White Sox

A Matt Kemp trade makes no sense for White Sox, but what about other available DH options?


A Matt Kemp trade makes no sense for White Sox, but what about other available DH options?

The White Sox aren't going to trade for Matt Kemp.

There's no inside info to support that declaration, but come on. Why in the world would a rebuilding team give up anything to bring aboard a 33-year-old who is owed an outrageous $43 million over the next two seasons?

FanRag's Jon Heyman proposed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for Kemp, who has nowhere to play in the Los Angeles Dodgers' crowded — not to mention contending — outfield. He acknowledged that the likelihood of a trade is low, which is pretty obvious, but connected the two parties because of the White Sox earlier reported interest in adding a designated hitter before the 2018 campaign gets going.

The way this free-agent market has moved means there are plenty of options available should the White Sox want to go down that road. And if the Dodgers can't find a trade partner to take Kemp off their hands, they could just flat out release him, adding him to the group of free agents still looking for 2018 homes.

Taking his contract out of the equation, Kemp undoubtedly becomes more attractive. But would he be the most attractive option out there? He played in just 115 games last season, slashing .276/.318/.463, though he showed some power potential with 19 home runs — not to mention the homer he hit against the White Sox in this spring's Cactus League opener. But only 45 of his 64 RBIs last year came from driving in someone besides himself for the 72-win Atlanta Braves. Granted, he's just two seasons removed from hitting 35 homers and driving in 108 runs in 2016.

Is Kemp an upgrade over the guy currently slated to get the majority of the at-bats at designated hitter? Matt Davidson bested Kemp in the home-run department last season, smacking 26 of them, the second most on the team after Jose Abreu's 33 roundtrippers. But Davidson had some glaring holes in his offensive game last season, most specifically when it came to getting on base. He had a .260 on-base percentage last year and walked just 19 times in 118 games. Kemp wasn't much better, walking only 27 times in his 115 games.

If Kemp is the lone alternative, why deprive Davidson of the chance to prove himself worthy of future consideration? After all, this White Sox team isn't expected to compete for a championship in 2018. Plus, Davidson already has five hits, two homers and two walks in 12 spring plate appearances.

But Kemp isn't the lone alternative. Because baseball's offseason has extended deep into spring training, there are a bunch of options out there, even if few of them really get White Sox fans' revved up about the possibility of them coming to the South Side. Here are five unsigned guys: Adam Lind, Mark Reynolds, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Carlos Gonzalez.

Lind had a .362 on-base percentage in a reserve role for the Washington Nationals last season. Reynolds hit 30 homers and drove in 97 runs for the Colorado Rockies. Cabrera has familiarity with the White Sox and bashed out 30 doubles in 2017. Bautista was not good in his final season with the Toronto Blue Jays but is just two years removed from posting a .366 on-base percentage and three years removed from a 40-homer season. Gonzalez also had a down year in 2017 with the Rockies but has a heck of a track record and is just two seasons removed from 100 RBIs and a .298/.350/.505 slash line in 2016.

It would figure that any of those guys would be an improvement over what Davidson gave the White Sox in 2017. But the same point made in regard to Kemp applies to most of those guys, as well. These would all be short-term moves for a team in long-term mode. Only one of those five names, Gonzalez, is under 33 years old (and he's 32). What does adding Reynolds or Bautista for 2018 do for the White Sox and their much-discussed plan to build a perennial contender? What does taking at-bats away from Davidson and giving them to someone in their mid-30s accomplish? Perhaps it makes the White Sox more competitive in 2018, but none of the available free agents seem to be a big-enough impact bat to push the White Sox into the postseason.

The best-case scenario, given what the White Sox are expected to do this season, is that adding one of these veterans would provide a potential midseason trade chip. And that could be valuable, depending on how the addition would perform in the season's first half. But remember the White Sox had Cabrera and traded him last year, acquiring a pair of prospects who aren't exactly among the most buzz-worthy in the farm system.

The good news is that there's really no wrong answer considering how the offseason has played out league-wide. If the White Sox want to add a veteran bat, there's likely a bargain to be had. Any move would be a low-risk one considering the White Sox expectations.

Any move except a trade for Kemp.

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again? 'I think my time's going to come up, maybe'

Will Ozzie Guillen ever manage again?

He was the guy who helped bring a World Series championship to the South Side in 2005 hasn't been a big league skipper since 2012, in his one ill-fated season managing the Miami Marlins. But his name has come up as a social-media suggestion for open jobs for years, including just two winters ago when the White Sox needed to replace Robin Ventura.

