White Sox

CSN to debut two, half-hour specials chronicling the rising stars in the White Sox organization

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CSN to debut two, half-hour specials chronicling the rising stars in the White Sox organization

“White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte”

AND

“White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem”

Premiere - Monday, May 22 at 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM CT -- Exclusively on CSN

Live stream available on CSNChicago.com/WatchLive  or via the NBC Sports app

Chicago, IL (May 11, 2017) – CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago White Sox, has announced it will be debuting a pair of brand new, behind-the-scenes, CSN Original Productions that will provide an up-close and personal look at numerous rising stars in the White Sox organization - including Yoan Moncada (ranked #1 overall in MLB’s 2017 Top “100 Prospects”), Lucas Giolito (ranked #8), Michael Kopech (ranked #13), Reynaldo Lopez (ranked #39), Carson Fulmer (ranked #63), Zack Collins (ranked #73), along with Nicky Delmonico, and Downers Grove native Zack Burdi among many others - with the back-to-back airings of White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte and White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem presented by Ozinga on Monday, May 22 at 7:00 PM & 7:30 PM CT respectively.  NOTE: Live stream also available on CSNChicago.com/WatchLive or via the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers. 

Produced & written by CSN Senior Producer of Original Content Ryan McGuffey and edited by CSN Executive Producer of Original Content Sarah Lauch, White Sox Cornerstones takes an in-depth look at the highly-touted prospects in the White Sox farm system at Class AAA Charlotte, Class AA Birmingham, and Class A Winston-Salem with exclusive, candid interviews with players, managers, front office execs, along with a unique study of day-to-day life for these prospects, whose goals are micro-focused on their development and making their dreams come true by being called up as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

"It is our passion to create content that appeals to the fans of all our teams,” said Kevin Cross, Sr. Director of News & Original Content for CSN Chicago. “If you follow the White Sox and you care about any aspect of this rising organization, we want our viewers to continue to know we share that same passion with them. Cornerstones is a prime example of that philosophy."

In the breaking down the two half-hour specials, White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte (debuting at 7:00 PM on May 22) will lead it off providing viewers with an in-depth look at the White Sox top prospects at AAA Charlotte.  Led by future MLB superstar Yoan Moncada, the Knights feature several prospects from one of baseball's best minor league systems.  Moncada, acquired in a December trade for pitcher Chris Sale, has been the talk of the International League.  He ranks at or near the top of nearly every statistical category and Cornerstones details why he's ready to call Chicago home and why he is a key factor in the team's promising future.  The Cuban native discusses his development in the six months since becoming a member of the White Sox, as well as his relationship with friend and current White Sox slugger Jose Abreu.

The Charlotte Knights also feature one of the more promising starting rotations in the minors with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer.  Fulmer, the White Sox #1 pick in 2015, joins Zack Burdi (a 2016 1st round pick) in a 'walk to work' with CSN, discussing their thought process leading up to a game, being a part of the rebuild and how members of the team are as competitive off the field as they are on it.

Featured interviews include…

Yoan Moncada (#1 prospect in organization)

Lucas Giolito (#2 prospect in organization)

Reynaldo Lopez (#4 prospect in organization)

Carson Fulmer (#5 prospect in organization)

Zack Burdi (#7 prospect in organization)

Nicky Delmonico (3rd baseman - Knights)

Rick Hahn (Chicago White Sox Sr. VP/GM)

Mark Grudzielanek (Knights Manager)

Steve McCatty (Knights Pitching Coach)

Mike Pacheco (Radio voice of the Knights)

Then, at 7:30 PM on May 22, White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem will provide viewers with a deep look at the top prospects at Class AA Birmingham and Class A Winston-Salem in the White Sox organization.

In Birmingham, CSN exclusively 'rides the bus' with the Barons after a road win against the Montgomery Biscuits.  The 90-plus minute ride featured extensive interviews with several key members of the Barons, including the organization’s #3 prospect Michael Kopech and #11 prospect Spencer Adams.  Kopech, whose fastball routinely hits 100mph, is the talk of the Southern League and opens up about the trade to Chicago and how his obsession with being the very best factors in to the overall White Sox rebuilding mindset.

In Winston-Salem, CSN travels to Salem, Virginia for a road game against the Salem Red Sox.  Hours before the game, CSN sits down for lunch with 2016 top draft pick/White Sox #6 prospect Zack Collins and teammate, pitcher Tanner Banks.  The lunch showcases Collins in a different light and brings out personality and character in the hopeful future catcher.  Also included is a trip to the Salem ballpark for interviews with players and former White Sox star/current Winston-Salem Dash manager Willie Harris.

