White Sox

'Mired in mediocrity,' White Sox open to anything at trade deadline

'Mired in mediocrity,' White Sox open to anything at trade deadline

Whatever aspirations the White Sox had in mind, this isn’t it.

Nearly three years into a roster revamp that has seen countless additions, the White Sox aren’t satisfied with their lot in life.

They thought they’d be competing for an American League Central title at this point. But as they head into the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the 46-48 White Sox are in the midst of another dip on a wild rollercoaster ride of a 2016 campaign that has seen them reach tremendous highs and excruciating lows. So as the nonwaiver trade deadline nears, general manager Rick Hahn said before Thursday’s game that the White Sox — who are seven games out of the wild-card race and 10 back in the AL Central — would consider anything and everything to improve.

“We looked to get ourselves right as quickly as possible,” Hahn said. “There was a spurt this season where it looked like it worked. As we sit here today, we’ve been wrestling with being a couple games over, a couple games under .500 for the last few weeks.

“We’re mired in mediocrity. That’s not the goal, that’s not acceptable, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish for the long-term.”

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How open-minded the White Sox would be remains to be seen.

Multiple reports have surfaced in the past 24 hours with teams inquiring about the availability of pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. One report suggested a team offered the White Sox “a king’s ransom” in exchange for Sale and they declined.

Hahn said Thursday he wouldn’t discuss any specific speculation. But he did add that the White Sox have ruled out the possibility they would acquire any short-term rentals for 2016, that the team has proven unworthy of that kind of acquisition. Hahn also said the idea of trading off assets under control for the long-term (i.e. Sale and Quintana) “might be a little extreme.”

While the White Sox will listen to offers for anyone, Hahn noted that the market is mostly reduced to competitive teams at this point, which means more prospect-laden packages than ones involving current major leaguers. With a shortage of pitchers available in free agency this offseason, the White Sox might be better suited to wait until they have a better pool of buyers to choose from if they were to consider a major move.

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Either way, Hahn and the White Sox intend to listen. The team has even left the door open for a full rebuild, something they have tried to avoid, if it makes sense. That openness extends throughout the front office to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Hahn said.

“Jerry is very open minded to all the options in front of us,” Hahn said. “This isn’t the first conversation we’ve had about this or the first period of time in which we’ve talked about the notion of a more extensive or longer time horizon, is the way I would put it. We’ve had these conversations going back to 2013, about whether now is the right juncture to do it. That’s based upon not only the talent we have under control, but the talent we have coming and what’s available via trade or free agency. Over the last couple of seasons we have not elected to go that route. We’ve instead been focused more on the immediate term future. At this point in time, I’d say there’s a very open-minded approach, not just from Jerry, but from the entire front office about what is the most prudent course to get us on an annual basis to where we want to be.” 

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.