White Sox

Rick Hahn won't 'publicly point fingers' at Robin Ventura for White Sox struggles

Rick Hahn won't 'publicly point fingers' at Robin Ventura for White Sox struggles

NEW YORK — White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has no intention of second-guessing his manager, especially not in public.

As a three-week long tail spin continues to bring the White Sox closer toward .500, calls for Robin Ventura’s job have grown louder. The White Sox manager has received his fair share of criticism for game management during a stretch in which the club is 4-15. While Hahn said Tuesday he reviews the decision-making process with Ventura and his coaches in private, he doesn’t want to point fingers to avoid causing any unnecessary distractions.

“Part of the reason we are all drawn to this initially was as fans, and fans focus on the lack of results when things are struggling and look for areas to assign blame,” Hahn said. “For me, I don’t think it’s really in anyone’s best interest when things are going bad to publicly point fingers or second guess or assign blame like that on any individual.

“It’s more important to rally together as a group and focus on putting yourselves in the best position to win the next game ahead of you, which is all you can control at this point. That’s really from a public standpoint all that I think needs to be said. We are in a position right now where all we can control is winning tonight and we are doing everything in our power to put ourselves in the best position to do that.”

Once 23-10, the White Sox have run into an abundance of frustration the past few weeks. The team has gone from leading the American League Central by six games to dropping into third place and trailing the Kansas City Royals by two.

Ventura, who is in the final season of his current contract, has received heavy criticism toward the back end of what started Tuesday as a seven-game losing streak. Most recently, Ventura’s bullpen management in a series-opening loss Friday at Kansas City has been called into question as was his decision to bunt with his No. 3 hitter in Monday’s loss at the New York Mets.

“Look, the game management realm is 100 percent the manager’s purview, and I’m not going to stand here and second guess any decisions he’s making,” Hahn said. “Obviously we all have the benefit of hindsight right now in evaluating a decision. Our conversations in private are about the conversations that lead up to the decision or the thought process that leads up to the decision. And from my standpoint, it’s important to make sure that process is sound and that he and our coaches all have the right information when they’re making a strategic in-game decision, and I’m very pleased with where they are from an information standpoint and from a process standpoint. But it’s not my place, certainly publicly, to second guess in-game managerial decisions.”

As for his decisions, Hahn has done his best not to let emotion rule his. Constantly on the lookout for roster upgrades, including San Diego’s James Shields, Hahn said his team’s slide has made it trying at times to remain patient. But Hahn doesn’t want to make any kind of move — whether for a player or a personnel decision — with emotion involved.

“There is a strong temptation when you’re not in between the white lines or in the dugout to try to do something to have a greater impact between 7 and 10 each night,” Hahn said. “And there’s always that temptation to do something to improve your chances to win. But when things aren’t going well, that becomes perhaps a little bit greater, and that’s when you have to guard yourself against doing something strictly emotional or reactionary that’s going to cause perhaps more long-term damage than any short-term benefit from doing something. That applies to a trade or any sort of change to any process you’ve got going on and anyone in uniform. You don’t want to do something that may provide you with the short-term feeling like you’ve done something to have an impact when you’re going to wind up doing more harm than good by doing that move.”

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.