White Sox

White Sox have fond memories of Pedro Martinez

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White Sox have fond memories of Pedro Martinez

BOSTON — Few active White Sox players ever faced Pedro Martinez, but for Melky Cabrera those moments are some of his favorites.

Cabrera grew up about 15 minutes away from where Martinez did in the Dominican Republic and idolized the Hall of Famer, who had his number retired by the Boston Red Sox before Tuesday’s game. The White Sox outfielder said he looked forward to watching Tuesday’s ceremony in person.

“They were very special moments for me because like everyone has said, he’s 'Pedro Grande' and he’s one of the best from the Dominican Republic, and to be able to face him was exciting,” Cabrera said through an interpreter.

Cabrera went 2-for-8 with a walk against Martinez, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday alongside players Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Randy Johnson.

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Designated hitter Adam LaRoche had the most plate appearances of any current White Sox, going 4-for-23. LaRoche caught Martinez at the end of his career when he threw 90-91 instead of 95. Give how difficult Martinez was to face then, LaRoche can only imagine how good he was at the start of his career.

“One game we had to go into the sixth inning before he threw a fastball,” LaRoche said. “I don’t know if he was doing it just to see if he could. He had two different kinds of changeups he was using and a curveball or slider and after like the second or third inning we’re thinking ‘OK, that must be his fastball today, he must be hurting or something.’ Then in the sixth he threw one at 90 or 91 or whatever and started using his fastball again. Sure enough he was shutting us down with basically a changeup and a real slow changeup. Just a creative mind and knew how to get guys out.”

Robin Ventura led the White Sox coaching staff with 21 at-bats against Martinez. His three hits are tied with Harold Baines, who faced Martinez 13 times. Joe McEwing went 2-for-3 against Martinez.

“It wasn’t fun,” Ventura said. “I probably helped him get there.

“He could throw anything at any time.”

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Cabrera has had a chance to get to know Martinez over the years and calls him a friend. He said he respects Martinez just as much off the field as from his playing days.

“He’s a great human being,” Cabrera said. “When he was on the field, he was outstanding. He was aggressive because that is his nature and because he liked to compete. But off the field he also was a great person. He’s humble. In the Dominican Republic, he’s an idol, and he was my idol also.”

Zach Duke went 0-for-2 against Martinez and Jeff Samardzija went 0-for-1. Bench coach Mark Parent went 0-for-5 against Martinez.

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

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USA TODAY

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

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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.