White Sox

White Sox: History not kind to teams at No. 8 in MLB Draft

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White Sox: History not kind to teams at No. 8 in MLB Draft

If history really does repeat itself, the White Sox might already be out of luck with the eighth selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. 

On Monday, Rick Hahn and the White Sox will have the task of finding the next big piece of the team's puzzle early in the first round. 

Last year, the Sox watched NC State hurler Carlos Rodon fall to them at No. 3 and the lefty has already made his way to the majors. 

College arms such as Vanderbilt's Carson Fulmer, Missouri State's Jon Harris and UC Santa Barabara's Dillon Tate have been linked to the South Siders in some mock drafts.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The White Sox already have some experience picking eighth. In 2008, they took Georgia infielder Gordon Beckham, who hasn't become a star that some expected but has carved out a veteran role on the team.

The most notable selection at No. 8 over the past 20 years was the Rockies taking Tennessee first baseman Todd Helton (.316 369 HR) in 1995. 

But outside of Helton's potential Hall-of-Fame career, there have been plenty of disappointments.

[RELATED: Despite dearth of picks, White Sox confident heading into MLB Draft]

Casey Weathers (2007), Matt Wheatland (2000) and Bobby Bradley (1999) never made it to the majors. Wade Townsend (2004, 2005) was picked twice at No. 8 but never surfaced outside of the minors and ended up becoming a professional poker player instead. 

Guys like Felipe Lopez (1998) and Paul Maholm (2003) found some success at the major-league level but not enough to make a substantial impact.

The jury is still out on guys like Mike Leake (2009) and Drew Stubbs (2006), but the early returns are not promising. 

The most frustrating piece of history for that pick could be the players who went just one spot before: Frank Thomas (1989), Prince Fielder (2002), Troy Tulowitzki (2005), Clayton Kershaw (2006) and Matt Harvey (2010), among others. 

Maybe some of the most recent No. 8 picks, Francisco Lindor (2011) or Kyle Freeland (2014), can reverse that trend, but for now the pressure is on Hahn to hit again with this year's pick, considering the Sox won't pick again until No. 112.

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

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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.

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

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USA TODAY

Jose Abreu's got a new beard, but what he really deserves is a contract extension

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sunday marked the first surprise of White Sox spring training, courtesy of first baseman Jose Abreu.

“This year, I’m going to try to steal more bases,” Abreu said through a translator.

This might have sounded like a joke, but Abreu was completely serious.

On paper, he’s not exactly Rickey Henderson. In 614 career games, Abreu has only six stolen bases. However, the slimmed-down first baseman does have some sneaky speed. His six triples last season ranked third in the American League. So there are some wheels to work with.

“I like the challenge. I think that’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for it,” Abreu said.

How many steals are we talking about? A reporter asked sarcastically if a 30-30 season is in the offing? Abreu didn’t exactly shoot down the possibility.

“Who knows? When you fill your mind with positive things, maybe you can accomplish them,” Abreu said. “The mind of a human being works in a lot of different ways. If you fill your mind with good things, good things are going to happen.”

The morning began with Abreu walking to the hitting cages with his Cuban compadres Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, who the White Sox signed last summer. He held his first workout on Sunday. At the White Sox hitters camp last month, Moncada took Robert under his wing, showing him the ropes, even telling Ricky Renteria, “I got him.”

But Sunday, Abreu was in charge, holding court with the three of them in the cage. Abreu watched closely as Robert hit off a tee, giving him pointers about his swing.

“I just like to help people,” Abreu said. “When I started to play at 16 in Cuba, I had a lot people who hounded me to get better. At the same point, I want to give back things that I’ve learned and pass that along to other people. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not expecting anything else. I’m just glad to help them and get them better.”

What kind of advice has he passed along to Robert?

“Since I came to this country, I learned quickly three keys to be a success: Be disciplined, work hard and always be on time. If you apply those three keys, I think you’re going to be good. Those are the three keys I’m trying to teach the new kids, the young guys,” Abreu said.

Abreu lost about 10 pounds during the offseason. He said he hopes to learn more English in 2018. He also arrived at spring training sporting a scruffy beard which he grew while he was in Cuba so he “could be incongnito.”

Abreu likes his new look. Moncada thinks he should shave it off.

“If the organization doesn’t say anything, I’m just going to keep it,” Abreu said.

Well, so much for that.

Moments after Abreu spoke with the media, Renteria told reporters that Abreu will have to “clean it up a bit.”

The two will find a compromise. Come to think of it, maybe Abreu and the White Sox should do the same about a contract extension in the near future.

Yes, he’ll be 33 when his contract expires in two years, but there have been no signs of a decline with his performance. Instead, Abreu is only getting better both offensively and defensively.

Heck, now he wants to steal bases, too.

After Renteria, Abreu is the leader of this team. He commands ultimate respect inside the clubhouse. He’s become another coach to Moncada, Robert and others. He’s a huge brick in the present and too big of an influence and cornerstone to not have around in the future.

“I hope to play my entire career in the majors with the White Sox,” Abreu said Sunday. “But I can’t control that.”

At some point, a decision will have to be made whether to keep Abreu or trade him. In the meantime, ask yourself this question: What will bring more value to the White Sox, getting a high-end prospect or two in return not knowing if they’ll ever succeed in the majors? Or keeping your best player, the heart and soul of your team, allowing him to show your future stars the way while they’re developing in the major leagues?

Seems like an easy decision to me.