White Sox

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

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USA TODAY

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly shopping Manny Machado.

Commence freakout.

Baseball Twitter exploded Tuesday after The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Orioles are not just listening to offers for their star third baseman but actively offering him up to other teams.

Machado, of course, has long been desired by the White Sox fan base. A member of the outrageous 2019 free-agent class, Machado’s pending free agency and the lack of a highly touted stud prospect at third base has had rebuild-centric fans eyeing Machado as the free-agent piece that will propel the White Sox into contention. And obviously the idea of Machado playing alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and others is extremely alluring.

But while teams are apparently lining up here at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort to get a one-year crack at Machado, the idea of the South Siders making a trade simply makes no sense.

For one, the cost figures to be immense, with the Orioles surely hoping to get a haul of prospects back for a guy who’s been one of the game’s top hitters over the past several seasons. Do the White Sox have that minor league talent? Well, yeah, of course they do. But would they be willing to give up so much after only just accumulating all that talent? No. Why would they?

A trade for Machado — and only one guaranteed year of Machado, for that matter — would puncture holes in Rick Hahn’s carefully laid rebuilding plans.

Machado likely would rather test the free-agency waters than simply sign an extension with whichever team the Orioles would agree to a deal with. That way, he’s likely to get a far bigger contract — and you better believe that contract will be a really, really big one. The White Sox haven’t made a habit of handing out gigantic, lengthy deals. Machado could be the type of special player to change that strategy, but why take that risk before knowing how the rebuild will play out?

The common thinking is that the White Sox will be ready to compete come 2020, and it’s a good bet Machado knows that the team is set up for long-term success. But how can the White Sox know what the fruits of their rebuilding efforts will be by the end of next season? Why would they dedicate so many resources to one player when they don’t know what their needs will be? Even if every one of the highly rated prospects pans out, there will still be holes to plug, holes that might be unpluggable if the resources are spent on one contract.

Rosenthal’s report also included the nugget that Machado is hoping to move back to shortstop, the position he wants to play moving forward. While adding a player the caliber of Machado would obviously mean a team would make room for him, the White Sox are high on their own shortstop of the future, Tim Anderson.

But the bottom line in all of this is that a trade for Machado this week or this winter gets you one thing: Machado for the 2018 season, a season in which the White Sox are not expected to compete for a championship. Next winter, there will be more Twitter buzz about bringing Machado to the South Side, but that at least would only cost the White Sox money. Dealing away any one of the impressive group of prospects for one season of Machado is simply illogical.

The start to Lucas Giolito's 2018 season isn't getting any better: Saturday was 'about as bad as it could get'

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USA TODAY

The start to Lucas Giolito's 2018 season isn't getting any better: Saturday was 'about as bad as it could get'

Lucas Giolito has walked 19 hitters in just four starts.

Things are not going well.

That diagnosis can apply to just about every aspect of the 2018 White Sox so far. They lost in a blowout again Saturday night, this time by a 10-1 score, to drop to 4-13 on the season and 2-13 in their last 15 games. They’ve been outscored 50-15 in their last five games and 24-3 in the last 28 innings.

None of that is good.

But this rebuilding era, this developmental season was expected to have its share of bumps and bruises. What wasn’t expected was the poor play, to this point, of Giolito, who made such a great impression in his seven big league starts at the end of last season and during a dominant spring training.

On Opening Day, he said he felt like a new pitcher. He has been quite different in his first four starts of the regular season, but surely not in the way he hoped. He’s got 19 walks, just nine strikeouts and a 9.00 ERA. Saturday was his poorest outing yet: nine runs allowed, seven batters walked and just six outs recorded.

If you’re displeased with Giolito’s outing, know that he’s not happy about it either.

“Yeah, about as bad as it could get,” he said after the game. “I didn’t have a feel for much of anything. Seven walks, unacceptable. Put the bullpen in that situation, unacceptable. … It’s one of those ones that you throw away and move onto tomorrow and just continue to work on it.”

The problem is that every outing Giolito has made so far this season has approached that description. Against the Kansas City Royals, he walked four and gave up three runs in six innings. Against the Detroit Tigers, he walked three and gave up five runs in 5.2 innings. Against the Minnesota Twins, he walked five and gave up three earned runs in 6.1 innings.

Conditions have been brutal, obviously, with cold weather crippling much of Major League Baseball during this brutal first month of the season. All three of those outings came in very cold conditions, and Saturday’s game wasn’t exactly played in a tropical heat, either.

But the walks are piling up. No pitcher in baseball has issued as many free passes as Giolito.

“At this point I just need to kind of get my flow back,” he said. “I feel like my delivery, I’m not repeating much of anything. Very out of sync. So just need to go out there and kind of let it loose a little bit.”

“His first-pitch strikes were down, obviously. Kind of hard to work with batsmen when you’re behind in the count,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He tried to find his feel. … I think the walks were the biggest thing. You’ve got to command the zone, and hopefully as we continue to move forward and he continues to pitch, he continues to progress and improves on that aspect. In five days, we’ll throw him back out there and see where he’s at.”

As the losses keep coming for this team, they are easy enough to explain away as a product of the rebuild. Young players are spending this season developing at the major and minor league levels, and that doesn’t mean a juggernaut on the field on the South Side.

But the silver linings to all this losing are supposed to be progression of those young players. We’ve seen plenty of positives from the likes of Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson and Reynaldo Lopez at the major league level. And obviously each day brings more news of the fabulous feats the stocked farm system is accomplishing.

Giolito, though, is expected to be a pitcher that makes visible strides. He was so impressive at the end of last summer, throughout this spring, that he entered this season, in the opinion of plenty, as the best pitcher on the 25-man roster. And that still might be the case, but his performance hasn’t been the best. Neither have the results. Something hasn’t carried over from the spring, from the end of last year, and Giolito is still searching for what brought those high expectations in the first place.

“Obviously the mechanics have kind of gone away from where I was,” he said. “And on top of that just pressing and pressing to make it right again instead of just letting it loose.”

As Renteria said, Giolito will get another go real soon. But which Giolito will we see?

Daily White Sox prospects update: Michael Kopech strikes out 10 in latest outing

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Daily White Sox prospects update: Michael Kopech strikes out 10 in latest outing

Here's your daily update on what the White Sox highly touted prospects are doing in the minor leagues.

Triple-A Charlotte

Michael Kopech struck out 10 despite lasting just five innings and not getting the win Friday night. His ERA stands at 2.40 after giving up three runs. He's up to 21 strikeouts through three outings at Triple-A this season. Charlie Tilson and Casey Gillaspie each had a hit in the 4-1 loss.

Class A Winston-Salem

Joel Booker continued his scorching start, picking up three more hits, including a triple, and raising his batting average to .364 on the season. Luis Alexander Basabe also tripled, walked twice, scored two runs and drove in a run in a 10-3 loss.

Double-A Birmingham

Ian Clarkin allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out only one in his 5.1 innings of work. Seby Zavala had two hits and drove in two runs in a 7-2 loss.

Class A Kannapolis

Luis Gonzalez had a hit in a 4-1 win.