White Sox

Reports: White Sox inquire about Upton, Cespedes among others

7-30-upton-cespedes.png

Reports: White Sox inquire about Upton, Cespedes among others

BOSTON -- There are less than 24 hours before the trade deadline the White Sox reportedly have begun to get aggressive.

With a seven-game win streak in their pocket and both the .500 mark and the second-wild card in sight, the White Sox have started to pick up the pace Thursday in search of possible additions ahead of Friday’s 3 p.m. CST non-waiver trade deadline. Two names prominently featured in trade rumors include San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton and Detroit Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, though the White Sox have reportedly cast a wide net in search of another bat for a recently hot offense.

[MORE: By the numbers: How White Sox offense may have saved 2015 season]

Despite the sudden turn around with his club’s focus shifted from sellers to buyers, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he was only concerned with his team’s final game against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.

“For us, it’s what we got inside the clubhouse,” Ventura said. “Nobody is walking in the clubhouse today that is going to help us win tonight. These guys are very good at focusing on today and getting through this and trying to win tonight’s game. You don’t look too far ahead. It’s important for the guy going to the mound. That’s where we reach to and the level where we’re at is, we have Chris Sale going tonight and guys are excited about that. They’re focused on that, not focused on if we’re trading somebody or if we’re not trading somebody, so even though they can watch the news and see everything else, their focus is on playing Boston.”

Though the White Sox have an outstanding pitching staff head by Thursday’s starter Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jose Quintana, the offense hadn’t done its part all season until last week. Prior to this road trip in which they outscoring opponents 54-19 and almost everyone is hitting, the White Sox seemed like a lock to deal Samardzija ahead of Friday’s deadline. But after their recent run has brought them within 2 1/2 games of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild card, the White Sox could potentially try to augment their roster before the deadline.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

General manager Rick Hahn has made it clear he doesn’t want to pay a heavy price for a rental player, instead preferring someone who could contribute over the next few seasons instead. But the White Sox do have an aggressive history, acquiring Ken Griffey Jr. at the deadline in 2008 and Jake Peavy a season later. They also traded for Kevin Youkilis in June 2012 and added both Francisco Liriano and Brett Myers right before the deadline.

Ventura said Wednesday the White Sox would be thorough in the type of player they would look to add to a clubhouse where chemistry hasn’t been an issue. But until any player walks through the doors, Ventura doesn’t want to have anyone distracted by trade talks.

“You address it when it happens,” Ventura said. “They all know it’s a possibility, but tonight this is the group we’re playing Boston.”

The White Sox did make a minor move on Thursday, acquiring minor-league shortstop Justin Sellers from Pittsburgh. Sellers was sent to Triple-A Charlotte, where Micah Johnson has been placed on the disabled list.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

0218-jose-abreu.jpg
USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.