White Sox

Sox Drawer: Free Agents, Anyone?


Sox Drawer: Free Agents, Anyone?

Friday, November 20

Baseballs free-agent market opened for business at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. All of the free agents you want (and can afford) are there on the shelves. Jason Bay, John Lackey, Matt Holliday, Chone Figgins, Jermaine Dye, etc.

But as I write this 12 hours later, it hasnt exactly been a Black Friday Thanksgiving stampede of general managers ramming themselves through the front door of the Baseball Free Agent Store, shelling out wads of cash for John Q. Overpriced Center Fielder or the Scott Boras Overhyped Client of the Week.

At least not yet.

Maybe its a sign of the times. Maybe teams (other than the Yankees and Red Sox) are choosing to sit on the sidelines with the hopebelief that many of these players will be left unsold after the holidays, and they can hunt for bargains when the players end up at the Lighthouse Outlet mall in Michigan City, Ind., come January.

As for the White Sox, they are gradually plotting their course for next season, and putting a priority on defense.

Thank goodness.

Ken Rosenthal reported Friday morning that the Sox are close to signing a one-year deal with 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel to be a three-tentacle utility infielder, playing shortstop, second base and third base. Yes, Omar is old. Hell turn 43 in April.

But he is still in great shape. He didnt make a single error in 62 games last year with the Rangers. Think Juan Uribe without the strikeouts and large booty.

What do Sox fans think about Vizquel? Heres what some of you sent back to me on Twitter:

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: I like the defense and versatility it provides, and its hard to be as bad as Lillibridge was with the bat. So yeah, thumbs up

Kaufmak@ChuckGarfien: Vizquel is getting long in the tooth, but still plays a solid SS and I'm guessing BA is in the high 200s. Me likey.

Lawry29@ChuckGarfien: Love it ... amazing defense

discodan42@ChuckGarfien: No. Isn't he collecting social security?

mukite@ChuckGarfien: Can Omar play manager instead and have Ozzie be shortstop when needed?

Good stuff. And for the record, Vizquel batted .266 last season with a .316 on-base percentage. He even hit a home run. His last Gold Glove came in 2006.

In other news, the White Sox are still looking for someone to play right field. They bought out Jermaine Dyes contract two weeks ago. The Sox could bring him back at a lesser price. Thoughts?

ChiSoxExaminer@ChuckGarfien: as a DH maybe, as a RF no. But JD says he only wants to play RF ... so no.

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: Thanks for the memories Jermaine, but your .184 second half bought you a one-way ticket out of Chicago.

pirate_prentice@ChuckGarfien: Time to move on. I love Jermaine, but I don't think he fits into what the Sox need to do.

Not much love for Jermaine.

Yesterday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Yankees are quietly shopping former Sox outfielder Nick Swisher. So soon? A Yankees official said today that the report is untrue, but before he did, I got this reaction via Twitter:

bengarmoe@ChuckGarfien: I only want Swisher if we can get Erstad, Anderson and Mackowiak for an an outfield all-decade bust team.

EversoleJ@ChuckGarfien: How could someone not like his childish behavor? Oh yes, this is professional sports, not the Alpha Beta Phi House.

ryanwallace@ChuckGarfien: Surprise, surprise! Tell them they can have Jeff Marquez, but Jhonny Nunez is untouchable.

joelshoe@ChuckGarfien: We should try to get Wilson Betemit back, and re-acquire Swisher for Betemit. Joking, but he would fit well at DH, I think.

KimmyisAwesome@ChuckGarfien: to quote Journey, I would welcome @NickSwisher with "Open Arms.

I dont think Ozzie would.

And finally, fill in the blank: On Opening Day, the White Sox leadoff hitter will be________

TiffanyHeyy@chuckgarfien: SCOTT PODSEDNIK

Princesss919@ChuckGarfien: Scotty Pods (I hope)

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: Johnny Damon

SoxMachine@ChuckGarfien: Lousy.

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?


White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Baltimore Orioles?

Perhaps a better question for White Sox fans: When’s Manny Machado coming to the South Side? (Better question from me, personally, is when Chicago might acquire Maryland's greatest creation: the crab pretzel. Had in College Park last summer. It's amazing.)

Whether that ends up happening or not is a question for next offseason, but that query is one that plenty of South Side baseball fans on social media have asked for years now. Machado, mentioned in trade rumors during the Winter Meetings in December, is most likely entering his final season as an Oriole. His contract is up at season’s end, and he’s expected to land a gargantuan deal next offseason.

