made the AL All-Star team this year and has done a lot of damage for the A's. While Phegly may have given Flowers and Soto some competition, it's hard to say whether he would've outplayed the two veterans enough to catch Robin Ventura's eye and make him the starter. 

Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.93 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 17 K)

The right-hander may be the one piece of the deal that has turned out okay so far for the A's. He's only started three games and made eight appearances but he's provided some good innings for the A's. With some injuries in the A's rotation, Bassitt will be counted on to help the pitching staff to start the second half of the season. The White Sox have plenty of young, promising pitchers in their minor league system and on their major-league roster so parting with Bassitt hasn't turned out to be a huge mistake for the South Siders just yet. 

Rangel Ravelo (.357/.438/.571 HR, 3 RBI)

Ravelo missed the early portion of the season after undergoing wrist surgery. The infielder recently ended his rehab stint with the Arizona A's Rookie League team, where he registered 14 hits in 25 at-bats in nine games. According to MLB.com, he's the team's 14th rated prospect in their system. Ravelo was taken in the 6th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the White Sox. 

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.