From the weekend:
Chuck Garfien spoke at length to Jim Thome, who said of Adam Dunn: "the guy might come out this year and hit 60 home runs. Hes got that potential. And one thing I would think, because hes very driven, whenever you challenge an athlete, the good ones rise, and hes very good, so well see. Thome also discussed the difficulties of moving to the DH role and how close he was to retirement, among other topics.
Thome mentioned how he's a similar player compared to Dunn, so we looked at just how similar the two sluggers are.
Sunday was, oddly enough, a big Thome day for us, as we kicked the day off with a post looking at Philadelphia's misguided effort to play Thome at first base four or five times a month this season.
On Saturday, Jake Peavy said he didn't quit on the White Sox last season -- but Ozzie Guillen pretty much did. James, Jim and Tom all offered their takes on the comments. Someday, Guillen will be out of the news in Chicago...
Yoenis Cespedes listed the White Sox as one of six teams that has expressed significant interest in signing him. He should become a free agent relatively soon.
The White Sox are the only team this offseason to not have a player file for arbitration. Interesting.
Around the division:
Minnesota took a flier on Joel Zumaya, signing the oft-injured, flamethrowing former Tigers reliever to a one-year deal worth 800,000. The White Sox have actually hit Zumaya fairly well over his career, for what it's worth.
Michigan played Ohio State in hockey at Progressive Field. It's neat to see a team get some use out of their ballpark in the dead of winter with a hockey game and what looks like a gigantic sledding hill.
27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.
The White Sox farm system is baseball's best, according to one of the people making those rankings.
In the wake of Major League Baseball's punishment of the Atlanta Braves for breaking rules regarding the signing of international players — which included the removal of 12 illegally signed prospects from the Braves' organization — MLB.com's Jim Callis tweeted out his updated top 10, and the White Sox are back in first place.
Now obviously there are circumstances that weakened the Braves' system, allowing the White Sox to look stronger by comparison. But this is still an impressive thing considering that three of the White Sox highest-rated prospects from the past year are now full-time big leaguers.
Yoan Moncada used to be baseball's No. 1 prospect, and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez weren't too far behind. That trio helped bolster the highly ranked White Sox system. Without them, despite plenty of other highly touted prospects, common sense would say that the White Sox would slide down the rankings.
But the White Sox still being capable of having baseball's top-ranked system is a testament to the organizational depth Rick Hahn has built in such a short period of time.
While prospect rankings are sure to be refreshed throughout the offseason, here's how MLB Pipeline's rankings look right now in regards to the White Sox:
4. Eloy Jimenez
9. Michael Kopech
22. Luis Robert
39. Blake Rutherford
57. Dylan Cease
90. Alec Hansen