Featured interviews include…

Michael Kopech (#3 prospect in organization)

Zack Collins (#6 prospect in organization)

Luis Alexander Basabe (#8 prospect in organization)

Dane Dunning (#10 prospect in organization)

Spencer Adams (#11 prospect in organization)

Willie Harris (former White Sox infielder/current manager Winston-Salem Dash)

Matt Cooper (#28 prospect in organization)

Courtney Hawkins (13th overall pick - 2012 MLB draft)

Eddy Alvarez (Barons second baseman, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist-Sochi)

Jake Dunning (Barons pitcher, brother of Dane)

Brett Austin (Barons catcher)

Please note the following quotes from the CSN Original Production of White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte and White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem, presented by Ozinga, debuting respectively on Monday, May 22 at 7:00 & 7:30 PM CT:

YOAN MONCADA on being MLB’s top overall prospect: “For me, it doesn’t really come with any type of pressure. I’m very grateful to be named the number one prospect, but for me, I just have to keep doing everything that I’ve been doing and just keep working hard and trying to get better every day.

“I feel really good being able to be a part of this organization, especially since they’re going out and they’re getting a lot of young talent. I can be part of that talent. I feel really good and I’m excited that, in the future hopefully, when we’re all up there, we can go out and help the team win.”

RICK HAHN on the development of Yoan Moncada: “I’m probably as happy if not more so with the stuff happening between 10pm and 7pm, in other words, the 21 hours a day he’s not playing.  Obviously, the stuff happening on the field between 7 & 10 during the game have been great.  He’s continuing to develop, we’ve seen a lot of positives offensively and defensively and in terms of his approach during the game.  But, so much of what’s going on with a player like that happens off the field. 

“In pregame with the drills he’s doing with (Knights manager) Mark Grudzielanek and Vance Law, our roving infield instructor, it happens on the bus rides, it happens in dealing with the media and handling expectations….and I think it’s easy to lose sight of given his name and the fact that he was in Boston, up to the big leagues and got a ton of money to sign, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that he’s only 22 years old.  When we acquired him, he had fewer than 200 plate appearances at the big league level above double-A under his belt.  There’s still a fair amount of development that has to happen with this kid, not just from a baseball standpoint, but from a physical standpoint and from a maturity standpoint.  We’ve just been thrilled ever since he showed up at camp.”

LUCAS GIOLITO on being at AAA Charlotte in a stable environment vs. being shuttled throughout the minor leagues like he was a year ago in Washington: “Just being able to come to the field every day and have a set goal in mind…kind of like a checklist of things I need to work on to get better and be able to be here, and be comfortable, take the ball every fifth day, and go out and try to win and pitch deep into games…that’s my job description. At the same time, being in one location, working on things to try to make myself a better pitcher so when I do get that opportunity in the big leagues again, I can take advantage of it and stay there…and not have to worry about ‘Am I going down?...Am I moving up?’…just getting rid of that mindset all together and focus on the task at hand.”

MICHAEL KOPECH on what drives him and visualizing the phone call of a promotion to join the Chicago White Sox:  “I’m just obsessed. It’s a game and it’s a job, but at the end of the day, it’s what I love to do and I think if I’m not this obsessed with it for just one day, then I need to stop playing. This is the only way I’ve ever been in the game and that’s what kind of keeps me going every time I’m on the field.

“As crazy as it sounds, I feel like I already got the call and I’ll just have to relive the moment, I’ve visualized it so much. At this point, it’s just kind of practice. I’d be extremely excited to get the call, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve thought about it so many times in my head that it already feels like it happened. If I can get to that point and relive that moment exactly the way I imagined it, I feel like I’ll be there for the rest of my career.”

CSN will also re-air White Sox Cornerstones: Charlotte on Fri, May 26 at 3:00 PM - Sat, May 27 at 4:30 PM - Mon, May 29 at 11:00 PM & Wed, May 31 at 11:00 PM…additional airings of White Sox Cornerstones: Birmingham & Winston-Salem will take place on Sat, May 27 at 5:00 PM - Mon, May 29 at 7:00 PM & 11:30 PM & Wed, May 31 at 11:30 PM.

