The White Sox have been identified Saturday as one of three teams in pursuit of Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, according to multiple reports.
ESPNs Jim Bowden reports the Red Sox hope to trade the veteran by Saturday to the White Sox, Cleveland Indians or Los Angeles Dodgers. A three-time All-Star and career .286 hitter, Youkilis missed significant time earlier this season with lower back issues and has lost playing time to rookie Will Middlebrooks.
Youkilis is hitting .225 with four home runs in 142 at-bats.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura acknowledged he has heard some rumblings, but didnt get into specifics other than to say he would address a trade only if it were to happen.
You hear (rumors) and guys will sit there and talk about stuff, Ventura said. But its just like being a player: you cant react to them or respond to them unless they become true. Then you react to them. For me theres no sense of looking at it any other way until something happens with somebody. Then you react. I havent talked to my sources today. You talk about different things and, especially the last week, weve had guys go on the DL and with (Kosuke Fukudome) being designated. The other stuff, you wait and react to when it happens.
Youkilis could provide relief for a lineup which has struggled to produce against left-handed pitchers.
The White Sox are hitting .233 against left-handed pitching this season with 22 homers in 592 at-bats. The teams OPS versus lefties is .700 compared with a .735 against right-handers, against whom the White Sox are hitting .259 with 63 homers in 1,791 at-bats.
Youkilis has a career .299 average against lefties with a .928 OPS compared with .282 average and .853 OPS against right-handed pitchers.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen