White Sox

Rick Hahn: White Sox to stay 'aggressive on numerous fronts'

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Rick Hahn: White Sox to stay 'aggressive on numerous fronts'

Last time Rick Hahn said something similar, it ultimately resulted in the acquisition of Todd Frazier.

Though the White Sox general manager thinks his team has significantly improved its offense with trades for Frazier and Brett Lawrie and the signings of Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro, Hahn’s roster enhancement might not yet be complete. After a three-team trade on Wednesday netted Frazier, a two-time All-Star third baseman, Hahn wouldn’t rule out more moves when asked about available high-profile players.

“We shall see,” Hahn said. “We’re going to continue to be aggressive on numerous fronts and certainly continue to talk to various free agents as well as other clubs about trades, and we’ll have to see how the coming weeks unfold.”

The White Sox always seem to have a surprise move in their bag. You can attribute that to club chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, whom last offseason one baseball source described as a “wild card” because of his desire to win. Following the club’s 99-loss season in 2013, Reinsdorf said he wished it was a just a bad dream.

Few within the industry could have predicted the team’s three-year contract for Melky Cabrera last December, a shocking move that came on the heels of a deal for David Robertson and trade for Jeff Samardzija.

So while the White Sox have improved at second and third base, where they had the lowest OPS in the majors at each spot in 2015, and believe they’ve upgraded at catcher, they might not be done.

Though Jason Heyward already is off the board, attractive free-agent outfielders Justin Upton, Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes are still available.

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After they surrendered Trayce Thompson — their best defensive outfielder — in Wednesday’s deal, the White Sox likely want to improve in that area before the offseason ends.

“We still have a fair amount of time to address that,” Hahn said.

How they’ll address it remains to be seen.

The White Sox have maintained all along they’d like to improve the team without giving away any of their top draft picks. They see their top three picks — all of which should land in the top 45-50 selections of the draft — as a shot in the arm for the farm system.

The team’s first overall pick is protected because the White Sox had the 10th-worst record in the majors last season. But if the White Sox signed Upton or Gordon, they’d have to surrender the compensatory pick — and the all-important signing bonus attached to it — they’ll receive for losing Jeff Samardzija, which is expected to land between No. 25-29 in the draft.

Their preferred method of acquisition this offseason has been through trades or in signing picks that don’t require giving up a pick. But after Wednesday’s move to acquire Frazier, one that makes them more complete than they’ve been in a while, the Reinsdorf competitive factor cannot be ruled out.

“We certainly feel better than we did at the end of the season,” Hahn said. “At the same time, the way we approach things, we are not satisfied at this point. We are going to continue to look for other means of upgrading the club over the coming weeks and months.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Manny Machado Mania

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.