White Sox

Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

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Poetry in Pros: Buehrle picks, White Sox grin

Sunday, July 18, 2010
1:31 PM
By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

MINNEAPOLIS - Contrary to popular rumor, Mark Buehrle doesnt pick off every runner he allows to reach first. It just seems that way.

With depantsings of Denard Span and Delmon Young last night, Buehrle has picked off 72 runners since his first full season in 200127 more than the New York Yankees Andy Pettitte, who has the next-best total in that time span.

The White Sox mainstay has 76 career pickoffs, which trails all-time leader Steve Carlton (144) considerably. However, every other pickoffs leader is squarely in Buehrles sights: Pettitte (99), Kenny Rogers (94), Mark Langston (91), Jerry Koosman (82), Randy Johnson (81) and Greg Swindell (77).

Somebodys figured out my move, because I dont pick everybody off, said Buehrle with a smile, regarding his masterful move. I give credit to Joey Cora, who calls all our moves to first.

Clearly, the southpaw has a real gift for fooling opposing runners. Even runners without aggressive leads and who arent a major danger to steal (paging Young, who appeared to be leading off in molasses in the fourth inning last night) are frozen by Buehrles cagey play off the mound.

Hes good, real good, said Span, with 16 steals in 17 tries Minnesotas only true base-stealing threat. I thought I got back last night, but the move is tough. You want the best lead you can, but a great move can freeze you and sometimes you react too late.

Buehrle also gives credit to Paul Konerko for sneaky-quick tags at first. While that was evident in both picks last night, Konerko deflects any credit.

Buehrle is the one who does the dirty work fooling runners, Konerko says. The challenge of making sure you have the ball and get a quick tag down, that doesnt compare.

The lefty rather famously missed out on a perfect game en route to his first no-hitter vs. the Texas Rangers in 2007, walking Sammy Sosa. But Buehrle gets an unofficial, asterisked perfecto for immediately picking Sosa off of first and facing the minimum 27 batters.

Thats sort of how Buehrle looks at letting runners onhed rather not, but if theyre lollygagging over at first base, why not make em pay?

You cant lose focus on the hitter, but I do want to make a runner think, Buehrle said. An out is an out, and my goal is to get my 27 any way I can, as quickly as I can.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

Meet the Prospects: Blake Rutherford

The White Sox rebuild is in full swing. While it might still be a year or two before the big league team is expected to start competing for championships, the minor leagues are stocked with highly touted talent fans will be eagerly following in 2018. With that in mind, it's time to Meet the Prospects and get to know the future of the South Side.

Blake Rutherford

Rutherford, the 20-year-old outfielder, was the highest-rated piece of the return package that came back to the White Sox in the seven-player deal that sent Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees last summer.

A California native, Rutherford was the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft. After only playing rookie ball post-draft in 2016, he played 71 games with Class A Charleston last year before the trade, slashing .281/.342/.391 with 20 doubles and 30 RBIs to go along with a pair of home runs. After the trade, Rutherford played in 30 games with Class A Kannapolis, slashing .213/.289/.254 with 26 hits and 13 walks.

As of their most recent rankings, MLB Pipeline had Rutherford rated as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization.

Get to know Rutherford in the video above.

White Sox reportedly one of teams 'expressing interest' in Christian Yelich, but does a trade for Marlins star make sense?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly one of teams 'expressing interest' in Christian Yelich, but does a trade for Marlins star make sense?

A big offseason splash for the rebuilding White Sox?

After being rumored to potentially trade for Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado last month during the Winter Meetings, the next name on many fans' offseason wish list is Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich.

Yelich is an intriguing candidate for the obvious reason that he's really good, but he also has an uncommon amount of team control remaining on his contract, as many as five years, to be exact. It all adds up to him being a far better fit for a rebuilding team like the White Sox than the aforementioned Machado, who is slated to hit free agency after the upcoming 2018 season.

According to a Friday report from Jon Heyman, the White Sox are one of many teams "expressing interest" in Yelich, who figures to be on the trading block soon given the Marlins' activity this offseason. The Fish, now headed by Derek Jeter, have already traded away several All-Star players, with Giancarlo Stanton going to the New York Yankees, Marcell Ozuna going to the St. Louis Cardinals and Dee Gordon going to the Seattle Mariners. Yelich, who would figure to fetch a hefty return package, is speculated to be the next to go, along with catcher J.T. Realmulto. Yelich's agent told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick a couple days ago that Yelich's relationship with the Marlins is "irretrievably broken."

Joining the White Sox on Heyman's reported list are the Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.

That's obviously a lot of competition, but the White Sox and their stacked farm system would figure to line up well with any team looking to move a star major leaguer for a big package of prospects. With all the minor league talent general manager Rick Hahn has acquired over the past year-plus, there are more highly touted players than there are spots in the White Sox lineup and rotation of the future, meaning some of those players could eventually turn into trade candidates.

But the key word there is "eventually," and it might speak to why a Yelich trade doesn't quite make sense for the White Sox right this moment.

The White Sox aren't expected to contend for a championship in 2018, and that could very well be the case in 2019, as well. This year and perhaps the next will be dedicated to waiting for all these young players to develop, and when that process concludes, Hahn and his front office will have a far better idea of what they have and what holes they need to fill — be that through a big free-agent signing or a trade. But the team hasn't reached that point yet.

Of course, there's plenty to love about Yelich. The 26-year-old already has five big league seasons under his belt, with a collective .290/.369/.432 slash line and a combined 146 doubles in those years. Plus, the power numbers have spiked in the last two seasons, with 21 homers and 98 RBIs in 2016 and 18 homers and 81 RBIs last season. He's also a Gold Glove winner in the outfield and has that alluring contract that thanks to an option could keep him away from free agency until after the 2022 season, definitely past when the White Sox hope to be perennial contenders.

A hypothetical trade for Yelich makes much more sense than one for Machado, that's for sure. But the White Sox still have spent a lot of time and effort carefully laying rebuilding plans, and those plans would need to be drastically altered, one would assume, in order to land a Fish like Yelich. It makes far more sense for the White Sox to exercise the patience that Hahn preached at the Winter Meetings and wait to see exactly what they have — and where — with their mountain of prospects.