Viewers are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s White Sox section: (http://www.csnchicago.com/whitesox ), which will include video footage from White Sox Cornerstones and additional “web-exclusive” video excerpts.  In addition, CSNChicago.com will provide White Sox minor leagues commentary write-ups from CSNChicago.com’s White Sox “Insider” Dan Hayes throughout the season.  In addition, the popular “White Sox Talk PODCAST” (presented by Wintrust) with White Sox Pre/Postgame Live host Chuck Garfien and an array of special guests, features in-depth White Sox minor league reports, including the latest news on all the key prospects at AAA Charlotte, each and every week throughout the season. Fans can download all of CSN’s podcasts at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: As previously announced, CSN will continue its schedule of Charlotte Knights (Class AAA) game coverage with the following upcoming contests…

2017 Charlotte Knights (White Sox AAA) telecast schedule on CSN

Sat, May 27     6:00 pm            vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)                     LIVE

Sun, May 28    6:00 pm            vs. Buffalo (Blue Jays)                     Same day delay - 7:00pm on CSN

Thu, June 15    6:00 pm            vs. Louisville (Reds)                         LIVE

Sat, June 17     6:00 pm            vs. Indianapolis (Pirates)                LIVE on CSN+HD

Sun, June 18    1:00 pm            vs. Indianapolis (Pirates)                Same day delay - 7:00pm on CSN

Under what circumstances would the White Sox trade for Mookie Betts?

Under what circumstances would the White Sox trade for Mookie Betts?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nothing seems to be off the table for the White Sox this winter.

But certain moves might be the centerpiece, while others might be hiding behind the salt shaker.

One of the biggest questions in baseball right now is what the Boston Red Sox are going to do with Mookie Betts. With the Red Sox aiming to get under the luxury tax — made more difficult when J.D. Martinez opted to stay in Boston for $23.75 million — speculation surrounding a trade of Betts and the $27.7 million he’s projected to receive through arbitration has increased.

Betts, too, it’s important to note, has just one year of club control remaining, and he seems set on heading to free agency at this time a year from now.

The White Sox hole in right field and quest to make a huge addition to their rebuilding project lines them up as a potentially interested party. While general manager Rick Hahn is waiting until his 2020 roster takes shape to set expectations for next season, the emergence of a young core presents the possibility that next season could be the one in which contention arrives on the South Side.

Adding Betts to the mix would certainly increase those chances.

Tuesday, Hahn seemed to leave the door open to acquiring a player like Betts, that is a player with just one year of club control remaining.

“Yeah, depending on the cost. It all comes down to price,” he said. “Like everybody, you want guys who are going to fit for the long term. We want to add a guy who's got a three-, four-, five-, six-year window of control where he's going to continue to improve and he's going to grow with this young core. Those guys aren't so easy to acquire. Usually you have to give a pretty premium piece like we did to get ours, or hit on them at the top of the draft like we've hopefully done.

“Short of that, we're going to look for guys who can certainly make you better in the short term but ideally have a little back-end control. If those don't exist, if we don't come across the right fit, then we'd be open to a one-year improvement knowing that with where we've put ourselves economically, we might have the ability to retain that player when they hit free agency.”

That sounds promising if you’re a member of the Betts-to-the-White Sox camp.

But there was a decidedly different tone Wednesday. Now, Hahn was never speaking about Betts specifically, nor was he ever asked about Betts specifically. But asked about dealing from a position of prospect strength for an impact talent who has just one year of club control left, the answer was significantly different than Tuesday’s.

“We made a commitment,” Hahn said, “that once we got ourselves in a position to be on the opposite end of these trades, the trades where you were giving up talent for short-term gain, that it was going to be important to us to still try to remain committed to the long term.

“When there's a guy like Chris Sale available, who (in 2016, when the White Sox traded him) had multiple years of control and you're ready to win, making that push makes all the sense in the world. If you're talking about a guy on a one-year basis, we're not to that point yet, and if we do get to that point, that's going to be a tough trigger to pull because we're trying to build something sustainable for an extended period of time.

“Quick hits don't necessarily do that. And certainly after three years of rebuilding, we've gotten ourselves in a very good position, but not in one where we're going to do something for immediate bang in 2020, necessarily, if we feel it compromises us for the long term.

“We've paid too big of a price to compromise where we're going to be at long term.”

Now, with that question posed by a Boston-based reporter, Hahn might have been addressing a more specific scenario. More likely is that he was reacting to the idea that the White Sox top-rated prospects would make them able to swing a deal for the elite of the elite. Thing is, the highest rated of those prospects aren’t really on the block, with Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn all solidly part of the team’s long-term plans.

So, is a Betts trade off the table? No. Is a Betts trade likely? Probably not. Would the White Sox trade for Betts? Probably if they only had to give up mid-tier prospects. What would it take to pry Betts away from the Red Sox? Probably more than mid-tier prospects.

Despite the seemingly contradictory nature of Hahn’s comments on Tuesday and Wednesday, he didn’t really flip-flop. A trade for one year of Betts isn’t out of the question, it's likely only going to come if the White Sox don’t have to give up too much. Maybe the Red Sox financial situation is dire enough that the prospect cost will be unusually low. Maybe the White Sox are presented with a rare opportunity to negotiate an extension.

