White Sox

Jeff Samardzija's departure nets White Sox extra top draft pick


Jeff Samardzija's departure nets White Sox extra top draft pick

Forfeiting a draft pick wouldn’t prevent a free agent signing, but the White Sox are excited to possibly possess three top-50 selections in the 2016 amateur draft.

The franchise receives an extra pick (in between the first and second rounds) as compensation for the loss of free-agent pitcher Jeff Samardzija, who signed with the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

Not only do they draft 10th overall next June, but the White Sox now have an additional pick (perhaps as high as 25th) in a draft that’s expected to be full of college and prep hitters, White Sox amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said in October.

[MORE SOX: Additions of Navarro, Avila have White Sox confident at catcher]

And while they wouldn’t shy away from signing a free agent with a qualifying offer if it’s the right fit, the White Sox plan to weigh any decision against the potential loss of adding another talented amateur player to a farm system in need of more.

“I love the idea of loading up picks like that,” general manager Rick Hahn said last month. “I think that’d be great. I might not love it quite as much as Doug (Laumann) and Nick love it. We’ll have to balance their passion for having extra picks versus what we can do via free agency and if it makes sense in the end. But it certainly would be a nice shot in the arm in continuing to add quality prospects to the organization, which is a priority.”

Similar to last offseason, the White Sox are already in an advantageous position to sign free agents courtesy of a poor 2015 season. Because they finished with the 10th-worst record in the majors last season, the White Sox have a protected first-round selection, meaning they could sign any free agent without forfeiting their top pick.

Instead, they would forfeit their second-highest pick if they chose to splurge on a Jason Heyward. Last offseason, the White Sox surrendered their second- and third-round draft picks in order to sign free agents Melky Cabrera and David Robertson.

But after Samardzija signed a five-year, $90-million contract with the Giants, the White Sox have an additional pick to part with, if need be. So were they to decide that Daniel Murphy or Yovani Gallardo is the answer to all their woes, the White Sox would still pick 10th and then again in the second round.

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Either way, the White Sox should be able to add talent to an improved farm system that could still use a boost.

“We haven’t ruled out a free-agent move strictly because the loss of a pick,” Hahn said. “It’s a consideration, but it’s a different analysis when you have the 10th pick locked in.

“But our goal has been for the last several years is to get to the point where we’re self-sustainable -- where we’re only dipping into the free-agent market to add those complementary pieces to a solid developing core. Obviously last year we saw the opportunity to be aggressive in certain areas of need and to build around that smaller core. But ideally that core is a little bigger.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania


White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

Manny Machado to the White Sox?? It's been the dream for many White Sox fans for months.

With Machado in town to the play the White Sox, Chuck Garfien and Vinnie Duber discuss the White Sox chances of signing the soon-to-be-free agent.

Garfien also talks with Nicky Delmonico who played with Machado and fellow free agent to be Bryce Harper on the U.S.A. 18-under national team.

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

Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup


Rick Renteria issues another benching after Welington Castillo doesn't hustle on popup

One thing you better do if you play for Rick Renteria is run to first base.

Yet again, Renteria benched one of his players Monday for the sin of not hustling down the line.

Welington Castillo, a veteran, not a developing player in need of ample “learning experiences,” popped up to first base with two runners on and nobody out in the sixth inning of Monday’s eventual 3-2 loss to the visiting Baltimore Orioles. He did not run down to first, instead staying at home plate.

So when the inning ended and the White Sox took the field, Castillo stayed in the dugout.

Ricky’s boys don’t quit, or so the slogan goes. But what happens when a player doesn’t live up to that mantra? What happens when they don’t play their absolute hardest for all 27 outs, as the T-shirts preach? This is what happens. A benching.

“It was towering fly ball in the infield at first, probably had 15, 20 seconds of hangtime,” Renteria explained after the game. “I assumed the dropped ball. It has occurred. He could, at minimum, at least start moving that way.

“That’s uncharacteristic of him, to be honest, it truly is. Maybe he was just frustrated in that he had the fly ball and just stayed at the plate, but there was no movement toward first at all. And you guys have heard me talk to all the guys about at least giving an opportunity to move in that particular direction.

“Everybody says, ‘Well, 99 out of (100) times he’s going to catch that ball.’ And then that one time that he doesn’t, what would I do if the ball had been dropped? Would it have made it easier to pull him? Well, it was just as easy because you expect not the best, but the worst.

“That is uncharacteristic of that young man. I had a quick conversation with him on the bench, and he knew and that was it.”

It might seem a little overdramatic, a little nutty, even, to sit down a veteran catcher brought in this offseason to provide some offense and to do it in a one-run game. But this rebuild is about more than just waiting around for the minor league talent to make its way to the South Side. It’s about developing an organizational culture, too. And Renteria feels that if he lets this kind of thing slide at the big league level, that won’t send the right message to those precious prospects who will one day fill out this lineup.

“There’s one way to do it, you get your action, you start moving toward that direction in which you’ve got to go,” Renteria said. “What would’ve happened if everybody’s watching it — and I’m setting the tone for not only here, our club, (but also for) everybody in the minor leagues — and they’re saying, ‘Well, at the top, they said they’re going to do this and then they don’t do it.’

“It’s really simple. And people might like it, not like it. I’ve got to do this, do that so everybody understands what we’re trying to do here. We’re not done with what we’re trying to do.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened in 2018. Avisail Garcia was taken out of a game during spring training for not giving maximum effort. Leury Garcia was removed from a game earlier this month for not busting it down the first-base line on a weak grounder that went right to the first baseman.

It’s become a somewhat common tactic for Renteria, and while it might strike some as taking things a little too seriously, what good is this developmental season if a culture goes undeveloped? The White Sox have placed their bright future, in part, in Renteria’s hands, and they’ve talked glowingly about how the players have bought into his style and how the team played last season under his leadership.

If Renteria truly is the right man for the rebuild, things like this are how he’s going to establish his culture. And it will, he hopes, impact how all those prospects play when they’re no longer prospects and the White Sox are contending for championships.