In an email to beat reporters Saturday, White Sox GM Kenny Williams said the team's move to obtain Francisco Liriano from Minnesota was "imperative." On Sunday, Williams expanded on why he feels adding Liriano is so necessary to the team's chances.
"We felt that, just as in the Brett Myers acquisition, we needed some guys that had a veteran presence about them, that pitched through the difficult months of August and September and can weather some of these storms mentally and physically," Williams said on a conference call.
The White Sox are familiar with Liriano, who spent parts of seven seasons with Minnesota. But Williams said the White Sox noticed a few things with Liriano that he can improve upon.
"We've had the displeasure, sometimes, of facing Mr. Liriano because he has thrown some games against us that have been lights-out outstanding," Williams said. 'Last time out for him it wasn't so great. We saw some of the same things that we think and see some things that can immediately get him better results."
As the conference call was conducted, a rumor popped up that the White Sox were engaging the Mariners in talks for reliever Brandon League. So when Williams was asked if he was looking to make another deal, he said "yes," then paused for dramatic effect. And answered "yes" again.
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."
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.