White Sox

Jeff Samardzija continues to excel despite Sharknado of trade rumors

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Jeff Samardzija continues to excel despite Sharknado of trade rumors

BOSTON — If Jeff Samardzija is worried about Friday’s trade deadline, it hasn’t surfaced on the mound.

The White Sox right-hander made the most of his first start at Fenway Park on Tuesday night and kept his red-hot team in the thick of things as he pitched into the ninth inning in a 9-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

With a White Sox selloff seeming less likely each day — six straight victories has quickly changed matters — Samardzija kept the Red Sox in check while his offense and defense continued to impress. Once 32-42 and ninth in the wild-card race, the White Sox are four games back and sixth in the race for two spots.

“He’s done a great job,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I know there’s a lot of speculation, and there is probably a Shark Watch somewhere. He’s done a great job of just staying focused on what he’s doing.”

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get a Jeff Samardzija jersey right here]

The recent run reportedly has forced general manager Rick Hahn to give his club more time before he makes the choice to buy or sell, most analysts heavily expecting the latter. A free agent at the end of the season, Samardzija is the team’s most tradable commodity and would seem to command a strong return for the White Sox given the recent trades of Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir. Along with Cole Hamels and David Price, Samardzija’s name has been one of the most common in trade rumors for weeks as the White Sox sputtered. But it hasn’t affected Samardzija, who is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five July starts.

He credits his success to last year’s experience with the Cubs, when Samardzija knew it was only a matter of when, not if, he would be traded. Now that the White Sox have begun to hit — they’ve outscored opponents 45-17 on their road trip — and catch the ball, Samardzija thinks the club’s actions have extending its chances of avoiding the chopping block.

“After the last couple of years, I’m pretty confident in what I’m concentrating on and what’s important to me, and like I said, things are not in my control and there’s really no reason to worry about them,” Samardzija said. “As long as we can keep playing the way we play and up to our standards, it’s going to be hard to break anyone up. We have a great group here, and I think we expect a lot of great things out of ourselves.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What should be the plan to call up the White Sox prospects?

SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects. 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

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USA TODAY

White Sox add Alex Presley at Triple-A, another veteran outfielder who could factor into 2018 plans for banged-up outfield

Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.

Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.

Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.

Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.

It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.

It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.