White Sox

White Sox solidify third base with Todd Frazier trade

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White Sox solidify third base with Todd Frazier trade

The White Sox hope they’ve found lineup protection for Jose Abreu and an answer to their third base woes all in Todd Frazier. 

The team acquired the two-time All-Star third baseman from the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday in a three-team deal. In exchange for Frazier — who hit .255/.309/.498 with 35 home runs last season — the White Sox traded Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson and Francellis Montas to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which sent a package of minor leaguers to Cincinnati.

Frazier not only provides immediate power — he has 108 career homers — but also legitimacy to a revolving door at third for the White Sox, who have used 22 third baseman since Joe Crede’s last game in September 2008.

[RELATED - White Sox trade for All-Star 3B Todd Frazier]

“We are thrilled to be able to add a player the caliber of Todd Frazier,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “We feel that addresses a spot that has been rather difficult to fill for an extended period of time at third base. We view him as one of the finer third basemen in the game, all-around third basemen, from an offensive and defensive standpoint. We are thrilled to be able to add him to the lineup.”

When it came to improving an offense that scored 3.89 runs per game last season, nowhere did the White Sox need more help than on the infield. The White Sox ranked 30th in OPS at second base (.564) and third base (.612) last season.

In the course of a week, the White Sox acquired Brett Lawrie, who had a .706 OPS last season, to play second base, and now Frazier. 

Coupled with the free-agent signings of catchers Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro and Hahn thinks like he has upgraded an offense that finished last in the American League in runs, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS in 2015.

“I certainly feel a lot better,” Hahn said. “You’ve got a middle of the order presence, obviously a power hitter with extra-base ability as well and someone to help solidify the middle and make it a little bit tougher to come through. We also feel in the last few weeks that we’ve upgraded catcher and second … So that’s conceivably a third of the lineup where we’ve made progress.”

Frazier, who won the Home Run Derby last July, had a sense he’d be traded since the season ended. The 30-year-old third baseman is two seasons from free agency and Cincinnati is a franchise in desperate need of young players. Even though he’s leaving the only team he’s ever known and switching leagues, Frazier said he’s eager for his new start.

“I'm pretty excited, I've got to be truthful with you,” Frazier said. “I know it's the American League, I know it's going to be a little different. It might take a little time to get acclimated, but I just saw the lineup on TV, it kind of put a smile on my face to see the guys we've got.”

While Hahn talked about the difficulty in surrendering what he did to acquire Frazier he has to be happy about what he didn’t give away. Two players the Reds inquired about most were top prospect Tim Anderson and No. 2 prospect Carson Fulmer, the team’s first-round pick in June.  

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Still, the White Sox had to part with Thompson, a defensive dynamo with enough power to hit 25 homers, the speedy Johnson, who hit well in the early part of the season, and the hard-throwing Montas, who came over in the Jake Peavy trade of 2013.

But in the end, the idea of placing Frazier at a position where 22 players have started since Crede’s last game was enough for Hahn to make the call.

“It’s never easy to give up homegrown or quality young talent,” Hahn said. “Certainly today was no exception. At the same time, we certainly are very aware that you have to give up something to get something. While we are thrilled to get Todd, it does sting a little bit to give up the three players we had to give up to get it done.”

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.

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

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AP

As Cactus League play begins, how many spots are actually up for grabs on the White Sox roster?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Some teams have it easy, with their 25-man rosters seemingly locked into place before spring training games even start.

The White Sox actually have a lot more locked-down spots than you might think for a rebuilding team, but this spring remains pretty important for a few guys.

The starting rotation figures to be set, with James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer the starting five. Carlos Rodon, of course, owns one of those spots once he returns from injury. But the date of that return remains a mystery.

From this observer’s viewpoint, eight of the everyday nine position players seem to be figured out, too: Welington Castillo behind the plate, Jose Abreu at first base, Yoan Moncada at second base, Tim Anderson at shortstop, Yolmer Sanchez at third base, Nicky Delmonico in left field, Avisail Garcia in right field and Matt Davidson as the designated hitter. More on the omission of a starting center fielder in a bit.

Omar Narvaez would be a logical pick to back up Castillo at catcher, and Tyler Saladino is really the lone reserve infielder with big league experience, not to mention he’s a versatile player that can play anywhere on the infield.

Leury Garcia also figures to be a lock for this 25-man roster. But will he be the everyday center fielder, as he was for a spell last season? He played 51 games in center in 2017 but battled injuries throughout the year. I think Leury Garcia will end up the starting center fielder when the season begins because of his bat. His .270/.316/.423 slash line isn’t going to make anyone do cartwheels, but it’s better than the offensive struggles of Adam Engel, who started 91 games in center in 2017 and slashed .166/.235/.282. Engel would still be a solid inclusion on the bench because of his superb defense, but to create that big a hole in the everyday lineup is tough.

How could that position-player group change? Keep your eyes in center field, where there are a couple other guys who could force their way into a roster spot this spring: Charlie Tilson and Ryan Cordell. Tilson has had a tremendous amount of trouble staying on the field since coming over to the White Sox in a 2016 deadline deal, but that hasn’t dampened the White Sox hopes for him. And Cordell got name-dropped by general manager Rick Hahn during SoxFest, when the GM said he’s received multiple calls about Cordell since acquiring him last summer. Cordell put up good numbers at the Triple-A level prior to a significant injury last year.

But the main battles figure to be in the bullpen. At times this winter, as the White Sox kept adding players to that relief corps mix, that the whole thing seemed wide open. But when you think about it, maybe there are only one or two open spots.

You’d have to think these guys are pretty safe bets to make the team: Juan Minaya, Gregory Infante, Nate Jones, Joakim Soria and Luis Avilan. Though Hector Santiago was just recently acquired on a minor league deal, he’s really the only long man of the group, and he could sub in if there’s an injury to a starting pitcher. That leaves two spots between the group of Aaron Bummer, Danny Farquhar, Jace Fry, Jose Ruiz and Thyago Vieira — not to mention guys signed to minor league deals like Xavier Cedeno, Jeanmar Gomez and Bruce Rondon.

Bummer had a 4.50 ERA in 30 big league games last year. Farquhar had a 4.40 ERA in 15 games. Vieira has gotten attention as a flame-thrower, but he’s got just one big league game under his belt, something that might or might not matter to the rebuilding White Sox. Guys like Gomez, who has 40 career saves including 37 just two years ago, and Rondon, who had multiple shots at the Detroit Tigers’ closing job in the past, could vault themselves into the mix as potential midseason trade candidates.

Then there's the question of which of those guys will be Rick Renteria's closer. Minaya had closing duties after most of the bullpen was traded away last summer. He picked up nine saves and posted a 4.11 ERA in his final 17 appearances of the campaign. Look to Soria, though, a veteran with plenty of closing experience from his days with the Kansas City Royals. If he's given the opportunity to close and succeeds, he could fetch an intriguing return package in a potential deadline deal.

But now it's game time in Arizona.

“The fun part of playing the game of baseball is playing the game of baseball," Renteria said earlier this week. "We prepare. I think they all enjoy what they’re doing in terms of their preparation. They take it seriously, they focus. But ultimately like everything that we do in life, I guess it’s a test. And the games are a test for us on a daily basis. And how we are able to evaluate them and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to see them in a real game situation is certainly helpful for us.”