White Sox

LIVE: Quentin homers, Sox trail 4-1

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LIVE: Quentin homers, Sox trail 4-1

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 11:24 a.m.
Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays have been pitching well over the past week. Facing the slumping lineup of the Chicago White Sox hasn't hurt.

Wade Davis will try to extend the Rays' run of stellar starting pitching and help Tampa Bay reach the .500 mark Wednesday night when it continues its four-game home set against Chicago.

Tampa Bay (8-9) has won seven of eight and the first two of this series, including a 2-1 victory Tuesday.

One night after David Price gave up four hits in eight innings of a 5-0 win, James Shields threw a complete game, allowing four hits and striking out nine. Ben Zobrist scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth on Sean Rodriguez's triple.

"It was really fun to watch," manager Joe Maddon said of Shields. "He kept his tempo. He kept his pace. The quality of the locations was severe. On the money all night long. I could tell he was on right from jump street."

The Rays have a 2.10 ERA during their eight-game surge to the brink of the .500 mark. So far, Chicago's lineup is proving no match for Tampa Bay's arms.

Losers of six straight, the White Sox (7-10) have totaled five runs over their last four games. They're batting .195 in their last eight - a far cry from their .307 average during a 6-3 start.

Designated hitter Adam Dunn went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, and is 2 for 23 since missing six games due to an emergency appendectomy. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he might drop Dunn down in the lineup from his current third spot.

He's far from the only White Sox hitter struggling. Paul Konerko is 4 for 28 over his last seven games while Gordon Beckham is 1 for 29 in his last eight.

"It's a combination of both," Guillen said. "Shields pitched very well and we're not swinging the bat well. We're struggling right now at the plate, big time."

Davis (1-2, 3.26 ERA) will look to extend Chicago's struggles as he aims for his third consecutive strong outing.

The right-hander yielded one run and four hits in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Minnesota on Friday and went six innings against the White Sox on April 9, allowing two runs in a 4-2 defeat.

Phil Humber (1-1, 3.46), who is scheduled to pitch Wednesday for Chicago, opposed Davis in that start - his first with the White Sox in place of the injured Jake Peavy. He gave up one run in six innings to earn the victory.

The right-hander had more troubles in his last start, allowing four runs - two earned - and six hits in five innings of a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday.

Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon (bruised left ring finger tip) and first baseman Dan Johnson (sore left forearm-wrist) both missed Tuesday's game, and are day to day.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Unwilling to spend big? Rick Hahn addresses narrative surrounding White Sox

Unwilling to spend big? Rick Hahn addresses narrative surrounding White Sox

When will the White Sox spend big on a premium free agent?

In the minds of those in the White Sox front office, that’s not even a question. They’re ready to do it now, fully realizing that the part of their rebuilding plan that involves bringing an impact player in from outside the organization hinges on paying big dollars. The money will be spent, so Rick Hahn proclaimed when it didn’t end up getting spent on Manny Machado last winter. Well, there are plenty of opportunities for it to get spent this time around.

On the other end of the spectrum is a segment of White Sox fans who are convinced it never will be spent and the White Sox are either unable or unwilling — or perhaps both — to ink a major free agent. After all, the largest contract in team history remains the $68 million over six years Jose Abreu received upon arriving from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season. Albert Belle’s one-time record-setting contract? That was 23 years ago. The reported discrepancy in guaranteed money between what the White Sox offered Machado last winter and what he ended up getting from the San Diego Padres, a reported $50 million, added ammo to this argument.

Hahn, of course, is not ignorant to the criticism. While he continues to insist that the unable-or-unwilling-to-spend narrative is a false one, he knows it will linger until his front office proves it wrong.

But Hahn isn’t the only target of the complaints involving free-agent spending. Some of the grumblings are reserved for team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. He’s the guy signing players’ checks, after all. Reinsdorf was among those who took the heat when Machado picked the Padres.

That heat doesn’t bother the chairman, according to Hahn, nor will it play any kind of role in his reaction if and when the White Sox sign a big-name free agent.

“Jerry’s been doing this for 37, 38 years. He’s lived in this town most of his life. I don’t think he lets the narratives that are written out there that we perceive to be false get to him that much. I think he’s just used to it being out there,” Hahn told NBC Sports Chicago during the GM meetings last week in Arizona. “And over the last several years, we’ve disproved a lot of them, and really at no point has he taken any sort of victory dance because, ‘Hey, we showed you.’”

Hahn talks frequently about the preconceived notions the White Sox have disproved: that they wouldn't launch a full-scale rebuild, that they wouldn't spend big on the international market, that they wouldn't make a trade of significance with the Cubs.

Just like the Machado rumors flew last winter, this offseason has already kicked off with the White Sox connected to the likes of Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg. Yasmani Grandal and Madison Bumgarner seem like good fits. Plenty of speculators, myself included, have wondered what the likelihood might be of the White Sox jumping into trade talks with the financially minded Boston Red Sox with an eye on Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez or Andrew Benintendi.