The funny thing is that for all the hullabaloo over the 25-year-old infielder, he’s coming off his worst statistical campaign as a big leaguer. In 2017, he slashed .259/.310/.782, all three of those percentages seeing huge dropoffs after a sensational 2016 campaign a year prior. His power numbers stayed relatively consistent, but his run and hit totals plummeted as the O’s weren’t quite as a competitive as in years past.

Now, Machado is likely still cruising for a big contract regardless of what he does in 2018. He’s moving to shortstop, which will be interesting. But he’s young enough that even another season like last year won’t make too big a difference, considering how good he’s been throughout his career.

That’s who White Sox fans will be watching whenever their gaze falls on the Baltimore baseball club. (They won’t be alone, by the way, and some contending teams might even try to add him at the trade deadline.) But the O’s are making news for other reasons, recent reasons, in fact.

The biggest name left on the free-agent market finally signed this week, and now the Orioles have a big-time addition to their starting rotation. Unlike Jake Arrieta, it appears Alex Cobb’s waiting game paid off in the form of dollars, years and a no-trade clause. How nice for him. It’s also nice for the O’s, who get to add a guy to a low-key decent starting staff.

Cobb, who had a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season, might not be ready to rock for the start of the regular season considering he didn’t ink a deal until a week out from Opening Day — bet he’s good at staring contests, too — but the trio of Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner (another new addition) and Kevin Gausman will be ready, and all those guys are coming off a solid-enough 2017. Bundy had a couple good stretches, posting a 3.03 ERA over his first 13 starts and then a 2.00 ERA in the month of August. Gausman had a 3.31 ERA over his final 18 starts. Cashner, another free-agent signing, had a 3.40 ERA with the Texas Rangers.

So while the likes of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and the better-than-Machado-last-year Jonathan Schoop still make the O’s an offensive threat in a hard-to-win AL East, the starting pitching might be where the magic is this time around.

2017 record: 75-87, fifth place in AL East

Offseason additions: Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Colby Rasmus, Alex Presley, Pedro Araujo, Joely Rodriguez, Nestor Cortes Jr.

Offseason departures: Welington Castillo, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, Seth Smith, Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley

X-factor: I said it just above, and I'll say it again: Jonathan Schoop was better than Manny Machado last season. Schoop made the All-Star team and finished with 32 homers, 105 RBIs and a .293/.338/.503 slash line. His .841 OPS was one of the best 50 in the game. Should we expect Schoop to be the best middle infielder on the O's in 2018, too? Maybe that's a little extreme, but hey, good to have this guy.

Projected lineup:

1. Tim Beckham, 3B
2. Jonathan Schoop, 2B
3. Manny Machado, SS
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Chris Davis, 1B
6. Trey Mancini, DH
7. Colby Rasmus, RF
8. Caleb Joseph, C
9. Alex Presley, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Dylan Bundy
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Kevin Gausman
4. Chris Tillman
5. Mike Wright Jr.

Prediction: Third place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers

Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season


Sounds like we know how the White Sox starting rotation will line up to start the season

Rick Renteria's starting rotation isn't exactly official for the start of the season, but it's about as close as it can be.

Maybe "unofficially official" is the best way to go?

The South Side skipper agreed with the assessment of reporters Wednesday in Arizona, saying that an order of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer "sounds right."

Shields was already announced as the White Sox starter for the season opener next Thursday in Kansas City. That wasn't much of a surprise considering Shields' veteran status in this rotation.

Giolito, who made seven starts at the end of last season and looked mighty good doing it, might be the best starting pitcher on the team going into the season. He posted a 2.38 ERA in those games, with many fans hoping he would have been the one to take on the Royals in the opener. It sounds like he'll likely pitch two days later in Game 2 against the Crowns.

Lopez made eight starts at the end of last season, turning in a 4.72 ERA in those starts. He's another former highly touted prospect who will get a full season to continue his development at the major league level.

Gonzalez was brought back this winter after being traded away from the South Side last summer to bring another veteran mentor type to help along these young pitchers. He had a 4.31 ERA before the trade to the Texas Rangers after a 3.73 ERA in a full season with the White Sox in 2016.

Fulmer is another young arm who will be looking to earn a spot in the crowded rotation of the future this season. He's had a rough spring — though turned in his best start of the spring earlier this week — but he'll be given every opportunity to prove he can succeed as a big league starting pitcher after showing some promise at the end of last season.

Those first three guys will face off against the Royals on the season's opening weekend. Gonzalez and Fulmer are expected to make their first starts of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada.