White Sox

SoxFest: Buehrle not done yet, Williams worried


SoxFest: Buehrle not done yet, Williams worried

Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
Posted 4:49 p.m. Updated 5:04 p.m.

By Brett Ballantini

In remarks made during the media session of SoxFest, Chicago White Sox starter Mark Buehrle indicated he would be willing to sign an extension with the team that would keep him in Chicago for at least two additional seasons.

It was weird this offseason, going from a rebuilding plan to me maybe being on the trading block, to getting Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski back, adding Adam Dunn and retooling the bullpen, Buehrle said. I dont have any idea of whether my people have talked to the White Sox, or theyre talking with us, but Im always willing to listen.

Buehrle went 13-13 in 2010, with a 4.28 ERA. During the season he earned his 10-and-5 rights, which gives him the ability to veto any trade the White Sox wish to make that involves him. In 11 major league seaons all spent with the White Sox Buehrle is 148-110 with a 3.85 ERA and an ERA of 120.

He will complete his four-year, 56 million contract at the end of the 2011 season.
Williams: Stirred, but shaken

Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams had earlier told Comcast SportsNet that his tombstone might read, One More Deal to Make, but the longtime team executive also admitted on Friday that hes typically nervous about his ballclub.

I should have a better feeling about how he's stacked the White Sox, the GM admitted before the official start of SoxFest on Friday. But I'm cautious, and nervous. I know about the mental and physical grind ahead.

Williams also remains bitter over the division titles he feels his team had the potential to win. While wryly unwilling to name names, this includes the 2010 clubs second-half fold to the one unmentionable team (to Williams), the Minnesota Twins.

A couple of parks are flying flags that should be ours, that belong to us, Williams said.

Nonetheless, Williams hopes his retooling of the club exemplified by the now-famous (and marketable) phrase all-in when referencing his attitude toward 2011 has excited his fan base much more than his poker face is willing to acknowledge.

I hope the fans are very excited, Williams said with honesty, and a wink toward the season, because we still have to find a way to pay for all of this.

Williams also tipped his hand early regarding some roster decisions, including a tacit endorsement of Brent Morel at third base. The GM read manager Ozzie Guillens comments yesterday about wishing to keep competition open and did not openly endorse a third baseman, but did say his mind was made up about who should play there and judging by his excitement over Morel last September, all signs point to the rookie getting his vote.

READ: Ozzie's early lineup thoughts

As for two other young players, Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks, Williams was far from muted. He claimed that Dankss future was far too bright to make the White Sox roster as a fourth or fifth outfielder in 2011.

Williams also confirmed that Viciedo would be moving to the outfield, remarking again that the young player has the potential to be very special and that we need to find a place for him to play. The GM wouldnt rule out Viciedo as a future infielder, but definitely endorsed his current move to the outfield, making it imaginable that the young slugger could fill a hybrid role of corner outfielderDHcorner infielder that could see him playing a couple of games a week in 2011.

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas


White Sox Talk Podcast: 1-on-1 with Frank Thomas

White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas came on the podcast to talk with Chuck Garfien about his past, baseball's present and the future of the White Sox. He talks about his first major league hit (a stand-up triple!), how fame affected him when he was a player, his appearance on David Letterman in the 1990s and more. 

Plus, what was wrong with the baseball this past season? Thomas has some ideas and tells Garfien how many home runs he would have hit with that baseball in his prime. He talks about working with Alex Rodriguez at FOX and what it was like whenever girlfriend Jennifer Lopez came to visit in the studio.

Thomas praises the White Sox rebuild and reveals an idea he presented to GM Rick Hahn about where all the top prospects should play this upcoming season. He describes what it was like going to Roy Halladay's funeral, if he sees the White Sox signing Manny Machado in 2019 and much more.

Listen to the full White Sox Talk Podcast right here:

Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease


Up close, White Sox see same big potential Cubs forecasted for Dylan Cease

The Cubs made the Jose Quintana deal knowing it would have been more difficult to give up Dylan Cease if he was already performing at the Double-A level, and that the White Sox organization would be a good place to continue his education as a young pitcher.

While Eloy Jimenez keeps drawing ridiculous comparisons – the running total now includes Kris Bryant, Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz – Cease is more than just the other name prospect from the deal that shocked the baseball world during the All-Star break.

“We still project him as a starter,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said during this week’s GM meetings in Florida. “He certainly has the stuff where it’s easy to envision him as a potential dominant reliever. But to this point – for the foreseeable future – we deal with the starting and continue to develop him as a potential front-end arm.”

The Theo Epstein regime still hasn’t developed an impact homegrown pitcher, but that hasn’t stopped the Cubs from winning 292 games, six playoff rounds and a World Series title across the last three seasons, while still being in a strong position to win the National League Central again in 2018.

Without Quintana and his affordable contract that can run through 2020, Epstein’s front office might have been looking at the daunting possibility of trying to acquire three starting pitchers this winter.

While surveying a farm system in the middle of a natural downturn, Baseball America ranked seven pitchers on its top-10 list of prospects from the Cubs organization: Adbert Alzolay, Jose Albertos, Alex Lange, Oscar De La Cruz, Brendon Little, Thomas Hatch and Jen-Ho Tseng.

So far, only Alzolay, an Arizona Fall League Fall Star with seven starts for Double-A Tennessee on his resume, and Tseng, who made his big-league debut in September, have pitched above the A-ball level.

Cease – who went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA for Class-A Kannapolis in his first nine starts in the White Sox system – has a 100-mph fastball and a big curveball and won’t turn 22 until next month. That stuff allowed Cease to pile up 126 strikeouts against 44 walks in 93.1 innings this year, putting him in the wave that includes Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

“Ideally, we have a lot of guys we project to be part of the future, very good, championship-caliber rotation,” Hahn said. “In an ideal world, there’s not going to be room at the inn for all of them. You only have five in that rotation and some of these guys will wind up in the bullpen. In reality, as players develop, you’re going to see some attrition.”

One spot after the White Sox grabbed Carlos Rodon with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Cubs did Kyle Schwarber’s below-slot deal, using part of the savings to buy out Cease’s commitment to Vanderbilt University ($1.5 million bonus for a sixth-rounder) and supervise his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Cease was never going to be on the fast track to Wrigley Field, and now the White Sox hope he can be part of the foundation on the South Side, where it’s easier to sell a rebuild after watching the Cubs and Houston Astros become World Series champions.

“It doesn’t change really for us internally in terms of our commitment or focus or our plan or our timeline or anything along those lines,” Hahn said. “I do think, perhaps, it helps the fan base understand a little bit about what the process looks like, where other teams have been and how long the path they took to get to the ultimate goal of winning a World Series (was). In Chicago, many fans saw it firsthand with the Cubs.

“There are certainly more and more examples in the game over the last several years to help sort of show fans the path and justification for what we’re (doing).”