White Sox

White Sox have no plans to trade Chris Sale

chrissalewhitesoxinsider032016.png

White Sox have no plans to trade Chris Sale

MESA, Ariz. -- Rick Hahn’s voicemail box has a few new inquires about Chris Sale’s availability.

Rival general managers shouldn’t hold their collective breath waiting for a return call.

Even though the perception exists they may entertain a trade for Sale, multiple baseball sources confirmed that the White Sox GM has no interest in such a deal.

Long the team’s most coveted asset, Sale is once again the subject of trade speculation after a Friday outburst in which he ripped executive vice president Kenny Williams after the retirement of Adam LaRoche.

But Hahn -- who doesn’t comment on trade rumors -- has privately signaled again that the White Sox have no interest in dealing their ace. Bookended by chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s Sunday statement, the White Sox have made it apparent for several days they want to put the pieces back together after the unforeseen retirement of LaRoche sent their camp into chaos.

“Nothing has changed in terms of our direction or expectations for the upcoming season,” Hahn said in an email. “We remain committed to putting this current club in as good a position as possible to contend this year.”

Their best position to compete is one with Sale at the forefront.

He put his opinions aside Saturday and his focus back to the field as he made his first Cactus League start. Sale pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs as the White Sox topped the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2.

[RELATED: White Sox get back to baseball after emotional week]

A day after -- among other topics -- he suggested his strong opinions wouldn’t get in the way of his performance, Sale backed up those assertions following Saturday’s start.

“From (today) forward, we’re showing up to play baseball,” Sale said. “I don’t think there’s anything else to talk about. We have a job to do and I think going forward, moving forward, that’s what we’re here for.”

Multiple players have suggested the White Sox believe they can get back on track. They know there is work to be done. But the White Sox still have another 16 days before Opening Day to smooth things out.

“It has been crazy, there’s been a lot of things going on, but I don’t think as a team and as players that anybody’s goals have changed,” reliever Zach Putnam said early Sunday morning. “Especially right now, kind of on the other end of everything that has happened, guys are extra focused.”

The White Sox know Sale has an explosive side. Reinsdorf might as well have identified Sale directly when he noted in a Sunday statement that he appreciates “the passion and commitment to one another shown by our players.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Although this most recent incident has the highest profile, the White Sox have seen this side of Sale before and they have no intention of changing the way the face of their franchise operates. Sure, they’ll talk to Sale privately and perhaps try to work with him on how to handle future disagreements.

But they wouldn’t try to silence their ace; they know this is the same part of his personality that has allowed him to develop into an elite pitcher.

They know exactly who Sale is and how much he brings to the club.

In short, if the 2016 White Sox are going anywhere, Sale’s going to be on board.

“He has an opinion, he has a right to talk about it and I don’t think that’s going to stop as far as guys having opinions and speaking their minds,” manager Robin Ventura said on Saturday.

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

0219_alec_hansen.jpg
AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.