White Sox

David Robertson's blown save denies Jose Quintana win No. 10

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David Robertson's blown save denies Jose Quintana win No. 10

Despite his consistent, durable pitching, Jose Quintana still hasn’t won 10 games in a season. On Thursday, that baffling statistic had everything to do with David Robertson’s blown save and nothing to do with how the 26-year-old left-hander threw.

Oakland Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler’s go-ahead three-run home run off Robertson in the top of the ninth dealt the White Sox a 4-2 loss in front of 12,406 fans at U.S. Cellular Field. Quintana was in line for what would’ve been his 10th win of the season before Robertson blew his seventh save in 36 tries this year.

“I’m just furious with myself,” Robertson said. “I just screwed up another win for one of our starters who pitched his (expletive) off. And I keep (expletive) doing it.”

Quintana turned in his 23rd quality start of the season — the second-highest total for an American League starter, only behind Houston’s Dallas Keuchel — by limiting Oakland to one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts over seven innings of work. He’s never won more than nine games in a season despite a career 3.51 ERA in 720 innings entering Thursday.

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Instead, Quintana’s major league tenure has been defined by the 50 no-decisions he’s been saddled with, including Thursday’s.

“I never feel (like I have) bad luck,” Quintana said. “It’s part of the game, it happens. (You) try to continue. Sometime that’ll change.”

Quintana’s lack of wins, for the most part, isn’t his fault. The White Sox are averaging 3.63 runs of support for him this year, slightly lower than 2014’s average (3.84) and 2013’s (3.73).

“We know he's a good pitcher,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You don't question that at all. Whether he's going to get some run support, that's the other question. Going out there, he's the same every day, he brings it every day. He's just very consistent about how he goes about his work, how he pitches, attitude, all that stuff that you'd like to see he does that every day. He doesn't hang his head on things like this, he knows guys are out there trying.”

Robertson’s disastrous ninth inning began with Brett Lawrie’s one-out double and an ensuing Danny Valencia single. Butler — who entered Thursday with the fifth-worst WAR among qualified hitters — then served an 0-1 cutter deep to right, with Avisail Garcia leaping to near robbing it. Garcia caught the ball in the webbing of his glove, but it was dislodged into the right field bullpen when he slammed into the fence.

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Over the last three seasons, Quintana has the 10th-most fWAR, racking about 13 WAR through consistent effectiveness over 200-inning seasons (Quintana is 10 innings away from reaching the 200-inning mark for the third straight year). But for whatever tough-luck reason, he hasn’t had the same success racking up wins in the old-school baseball sense.

“Q deserved that one, this team deserved this one,” Robertson said. “I did a terrible job. … He’s one of the hardest workers on this team. He gets a quality start almost every time he takes the ball. You can’t say enough about the guy.

“His record should be better. I can think of a couple of occasions and now I’ve messed one up for him again. It’s frustrating for me. I’ve got to be better.”

Will an arbitration raise price Yolmer Sanchez off the White Sox 2020 roster?

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USA TODAY

Will an arbitration raise price Yolmer Sanchez off the White Sox 2020 roster?

Yolmer Sanchez could win a Gold Glove in the coming weeks. He could also be looking for a new job.

That’s the tough situation the White Sox face with the guy who served as their starting second baseman during the 2019 season. He did a very, very nice job of playing second base, too. Not sure what your defensive metric of choice is, but the commonly used defensive runs saved (DRS) stat says Sanchez was the best defensive second baseman in the American League and the second best in baseball, behind only Kolten Wong of the St. Louis Cardinals.

But the offensive numbers are the offensive numbers, the only reason we’re not calling Sanchez a slam-dunk Gold Glove winner, as that award has a habit of honoring the defensively and offensively gifted instead of just the defensive aces. Sanchez slashed .252/.318/.321 in 2019 with two home runs and 43 RBIs. The 10 triples he hit in 2018 to lead the AL dropped to four in 2019, and his doubles plummeted from 34 to 20.

With hotshot prospect Nick Madrigal — who has his own reputation as a sensational defender, the newly minted winner of a minor league Gold Glove — figuring to take over at second base in the early portion of the 2020 season, Sanchez’s time was already running out as far as being an everyday major leaguer. But Madrigal’s ascent isn’t the reason the White Sox might be forced to part ways with Sanchez this winter. Money is.

