White Sox

Carlos Rodon promotion another win-now signal from White Sox

carlos-rodon-0420.png

Carlos Rodon promotion another win-now signal from White Sox

The White Sox don’t need a reminder that 2015 is a win-now season, not with a slew of high-priced veterans getting settled into their first lengthy homestead of the year this week.

But Carlos Rodon’s promotion from Triple-A Charlotte’s rotation to the major league bullpen is another signal the White Sox intend to contend this year, even if their 4-7 record doesn’t show it yet.

General manager Rick Hahn, though, said Rodon wasn’t called up as a reaction to his club’s slow start.

“I don’t think there’s an overarching message or some directive we are trying to send to the league or anything like that,” Hahn said. “It’s a matter of here’s a player who is ready for this in terms of his development, the next stage of his development. Someone who makes us better and someone who we feel will help us win ballgames right now.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: White Sox get Petricka back, send Guerra to disabled list]

Hahn later said: “This is about Carlos' long-term ability to contribute in Chicago and ultimately at the front end of the rotation. This move would've been made if we were 11-0 right now.”

That the White Sox made an aggressive move didn’t come as a surprise inside the team’s clubhouse. The club traded for Jeff Samardzija and signed Melky Cabrera and closer David Robertson for a combined $88 million in the offseason and hasn’t been shy about aggressively promoting young players in recent history.

Gordon Beckham was called up in 2009 barely a year after he was drafted. Chris Sale made his major league debut — like Rodon will, as a reliever — only months after being drafted in 2010. Jose Quintana went from an off-the-radar Double-A starter to a mainstay in the major league rotation in 2012.

“I feel like I’ve kind of seen that over the years, it seems like we’re never hesitant in the business aspect, to spend the money or start the clock, all those kind of things,” catcher Tyler Flowers said. “I think that always bodes well in the clubhouse where the determination to have success with this team is there and it’s obvious when you make a move like (Rodon).”

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

The White Sox don’t have a timetable for how long Rodon will stay in the bullpen before inserting him into the rotation. Manager Robin Ventura said he’ll ease Rodon into major league work but could consider him for long relief or one-out, playing-the-percentages duties against a lefty.

Hahn referred to Rodon’s 2015 innings as a “scarce resource,” so keeping him in the bullpen for a bit could allow him to pitch throughout the season and avoid a late-season shutdown during a pennant race. The White Sox have every intention of keeping Rodon in the major leagues now that he’s here, so a demotion back to his native North Carolina when right-hander Javy Guerra is eligible to come off the disabled list doesn’t appear to be part of the plan.

So barring something unforeseen, Rodon is in Chicago to stay. And with him in the bullpen and/or rotation, the White Sox expect he’ll be an important piece to a playoff push this summer.

“I don’t think we need any more reassurance on the win-now type mentality,” Samardzija said. “I think when you call a guy up like that, you think he’s ready. You don’t call a guy up to the big leagues unless you think he’s ready to help the team. Obviously there’s something they feel he can bring to this team that they enjoy. I think all of us are excited to watch him throw and continue to grow and get better.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

machado-sox-pod.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

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

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

0521-welington-castillo.jpg
USA TODAY

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.