White Sox

The All-Chicago Team: 1990-1999

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The All-Chicago Team: 1990-1999

By Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz
CSNChicago.com

This spring, we at Cubs Talk and White Sox Talk have decided to unify Chicago's two baseball teams into one in an effort to pick out the best players to grace each side of the city over the last 50 years. Each Wednesday during spring training, we'll roll out a different All-Chicago team, beginning today with the best Cubs and White Sox players from 1990-1999. If you didn't catch our first installment, check out our 2000-2011 team.

Tony: I was excited for this list. I was a product of the '90s, growing up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and DougQuail Man. And the '98 Cubs team will stick with me as long as I live. I remember Kevin Tapani being the ace of that pitching staff, winning 19 games. So I thought he would be a lock for this list. But on closer examination, he actually had a poor 1998 season, with a 4.85 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Steve Trachsel, meanwhile, was a stalwart in the Cubs' rotation. Mind plays tricks on you, I guess. It also proves how inconsequential a statistic wins are for pitchers.

JJ: The '90s were a great time to grow up. I just wish we could've put Good Burger or Heavyweights on this list.

JJ: Catcher was once again a point of debate for us, with our decision coming down to Rick Wilkins vs. Ron Karkovice. Wilkins had a nice OBP, although not the longevity of Karkovice, but we went with Wilkins anyway. See a pattern here?

Tony: On memory, I thought Kark would be the choice at catcher. Or maybe Carlton Fisk. But upon looking at the numbers, the choice was Wilkins, albeit by a very narrow margin.

JJ: We had to fit Mark Grace on the team, so while Frank Thomas played most of the decade at that position, we moved him to designated hitter to give Grace his rightful spot on the roster.

Tony: I was ready to fight tooth and nail with JJ to get Grace as the starting first baseman over Big Frank, but fortunately, I didn't have to. Grace had the most hits and doubles of ANY player in the '90s, a truly incredible feat. It doesn't hurt that he's my all-time favorite player, either.

JJ: There were quite a few easy picks: Second base, third base and the entire outfield were selected with no debate.

Tony: I'm glad Andre Dawson was able to make it on this list, but it's almost a shame he didn't crack the starting lineup over Sammy Sosa. But no way we could leave Sosa off, despite all the controversy that has surrounded in him seemingly every facet of his life. It is a baseball list, after all, and he was a damn good baseball player.

JJ: The last starter came down to Steve Traschsel vs. Kevin Tapani, both of which are pretty meh. But Trachsel was better in the ERA department and was a workhorse, albeit about the slowest pitcher in all of the decade.

Tony: It was also pretty cool to see how many guys played for both teams in this decade. Tapani, Assenmacher, Lance Johnson, Sosa, Matt Karchner.

To the list:

C: Rick Wilkins
1B: Mark Grace
2B: Ryne Sandberg
3B: Robin Ventura
SS: Ozzie Guillen
LF: Tim Raines
CF: Lance Johnson
RF: Sammy Sosa
DH: Frank Thomas

Bench: Andre Dawson
Bench: Magglio Ordonez

SP: Greg Maddux
SP: Jack McDowell
SP: Wilson Alvarez
SP: Alex Fernandez
SP: Steve Trachsel

CL: Roberto Hernandez
RH reliever: Bobby Thigpen
LH reliever: Paul Assenmacher
The final word
Chuck Garfien and David Kaplan weigh in on the list from Arizona (also, if you ever wondered what Kap's ringtone is, you can find out below):

Check back next Wednesday for the All-Decade team of the 1980s!

Avisail Garcia, slated for offseason knee surgery, has been playing hurt since Opening Day

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USA TODAY

Avisail Garcia, slated for offseason knee surgery, has been playing hurt since Opening Day

While some players' seasons have been open for interpretation, it's been an undeniably disappointing one for Avisail Garcia.

Turns out there's a good reason for the big change in his production from 2017 to 2018.

Garcia's battles with injuries this year have been no secret, but the White Sox outfielder revealed Tuesday that it's literally been going on all season long. He said that he felt something in his knee on Opening Day and that he's played hurt throughout the entire season. He also reported that he'll have arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 2, two days after the end of the season.

"Opening Day, I feel something in my knee," he said. "I had been feeling something, something, something and then I started feeling my hammy because I think I was favoring it. Especially because it’s my right knee, and that’s where all my power is. It’s crazy, but it is what it is.

"It’s sore. Every time I go home, it’s a little swollen. But I’m going to fix it soon. It’s been a crazy year, not for me, but for the whole team. Thank god we are alive and we are here. We have a chance. Let’s see what happens next year."

Garcia did make two trips to the disabled list this season, both due to an injured hamstring, which he said stemmed from the hurting knee. He played in 88 of the team's first 154 games, with six remaining on the schedule heading into Tuesday night's contest with the visiting Cleveland Indians.

Entering 2018, Garcia had the tall task of repeating his breakout campaign from a season before, when he made his first career All-Star appearance and posted some of the best offensive numbers in the American League with a .330 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage. During this injury-filled season, those numbers plummeted to .238 and .278.

"It’s been difficult. Difficult year," he said. "Nothing that I can do. I’ve been playing like this the whole season. Just gotta play and get after it, so it is what it is. I can’t control that. I can control what I do on the field.

"(The knee injury has) always been there. Everybody knows it’s hard when you get injury and then sit down and then go play and then sit down again. It’s hard to be consistent like that. This game is difficult so you have to be out there every day so you get to used to it and it’s hard to play like this. But it is what it is. It’s not an excuse. Everybody knows that. I’ve been playing like this so I’m trying to do my best."

Obviously, it's tough to judge Garcia's follow up to his All-Star season knowing how much his knee bothered him. But it still leaves unanswered the question of what his place is in the organization's long-term plans. He's under team control for one more season. The White Sox have the flexibility to do one of many things this offseason: keep him for one more season, try to trade him this offseason, hold on to him and try to trade him to a contending club next summer or extend him and keep him in the mix for when rebuilding mode transitions to contention mode. Garcia is just 27 years old.

Garcia said he'll be "100-percent" ready for spring training next year, and should his health be back to normal, his prove-it campaign that was supposed to come in 2018 could come in 2019. But there's also a wave of outfield prospects making its way toward the South Side that includes Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo and plenty of others. So no matter what statistics Garcia might be shooting for, the pressure will be on to show he's a safer bet than all that young talent.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Daniel Palka on Palkamania and his breakout season

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Daniel Palka on Palkamania and his breakout season

Chuck Garfien speaks with White Sox outfielder Daniel Palka who as a 26-year-old rookie has come out of nowhere to become one of the White Sox most popular players in 2018.  They talk about the time Palka gave a pitcher a black eye in Little League, how he used to be a relief pitcher at Georgia Tech,  why the Twins gave him up on him, the time when Chuck called Palka’s walkoff homer this year, his friendship with Kyle Schwarber and more.   

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