White Sox

The Miami Marlins: Chicago's third team

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The Miami Marlins: Chicago's third team

Call me crazy, but its tough not to like what the Miami Marlins have done since they signed former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to the same post just a few short months ago. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria must have won a lottery that no one else was playing and, in result, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make the Marlins a contender in 2012.

With the acquisition of Carlos Zambrano, it gives Miami the perfect bunch of misfits to mix with others who simply lead my example through their play on the field and their demeanor in the clubhouse. Sox hero Mark Buehrle seems to be the oddball of a cast of characters led by Ozzie and Big Z. But dont forget about Aaron Rowand, who signed a minor league deal with the Marlins just days after Buehrle, his 2005 World Series champion teammate, left Chicago for the first time in his career. Rowand, should he make the team, could be another in the Buehrle-mold that offsets the fireworks of Ozzie and Zambrano.

Big Z had to leave the Northside. He did more damage to that clubhouse than the physical damage he had done to teammates and Gatorade coolers. However, Miami is the perfect landing spot. Quite honestly, it might have been the ONLY landing spot for the troubled pitcher.

Ozzie Guillen seemingly is an ideal manager to handle Big Z. Im not guaranteeing that there wont be another eruption from Mt. Zambrano, but you can guarantee the theatre that Ozzie provides in handling it makes the Marlins a must watch in 2012.

Buehrle versus Zambrano used to be THE ticket to get in Chicago when they went head to head in the Crosstown Classic. Now, in an ironic twist of fate, they team up for what is sure to be one of baseballs most curious and bizarre headlines of the upcoming season. Keep your eyes on South Beach, starting in April when the Cubs head to Florida to face Chicagos third team.

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

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USA TODAY

White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will reportedly be suspended 80 games for use of PED

For the first time since new rules came into effect in 2005, the White Sox will reportedly see a major league player suspended for violating baseball’s ban on performance-enhancing drugs.

Welington Castillo, the team’s biggest offseason addition, will be suspended for 80 games, according to a pair of reports.

Manager Rick Renteria said after Wednesday's win over the visiting Baltimore Orioles that he couldn't comment on the reports. Castillo played in Wednesday's game, during which the news broke.

"For me, those at this particular moment are rumors," Renteria said. "MLB is the one that is in charge of that type of stuff. Until they release anything officially I can’t really comment on that."

The veteran catcher, slashing .267/.309/.466 with six home runs and 15 RBIs in 33 games this season, was brought in over the winter to help the rebuilding White Sox in both the short and long term. He had a career year offensively and defensively in 2017, and he was acquired to help develop a young pitching staff featuring big pieces of the future like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, and also to swing a solid bat and help this young team learn how to win.

If Castillo proves productive over the course of his two-year deal, the White Sox have a team option that could keep Castillo on the South Side for the 2020 season. That could make him a piece of the puzzle for when the rebuild reaches its apex and the team is ready to start contending for championships. But this news has the potential to change that dramatically.

Zack Collins and Seby Zavala are both having strong offensive seasons at Double-A Birmingham and figure to be the long-term answers behind the plate. But Castillo’s absence from any long-term picture could leave the White Sox without a veteran safety net in the years ahead, depending on how the team decides to react to this news now and in the coming seasons.

Castillo’s absence for the next 80 games could also have an impact on the development of aforementioned pitchers like Giolito and Lopez. Lopez, in particular, has been throwing really well this season, and Giolito has control issues to work through, as he leads the American League in walks. Without the veteran catcher brought in to help those guys transition to the major league level, how will the transition change for those two pitchers?

Omar Narvaez would be the logical choice to take over as the No. 1 catcher. As for who could take Castillo's place on the major league roster, the options are limited. Kevan Smith, who was edged out by Narvaez for the backup-catching job in spring training, is on the disabled list at Triple-A Charlotte, placed there Tuesday. The aforementioned Zavala is also injured at Double-A Birmingham, and it seems far too early to rush Collins to the big leagues. Alfredo Gonzalez is a catcher on the roster at Charlotte. A spot on the 40-man roster would need to be freed up to bring him to Chicago.

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: