White Sox

Elder statesmen Nate Jones likes look of White Sox future

Elder statesmen Nate Jones likes look of White Sox future

Nate Jones let out a hearty laugh when reminded that he's the most tenured member of the White Sox. Having seen what in's store for the future, Jones hopes his run with the White Sox extends through 2021.

Jones, 31, is about to enter his sixth full season with the White Sox. His current deal guarantees two more seasons and includes club options for three more years. Though it has been difficult to see several clubhouse staples exit the past few years, Jones is enthusiastic about the wave of talent expected to arrive soon -- even if makes him the elder statesman.

"It definitely makes you feel old quick," Jones said. "To get this influx of younger guys who are going to eventually come up and do awesome is exciting. It makes you want to be a part of it. It makes you want to be here and last those five years I've got left. I want to be part of this retool or rebuild or whatever they're calling it, to be able to sustain that success as an organization."

Chris Sale had the most tenure in the clubhouse before he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in December. He had taken over the honor with the May release of John Danks, who inherited the status when Paul Konerko retired at the end of the 2014 season.

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Now that Sale is gone, the club doesn't have many players who have stayed around for a long time. Jones -- who went 5-3 with three saves, a 2.29 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings last season -- holds a slight edge in tenure over Jose Quintana, who debuted May 7, 2012 and has been with the team for good since he returned later that month.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia, who debuted with the team on Aug. 9, 2013, is the longest-standing position player. Jake Petricka (Aug. 22, 2013) and Leury Garcia (Aug. 23, 2013) are the next in line.

Jones doesn't feel too old, however, as the White Sox roster still boasts plenty of experience. Whether it's David Robertson, Derek Holland, James Shields, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Geovany Soto or Peter Bourjos, the club is loaded with veterans. But it's still a strange thought to Jones that he has been around longer than anyone else.

"Obviously it's not something I was thinking of coming into this offseason," Jones said. "It's definitely different. I still look at those (veterans), looking for advice from them.

"Time flies when you're having fun. That's what the game's about, having fun and winning. It doesn't seem like it has been that long of a time, but that's part of the business I guess."

Jones -- who leaves this week to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic -- also knows moving on is also part of the game. When he sees the boatload of talented prospects on the way, Jones likes where the White Sox are headed.

He also likes the idea of helping those players find success on their path to the majors.

"It's good stuff," Jones said. "We've got a good mix here between the veterans and the young guys. We're always here for those guys if they want to ask questions or how we do things, we're an open book. We're here to talk about it, here to come together as a team and work together."

SprtsTalk Live Podcast: Is MLB about to strike out forever?

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USA TODAY

SprtsTalk Live Podcast: Is MLB about to strike out forever?

David Haugh, Chuck Garfien and JJ Stankevitz join Kap on a Friday edition of STL. 

The MLB owners and players appear to be farther apart then ever with the union saying they will not take a further pay cut. Is the sport about to strike out forever?

Meanwhile, the Bulls season is over. Will a nine-month lay-off help or hurt them? Plus, the Bears may not get together as a team until training camp. Will that hurt them at all?

Finally, Jean Lenti Ponsetto will retire as DePaul athletic director this summer. Can a new AD get the men’s basketball team back to national prominence?

0:00 - There’s still no baseball and the two sides don’t even appear to be in the same ballpark. Are the owners and players heading for a mutually assured destruction? Does one side need to give in first for the good of the game?

11:00 - The NBA is returning but the Bulls won’t take part. Is it better for them to have a 9-month lay-off?

15:00 - The Bears and other NFL teams may not get to work out together until training camp. Does the hurt the Bears?

19:00 - Jean Lenti Ponsetto will retire as DePaul AD this summer. Can a new AD bring the Blue Demons men’s basketball team back to national prominence?

 

Listen here or below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Report: 2020 MLB season will happen, how many baseball games is unclear

Report: 2020 MLB season will happen, how many baseball games is unclear

Fans looking for good news during the financial fight between baseball’s owners and players are getting it from SNY’s Andy Martino. He says there will be a baseball season in 2020.

No, there’s no imminent agreement between the two warring sides. But the worst-case scenario, no season at all, seems as if it will be avoided, per Martino, who reported Friday that players will play even if Major League Baseball sidesteps further negotiations and imposes a season of perhaps fewer than 50 games.

The league’s ability to do that was reported on earlier in the week, included as part of the March agreement between the two parties. The parsing of that agreement is at the center of these contentious money talks. The players agreed to prorated salaries based on the number of games played, but the owners believe they’re able to ask for further pay cuts now that they’ve deemed it economically impossible to play even half a season without fans in the stands and pay players half their salaries. Players, distrustful of that claim, say the owners should prove it by opening their books.

The players are standing firm in not accepting further pay cuts, with union chief Tony Clark saying Thursday any proposal of further cuts would be rejected. While there was some confusion over whether the owners would stop making proposals altogether, Martino reported that the league could make another financial offer to the union.

Here’s another wrinkle: The governor of Texas recently said that fans would be allowed to attend sporting events in that state. Thursday brought a report that Major League Baseball is likely to allow the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros to have fans in the stands, signaling that governors in the 17 different states where major league teams play would have the final say on whether they could sell tickets. That could mean more revenue, a significant variable thrown into this whole thing.


RELATED: Return-to-play negotiations: How Rob Manfred and Adam Silver's roles differ

So how many games are going to be played? That remains a question without an answer.

If the players refuse further pay cuts, as they’ve said they will, then perhaps a roughly 50-game season would be in the cards. If there are concessions as negotiations continue, that number could grow. Martino outlined that if the owners agree to pay those full prorated salaries for more than 50 games, perhaps we’ll see expanded playoffs, which was part of the players’ last proposal the league rejected. Perhaps we’d see players mic’d up during games. Perhaps we’d see the union stop demanding full financial transparency from ownership.

But no budging from either side and the league’s 50-game plan seems more realistic, despite the frustration it could spark among fans. While a 50-game schedule would mean a lot more off days, creating health benefits for players related to both typical baseball maladies and the coronavirus, it could be argued it would be an illegitimate way to crown a champion. However, there’s an argument to be made that a 50-game sprint would be a fascinating contrast to baseball’s typical 162-game marathon, often criticized for its at times glacial pace.

If the two sides can come to an agreement, perhaps that wished-for July 4 Opening Day would still be possible, though teams would have to hustle to start a second round of spring training, which was originally pitched to begin next week. If they can’t, then the league’s mandated 50-game season might start closer to the end of July, with the postseason played as usual, during the month of October.

But with the league adamant about the playoffs wrapping up no later than early November, fearing an increase in COVID-19 infections come fall, time is of the essence. And that’s what makes Martino say that next week is when we’ll find out how much baseball will be played in 2020.

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