White Sox

Mixed emotions for White Sox as Nieves departs

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Mixed emotions for White Sox as Nieves departs

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- No names have been discussed, but Don Cooper knows the White Sox have a critical vacancy created by Wednesdays departure of Juan Nieves.

The White Sox bullpen coach for the past five seasons, Nieves, 47, accepted an offer to take over as pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox.

The White Sox first hired Nieves in November 1998 as the teams Single-A pitching coach. Though the current White Sox pitching coach thinks the team wouldnt move to immediately replace Nieves, Cooper did stress the importance of the relationship with whoever takes over. Cooper described how he and Nieves were in lock step with one another when it came to philosophy and style.

Its an important job, Cooper said by phone from Nashville, Tenn. We worked together, lived together and talked about (pitching) endlessly. We were totally on the same page and came up with plans for each guy. Juan fit like a glove. Hes a qualified guy. He earned his chance.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn described the move as bittersweet. He also lauded Nieves -- who was 32-25 with a 4.71 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1986-88 -- for his endless effort with pitchers.

You like to see your guys, good guys, get rewarded like that, Hahn said. But hell be missed. Hes a real hard worker. Upbeat guy. Creative. He deserves a fair amount of credit our young guys had in the bullpen this past year. Hes a nice calming, stabilizing force for them.

Reliever Nate Jones agreed with Hahns assessment. Jones said Nieves often spent the entire game engaged with the teams younger pitchers about strategy and situational pitching.

Hes an extremely important piece to the development, Jones said by phone. During all the situations that all of us pitchers get ourselves into, hes always talking strategy and he always had information on hitters. (Nieves and Cooper) both have an eye for mechanical problems, approach and the mental side. Both are well rounded and Im not surprised he got the opportunity.

Hahn sounded confident the White Sox have plenty of internal candidates to take Nieves spot. He expects he, Cooper and manager Robin Ventura among others to discuss the teams options.

As for Bostons choice, Cooper is confident the Red Sox picked a winner. He echoed Hahns sentiments the move is bittersweet.

Its nice to see good people get opportunities, Cooper said. Hes going to be missed, but Im happy for him. The only knock against him is he has no experience. But how do you get experience until you get a chance?

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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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?

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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.