White Sox

Carson Fulmer gaining confidence in White Sox camp

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Carson Fulmer gaining confidence in White Sox camp

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Fulmer’s jitters haven’t gone away, but the White Sox 2015 first round pick is starting to feel more comfortable as he works through major league lineups during spring training.

Well, through one major league lineup — both of Fulmer’s Cactus League starts have come against the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals. He allowed one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts Thursday at Camelback Ranch, facing a lineup headlined by Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez.

“The butterflies are still there from getting amped up for a start,” Fulmer said. “I felt more comfortable with it. It was my second time facing them and I’m getting a good feel of how the pace of a game goes."

The White Sox, right now, don’t see Fulmer in their 2016 plans, though they certainly aren’t ruling out the Vanderbilt product forcing the issue this summer. He excelled in 23 innings — a small sample size, of course — last year, posting a 1.96 ERA with 26 strikeouts, nine walks and two home runs allowed.

If and when Fulmer does reach the major leagues, his experience in these spring training games could come in handy. Specifically on Thursday, he fell behind Hosmer to lead off the second inning, worked back to a 3-2 count and then walked the Royals first baseman on a fastball in off the plate that he called a “great miss.”

“He has a good eye for pitches like that and let it go,” Fulmer said. “He’s a disciplined hitter and one of the best in the game. “For me, I can build off of that so next time I face him, hopefully I have a different mindset going into it. I took a lot from that at-bat.”

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The walk wasn’t ideal, of course, but that fastball was a more aggressive miss in the spot he wanted to throw it. Fulmer said he’s growing to understand that having a top-quality arsenal of pitches — as he does — isn’t enough to make it at the major league level.

“If you don’t have an approach and don’t place it in the right spot, you’re going to get hit,” Fulmer said. “Attacking early, getting ahead obviously is the job of a pitcher, but quality pitches in the zone and putting it in the zone where they’re going to take swings at it.”

The Royals roughed up Fulmer for three runs on five hits in two innings on Saturday, so his start Thursday can be considered an improvement results-wise. There were a couple of hard-hit outs in there, though the run he gave up came on a bloop double, wild pitch and errant throw to third base.

While manager Robin Ventura traveled to Surprise for the other half of the White Sox split squad action Thursday, he said before leaving Camelback Ranch that he hoped Fulmer would be a little calmer his second time out.

“Hopefully it can just be a little easier,” Ventura said. “Last time he was out there he was amped up. Even for our guys, Carlos (Rodon) last year, it gets a little easier as they go out more times and have the opportunity to go out there and relax a little bit."

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At this nascent juncture in his career, every start will bring something new for Fulmer. But he already felt more settled in spring training start No. 2, which comes across as a small-yet-positive step in his overall development.

“I feel like I’m getting really comfortable with it each time I go out there,” Fulmer said. “I’ll just take the positives from this outing and move forward on to the next.” 

White Sox acquire first baseman Yonder Alonso from Indians

White Sox acquire first baseman Yonder Alonso from Indians

After a lot of rumors and not many moves at the Winter Meetings, the White Sox made a notable trade after everyone left Las Vegas.

The White Sox traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso from Cleveland. The team announced the move on Saturday.

“Alonso provides a proven offensive performer from the left side of the plate and he also brings a veteran presence both on and off the field,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a press release. “Yonder has a solid reputation around the league as a professional and a great teammate.” 

Now that the trade is official, one thing worth noting with Alonso is that he is the brother-in-law of Manny Machado. This is after the White Sox were reportedly set to meet with Machado next week.

Outside of his connection to Machado, the trade is an odd fit without the context of the entire offseason yet. Alonso is 31 and coming off a bit of a down year by his standards. He hit .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season with the Indians. The year before that he was an All-Star for the first time in his career while splitting the season between the Mariners and A's.

However, Alonso's 83 RBIs in 2018 were a career high. He is under contract for $8 million in 2019 and has a $9 million option (that includes a $1 million buyout) for 2020.

The intriguing part of this is that it brings into question Jose Abreu's future with the White Sox. There have been rumors about the Cuban first baseman potentially being involved in a trade this winter. Alonso's addition means something has to give with the first base/DH situation. After non-tendering Matt Davidson because he fell behind Abreu and Daniel Palka as players who only fit those two spots, adding another in Alonso wouldn't make sense unless Abreu or Palka are on the move.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale said that the White Sox have no intention of trading Abreu, for what it's worth.

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White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly will meet with Manny Machado next week

The Winter Meetings didn't bring a resolution to either the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado free agency sagas.

That means we're still waiting on any bit of news to figure out what is going on. The latest, from 670 The Score's Bruce Levine, is that the White Sox plan to meet with Machado next week.

According to Levine, Machado will meet with at least six teams next week. Previously, it was reported that Machado had interest from the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox and three mystery teams. For now, it appears those mysters teams are still just that.

When the White Sox made their pitch to Harper, Jim Thome was reportedly involved. Will they go to the well with Thome again or have a different pitch for Machado? 

Positionally, Machado could be more of a need for the White Sox, but that all depends on how the White Sox would shift bodies on the infield around if Machado joins.

 

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