But “depending on the cost” remains the key phrase not just in this situation but the entire White Sox offseason. That doesn’t mean they won’t spend or trade anyone. It simply means that they will only do so if there’s a long-term benefit. They’re trying to build a perennial contender, and the lengthy tenures of Robert and Madrigal and Vaughn are more valuable than one year of Betts.

In search of that long-term benefit, then, the free-agent market or a trade for a player with greater club control certainly seems a more likely route than a trade for Betts.

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A free-agent destination? Scott Boras: 'Players look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago'

A free-agent destination? Scott Boras: 'Players look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The White Sox certainly believe themselves to be a destination for the game’s top free agents.

What do those free agents think, though?

Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Nicholas Castellanos will likely stay silent on that and all other matters until they’re introduced as members of their new teams.

Their agent, Scott Boras, is not exactly the staying-silent type.

Boras spoke to the typical throng of reporters Wednesday at the GM meetings, doing his job as an advocate for a game in which more teams are handing out bigger contracts and the players see a bigger share of the pie. But, as is tradition, he was peppered with questions about individual teams and their attractiveness to his clients.

And that included the White Sox, who have quite a bit on their shopping list this winter. So, Scott, are they the destination Rick Hahn claims they are?

“They have a lot of great young talent,” he said. “It’s a great city. Certainly players look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago, no question.”

It’d be hard not to. At this time two years ago, the White Sox were coming off a 95-loss season, with a 100-loss season to follow. But in 2019, despite the loss total still arriving at a nothing-to-be-proud-of 89, we learned the White Sox have an exciting young core thanks to several players breaking out with big performances. Two years ago, Tim Anderson wasn’t a batting champ, Yoan Moncada wasn’t the best all-around player on the team, Lucas Giolito wasn’t an All Star and Eloy Jimenez wasn’t a 31-homer rookie.

Everyone should look at the White Sox in a very different way than they did two years ago, free agents included.

Boras' words do little to actually indicate whether the White Sox will have a strong chance at reeling in one of the biggest fish in this winter's free-agent pond. But between the White Sox stated aggressiveness in pursuing premium talent and the idea that talent might be looking at the White Sox as a destination, that's good news for Hahn's front office and the goal of landing a top player.

There was more from Boras, though his other White Sox-related comments came off more as lobbying the South Siders to hand out deals to free agents. Still, it doesn’t make him wrong.

“Well certainly the White Sox need veteran players, because they have such great young players, and you're trying to create that mix all the time,” he said. “So I readily foresee there's a lot of fits that could go in there and really advance what they've built to date.

“I think veteran players, particularly who have won before, can come into a locker room, bring a credibility where players can go to them and say, organically, ‘How does this happen? Are we that close? How far away are we? What do we do? What do I do?’

“And when you've been around world champions, when they speak, the athletes have a high level of credibility for what they have to say because they've done it, they've been through it.”

But Boras’ biggest talking point about the White Sox is actually the same as Hahn’s. The general manager has voiced for months now that his team’s top selling point isn’t the financial flexibility that will allow them to hand out a massive contract — though certainly that will help — but the opportunity to play winning baseball with this group of talented players.

“We are a logical destination for premium talent,” Hahn said Tuesday. “Players want to come play for us, play for the White Sox, play on the South Side, play for (manager Rick Renteria) and be part of what we're building. And if last year we announced that perhaps a little too loudly, it was in part a response to the general narrative that we weren't legitimate players for such talent.

“I think the message has already been delivered that we are a true destination for such talent, and now it's incumbent upon us to convert on some along the way.”

Hahn added more on the topic Wednesday.

“It's a combination, not just while we're here but over the course of the season, hearing from some guys in our clubhouse who have heard from other players around the league about what we've been building and what the future looks like, and then having that reinforced in these early conversations with some free agents.

“The agents will certainly tell you nice things along the way, but when you hear it directly from some of the players, ‘I see what you guys have been doing, I see where the future is headed there and it's exciting,’ it's some positive reinforcement.

“Now, in the end, dollars and contract terms tend to carry a little more weight. But at the very least, it's good to hear that people are excited by the prospect of being part of what we're building.”

Hahn’s right, in the end, the money will likely do the majority of the talking, and it’s up to his front office to do away with what he calls a “false narrative” that the White Sox are unwilling or unable to spend on the highest-priced free agents.

But there’s also the old cliche that winning cures all ills. This team showing it’s ready to compete for a title with its performance on the field could play a big role in top talent picking the South Side as a landing spot.

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