White Sox

Alex Gordon: 'White Sox were definitely interested'

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Alex Gordon: 'White Sox were definitely interested'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Though he mostly avoided the rumors during free agency, Alex Gordon said Saturday he was very aware the White Sox had interest in him.

Sitting at his stall in the cushy and newly renovated clubhouse at Surprise Stadium, the Kansas City Royals veteran outfielder said the White Sox were one of his strongest suitors in the offseason. Ultimately, Gordon got his wish and returned to Kansas City, the only team he’s ever known. He signed a four-year, $72-million deal in January.

“Sox were definitely interested,” Gordon said. “They were up there. I like them, yeah. But it worked out the way it was supposed to. They were definitely in there though.

“(Kansas City) was my No. 1 option.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: Jacob Turner starts spring in strong fashion]

Hard to fault Gordon, who turned 32 last month.

The Royals drafted the Nebraska product with the second pick in 2005. He reached the big leagues in 2007 and bore witness to six straight losing seasons. The Royals averaged a 70-92 mark in that span.

But everything has changed for the better since 2013, including two straight American League pennants and a World Series title last season. Now, Gordon has a chance to spend his entire career around the “family”-like atmosphere the Royals have created.

“After every conversation I had with (agent Casey Close) it was always, ‘Have the Royals said anything?’” Gordon said. “This is where I grew up. Its where I wanted to be. Coming from the bad times to really cherish the good times, why not stay here?”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

There were plenty of rumors about where Gordon may land in December and January. At first it looked as if the sides may not reunite. Then the White Sox entered the fray. And then a report surfaced that the White Sox were confident about their chances of landing either Gordon or Yoenis Cespedes.

Gordon said he stayed out of the process and trusted Close.

“It was different,” Gordon said. “It was something I’ve never experienced, but the whole time I was just telling myself to be patient and not get frustrated with the process. I’ve got a really good agent. He took good care of me and kept me in the loop the whole time. But it ended up the way I wanted it to end up.”

The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

Dylan Cease's ERA is still north of 5.75.

He's not a finished product, no matter how much anyone wants him to be one.

"It would be ideal for me — and my ability to sleep — and everyone’s mood if these guys came up and dominated immediately," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday. "In reality there is a little bit of a learning process that goes on."

All these results, the ones that have contributed to that ugly ERA and some generally ugly outings over Cease's first couple months in the major leagues, are learning moments. Not convinced on the effectiveness of those learning moments? Just look to Lucas Giolito, who took all the struggles he had in 2018 and turned them into an All-Star 2019 season in which he's blossomed into the ace of the staff.

But, despite the hype, these guys aren't coming up finished products.

Cease, though, has flashed the potential that has earned him all that hype, and in no outing did he flash more of it than he did in Friday night's start against the visiting Texas Rangers.

Following the theme that seems to be developing in Cease starts, he had a pretty lousy inning early in the game, in this case the very first inning, in which he served up a three-run homer. The theme continues, though, that Cease usually uses all that composure and maturity everyone's always raving about to settle down and pitch a decent game. Friday night, he was more than decent. After the first inning, Cease retired the next 11 batters he faced and allowed just two hits (both singles) over five scoreless innings.

Cease, following in the tradition of perfectionist pitchers everywhere, hasn't been happy with previous outings that followed a similar script. This time, he was pleased. Maybe something to do with the career-best nine strikeouts.

"To me, that was just a huge confidence boost right there. Now I just need to not let those big innings happen," Cease said. "That's definitely my best start of the year today, besides that first inning."

"You had a couple of things going on," manager Rick Renteria said. "He had a rough first, we scored some runs, he holds them. We scored some more runs, he holds them. He kept doing that throughout. It's a big push. You see, there's a confidence-builder in that particular outing today. He should be happy how he ended up redirecting himself and righting the ship."

Cease's ability to do just that, right the ship, might give him a bit of a head start on his developmental process at the major league level. After all, Giolito and James McCann talk frequently about that issue plaguing Giolito in 2018. When things went wrong early, Giolito couldn't get back on track. He's been able to this year, contributing to his success. If Cease can do that from the day he hits the majors, that's a plus.

And if that's a tool Cease already has in his tool box, then the next step would be eliminating those early troubles. As good as Cease has looked at times, those numbers aren't lying. He's given up 32 earned runs in his 50 big league innings. He's given up 11 home runs in nine starts and has yet to have an outing without allowing a homer. Walks have been a sporadic issue: He walked just one batter in each of his last two starts but walked five in the outing prior and has three starts this year with at least four walks.

Again, learning process.

"His stuff is — it's electric stuff," Renteria said. "Sometimes you wonder, 'How can they hit him?' or 'How can they do this?' It's just (that they are) big league hitters. You leave something out over the plate or something they can manage, and they're going to do what they can do with it.

"As long as he continues to execute and use that stuff that he has, he's going to be OK."

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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's Elvis night on the South Side

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's Elvis night on the South Side

Scott Podsednik and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on Baseball Night in Chicago to discuss all things baseball.

They talk Yoan Moncada's comeback, Eloy Jiménez's injury, the Cubs' continuing bullpen struggles and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: