White Sox

Sox Drawer: Go Get Greinke

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Sox Drawer: Go Get Greinke

With rumors circulating Saturday that the Red Sox are on the verge of trading third baseman Kevin Youkilis possibly to the White Sox, who are reported to be a serious candidate Kenny Williams might be close to solving his problem at the hot corner.

But the White Sox shouldnt stop there.

For nine innings on Friday night, Zack Greinke dominated Robin Venturas lineup. The ace of the Milwaukee staff appears to be a short-timer with the Brewers. Hes a free agent after this season. Milwaukee is 33-37, and likely does not have the pieces to make a run for the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Brewers' farm system took a major hit when they traded for Greinke (they gave the Royals Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, red-hot prospect Jake Odorizzi, plus Alcides Escobar). They also sent future All-Star Brett Lawrie to Toronto for Shaun Marcum (who might be going on the DL).

So with talk heating up that the Brewers might have to trade Greinke, the talk in the White Sox front office should be this:

If we cant beat him, lets trade for him.

And for two reasons.

1) The White Sox need him.

John Danks and Philip Humber are on the disabled list. They both struggled before landing on the DL. Will they be able to find their Grade-A stuff when they return? Theres no guarantee. Gavin Floyd was great on Wednesday, pitching 6.1 shutout innings against the Cubs, but how many of those starts can the White Sox expect to see the rest of the season? One? Five? 10?? All three are possible. The White Sox hold a 9.5 million team option on Floyd for 2013. He could wind up in a deal for Youkilis. Floyd has pitched like Cy Young against the Red Sox in his career with a perfect 7-0 record.

If the Sox get Grienke, imagine a starting rotation featuring him, Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. If that doesnt get Sox fans rushing to the ballpark, I dont know what will.

2) Who else needs Greinke?

The Tigers. In signing Prince Fielder, owner Mike Ilitch sent the message that hes going for it all. But here we are in late June, and the Tigers have been the most disappointing team in baseball. Theyre 34-36. Justin Verlander has pitched like Justin Verlander, but the rest of the rotation has been either injured (Doug Fister) or inconsistent (Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly).

What move could put them over the top and likely clinch the A-L Central title? Trading for Greinke. Beware.

There is one red flag the White Sox need to consider about Greinke: His career history at U.S. Cellular Field. Before Friday, it was atrocious. He was 1-7 with a 6.48 ERA. Even after throwing those nine scoreless innings, Greinke told reporters, This is probably the one park I dont really like pitching in. I never feel real comfortable pitching here. Its kind of a dark stadium, it seems like. But today I pitched good, so Ill take it.

So would the White Sox.

Williams has said that his team is in transition. Theyre trying to both win and rebuild at the same time. Not an easy thing to do. But despite their recent struggles and the dire preseason predictions, the White Sox are only 1.5 games out. The division is winnable. Their farm system might get criticized for a lack of perceived talent. But theres enough there to make a deal for an All-Star pitcher who could potentially leave after this season. The Brewers dont want to end up with nothing.

Williams admitted this week that low attendance has restricted him from making aggressive moves. Adding Greinkes remaining salary for 2012 (roughly 6 or 7 million) would certainly compete with that statement.

But this sport is about winning. The White Sox have a chance to do it. Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf have gambled in the past. Why not do it again?

Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy are all having comeback seasons. Gordon Beckham is close to doing the same. Chris Sale has been one of the best starters in baseball. They have a leadoff hitter in Alejandro De Aza and a lights-out closer in Addison Reed. Theres good chemistry in the clubhouse. They could have as many as five players make the All-Star team.

Theyve got the talent to make things interesting. But theyre missing one big piece.

Thats Greinke.

My advice? Roll the dice.

Go get him.

And deal with the repercussions later.

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.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”