White Sox

Happy to be heading to Yankees, Todd Frazier and relief pitchers find it hard to say goodbye to White Sox

Happy to be heading to Yankees, Todd Frazier and relief pitchers find it hard to say goodbye to White Sox

Ecstatic to be headed to the New York Yankees, Todd Frazier had an idea something was in the works the minute he learned he was scratched from Tuesday’s game.

Frazier stayed in the White Sox dugout for almost the entire 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers save for several trips to the clubhouse. The third baseman said he learned more and more with each trip back. Frazier had heard all of the rumors about where else he might be headed but it wasn’t until shortly after Tuesday’s game concluded that he, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle learned they would be headed to the New York Yankees in a deal that netted the White Sox four players, including highly touted prospect Blake Rutherford and veteran reliever Tyler Clippard.

“It’s kind of surreal here right now because it all happened at once and you hear the rumors, it could have been a different team, here and there,” Frazier said. “But it’s the Yankees so I’m pretty excited.”

Kahnle had a similar reaction to Frazier. Perhaps the most critical player the White Sox gave up in the deal, Kahnle has had a strange, albeit successful season. He originally didn’t make the team’s Opening Day roster only to be promoted after an early bullpen injury.

Once he arrived, Kahnle took off and dominated. The right-hander posted a 2.50 ERA and struck out 60 batters while walking only seven in 36 innings. Kahnle isn’t just dominant, he’s under team control for another two and a half seasons. That status made Kahnle very appealing to many clubs, not just the Yankees, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 amateur draft only to lose him in the Rule 5 Draft in 2014.

“This season’s been pretty wild,” Kahnle said. “Last year, too, was pretty crazy at the beginning. This year, definitely — I’m kind of lost for words. I felt like I’ve figured it out. I’m gonna keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

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Robertson has sensed it for two years now that the White Sox might deal him away. He only hoped that a trade would come after his wife, Erin, gave birth to the couple’s second child. The baby was born July 3.

Still, Robertson seemed a little surprised by the news he’s headed back to the Yankees where he spent the first seven seasons of his career. The former White Sox closer didn’t officially learn about the deal until after the conclusion of Tuesday’s game.

“I found out probably 20 minutes ago,” Robertson said. “But obviously you know there's rumors flying around, everybody sees it online now. I can't speak high enough about (the White Sox). We had a great opportunity here, we played hard, won some ballgames, we just were never able to really get it done here. I know that now I'm part of the rebuilding process and they're sending me out, but they're getting some new pieces and I'm going to help a team compete and hopefully get to the playoffs.”

Though caught in the middle, Frazier seemed to understand the move was coming. Even though he preferred to stay long term earlier in the season, the Toms River, N.J., native sounds as if he’s ready to embrace a chance to win.

“It’s very difficult,” Frazier said. “Goodbyes are tough. They’re real tough. Saying bye to guys like the management, Jose Abreu, to everybody. Timmy Anderson, who has been my locker mate for a year and a half. It’s tough. There’s a lot more to it, but we understand the business and I’m going to the Yankees. Pretty excited to see what happens.”

White Sox Insider Notes: Andrew Vaughn expands versatility at third base

White Sox Insider Notes: Andrew Vaughn expands versatility at third base

It’s not uncommon for baseball players to be seen working out at positions they usually don’t play in games. Heck, Jose Abreu somewhat regularly takes groundballs at shortstop.

But in the case of Andrew Vaughn – the White Sox’s No. 3 overall draft pick in 2019 – working out at third base this week, there might be something there. In fact, when Rick Renteria was asked if third base is a position Vaughn can handle, the manager immediately said, “I do.”

“He's got really good feet, his exchange is very good,” Renteria said. “He's got a very good arm. He has all the makings of being able to play that position.”

Someone jumping to major conclusions might suggest that the White Sox are grooming Vaughn to play third base this season in case Yoan Moncada, who is still absent from camp, can’t. While Vaughn having a contribution in 2020 can’t be completely ruled out, it’s important to remember that he didn’t play above High-A ball last season and isn’t being helped by the lack of a minor league season this year. He’s simply one of the high-profile prospects the White Sox are still trying to develop in camp, while also preparing for a regular season.

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“When we got (back to Chicago), the work in terms of trying to get him to have the ability to do a little bit more has come into play,” Renteria said. “So we put him over there with an understanding that we'd continue to work and be mindful obviously of what he's capable of doing. There are several of us that believe he's capable of moving around.”

Ultimately, that’s what this is about. Many within the organization believe Vaughn can be more than a first baseman and the White Sox are using this opportunity to increase his versatility.

“The worst-case scenario would be him just not doing anything,” Renteria said. “Any time you're around baseball, any time you're around the highest level of players that exist in the game, any time you're following routines, things that are helping you learn something about your skill set, it's always a plus.”

It may just be a short three-week period, but the White Sox are trying to maximize Vaughn’s time at Guaranteed Rate Field, knowing developmental time could be limited the rest of 2020. He’s very much in the team’s plans, perhaps even in the short term.

“I look at him as a baseball player. He is a young man that is very bright and that I believe would be able to make adjustments,” Renteria said. “Would anybody say he'll go hiccup free? No. But certainly don't have any lack of confidence in his ability to make a transition should he need to do it. Bare minimum, we allow him to continue to expand his flexibility and value to a ballclub.”

Moncada, Kopech updates

Not much has changed with the two high-profile players that came over in the Chris Sale trade. Neither Moncada or Michael Kopech are currently with the team in camp, but there is some hope that Moncada won’t miss a ton of time.

“Obviously Moncada will be back soon,” pitcher Lucas Giolito said during his Zoom call with reporters Wednesday.

The White Sox haven’t given an official reason for Moncada’s absence, although two unnamed players tested positive for COVID-19 during last week’s intake. Kopech is dealing with a personal issue.

“It's a fluid situation and we'll deal with it as it arises, so I can't really give you any update,” Renteria said about Kopech. “Just to know that we have the ability to have him return with us.”

First intrasquad game plan

Unlike other teams that jumped right into intrasquad games, the White Sox have eased into camp slowly, showing some patience. But that changes Thursday with the first game scheduled for 1:10 p.m. The White Sox will play four innings and the scheduled pitchers include: Steve Cishek, Aaron Bummer, Ross Detwiler, Carson Fulmer and Drew Anderson, although Renteria teased some sort of surprise.

“We got a few sides and then there's a couple guys that we might be able to add,” he said. “That may be your little surprise piece for tomorrow.”

Know this: it will be the most anticipated intrasquad game in White Sox history.



Chicago White Sox fans can order cardboard cutouts to sit in stands

Chicago White Sox fans can order cardboard cutouts to sit in stands

Diehard White Sox fans will have a new way to show their South Side pride this season.

The team announced on Wednesday that 1,500 fans will be allowed to purchase a cardboard cutout of themselves to “sit” in the stands during Sox home games.

The cutouts cost $49, with net proceeds benefiting White Sox charities. All fans need to do is submit their payment along with a photo and their contact information, and the White Sox will take care of the rest.

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If you’re unsure what makes a great cardboard cutout photo, don’t worry, the team has you covered. They published a “FANtastic Faces” submission guide to help snap the perfect pic.

Other teams, like the Oakland A’s have launched similar campaigns. And cardboard cutouts have become a staple in Korean baseball as well.

Only question now: will cardboard vendors come around with cardboard hotdogs for those cardboard cutouts?

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