White Sox

Pierzynski ready for free agency this time

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Pierzynski ready for free agency this time

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- A.J. Pierzynski sounds as if hes more prepared to handle free agency this time around.

During a Wednesday morning appearance on the Golf Channel, the free agent catcher said his previous stint on the market two offseasons ago has him ready for the drawn-out process ahead. Pierzynski, who spent the past eight seasons with the White Sox, said unlike 2010, when he eventually returned to the South Siders on a two-year, 8 million deal, knows what to expect.

Its a long process, Pierzynski said. Your mom and aunts and uncles and friends call and say, Hey, you going to sign? You dont have a job yet. Mom, it just started a week ago and nobody signed yet. Its a long process and Ive been through it before, which helps me. The first time I went through it was a nightmare because I was expecting everyday, Where am I going to go? Where am I going to go? Ive learned now to just let it play out and youll end up where youre supposed to end up and itll be the right decision in the end.

With a limited amount of resources and a potential everyday replacement in Tyler Flowers, the White Sox will take a wait-and-see approach with Pierzynski. The veteran catcher hit a career-best 27 home runs last season and is one of the top free-agent options along with Mike Napoli at a premium position.

Rick Hahn said the club is in constant contact with all of its free agents and has said hed like all -- third baseman Kevin Youkilis and pitcher Brett Myers are also available -- to return. But Hahn understands Pierzynski and agent Steve Hilliard would like to explore their options.

Its just one of those things you have to let it play out, Pierzynski said. You cant get too wrapped up in it, too nervous. I speak with my agent every day or every couple days about who he has talked to and you just keep the information, get as informed as you can and let him work.

Asked where hed ideally like to land, Pierzynski acknowledge he loves the White Sox. The Florida-native also mentioned the Tampa Bay Rays. But his dream would be to play for the Atlanta Braves, though Pierzynski acknowledged its not a realistic option because the team recently picked up veteran Brian McCanns 2013 option.

In a perfect situation, if there were no other deciding factors (money, another catcher), my ideal situation would be to play for the Braves, Pierzynski said. I grew up a Braves fan. That would be ideal, but with Brian McCann I dont think its going to happen.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

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USA TODAY

After baseball punishes Braves, one ranker says White Sox have game's best farm system

The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.

In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.

Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.

Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.

But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.

While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:

4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen