White Sox

Why the White Sox felt it's time to promote prospect Reynaldo Lopez

Why the White Sox felt it's time to promote prospect Reynaldo Lopez

With nothing else to prove in the minors, the White Sox determined it's time for starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez to move to the big leagues.

Acquired from Washington last December, Lopez is set to make his White Sox debut on Friday when they host the Kansas City Royals. The organization’s minor league pitcher of the month in July, Lopez went 6-7 with a 3.79 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 121 innings at Triple-A Charlotte this season. General manager Rick Hahn said Lopez has shown the White Sox all they needed to bring him back to the majors; the right-hander pitched 44 innings for the Nationals during the 2016 season.

“More consistency with the fastball, he threw quality strikes, trusting his off-speed pitches, being able to throw any pitch in any count,” Hahn said. “Again, taking the ball every fifth day and being prepared for that specific outing. The work that's done in between starts, some of the stuff that's not publicly seen. He's done everything we've asked of him and now's the time for him to take that next step.”

Lopez was particularly outstanding in July, posting a 2.10 ERA and striking out 38 batters in 30 innings. After he earned the award for July, Lopez said he thinks he’s ready for the majors and said it has been difficult at times to stay at Triple-A.

The White Sox hoped to clear a space in the rotation with a trade before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline. Hahn was unable to, however, and the White Sox will instead move Mike Pelfrey into the bullpen.

“The last four or five outings have been really, really good,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Think everybody in the city and obviously the club has been looking forward to starting to transition some of those guys who are ready to check off a few of those boxes and be able perform for us and we're looking forward to having him here. Obviously there's a lot of excitement, I'm sure in the city as well. It's just part of the process. Another piece we're going to be able to see."

Lopez is 32 1/3 innings shy of his career high for one season (he pitched 153 1/3 in 2016). But the White Sox currently have no plans to restrict him and will use Lopez every fifth day, Hahn said. This is part of the final stage of development and the White Sox don’t want to restrict Lopez from learning how to manage himself throughout and entire season.

“If we need to adjust because of innings load at some point or whatever reason we will but as I’ve said several times, we didn’t want to bring anyone here until we felt they were going to get the ball every fifth day and be part of a normal starter’s routine,” Hahn said. “The kid has worked extremely hard. He’s had an outstanding season so far in Triple-A.”

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

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USA TODAY

The White Sox just traded for a really intriguing arm

The White Sox continued their rebuild Thursday by trading for an intriguing young right-handed pitcher.

The South Siders acquired Thyago Vieira from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for international signing bonus pool money.

The 24-year-old Vieira is a Brazilian native and has only made one appearance in the big leagues, striking out a batter in one perfect inning of work in 2017.

While his career minor-league numbers don't jump off the page — 14-19 with a 4.58 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 13 saves and 7.4 K/9 in 290.2 innings \— Vieira has been reportedly clocked at 104 mph with his fastball and was ranked as the Mariners' No. 8 prospect at the time of the deal. He also held righties to .194 batting average in 2017.

Here's video of Vieira throwing gas:

And this may explain why Vieira was even available:

Control has been an issue throughout his career, as he's walked 4.6 batters per nine innings in the minors. He has improved in that regard over the last few seasons, however, walking only 22 batters in 54 innings across three levels in 2017 and he doled out only one free pass in 5.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League in 2016.

What does this deal mean in the big picture for baseball? How did the Sox pull off a move like this while not having to give up a player in return? 

This may help shed light on the situation from Baseball America's Kyle Glaser:

Either way, the White Sox may have just acquired a guy who could potentially throw his name in the hat for "future closer." Or at the very least, throw his name in the hat for "best name."

Is Avi Time coming to an end on the South Side?

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USA TODAY

Is Avi Time coming to an end on the South Side?

After posting career numbers in 2017, Avisail Garcia is already attracting trade suitors this offseason.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea, the Oakland A's have interest in acquiring the outfielder, who would fill the team's need for a right-handed bat. 

The buzz should come as no surprise given Garcia produced a slash line of .330/.380/.506 in his breakout campaign, where he was also named the lone representative for the rebuilding Sox at the All-Star Game. 

Now the question centers on whether GM Rick Hahn, whose phone constantly stays buzzing, sees the 26-year-old as a piece for the future or trade bait. Heading into winter meetings, Hahn reiterated that he would listen to deals involving Garcia and Jose Abreu, especially considering the South Siders are likely still a few years away from seriously competing in the American League. 

With Garcia under club control until 2019 and his value at its peak, now may be the ideal time for Hahn to sell high and stockpile even more prospects for the already talent-rich farm system. The A's currently have four players in MLB Pipeline's Top 100

It may be Avi Time in Oakland.