White Sox

Rick Hahn sees importance in transparency as White Sox rebuild

Rick Hahn sees importance in transparency as White Sox rebuild

The White Sox know exactly where they want to head and Rick Hahn spent much of SoxFest weekend laying it out for the team's fans.

With a focus on transparency, the White Sox general manager tried to map out the team's direction as it enters the first phase of what he admits could be a painful rebuild. While the plan doesn't have 100 percent backing from the fanbase after the trades of star players Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December, the mood at this weekend's event was mostly upbeat as fans fawned over many of the team's new top prospects. 

Still, Hahn knows it won't be easy to sell the idea that the White Sox, who haven't reached the postseason since 2008, expect to get worse before they will improve. But as the team embarks on its first rebuild since 1997, he also thinks the current path is overdue and the most direct to sustained success. 

"We want to compete," Hahn said. "Look, we feel that. We feel that very deeply. And not just from out interactions this weekend or this past week from talking to Sox fans or conversations we haven't had. I feel it in my own home. I had an 11-year old when the Cubs were up [5-1] in Game 2 couldn't go to sleep he was so excited and all he wanted to talk to me about was, ‘When are the White Sox going to be back in the playoffs and how?'"

"There's still going to be entertaining elements of the 2017 season, even if it doesn't wind up that we're competing. But I do feel it's important for us to be as transparent as we can be about what we're trying to accomplish and the timeline it may well take."

Hahn touched on several elements of that timeline over the weekend. Through their two December trades and a strong 2016 draft, the White Sox have vastly improved their farm system. Over the weekend, MLB Pipeline issued its Top 100 rankings with the White Sox boasting six players, including three in the Top 16 in Yoan Moncada (No. 2), Lucas Giolito (No. 12) and Michael Kopech (No. 16). 

[RELATED - White Sox put top prospects on display at SoxFest]

The White Sox hope to add plenty more talent whether through the upcoming draft or more trades. But the latter, Hahn promised, will only come when the White Sox think they're receiving appropriate value. Only Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, Miguel Gonzalez and Derek Holland aren't under team control past this season. 

"There's really no urgency, there's no deadline, there's no financial pressure to make a move," Hahn said. "The only reason to be motivated to make a move is based upon receiving what we feel is appropriate value and helps advance what we're trying to accomplish over the long term."

Hahn also touched on when the long-term plan could begin to take shape when he was asked about the possibility of dipping into free agency by as early as 2018. The 2019 class is expected to include Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.

"The 2018 and 2019 free-agent classes are stacked," Hahn said. "A number of players will command nine-figure contracts. …

"We know spending is the final piece of all this. When we get there, we expect the resources to be there."

First-year manager Rick Renteria thought Hahn's message went over well. The two shared the stage for town hall sessions on Friday and Saturday. Beyond that, Renteria's interactions over the weekend — including Sunday's ceviche cook off — went well, he said. 

"The new direction, the things that were done over the winter, (fans have) embraced," Renteria said. "I think Rick did a really nice job kind of articulating the direction of the organization the whole fest. That makes it easier for a manager, everybody involved in the process. I know everybody wants us to try and compete on a daily basis, which is what we're going to try and do. All in all, I think everybody had a great time."

Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

Moncada's moves help seal White Sox epic extra innings win

To say the 2018-19 White Sox have had an up-and-down season would be an understatement. The season has been filled with more good than bad for sure‒three All-Stars, 42 wins, one possible Rookie of the Year candidate‒but their seven-game losing streak coming out the All-Star break certainly seemed taxing.

Chicago’s Leury Garica-fueled bounce-back win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday certainly helped spirits but Saturday’s dramatic, extra-innings win at Tropicana field could be the type of win that really gets the team back on track.

It looked like the White Sox were headed for their eighth loss in nine games. They were down to their final out when catcher James McCann decided to add another chapter to his storybook season.


 

McCann took a slider from Rays relief pitcher Emilio Pagán 373-feet out to left field for the game-tying home run.

It was another huge moment in a great season from McCann, heightened by the fact that there were so few baserunners (total) in this game and that another o-fer in the scoring column would’ve marked the second shutout loss in a week for the White Sox.

Instead, McCann’s heroics extended a game in which the White Sox bullpen‒2 H, 0 ER‒was excellent in relief of Lucas Giolito, who also pitched well.

Over 6.2 innings, Giolito racked up 9 Ks while giving up 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run. The lone run Giolito gave up was a high changeup that former White Sox outfielder Avisaíl García.

This game was without a doubt a pitchers' duel, so it was only fitting that the game-winning run was scored on an RBI-single by  José Abreu in which Yoan Moncada personified "Ricky's boys don't quit" on the basepaths.


Despite the lack of strong offensive production on Saturday night, the White Sox were able to grind out the win in a Giolito start, something that has been a recurring theme for the squad.

As elder statesmen Abreu hinted at, the White Sox need their key players back but wins like Saturday’s will help build confidence in the meantime.

The South Siders head into Sunday’s noon game with the Rays‒and their subsequent series with the Miami Marlins‒with their seven-game losing streak further in the rearview mirror and that is the best news we could hope for as we await the cavalry.

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White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

kelvin_herrera.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox place reliever Kelvin Herrera on injured list with oblique strain

The White Sox saw another pitcher hit the shelf due to injury on Saturday.

Ahead of their game against the Rays, the White Sox placed reliever Kelvin Herrera on the 10-day injured with a right oblique strain. In a corresponding move, the team recalled right-hander Jimmy Cordero from Triple-A Charlotte.

Entering the 2019 season, Herrera was expected to be a formidable late-game reliever in the White Sox bullpen alongside closer Álex Colomé. While Colomé (20-for-21 in save chances, 2.39 ERA in 37 2/3 innings) has thrived, Herrera has struggled in his debut season on the South Side. The 29-year-old holds a 7.36 ERA in 38 games/33 innings. As things currently stand, his .326 batting average against and 3.82 BB/9 would be career highs. 

Herrera's struggles are somewhat suprising when considering how well he pitched (2.44 ERA, 48 games/44 1/3 innings) in 2018. He did struggle after the Royals traded him to the Nationals on June 18, though, perhaps a precursor of what was to come from him in 2019:

Kelvin Herrera in 2018:

  with Royals with Nationals
Games 27 21
Innings 25 2/3 18 2/3
ERA 1.05 4.34
BB 2 8
K 22 16
BAA .207 .304

The White Sox claimed Cordero off of waivers from the Mariners on June 7. He previously pitched with the Nationals (22 games, 19 innings) in 2018 and Blue Jays (one game, 1 1/3 innings) in 2019. He holds a career 5.75 ERA in the MLB, but he's pitched well with Charlotte. The 28-year-old has gone 3-1 with a 0.51 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Knights, with opponents hitting just .215 against him in 13 outings.

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