The White Sox have taken the first step to paving a way for Jim Harbaugh to leave Michigan for a coaching job with the Bears.
Well, sort of.
As the White Sox were wrapping up Day 3 on the 2017 MLB Draft on Wednesday afternoon, they selected a player with a family connection to the Wolverines head coach.
Riley Crean, the nephew of Harbaugh and the son of former Indiana basketball head coach Tom Crean, was drafted by the White Sox in the 35th round (No. 1,047).
The South Siders connection with Riley Crean comes from White Sox Scouting Director Nick Hostetler being close friends with Tom Crean, according to the Chicago Tribune. Also, Riley Crean played for the White Sox Are Code Team.
Topping out at 87 MPH on the mound for Bloomington North High School as a senior in 2017, Riley Crean is currently committed to play baseball for the Hoosiers. However, the Herald-Times reports that Riley Crean will not attend Indiana and is headed to Florida to play for IMG Academy in 2018. Attending IMG will allow Riley Crean to be eligible for next year's draft, rather than having to wait until after his junior year to be selected again due to NCAA rules.
While Riley Crean won't be putting on a White Sox uniform anytime soon, it does give him a chance to eventually follow in his uncle's footsteps and play for the team that drafted him in Chicago.
Harbaugh played for the Bears from 1987-1993 after he was selected by the organization in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
Maybe by the time Riley Crean is ready for the big leagues, Harbaugh will be pacing up and down the sidelines in his khakis at Soldier Field.
The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.
The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.
The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.
While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.
Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:
And this may explain why Vieira was even available:
Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.
What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return?
This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:
Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."
After posting career numbers in 2017, Avisail Garcia is already attracting trade suitors this offseason.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the Oakland A's have interest in acquiring the outfielder, who would fill the team's need for a right-handed bat.
The buzz should come as no surprise given Garcia produced a slash line of .330/.380/.506 in his breakout campaign, where he was also named the lone representative for the rebuilding Sox at the All-Star Game.
Now the question centers on whether GM Rick Hahn, whose phone constantly stays buzzing, sees the 26-year-old as a piece for the future or trade bait. Heading into winter meetings, Hahn reiterated that he would listen to deals involving Garcia and Jose Abreu, especially considering the South Siders are likely still a few years away from seriously competing in the American League.
With Garcia under club control until 2019 and his value at its peak, now may be the ideal time for Hahn to sell high and stockpile even more prospects for the already talent-rich farm system. The A's currently have four players in MLB Pipeline's Top 100.
It may be Avi Time in Oakland.