White Sox

The app that's redefining the way White Sox players work out

The app that's redefining the way White Sox players work out

Similar to many other aspects of sports, technology has invaded and improved the White Sox strength and conditioning program.

The White Sox have streamlined their program with the aide of the CoachMePlus application, which allows players to participate in offseason workouts wherever they are.

While the in-season benefits are extremely helpful in creating an electronic, real-time log of a player’s activities, the most significant benefit comes in October. As long as they have an internet connection, players can log in from anywhere to learn what strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas has designed. The app not only offers a detailed workout plan, it provides video examples of each exercise and a chance to comment and the ability to update the activities completed as they occur.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from -- if you have internet in the Dominican, it works there just as well,” Thomas said. “All they’ve got to do is pull their iPad up and it’s right there for them. A virtual coach, really.

“Just follow the offseason condition program and they’ll be fine. I’ve never in 20 years had a problem with any player that has followed the program.”

Thomas said the White Sox began to use CoachMePlus, which bills itself as “the leader in Strength and Conditioning and Applied Sports Science provides the most complete tool for safely preparing your athletes for competition” five seasons ago. According to its web site, the company has been in operation since 2007 and it’s many applications are used by other professional teams as well as universities.

One of its most practical uses for the White Sox -- aside from the hydration program they also employ -- is in the creation of an offseason program tailored to each athlete. One of a strength and conditioning coordinator’s biggest fears is that his player shows up to spring training over weight and out of shape.

But with a program individually tailored to each athlete in any language and real-time updates, Thomas knows if players have kept up. He said it has taken several years for players to get accustomed to the idea. But once they’re on board, it’s easy.

Jose Abreu had Thomas help him design a home gym customized to the way the first baseman likes to workout. If Abreu isn’t sure about how to perform an exercise, he can hit the play button on the right side of the screen and a video example pops up.

“It’s a very useful and helpful app because that gives you the regiment you have to do in the offseason and that helps you to be in the best shape possible when you go to spring training,” Abreu said through an interpreter.

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The applications have plenty of value for the White Sox during the season, too.

Paper records for each player’s physical regimen are no more. Weigh-ins, which occur every time a player walks into the clubhouse, are sent straight to the database as Thomas has the scale linked via blue tooth to the application.

“It saves quite a bit of time especially on bi-weekly and monthly reports,” Thomas said. “If I wanted to go look at Abreu’s weight, I can see every one since spring training and it’s charted, a pie chart and a line graph.”

The record-keeping also allows for cohesion between minor league affiliates and the major leagues when a player moves between different levels. When he was promoted in April to fill in for Melky Cabrera on his three-day paternity leave, Willy Garcia’s charts went with him electronically. Thomas then knew the rookie needed to perform a wall series when he joined the team in Minneapolis.

Double-A Birmingham strength coach Tim Rodmaker said the app makes life in the minors, where lengthy travel is the norm, much easier.

“The schedules are hectic,” said Rodmaker, in his 12th season with the organization and third with the Barons. “The travel, the game times, sometimes it’s hard enough just to get a hold of each other beyond text message or a voice mail. So it’s more of a real time, we can log in, especially when we have players changing affiliates, we can check previous workouts and get a sense where he’s going.”

The White Sox have learned what they like and don’t with the app over the past five years.

Similar to how workouts are tailored to individual players, Thomas said the club has worked with the app’s developers to fine tune it to the needs of the White Sox. Given the improved communication and record-keeping, Thomas couldn’t see the White Sox running the department any other way.

“It’s getting to where it’s just like anything --- it takes a little bit of tweaking here and there to getting it to what you want,” Thomas said. “We’ve worked with the developers and they’ve helped us tailor it to what we want. CoachMePlus has been great.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

The crew wraps up the final day of the Winter Meetings for the White Sox.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Ryan McGuffey talk about a rumored deal between the White Sox and the Red Sox (2:41) that would move some pieces around.

Rick Hahn speaks for the final time in San Diego and the guys react to his comments.

Later, they debate why fans are disappointed with the White Sox and the outcome for the team at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

SAN DIEGO — David Price on the South Side? Maybe.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have had trade conversations involving Price with at least five teams, and the White Sox are “in play” for the veteran left-hander.

Boston is trying to shed salary, and getting rid of the $96 million remaining on Price’s deal over the next three years would be a good way to accomplish that goal.

The White Sox, given their financial flexibility, are a team that could absorb that kind of money in a trade. While much discussion of Rick Hahn’s statement in February that “the money will be spent” has focused on high-priced free agents, the general manager said Wednesday that such fiscal positioning could be beneficial on the trade market, too.

“Absolutely,” he said during his final media session of the Winter Meetings. “You’ve seen over the years us use our financial flexibility to acquire some contracts. I think back to the (Joakim) Soria trade with the Dodgers. The thing we brought to the table there was the ability to absorb some contracts. That flexibility doesn’t always have to be spent on free agents.”

But here’s the thing. ESPN’s Jeff Passan got this whole Price conversation going when he reported the interest of multiple teams on Tuesday, and he suggested the Red Sox might be able to ship Price out of town if they included a “player of value.” A young player with affordable club control would sweeten any such deal, and speculation latched onto outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who is under team control for three more years.

That’s the kind of deal — before we hear what it could cost, obviously — that would look like a good one for the White Sox.

Well, another nugget in Feinsand’s report throws that idea out the window.

“One scenario that has been floated in recent weeks would have the Red Sox attaching a young player — Andrew Benintendi's name has been mentioned often — to Price in order to dump the pitcher's contract.

“A source said that concept has not been considered by Boston's front office — nor will it be, especially not with Benintendi.

“‘That's not going to happen,’ the source said.”

If that’s the case, if the Red Sox are talking about a Price trade that doesn’t involve a young, controllable player coming back, is there any reason for the White Sox to consider such a move? Is there any reason to trade for Price alone?

The White Sox do need pitching, quite badly, as a matter of fact. Their quest for two arms to add to the starting rotation has yielded no additions yet, with their high bid for Zack Wheeler spurned in favor of a lower offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Price would be an upgrade to the White Sox rotation, and they could potentially get him without having to give up any of their prized prospects (a trade involving someone like Benintendi might cost a high-level prospect, in addition to salary relief).

After turning in some memorable performances during the Red Sox championship run in 2018, Price got off to a great start in 2019, with a 3.16 ERA in his first 17 starts. But due to a cyst in his wrist, he made only two starts over the season’s final two months. He finished with a 4.28 ERA, second highest of his career.

Considering the White Sox are heading into 2020 with just three rotation spots spoken for, they could do a lot worse than Price from a production standpoint. But the veteran lefty doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a clubhouse presence. NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase listed several red flags in a recent piece: “He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily. He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.”

Do the White Sox need those headaches? Aren’t there options out there, via trade or free agency, that would bring in similar levels of production without all that other stuff? It doesn’t seem like a young team that is developing what appears to be a very positive culture needs someone who “consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse.”

Now, if someone like Benintendi — or, for example, the large contract of designated hitter J.D. Martinez — comes along with him, maybe it’s a pill you’re willing to swallow. Of course, that would require other unpleasant possibilities, such as letting a recent first-round draft pick like Nick Madrigal or Andrew Vaughn go. Hahn talked about the team’s unwillingness to deal away its prized prospects for a short-term gain. The White Sox lost a combined 195 games to end up with the draft picks that produced Madrigal and Vaughn. That was an awful lot of suffering just to trade those guys away.

A potential Price trade has its upsides, but ones contingent on other aspects of such a deal. If those aspects go by the wayside, acquiring Price doesn’t make quite as much sense.

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