White Sox

After the Rodriguez acquisition, are the Pirates here to stay?

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After the Rodriguez acquisition, are the Pirates here to stay?

While many expected Ryan Dempster to be one of the first dominoes to fall in the starting pitcher market at the trade deadline, he still remains in a Cubs uniform.

But several other starters have already been dealt, including Wandy Rodriguez, who went from the Astros to the Pirates Tuesday night.

Rodriguez, 33, isn't a star, but he's a very solid lefty who has put up a 52-51 record to go with a 3.45 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 141 starts the last five seasons. He leads the league with 21 starts this year, boasting a 3.79 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. But his 6.1 K9 is the lowest it's been since his rookie season in 2005.

The Pirates gave up three fringe prospects -- Colton Cain (which is an awesome name, by the way), Robbie Grossman and Rudy Owens -- and held on to their top young arms -- Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole. None of the three players headed back to Houston were drafted above the sixth round.

That being said, Grossman has a career on-base percentage of .379 in the minor leagues and drew 104 walks last season in high-A ball. Cain is just 21 and throws left-handed. Owens is more advanced at age 24, but he has a 3.14 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 19 Triple-A starts this season.

Though none of the three guys looks ticketed for stardom, it was still a nice haul for the Astros. But they aren't the Cubs' problem after this season, as they will be headed to the AL West.

The Pirates, meanwhile, are showing that they are a force to be reckoned with and they intend to compete for a long time in the NL Central. They handed Andrew McCutchen a mega contract extension in the offseason and now add Rodriguez to their rotation through the 2014 season.

Veterans A.J. Burnett and Erik Bedard are having resurgent seasons in the Pittsburgh rotation to go along with breakout star James McDonald. Rodriguez gives the Pirates four good starters, something that will definitely come in handy during a playoff push.

Guys like Taillon and Cole are probably not too far away from cracking the big-league rotation, and Rodriguez may very well still be around when they get their first taste.

The trade didn't break the bank with the Pirates' small-market finances, either. The Astros will contribute at least 10 million and potentially as much as 17 million to Rodriguez's salary over the next three seasons.

The Reds and Cardinals figure to be in the thick of things in the NL Central for years to come and the Cubs are on the rise. But a move like this proves the Pirates don't plan on going away anytime soon, either.

Will an arbitration raise price Yolmer Sanchez off the White Sox 2020 roster?

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Will an arbitration raise price Yolmer Sanchez off the White Sox 2020 roster?

Yolmer Sanchez could win a Gold Glove in the coming weeks. He could also be looking for a new job.

That’s the tough situation the White Sox face with the guy who served as their starting second baseman during the 2019 season. He did a very, very nice job of playing second base, too. Not sure what your defensive metric of choice is, but the commonly used defensive runs saved (DRS) stat says Sanchez was the best defensive second baseman in the American League and the second best in baseball, behind only Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals.

But the offensive numbers are the offensive numbers, the only reason we’re not calling Sanchez a slam-dunk Gold Glove winner, as that award has a habit of honoring the defensively and offensively gifted instead of just the defensive aces. Sanchez slashed .252/.318/.321 in 2019 with two home runs and 43 RBIs. The 10 triples he hit in 2018 to lead the AL dropped to four in 2019, and his doubles plummeted from 34 to 20.

With hotshot prospect Nick Madrigal — who has his own reputation as a sensational defender, the newly minted winner of a minor league Gold Glove — figuring to take over at second base in the early portion of the 2020 season, Sanchez’s time was already running out as far as being an everyday major leaguer. But Madrigal’s ascent isn’t the reason the White Sox might be forced to part ways with Sanchez this winter. Money is.

Sanchez is set to receive a multi-million-dollar raise through the arbitration process, something we figured was coming for a while now. But MLB Trade Rumors put a dollar amount on that raise last week, when the site released its annual arbitration projections. Sanchez made $4.625 million in 2019. In 2020, so says MLB Trade Rumors, he’s set to make $6.2 million through the arbitration process.

