White Sox

Rick Hahn won't lower price on Jose Quintana

Rick Hahn won't lower price on Jose Quintana

Without question, the White Sox would like to trade Jose Quintana before the start of the 2017 regular season.

As much as it would pain them to trade away another outstanding player, completing a deal represents another major step in the direction of a rebuild. Not only would the move fall in line with the team's current plans, trading the All-Star pitcher before Opening Day also relieves the White Sox of any potential risk that could devalue their outstanding asset.

Even though the latest midweek rumor — the Texas Rangers have "increased their pursuit" of Quintana, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale — has already been downplayed, interest in the left-hander has remained strong throughout the offseason. However, so has the resolve of Rick Hahn, who refuses to budge on Quintana's value. As much as the White Sox general manager wants to strike again, he doesn't plan to budge on demands for Quintana.

"The price isn't going to be lowered unless it serves the greater good of advancing what we're trying to accomplish," Hahn said last Friday on SportsTalkLive. "The only way we're going to move what we feel is an appropriate value on any of our players, especially premium assets who have been the most rumored in recent weeks, is if there's some sort of injury or underperformance or the contractual control significantly changes, like a year from now for example, and therefore the value of what we're trading has changed.

"But based upon what we feel our current players are worth, based on their recent performance, health and control going forward, we're not going to compromise on this."

Hahn knows he still has the best hand and hasn't wavered.

He was in a similar spot two months ago with Chris Sale and Adam Eaton and leveraged them into seven prospects, including four elites in Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez. The belief is a trade for Quintana, a first-time All Star in 2016 who produced 18.2 f-WAR from 2013 to 2016, would net something between the two previous deals, which means the White Sox want two elite prospects and a very good third player.

While talks between the White Sox and Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and a variety of other teams have yielded a number of interesting ideas, the clubs haven't been able to put the finishing touches on any of them.

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Going back to December, Hahn has publicly expressed desire to get as many deals done as possible. But if there's any frustration from a lack of trades since, Hahn has shown no indication he's ready to back down.

And he shouldn't, either.

With a combination of outstanding results on the field and an exceptional contract — the deal potentially has four years left for $36.85 million — Quintana is the best pitcher readily available now, and that should hold true again at the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline.

The White Sox certainly would take on more risk the longer they hang on to Quintana as an injury or poor performance could lurk right around the corner. But it's a risk they'll take for several reasons.

First, Quintana is the team's best remaining trade chip, a chance to further improve an already-strong farm system. The team has some nice assets behind Quintana, but he's easily a notch above the rest.

Quintana is also under contract long enough that he likely would have plenty of time to return from a lengthy injury to rebuild his value.

And, because he's under contract for so long, the White Sox hypothetically could also be ready to compete again before Quintana hits free agency. At SoxFest last weekend, Hahn discussed the possibility of spending on free agents in the next few seasons, an indication the White Sox might not think they need a lengthy rebuild. If they kept Quintana — who says he'd like to stay — there's hope within the organization he'd potentially stay with the club beyond 2020.

And even if all of it is posturing and they hold on to Quintana until next offseason, the White Sox could still receive considerable value for him, though Hahn indicated the price would likely change some.

Still, unless they get what they want, Hahn said the White Sox would hold steady.

"We're not going to force that process because of my impatience or because of (Jerry Reinsdorf) or (Kenny Williams') desire to move this along more quickly," Hahn said. "It's got to be about getting value. We held for the right price on Chris. We held for the right price on Adam. We're very pleased with how those deals went. And if there's other subsequent deals between now and the deadline or next offseason, it's going to be we feel we got value for similar type players."

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Trayce Thompson - 'This is home'

Drafted by the White Sox in 2009, Trayce Thompson never wanted to play for another team but the White Sox. 

All that changed in 2015 when he was dealt to the Dodgers in the Todd Frazier trade. Now back with the White Sox, Thompson talks with Chuck Garfien about the trials and tribulations of the last few years, the whirlwind of being on 4 teams in the last 4 weeks, how the White Sox threw him a lifeline bringing him back, how he wants to make the best of this new opportunity and more. 

Take a listen here or in the embedded player below.