White Sox

Robin Ventura ready to roll with White Sox changes

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Robin Ventura ready to roll with White Sox changes

DETROIT -- This particular team won’t entirely stay intact but White Sox manager Robin Ventura knows most of his roster is here for the foreseeable future.
 
Sure, the White Sox may make changes and will almost certainly be a seller before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, but several veterans have long-term deals that would make them difficult to move. The White Sox manager sees the majority of a 32-40 group is what he’ll work with the rest of this season and in the future. Therefore, on Thursday Ventura said he’s tasked with making sure his team doesn’t quit and that they work to improve as soon as possible.
 
“There might be a change here and there but you have the people you have unless you can move them,” Ventura said. “Those are the facts. Right now we’re going to have to figure out a way for this group to get better."
 
“You have to keep them together, keep them pointed in the right direction and there’s an element in here that you don’t want them to cave into it.”
 
Take a look at the White Sox roster and you’ll notice there aren’t many easy fixes. Melky Cabrera is locked in for two more seasons at an average of $14 million per. Adam LaRoche has a year left on a $25-million deal. Adam Eaton is in the first season of a five-year deal. And the White Sox don’t exactly have prospects knocking down the door.
 
While they may trade Alexei Ramirez or Jeff Samardzija next month, the White Sox aren’t headed for a big housecleaning. Despite their losing ways, Ventura has maintained his calm external demeanor. But in no way does he intend to let the White Sox fall off a cliff and head for 100 losses.
 
“You continue to compete and you have to be able to come out here,” Ventura said. “You practice right, you get the right mentality going and you go play. And there has to be that expectation there. There is a professionalism that goes with it and whether it’s going good or bad, you better be coming out ready to compete.”
 
“I get my point across and these guys know that and there’s moments that are louder than others. There’s moments that are more poignant than others. But in the end, this is professional baseball and there are standards that are there and I’m trying to make sure those are met. And when they’re not, it becomes a tougher conversation with guys. You’re upfront and they know what’s expected.”

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.