White Sox

Manto knows there's a lot of work to be done

644620.png

Manto knows there's a lot of work to be done

By Jim Owczarski
CSNChicago.com

Playing nine years of major league baseball for eight teams, along with a stint in Japan, followed by two years as a hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and four years in the Chicago White Sox organization, Jeff Manto has seen pretty much everything in the game.

Yet on Oct. 31, 2011, Manto was put in a position he never quite imagined. It wasnt being named the Chicago White Sox hitting coach thats old hat.

It was being named to an assistant coaching position in a city where fans not only know who you are, but want to hear from you. They cheer and jeer you, and sometimes you have to bear an undue brunt of frustration if things go poorly and receive perhaps too much credit when things go well.

Its something the 47-year-old has had to acclimate himself to rather quickly.

Ive seen that you pick up the papers and see quotes from the pitching coach and the hitting coach and the infield coach and I thought that was unusual, he said following a coaching seminar Saturday afternoon at SoxFest. I like to stay out of the way. Its (manager) Robin (Venturas) team. Id rather him give all the answers. But, I also know the dynamic of the city and they want to hear from me, Ill give them answers.

He smiled.

They might get a better answer from Robin.

Manto steps into the role vacated by Greg Walker, a coach beloved by his players but one the fans turned on quickly and often during his eight year tenure.

Though Manto paid Walker tribute for his hard work and the players shouldered all the blame for a season in which the team hit .252 with 154 home runs, the man affectionately known as Walk resigned on the last day of the season.

Enter Manto, who walks into a situation where multiple players are coming off disastrous offensive seasons. Brent Morel hit .245. Gordon Beckham hit .230. Alex Rios hit .227 and Adam Dunn hit .159.

The pressure is already on.

"Bottom line, if we hit, we're competing in the division, general manager Kenny Williams said. If we don't, we won't. Period."

Manto brings some experience with many of the current regulars after spending the past four seasons in the organization as its minor league hitting coordinator. He worked with Beckham, Morel, Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo and backup catcher Tyler Flowers. He also is familiar Brent Lillibridge from their time in the Pirates organization.

I do have a real sense of what they do and what theyre trying to do, Manto said. With Rios and Dunn, they might be different hitters but its just talking to them, seeing where they are. I want them to give me information. I dont want to give them the information because I want to see what they have to say.

You just trust the track record. Thats the simple thing. A lot of people are saying this is going to be a real tough job but I dont look at that way. My experience doesnt accept that. You understand a track record is a track record and these guys are great. The job I have (is) to get them back a spot theyre comfortable.

To his credit, Manto is embracing the role as much as he can. He opened a hitting seminar on Saturday alongside Lillibridge and Dunn by making a joke as to how important he is to everyone. But in the end, he hopes to spend more time away from the camera lights and tape recorders.

Hopefully people understand that its Robins team, its Robins hitters and Im just an extension of what hes trying to do, he said.

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

thyago_vieira_white_sox_trade_slide.jpg
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 β€” 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \β€” 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."

Is Avi Time coming to an end on the South Side?

avigarcia.jpg
USA TODAY

Is Avi Time coming to an end on the South Side?

After posting career numbers in 2017, Avisail Garcia is already attracting trade suitors this offseason.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the Oakland A's have interest in acquiring the outfielder, who would fill the team's need for a right-handed bat. 

The buzz should come as no surprise given Garcia produced a slash line of .330/.380/.506 in his breakout campaign, where he was also named the lone representative for the rebuilding Sox at the All-Star Game. 

Now the question centers on whether GM Rick Hahn, whose phone constantly stays buzzing, sees the 26-year-old as a piece for the future or trade bait. Heading into winter meetings, Hahn reiterated that he would listen to deals involving Garcia and Jose Abreu, especially considering the South Siders are likely still a few years away from seriously competing in the American League. 

With Garcia under club control until 2019 and his value at its peak, now may be the ideal time for Hahn to sell high and stockpile even more prospects for the already talent-rich farm system. The A's currently have four players in MLB Pipeline's Top 100

It may be Avi Time in Oakland.