Sanchez is set to receive a multi-million-dollar raise through the arbitration process, something we figured was coming for a while now. But MLB Trade Rumors put a dollar amount on that raise last week, when the site released its annual arbitration projections. Sanchez made $4.625 million in 2019. In 2020, so says MLB Trade Rumors, he’s set to make $6.2 million through the arbitration process.

And that will likely price him off the White Sox roster.

Sanchez has plenty of value to this White Sox team, to be sure. He’s a great clubhouse presence, a versatile infielder and a guy who plays great defense. Manager Rick Renteria lauded the quality of Sanchez’s at-bats at the end of the season. But $6.2 million is probably just too much to pay for a backup infielder who doesn’t do much in the way of hitting, especially with that money needed to do so much more for the White Sox during what's expected to be a busy and important offseason.

It's not like the team won't be covered. The White Sox can hang onto Leury Garcia, who MLB Trade Rumors projected is due for a $4 million payday through arbitration. Garcia not only plays all the infield positions Sanchez plays, if not as exceptionally, but can play all three outfield spots, too. Danny Mendick can stick around for a fraction of the cost and man second base until Madrigal arrives from the minor leagues, perhaps even sticking around as the backup infielder Sanchez would be after that.

It’s all part of the shifting landscape with a White Sox team looking to transition from rebuilding to contending. As many fans as Sanchez deservedly won with his fun-loving personality and Gatorade-bucket related antics during postgame celebrations, he’s an example of the kind of light-hitting player the White Sox will continue to move on from as their roster simply gets better. You can expect Sanchez to be just one of those fading figures. A contending lineup probably doesn't have much room for the Adam Engels and Ryan Cordells and Daniel Palkas and Matt Skoles, either, as the front office look to stuff the roster with young, core players like Madrigal and Luis Robert as well as bigger-name offseason additions in the coming months.

As for the rest of the arbitration-eligible White Sox the front office will have to either commit to or non-tender, most would figure to be easy decisions. James McCann is projected to receive $4.9 million, Carlos Rodon is projected to receive $4.5 million, Evan Marshall is projected to receive $1.3 million. Those are all affordable salaries for a starting catcher, a starting pitcher and a reliever coming off a strong season. Likewise, after he was used 57 times, Josh Osich could certainly return to the bullpen mix. He's projected to get $1 million.

Conversations might be had about whether Alex Colome is worth a projected $10.3 million, but he has racked up 126 saves in the last four seasons and just finished the 2019 campaign with a 2.80 ERA, his lowest since 2016. He saved 30 games in 33 attempts, one of the best conversation rates in the game, and though his 3.91 second-half ERA compares rather poorly to his 2.02 first-half ERA, he remains one of the more reliable late-inning men around. It’s a safe bet he’ll be back, considering the White Sox didn’t deal him at the trade deadline like they did with their closers in the two seasons prior — and certainly they knew an arbitration raise would be coming when they made that decision.

The only other name heretofore unaddressed is Ryan Goins, who like Garcia boasts positional versatility in both the infield and outfield. He played six positions, including designated hitter, for the White Sox in his 52 games with the big league club this season. His projection is a very affordable $900,000, but he turned in a less-than-memorable offensive season. We'll see what happens there.

Now, remember these are projections, so if the White Sox offer these guys contracts and avoid arbitration altogether, the final numbers could obviously be different. But like Avisail Garcia last offseason, perhaps Sanchez is a victim of the projected increase in salary more than any lack of desire to keep him around, a rather large element when looking to project the White Sox bench for the 2020 season.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Myths about the 1919 Black Sox 100 years later

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Myths about the 1919 Black Sox 100 years later

Chuck Garfien and Chris Kamka speak with Black Sox historian Jacob Pomrenke about the biggest myths surrounding the infamous 1919 Black Sox who fixed the World Series (2:30).

Gambling wasn't limited to the White Sox back then. Even Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker threw a game? (10:30)

The role of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in the fix. (19:20)

Could Jackson ever get into the Hall of Fame? (27:00)

Could a World Series be fixed in today's game? (33:00)

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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