White Sox

Big Hurt 2.0? Frank Thomas confirms Aaron Judge is a large man after meeting at MLB All-Star Game

Big Hurt 2.0? Frank Thomas confirms Aaron Judge is a large man after meeting at MLB All-Star Game

We all know Aaron Judge is a monster, and not just metaphorically.

At 6-foot-7, Judge is bigger than NFL star Rob Gronkowski and apparently makes Frank Thomas, who was known as 'The Big Hurt' in Chicago, look like he stumbled into take your kid to work day.

Check out the photo The Big Hurt tweeted of the two standing back-to-back before the MLB All-Star Game:

Just to get even more perspective on Judge's goliath-like size, here's your tale of the tape of both players at their playing weight:

Judge: 6'7", 282 lbs

Thomas: 6'5", 240 lbs

My advice to catchers standing at home when Judge rounds third base.... get the heck out of the way. 

Omar Vizquel will not return to White Sox organization in 2020

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AP

Omar Vizquel will not return to White Sox organization in 2020

Omar Vizquel's time helping to develop the White Sox of the future is over.

The White Sox announced Wednesday that Vizquel, who spent the last two seasons as a manager in the White Sox minor league system, will not be back for 2020.

"Omar and our organization agreed to head in different directions," White Sox player development director Chris Getz said in a statement. "We appreciate what Omar did for the White Sox and our minor league players, and we wish him all the best with whatever comes next."

Vizquel, who spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons playing for the White Sox at the tail end of a lengthy major league career, was the manager at Class A Winston-Salem in 2018 and at Double-A Birmingham in 2019.

Vizquel won the Carolina League Manager of the Year Award after guiding the Dash to an 84-54 record in 2018. He oversaw positive seasons for highly rated prospects such as Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal, Dane Dunning, Jimmy Lambert, Micker Adolfo, Luis Basabe, Blake Rutherford, Gavin Sheets, Bernardo Flores, Tyler Johnson, Luis Gonzalez and Joel Booker.

A move up to Double-A in 2019 did not bring the same level of success, as a team and for those individual players. The Barons finished at 64-72, with Adolfo, Basabe, Rutherford, Flores, Johnson, Gonzalez, Zack Burdi, Zach Thompson and Alec Hansen all seeing their production decline. Madrigal and Luis Robert, however, did quite well during their time at Birmingham in 2019.

The White Sox appear to be on the verge of lessening the attention fans and observers pay to the goings on in the minor leagues, with Robert and Madrigal on the doorstep of the majors. Though player development, of course, obviously remains important for the White Sox and their long-term success.

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With Nicholas Castellanos on the market, how important is defense in White Sox search for new right fielder?

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USA TODAY

With Nicholas Castellanos on the market, how important is defense in White Sox search for new right fielder?

We’ve talked about this before.

The White Sox are looking for a new right fielder after getting some of the worst production in the majors out of that spot in 2019. The free-agent market looks to be the most realistic source of any new everyday player considering the team’s potentially weakened trade potential after a season of injuries and under-performance in the minor leagues.

The best outfield bat on that free-agent market? It belongs to Nicholas Castellanos, who long feasted on White Sox pitching as a member of the division-rival Detroit Tigers. He showed just how impactful his bat could be in a playoff race after a midseason trade to the Cubs, posting a 1.002 OPS in 51 games on the North Side. All told, he hit a major league leading 58 doubles in 2019, the 10th highest single-season total in baseball history.

The bat is no question, and it would look terrific in the middle of the White Sox order. But Castellanos’ tremendous offensive reputation is accompanied by a poor defensive reputation. Whether that reputation is deserved or not is another aspect of this discussion, with folks who followed his time on the North Side saying things weren’t that bad in right field. Though certain defensive metrics tell a different story.

And so we continue to wonder, as the White Sox have already been linked to Castellanos this winter, just how much that glove means to them.

Well, we’ve got some new insight from Rick Hahn, and yes, defense does matter. But like everything involving the White Sox offseason, it’s not going to close any doors.

“It’s a legitimate consideration,” Hahn said during the GM meetings last week in Arizona. “We don't want to send somebody out there and it's going to, you know, tax our center fielder too much or tax the pitchers too much by not making plays. So it's a legitimate consideration.

“I pause half a step because we have discussed some pretty good offensive contributors who might not quite be up to snuff to what you want defensively that conceivably at some point in the offseason we wind up saying, ‘They're the best option, so let's move on it.’ So I don't want to just say it's the end all be all.

“But as we sit here today, the prototypical guy that we add to that position will be an above average defender to help lighten the load on the rest of the fielders and our pitchers.”

While that’s hardly an ironclad commitment one way or the other, Hahn voiced a definite preference for someone who can provide some defense in right field. While Luis Robert, who’s expected to spend most of the 2020 season as the team’s starting center fielder, receives positive reviews for his defense up the middle, Eloy Jimenez is still a work in progress in left field. Putting another less-than-stellar defender in the other corner-outfield spot would put a heck of a lot of pressure on Robert as a rookie center fielder.

"You're asking a lot of (the center fielder) if you put a poor defender in right and Eloy continuing to develop and left," Hahn said. "It's a real consideration when we're putting together this outfield.

"We think Eloy's got a real special bat, and even though he's a work in progress and still improving defensively, we like having him out there in left field, even though he's not going to be mistaken for an everyday center fielder defensively. If we're looking and we absolutely had our pick of the litter, we're looking for a guy in right who can contribute with the glove, as well.”

Castellanos might not fit that description. But his offensive abilities could certainly outweigh that and push the White Sox to bring him aboard. Of course, he’s going to command a pricey contract, with his agent, Scott Boras, already talking him up last week with this gem: “Ol’ St. Nick delivers once a year. Young St. Nick delivers all season.”

Certainly the White Sox would enjoy that kind of season-long delivery. They also happen to have a hole that needs filling at designated hitter. If we’re playing fantasy baseball or creating video-game lineups, slotting Castellanos into that spot would make an awful lot of sense. But a guy looking for a long, expensive contract and doing so at just 27 years old probably doesn’t want to do it as a DH.

Maybe the White Sox end up throwing enough money his way that it doesn’t matter. But there’s also the risk of putting someone who doesn’t have DH-ing experience at the position, potentially continuing the not-so-great track record of the likes of Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche and Yonder Alonso. Castellanos has been a DH in just 41 of his 839 career big league games.

It’s all stuff to think about. It might end up, simply, that Castellanos swings a big bat and the White Sox would like that, no matter what comes with it. Hearing that they prefer a right fielder with a good glove might only apply if they have to move further down their wish list.

Time will tell.

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