White Sox

Reynaldo Lopez finishes rookie season with White Sox on strong note

Reynaldo Lopez finishes rookie season with White Sox on strong note

Reynaldo Lopez’s fastball was the best it had been in three weeks as he made his final start of the season on Wednesday.

The White Sox rookie hit 99 mph on the radar gun in the first inning and generated a bunch of swings and misses in six innings pitched. While Lopez earned a no decision, he pitched well and punctuated what he described as his best season with a strong effort. Lopez finished with seven strikeouts.

“My fastball was good today,” Lopez said through an interpreter. “My command with the fastball was good, and I was able to attack the strike zone.”

Lopez made it clear from the outset he brought with him his best four-seamer in a few weeks. He hit 97 and 98 during a strikeout of Kole Calhoun, touched 99 with Mike Trout at the plate and struck out the side in the first inning.

Lopez felt so good with the four-seamer that he threw it 69 times among 97 pitches. The right-hander averaged 95.5 mph with his four-seamer, according to Baseball Savant, and generated 10 swings and misses.

Over his previous four outings, Lopez had averaged 92.9 mph, 93.8, 94.7 and 94.5, dating back to Sept. 6. In those four starts he got a combined 11 swings and misses and only four strikeouts.

Despite the lack of swings and misses, Lopez still found a way to persevere, posting a 3.55 ERA in 25 1/3 innings.

“I know everybody keeps talking about the strikeouts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He was throwing 96 today. He hit 96 before. It was working around 93 to 94. Had five or six strikeouts early. Was elevating up out of the zone a little bit, above the hands. Then at the end, another breaking ball a strikeout or two. He’s been throwing well in general.

“I know the last couple of outings everybody keeps talking about the strikeouts, but he’s been throwing well and keeping us in ballgames. Today he got some strikeouts and he had one inning where he had to work a little bit.”

Lopez was outstanding until there were two outs in the fifth inning. That’s when he hit C.J. Cron with a 1-2 curveball, which kickstarted an Angels rally. Two batters later, Calhoun blasted a game-tying, three-run homer to center.

Lopez allowed four earned runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and threw strikes on 64 of 97 pitches.

Overall, Lopez is pleased with his production. He’s pitched a combined 168 2/3 innings between the majors and Triple-A Charlotte.

“It was a very good season, probably the best season in my career,” Lopez said. “I learned a lot, and that’s something I really appreciate. All of the things I learned this year, I’m going to try to put into next year and throughout my career because that’s the way you can be better as a pitcher and you can develop.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Machado Watch continues for White Sox

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Machado Watch continues for White Sox

Seth Gruen (Bleacher Report/”Big Ten Unfiltered” podcast), Chris Emma (670TheScore.com) and Scott King (WGN Radio) join Kap on the panel. Machado Watch continues. Will the Orioles actually trade him? Meanwhile, has Alex Cobb’s price tag become too high for the Cubs?

Vincent Goodwill joins Kap to talk Bulls and the guys discuss how much Mitch Trubisky needs to win to help his development.

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

White Sox reportedly not offering up top prospects for Manny Machado

The Manny Machado saga spins on, though it’s looking far less promising for White Sox fans who wanted to see the Baltimore Orioles’ superstar third baseman come to the South Side this winter.

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale chronicled the latest happenings with Machado in an exhaustive Thursday report that heavily featured the White Sox, who apparently have not decided to blow up their rebuilding effort by dealing away multiple top prospects. That’s not happening, per Nightengale, who reported the White Sox didn’t include any of their highest rated guys in an offer that was at one point reported to be the best out there for Machado. Nightengale did still report the White Sox offer as “solid.”

In fact, as Nightengale continued, it seems the White Sox made their offer completely expecting to have Machado for just the 2018 season. Machado is slated to be one of the headliners of next winter’s crazy good free-agent class.

The catch comes, perhaps not surprisingly to those familiar with the Orioles’ reputation, from Baltimore owner Peter Angelos, who is dramatically concerned that the White Sox would acquire Machado simply to flip him elsewhere in a trade — specifically, Angelos worries, to the New York Yankees, the Orioles’ division rivals. Nightengale added that the White Sox have repeatedly assured the Orioles they won’t do such a thing, but Angelos doesn’t seem to be sold.

The big headline for the White Sox, though, from the whole thing is that all this buzz and speculation doesn’t seem to involve them pulling a 180 on what they’ve worked for more than a year to do: gather a ton of highly touted prospects and build a homegrown champion. Michael Kopech, who seemed to fit the Orioles’ wishes as a young controllable pitcher, has been said to be “untouchable.” And if none of the organization’s top prospects were included in the deal, as Nightengale said, it’d be logical to assume that Lucas Giolito wasn’t involved in the team’s trade proposal either.

The White Sox became the buzz of baseball on the final day of the Winter Meetings with reports flying all over the place that they were making the most aggressive push for Machado and that they had made the Orioles the best offer of any team. The initial, middle-of-the-night report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal listed Kopech and Giolito as potential trade chips.

But a trade seemed to make little sense for the South Siders, who would have to give up multiple of their precious prospects — players projected to be the future of the big league team and deliver perennial contention — for nothing more than one guaranteed season of Machado, who is expected to receive a huge payday once he hits the free-agent market. Even with Machado, the White Sox wouldn’t figure to be a championship contender in 2018. That’d be putting all the eggs into one basket, that one season in Chicago would somehow convince Machado to skip the free-agent frenzy and sign with the White Sox.

Simply put, it’d be an incredibly risky move.

But apparently those aren’t the dice Rick Hahn and his front office are ready to roll, which ought to ease the concerns of rebuild fans, even if it might disappoint those who wanted to see Machado come to Chicago.