Much of that has already been met with online eye-rolling, and even Hahn pointed to the fact that people are sick of rumors about what might happen and are hungry solely for results: “It's my experience that people aren't too interested in hearing about the labor, they want to see the baby.” But the White Sox are serious about contending for marquee free agents and know it will be difficult to convince certain folks otherwise until it happens.

Hahn said that Reinsdorf and the White Sox are far more concerned with getting a big-name player to sign on the dotted line than they are with shutting anyone up.

“In the end, any excitement that he would have about us signing a premium free agent in a way that people didn’t expect would come far more from adding that talent to our roster than disproving any false narrative that might be out there.

“Until we win,” Hahn added, “that can be said. It doesn’t change, fundamentally, what our goals are in any offseason or over the course of a year, and that’s to win a championship.”

The White Sox will undoubtedly stick to their rebuilding plans in their quest to win that title. Hahn said numerous times that the way the Machado pursuit played out last offseason won’t force the team to change its approach. Those plans, it should be noted, have always included adding from the outside, adding impact talent and spending to get it when the time came. There was an opportunity to do all that last winter, and it didn’t work out. There are more opportunities to do so this winter. If things continue to go according to plan and the White Sox move into contention mode in the near future, there will be more opportunities in winters to follow.

The last three seasons of losing have been an upsetting part of those plans, too. And those summers full of losses have contributed to a less-than-sunny disposition for some who continue to target Hahn, Reinsdorf and others with their complaints. All along, Hahn has said that the frustration that comes with repeated losing has been present in the front office, too.

White Sox fans understand what the team is trying to do through this rebuild but at this point they’re ready to see it bear fruit. The manager agrees, saying it’s time to turn the page. That includes the ace of the starting staff saying if the 2020 White Sox don’t make the playoffs, “then I don’t think we’ve come close to what we should be doing.”

And that includes the chairman.

“He's ready for this rebuild to be over,” Hahn said of Reinsdorf. “At the same time, he knows, from the start, what the plan was and what it looked like and what the likely time horizon was, as well as some of the events that have occurred over the last few years that have accelerated the timeline and some of them that have decelerated it. So, he's realistic.

“But at the same time, like fundamentally any other fan, he's ready to win.”

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White Sox, searching for starting pitching, reportedly in 'leading group' for Zack Wheeler

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USA TODAY

White Sox, searching for starting pitching, reportedly in 'leading group' for Zack Wheeler

Asked during the GM meetings last week in Arizona what kinds of pitchers he wants to acquire this winter, Rick Hahn had a snappy response.

"Good ones," he said.

Well, Zack Wheeler falls into that category, and the White Sox are reportedly in pursuit, with Jon Morosi reporting Wednesday on MLB Network that the South Siders are one of four teams — alongside the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres and division-rival Minnesota Twins — in "the leading group right now" for Wheeler's services.

Wheeler, a free agent after pitching in five big league seasons with the New York Mets, had himself a very good 2018 campaign, finishing with a 3.31 ERA and 179 strikeouts in 29 starts. He made 31 starts in 2019, striking out more batters (195 of them) but finishing with a significantly higher 3.96 ERA. He closed the season strong, with a 2.83 ERA in his final 12 starts. Wheeler was terrific in his five September starts, posting a 1.85 ERA in the season's final month.

The 29-year-old right-handed hurler is one of the more attractive names on this winter's pitching-heavy free-agent market. He's not commanding the attention of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Madison Bumgarner, perhaps, but he's still plenty high on a lot of wish lists. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Wheeler's dealt with injury issues throughout his major league career, missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons, first with Tommy John surgery and then with a right arm strain that did not require another surgery.

The White Sox got to see Wheeler up close in August, when he tossed a gem at Guaranteed Rate Field, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out seven.

Certainly it makes sense that the White Sox would be interested, as well as casting a wide net in their search for starting-pitching help this winter. Asked last week whether the White Sox are searching for top-of-the-rotation guys, such as the Coles and Strasburgs of the world, or middle-of-the-rotation guys who would slot in behind Lucas Giolito, Hahn didn't limit himself to one or the other.

"We have room for improvement in both spots," he said. "We'll continue to monitor the trade and free-agent market for all different types of starters, and any ones that we feel are going to make us better both short- and potentially long-term, we'll be in on."

The most Hahn revealed about the team's starting-pitching pursuits is that the White Sox are looking to add two arms to the rotation this winter. Those two arms would go along with Giolito, Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez in the rotation. The White Sox, until they assess the situation in the spring, are uncommitted to how much Michael Kopech will pitch out of the rotation in 2020. If the goal is improving the rotation in the short- and long-term, Wheeler would figure to do the job.

"I don't think any team ever feels they have enough starting pitching," Hahn said. "And looking at where we sit, with (Carlos) Rodon on the IL to start the season and Kopech coming back from the injury, I think we feel good about potentially adding two arms to that mix. If it turns out once Carlos is healthy or how Michael shows up in spring training that, lo and behold, we have too many quality starters, we'll deal with that problem as it arises."

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