White Sox

Simplifying approach has helped Yolmer Sanchez tap into talent

Simplifying approach has helped Yolmer Sanchez tap into talent

CLEVELAND — Yolmer Sanchez has been his team’s best defensive infielder and now he’s providing value at the plate.

Even though the fourth-year White Sox infielder is upset that the season is ending without a playoff appearance, he’s pleased with how he has established himself. Sanchez homered Friday night, though the White Sox were drubbed by the Cleveland Indians 10-1. But his 12th round tripper was just another bright spot in a breakthrough season for Sanchez. Sanchez, who entered this season with 201 games played, said the key has been getting out of his own way and allowing his ability to take over.

“I’ve always had it in my mind, but this year, every time I said don’t try to do too much and don’t try to play for yourself,” Sanchez said. “I learned that when I tried to do too much I lost my focus. So just try to stay simple, don’t try to do a lot of big things.”

The irony, of course, is that Sanchez’s approach has led to far more big moments than he’d provided in the parts of three seasons he previously played. Once the No. 3 White Sox prospect (2013, Baseball America), Sanchez has produced career highs in nearly every offensive category, including homers (12) and RBIs (63). Though his offensive production doesn’t quite qualify as league average metrically, Sanchez has never been better. Combined with an outstanding glove, he’s never provided more value. Entering Friday, Sanchez’s value is 2 f-Wins Above Replacement and 3.4 b-WAR.

“He’s been more selective,” manager Rick Renteria said earlier this month. “He’s willing to stay aggressive in counts he can handle. Finding more confidence. He’s been playing a lot this year, doing well in multiple positions and kind of finding his niche, his role.

“He’s seeing the ball well, attacking strikes and laying off tough pitches. He’s doing a nice job staying within himself. He’s able to do a couple things, drive the ball out of the ballpark, get a knock here or there, work a base. That’s his experience starting to come to fruition.”

Sanchez’s niche could be as a utility man, though lately he has been stationed at third base. No matter where the White Sox have played him, Sanchez has proven to be great. He’s provided eight Defensive Runs Saved at second base and seven more in 376 1/3 innings at third.

The defensive production prompted Renteria to call Sanchez his team’s best infield glove.

Pleased as he is, Sanchez thinks he can do more overall in the future. He attributes some to being healthy and part to the confidence he has gained. But Sanchez stopped short of saying he’s happy because he values playing in the postseason over individual performance. But if he stays on the same path, Sanchez is hopeful he can help the White Sox end a nine-year playoff drought.

“I know what I can do,” Sanchez said. “Don’t try to do more than what I can do and that’s number one. I know that me doing the little things, I’m going to help a lot.

“I feel good with the year I’ve had. Not happy really, I know I can do more. But when the goal is to make the playoffs and you don’t, you don’t take it like a good year.

“You can have a good year, but you don’t want to feel good if you don’t make the playoffs. It’s more important that we come together as a team and make the playoffs than any personal numbers.”

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.