White Sox

White Sox move Alexei Ramirez to No. 2 in lineup


White Sox move Alexei Ramirez to No. 2 in lineup

MINNEAPOLIS -- Robin Ventura has decided the White Sox offense could use a little variety.

With his offense in the bottom third of the American League in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, the White Sox manager moved Alexei Ramirez up into the second spot on Thursday night and dropped everyone else down a slot. A notoriously slow starter, Ramirez -- who mostly has batted sixth or seventh in 2015 -- enters a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins with a .194/.235/.274 slash line and nine RBIs in 68 plate appearances.

“It hasn’t really jelled just yet,” Ventura said. “So something to mix it up. It’s not a major change. Kind of mix it up. Alexei has done well in the past batting second, you try to give him a jumpstart in there at the top of the lineup and see what happens.”

Ramirez has batted second 361 times, including 133 times the previous two seasons. He’s hit more in the two-hole than anywhere else in his career and believes he knows how to handle himself. He also expects to see better pitches now that he’s hitting in front of Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu, the team’s hottest hitters so far this season.

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“I have to take more pitches, try to get on base and give the guys an opportunity to bat with men on base,” Ramirez said through an interpreter. “I feel good in that spot because I have the opportunity to see more good pitches, more fastballs and more pitches to hit and I think that’s good for me and also good for the team.”

The offense is in desperate need of a jolt, the kind you might get from slamming a Red Bull. Through 18 games, the White Sox are averaging 3.44 runs per game despite the additions of Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. There could be any number of reasons from excess days off to cold weather to Ramirez and LaRoche both have poor April track records.

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But there’s no time for excuses, Ventura said.

“We’ve kind of sputtered offensively and being inconsistent,” Ventura said. “For some reason it takes a while for some guys to get going. At this point it doesn’t matter. You have to find a way to kind of keep going and find something that works and go with it.”

Ramirez has a .277/.318/.400 line in the No. 2 spot and has stolen 35 bases. But his aggressive style and ability to put the ball in play has also led to him grounding into 49 double plays.

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


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


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.