But Guillen, who spent eight seasons as the White Sox manager, said on the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast that he hasn't interviewed for any jobs since leaving the Marlins and discussed the trend of hiring young managers who just recently finished their playing careers.

"A couple tried, not to interview me but say, 'Can we talk to you about it?' And I knew I'm not going to be the manager of that team," Guillen told NBC Sports Chicago's Chuck Garfien. "When you look at the manager list, you're going to interview me and you have kid, kid, kid, kid, kid, Ozzie. What's the chance I'm going to manage that team? None. 'Thank you for thinking about me,' and it's cool.

"I've known I'm not going to be the guy because the list. Before, they interview you for a managing job, it's two or three or four guys. Now they've got 30. Nowadays, it's harder to become a manager than win the World Series. Because there are so many interviews.

But does that mean he'll never manage again?

"I think my time's going to come up, maybe," Guillen said. "I always think about (former Florida Marlins manager) Jack McKeon. Jack McKeon was out of baseball for 30 years and all of a sudden came out and won the World Series (in 2003). ... I hope I don't die before that. Jack was 70-plus when he was managing. But we'll see."

Guillen talked about his hopes to be more involved in the White Sox organization after the way his tenure ended back in 2011, saying he hopes to be at spring training with the team one day.

"I'd like to go to spring training with them, that's the first time I'm going to say that, just because I see everybody in baseball, they're bringing former players to the field," he said. "But the problem is, I go there, here we go. 'Why is it ... you're coming here?'

"I don't (want to be a distraction), and I never will be."

Hear more of Garfien's interview with Guillen on the White Sox Talk Podcast.

Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?


Eighteen White Sox questions for 2018: Will Avisail Garcia be on the White Sox by season's end?

White Sox fans might have their eyes on the future, but the 2018 season has plenty of intrigue all its own. As Opening Day nears, let's take a look at the 18 most pressing questions for the 2018 edition of the South Side baseball team.

Avisail Garcia was great last year for the White Sox.

But does that mean he's a long-term part of this rebuilding team or a potential trade piece?

How Garcia follows things up in 2018 will go a long way in determining the answer to that question, as well as a perhaps more pressing one: Will Garcia still be on the White Sox when the 2018 campaign comes to a close?

Whatever your scouting-eye impressions might have been, statistically, Garcia was one of baseball's best hitters last season. He ranked second in the American League with a .346 batting average. Only league MVP Jose Altuve ranked above Garcia. The White Sox right fielder also ranked sixth in the AL with a .380 on-base percentage. His .885 OPS ranked in the top 10 in the Junior Circuit.

It was the much-anticipated breakout for a guy who's had big expectations ever since he hit the bigs as a 21-year-old in 2012, when he carried a pressure-packed comparison to Detroit Tigers teammate and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. After coming to the South Side in a mid-2013 trade, his first three seasons were impacted by injuries and featured an unimpressive .250/.308/.380 slash line with only 32 homers in 314 games.

But last season, that all changed. He had a career year, slashing .330/.380/.506 with 18 homers, 80 RBIs, 27 doubles and 171 hits. Garcia was named to the AL All-Star team and established himself as the second best hitter on a team where the best hitter, Jose Abreu, is one of baseball's most productive and most consistent.

So can he do it again? That remains to be seen, of course. The scale of the improvements in so many statistical categories make one think that Garcia being able to do it two years in a row would almost be as surprising or more surprising than him doing it just once.

But if Garcia can repeat his performance, at least in the season's first few months, he could potentially draw the eyes of numerous contending teams looking for a bat to add to their lineups. One season of production perhaps wasn't enough to demand the kind of return package Rick Hahn's front office got in return for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana. But a few good months at the outset of 2018 could draw plenty of interest, making the question of whether Garcia will stay in a White Sox uniform for the entirety of the season a valid one.

All that being said, Garcia's situation — he's under team control for two more seasons — allows the White Sox to be flexible. Garcia's still young, entering his age-27 season. The White Sox could opt to keep a talented hitter, extend him and make him a part of the rebuilding effort, penciling him into the lineup of the future alongside younger hitters like Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert. Or they could wait to move him, perhaps next offseason or at the 2019 trade deadline.

But Garcia's performance will dictate how viable each of those options ends up being. He finally put it all together in 2017. In 2018, he'll have to keep it all together.