White Sox

White Sox agree to one-year deal with pitcher Mat Latos


White Sox agree to one-year deal with pitcher Mat Latos

Mat Latos will attempt to get back on track with the White Sox, who found a deal too hard to bypass.

Slowed by injuries the previous two seasons, the veteran pitcher signed a one-year contract for $3 million on Tuesday.

A 14-game winner three times, Latos has been limited to 40 games the last two seasons by a knee injury. Latos made one trip to the disabled list in 2015, finishing 4-10 with a 4.95 ERA in 24 games (21 starts) for the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels.

Even so, Latos produced 1.5 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs.

Latos, 28, produced 16 WAR from 2010-13 when he averaged 32 starts per season. He is 64-55 with a 3.51 ERA in 177 career games (174 starts).

“Mat adds another quality veteran arm to our rotation and also increases our overall pitching depth, which always is essential to having a successful season,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a press release. “While we believe in the futures of several of our young starters, the chance to add a pitcher of Mat’s caliber was too good of an opportunity for us to pass up. He has proven over his career that when healthy, he takes the baseball and logs quality innings.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

During that four-year run of dominance, Latos went 51-35 with a 3.27 ERA in 799 innings. But he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow before the 2014 season and then tore cartilage in his left knee that spring, which delayed his 2014 season debut for the Cincinnati Reds until June.

Latos was traded to Miami in December 2014 to help the Marlins combat the loss of Jose Fernandez. But the right-hander had fluid drained from his knee during spring training and told the Miami Herald in May he tried to do his job at “60, 70, 80 percent” health. He went on the DL from May 23-June 12.

Latos went 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts in Miami before he was traded to the Dodgers in a three-team deal in late July. There he went 0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in six games (five starts) before he was released in September and picked up by the Angels.

Latos has also been traded by the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati, for whom he went 33-16 with a 3.31 ERA in 81 starts from 2012-14.

Latos gives the White Sox depth at a position at which they were previously thin. Beyond their original projected starting five, the White Sox have a shortage of major-league ready pitchers to contribute in the case of an injury. The White Sox prefer to take their time in developing last year’s first-round pick, Carson Fulmer, and Chris Beck had elbow surgery last July, leaving only Scott Carroll and Jacob Turner with MLB starting experience.

The Latos signing also could be the precursor to another move, though the White Sox are likely satisfied to have depth. With Latos on board, the White Sox have six starting pitchers. The club previously had plans to employ Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Erik Johnson and John Danks in their starting rotation. Turner, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs and later signed a one-year deal for $1.5 million, could also figure into those plans.

ZiPS projects Latos will produce 1.0 WAR this season.

Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?


Would potential bargains like Mike Moustakas or Carlos Gonzalez make sense for White Sox?

The 2017-18 baseball offseason continues to be, well, the 2017-18 baseball offseason, even with spring training games being played in Arizona and Florida.

A bunch of names remain on the free-agent market, including All-Star players who thought they would be in for big multi-year contracts. But as teams continue to deny the wishes of guys who expected to get big deals, the suggestion that those players might end up needing to take one-year offers if they want to play during the 2018 season is becoming a more common talking point.

So with potential bargains to be had for some pretty big-name players, do the White Sox jump into the waters and try to lock up a potential future piece on the cheap? Though they aren’t expected to contend this season, the White Sox have been mentioned in a pair of recent reports surrounding a pair of All-Star position players: Mike Moustakas and Carlos Gonzalez.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi wrote last week that the White Sox are a potential fit for Moustakas, who has sat and watched as former Kansas City Royals teammate Eric Hosmer received a huge contract from the San Diego Padres. Moustakas set a new Royals record last season with 38 home runs but has yet to find a team.

The White Sox, connected to Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado earlier this offseason, seem to have a current big leaguer or highly ranked prospect locked into almost every position on the diamond for the foreseeable future, but third base isn't necessarily one of them. Jake Burger was last year’s top draft pick, though there’s speculation he could slide over to first base. The team still envisions him as a big league third baseman, for what it’s worth.

Moustakas is 29 and already has seven big league seasons under his belt, including a pair of All-Star appearances and a pair of trips to the World Series, including the Crowns’ championship back in 2015. His 38 homers and 85 RBIs in 2017 were both career highs. He slashed .272/.314/.521, the final of those three numbers the best mark of his career.

Moustakas has rarely hit for average or reached base at too high a clip, though those recent power numbers would be intriguing at a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field, where he has 10 career dingers, 26 career RBIs and a .249/.308/.456 career slash line as a visitor.

Certainly Moustakas would be a buzz-worthy addition, and if the White Sox could get him for a good value thanks to this slow-moving market, that adds incentive to bring him aboard. A short contract would have even more incentive for the rebuilding White Sox, who would have the option to either sign him to a long-term deal or deal him away in a deadline deal depending on his immediate production levels.

But for fans hoping the White Sox will spend big on a third baseman in one of the next two offseasons — Machado is a free agent next winter, and Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado is set to hit the market the winter after next — slotting in an outside addition at the hot corner now could impact those plans.

Gonzalez is a completely different story, a three-time All Star during his 10-year big league career who is just three seasons removed from a 40-homer campaign in 2015. The 32-year-old Gonzalez also has a trio of Gold Gloves to go along with his 215 career home runs. FanRag’s Jon Heyman listed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for CarGo this weekend.

But his walk year in Colorado was not a very good one by his standards. In 136 games for a Rockies team that ended up in the playoffs, he slashed .262/.339/.423, all those averages way down from his usual level of production. And his power numbers plummeted to 14 homers and 57 RBIs after he combined for 65 homers and 197 RBIs in 2015 and 2016.

The good news for the White Sox is that down year makes Gonzalez far more affordable. Should he command only a one-year contract, the White Sox could take a flier, stick him in the outfield — which still has an unresolved spot with few strong offensive options for center field — and trade him should he bounce back in a big way. Or, at 32, perhaps he’s a guy the White Sox could opt to keep around should he prove valuable and the rebuild continues to move along ahead of schedule.

Gonzalez seems the less risky move at this point, as Moustakas could still be looking for a multi-year contract. But the White Sox have plenty of financial flexibility and flexibility in their decision-making should they add either guy and he proves worthy of a midseason deal or a long-term look.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries


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.