White Sox

Amid constant trade buzz, Rick Renteria says White Sox players handling rumor mill well

Amid constant trade buzz, Rick Renteria says White Sox players handling rumor mill well

We all know that Ricky’s boys don’t quit.

Apparently, they don’t flinch, either.

According to the South Side skipper, the players whose names keep popping up in an endless stream of July trade rumors are handling all that buzz quite well.

“Yesterday we actually talked as a group. We all know that there are certain things you’re going to be able to control, that’s what they’re trying to do,” Rick Renteria said. “They know that regardless of how things change, the game still keeps going and you have got to keep going after your business.”

While Renteria’s media session ahead of Saturday night’s game with the visiting Seattle Mariners was light on specifics, third baseman Todd Frazier is the one who’s been the topic of the most-discussed rumors of the day.

Just two days after the White Sox sent starting staff ace Jose Quintana to the other side of town for yet another huge prospect haul, Frazier is the baseball world’s odds-on favorite to be the next to go. The Boston Red Sox have a hole at the hot corner after designating Pablo Sandoval for assignment, and Frazier has been mentioned as a logical fit, with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal saying Saturday that a deal between the two teams involving Frazier “seems almost inevitable.”

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But there Frazier was in the White Sox lineup for Saturday’s game. And there he was putting on his White Sox uniform in the home clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field. And there he was taking batting practice and infield practice like it was any other day.

That’s what Renteria finds so impressive, about the way Frazier is acting and everyone else involved in these rumors and reports.

“I’m very impressed,” he said. “From a day-to-day operations type of stance, they’ve been really good. I don’t think they make it an issue amongst each other or with anybody here in terms of the coaching staff or the front office. They go about doing their business. I think they’re carrying themselves as true professionals of which I have a tremendous amount of respect for all those guys.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty. I think they’re doing a great job of handling all those things and trying to do the best they can as professionals for the Chicago White Sox.”

What is a near certainty is that other moves will follow this week’s blockbuster crosstown swap involving Quintana. In addition to Frazier, high-performing veterans like David Robertson, Anthony Swarzak and Melky Cabrera could all be trade targets for contending teams. The White Sox, meanwhile, are a last-place club looking to keep stocking the farm system in the first stage of their much-anticipated rebuild.

The fact of the rebuild alone entering this season had to make this deluge of midseason rumors seem like more than just a possibility, not only to fans and observers but to the players, as well.

But even with that knowledge coming into 2017 and even with the professional attitude Renteria’s players are bringing, dealing with the fact that you could be traded at any moment isn’t an easy task.

“I think that’s a natural consequence of the business that we’re in, the uncertainty sometimes of the way things are, how the landscape ends up being laid out,” Renteria said. “They try to concentrate on the things they can control, prepare to do what they’ve got to do every single day. And I think in the end, the best thing for all of us to do is concentrate on what we have in front of us at this particular moment.

“Maybe that eases it a little bit. They have other waking moments in which they’re probably talking about it or thinking about it. I’m sure they have people that contact them and wonder also what’s going on. But I think they try to remove themselves from the fray, and they remain composed and focused on what they have to do at the present time.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Michael Kopech prepares for The Show

Pete McMurray, David Haugh and Ben Finfer join David Kaplan on the panel and discuss the long-awaited arrival of Michael Kopech for the White Sox, Yu Darvish's short rehab start and Mitch Trubisky's second preseason game.

Plus, they discuss new NFL rules and when Eloy Jimenez could get his call up.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

Chris Getz on Michael Kopech: 'He’s got no interest in being second best'

With his MLB debut a day away, the Michael Kopech hype train is rolling full steam ahead.

Chris Getz, the White Sox farm director, did nothing to really slow that train down. Getz was interviewed during the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast and it was all about the pitching prospect and his upcoming debut.

“His stuff is unique,” Getz said. “It’s front-line repertoire, there’s no question. But he’s got such a competitive mindset. He’s got no interest in being second best. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great person. He’s everything you ask for in a guy to be on a team to compete for championships.”

Getz said Kopech has become more confident with his curveball in his last six or seven starts. The “six or seven starts” timeframe is something both general manager Rick Hahn and Charlotte Knights pitching coach Steve McCatty said verbatim in other interviews on Monday. Apparently they saw what they wanted to in terms of Kopech’s development.

Kopech had a 1.84 ERA with 59 strikeouts and four walks in 44 innings in his last seven starts with the Knights. He also didn’t walk any batters in his last three starts over 20 innings.

“He’s got a lot of momentum going right now,” Getz said. “He’s in a very good position for success. He’s right where you want a player to be when we graduate them to the major leagues.”

McCatty, when talking about Kopech on ESPN 1000 with Fred Huebner, said Kopech’s fastball, slider and curveball are all plus pitches.

McCatty also has some experience with big time prospects coming up to the majors. He was the Nationals pitching coach when Stephen Strasburg made his major league debut in 2010. He had some advice for Kopech for his White Sox debut.

“I told him make sure you’re not throwing 102 in the first inning,” McCatty said with a laugh. “He’s gonna be exciting. He’s a specially talented kid. There’s no question about it.”

In Getz’s in-game interview with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone, Benetti asked about Kopech’s upside. Getz didn’t temper expectations in his response.

“To be a front end guy,” Getz said. “He’s got all the ingredients that all the best pitchers have. Michael, he’s going to be himself. He’s got a great personality. He’s got great stuff on the mound. He’s just going to be a guy that’s got a chance to be in the major leagues for a long time at the front end of a major league staff. In terms of throwing comparisons out there, there’s no need to do that. He’s going to be himself and he’s going to be a good one.”