White Sox

Competition for White Sox 25th man stays hot

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Competition for White Sox 25th man stays hot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The competition for the final spot on the White Sox 25-man roster continues to be hotly contested.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn wouldn’t rule out an external solution when asked about his roster on Monday. But Hahn also said he’s satisfied with the club’s internal options.

With Opening Day a week away, the White Sox still have Jerry Sands, Travis Ishikawa, Carlos Sanchez, who homered twice in Monday’s 11-7 win at the Colorado Rockies, and Matt Davidson, who also homered, among those in the battle for the final spot.

“We're likely going to continue to have conversations with other clubs through the weekend,” Hahn said in an email. “However, we feel strongly enough about the group we currently have in camp that the more likely scenario is that the initial 25-man roster comes from our current pool.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

The White Sox could go in any number of directions with the 25th spot.

— They could turn to Sands — who is out of options — if they prefer a power bat off the bench capable of raking against left-handed pitchers.

— If they desire more flexibility on the infield, Sanchez, who is hitting .333 with six RBIs, could be the answer.

— Ishikawa is the club’s best defensive first baseman and hits left-handed, thus filling two big needs. He’s hitting .289 with seven RBIs.

— Davidson also provides a big power bat and has been the surprise of spring, leading the team with five homers. He also has nine RBIs.

— Or, if the White Sox, who open with eight straight games, feel they need to insulate their pitching staff, they could bring a long man with them and start with a 13-man pitching staff.

There’s also the possibility the White Sox go outside the organization to seek a left-handed bat. With the retirement of Adam LaRoche, the White Sox appear to be short-handed in that department.

[MORE: Jake Peavy has message for Chicago: Don't sleep on the White Sox]

They’re not in need of a full-time option, either.

With the way the roster is currently constructed, the White Sox plan to rotate three of their four outfielders through the designated hitter spot. While they could use someone to hit right-handers, it doesn’t need to be a player who would require 500 plate appearances.

That could lead Hahn to search for a trade or perhaps try to sign David Murphy, who opted out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox and was released on Monday.

Or they could keep Ishikawa.

“You’re looking at a guy (Ishikawa) that can play first base and a little outfield and can swing it from the left side,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “The more looks we really get at him, it’s a better understanding of where he’s at and what we need. It’s definitely not a set thing right now where we’re at. He keeps making it more difficult to make a decision one way or another.”

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.