And that will likely price him off the White Sox roster.

Sanchez has plenty of value to this White Sox team, to be sure. He’s a great clubhouse presence, a versatile infielder and a guy who plays great defense. Manager Rick Renteria lauded the quality of Sanchez’s at-bats at the end of the season. But $6.2 million is probably just too much to pay for a backup infielder who doesn’t do much in the way of hitting, especially with that money needed to do so much more for the White Sox during what's expected to be a busy and important offseason.

It's not like the team won't be covered. The White Sox can hang onto Leury Garcia, who MLB Trade Rumors projected is due for a $4 million payday through arbitration. Garcia not only plays all the infield positions Sanchez plays, if not as exceptionally, but can play all three outfield spots, too. Danny Mendick can stick around for a fraction of the cost and man second base until Madrigal arrives from the minor leagues, perhaps even sticking around as the backup infielder Sanchez would be after that.

It’s all part of the shifting landscape with a White Sox team looking to transition from rebuilding to contending. As many fans as Sanchez deservedly won with his fun-loving personality and Gatorade-bucket related antics during postgame celebrations, he’s an example of the kind of light-hitting player the White Sox will continue to move on from as their roster simply gets better. You can expect Sanchez to be just one of those fading figures. A contending lineup probably doesn't have much room for the Adam Engels and Ryan Cordells and Daniel Palkas and Matt Skoles, either, as the front office look to stuff the roster with young, core players like Madrigal and Luis Robert as well as bigger-name offseason additions in the coming months.

As for the rest of the arbitration-eligible White Sox the front office will have to either commit to or non-tender, most would figure to be easy decisions. James McCann is projected to receive $4.9 million, Carlos Rodon is projected to receive $4.5 million, Evan Marshall is projected to receive $1.3 million. Those are all affordable salaries for a starting catcher, a starting pitcher and a reliever coming off a strong season. Likewise, after he was used 57 times, Josh Osich could certainly return to the bullpen mix. He's projected to get $1 million.

Conversations might be had about whether Alex Colome is worth a projected $10.3 million, but he has racked up 126 saves in the last four seasons and just finished the 2019 campaign with a 2.80 ERA, his lowest since 2016. He saved 30 games in 33 attempts, one of the best conversation rates in the game, and though his 3.91 second-half ERA compares rather poorly to his 2.02 first-half ERA, he remains one of the more reliable late-inning men around. It’s a safe bet he’ll be back, considering the White Sox didn’t deal him at the trade deadline like they did with their closers in the two seasons prior — and certainly they knew an arbitration raise would be coming when they made that decision.

The only other name heretofore unaddressed is Ryan Goins, who like Garcia boasts positional versatility in both the infield and outfield. He played six positions, including designated hitter, for the White Sox in his 52 games with the big league club this season. His projection is a very affordable $900,000, but he turned in a less-than-memorable offensive season. We'll see what happens there.

Now, remember these are projections, so if the White Sox offer these guys contracts and avoid arbitration altogether, the final numbers could obviously be different. But like Avisail Garcia last offseason, perhaps Sanchez is a victim of the projected increase in salary more than any lack of desire to keep him around, a rather large element when looking to project the White Sox bench for the 2020 season.

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Guest Ricky O’Donnell on the future with Zach LaVine

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Guest Ricky O’Donnell on the future with Zach LaVine

Kevin Anderson is joined by SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell to talk Zach LaVine and the Bulls preseason.

0:55 - On Zach LaVine’s preseason and if he is the true star on this Bulls team

3:00 - What should we expect from LaVine this season?

4:45 - LaVine’s true ceiling is…

7:00 - Can LaVine be a top-3 scorer in the NBA?

9:15 - Concerns over Lauri Markkanen

12:40 - On the LaVine and Lauri 2-man game

15:50 - Ricky explains why he’s optimistic on the Bulls

17:25 - On Bulls depth and White vs. Dunn in rotation

21:15 - Expectations for Bulls win total this season

24:00 - Are Raptors likely to make the postseason?

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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