White Sox

Rule 5 draftee familiar to White Sox

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Rule 5 draftee familiar to White Sox

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The White Sox believe immediate help is on the way after they selected infielder Angel Sanchez in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning.

With 628 major league plate appearances, Sanchez is far more experienced than most of the players normally taken in the Rule 5 draft, which allows teams to draft unprotected players off other organizational rosters as long as the player remains in the majors all season.

A shortstop by trade, Sanchez signed a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Angels earlier this offseason but wasnt placed on the teams 40-man roster.

The White Sox made Sanchez their first Rule 5 draft selection since Jason Grilli in 2003. Sanchez, who played 110 games for the Houston Astros in 2011, will compete for the White Sox open backup infield job next season.

He was a guy that we talked about even before that list came out, White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell said on Thursday before he and the team traveled home from the winter meetings. This is a lot different than finding a guy that is throwing 95 or 100, then you can just hope you can hide on your roster somewhere. This guy here, we think if it works out, it can really help our club from Opening Day beyond that.

Sanchez hit .320 last season for the Houston Astros Triple-A Oklahoma City club. Sanchez, of his 924 defensive appearances in the minor leagues, 815 were at shortstop.

Sanchez has a career .255.304.308 slash line in the majors with Houston, the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals. He also has familiarity with Bell, who managed him in 2006 with the Royals.

I loved this kid, Bell said. He had some elbow issues at the time and I left before he came back after his injuries. Ive been keeping my eye on him for the last few years. He had a good year in Triple-A last year and hes a solid and more of a situational player who can catch the ball, move the ball if you need to.

After they are purchased for 50,000, players selected in the Rule 5 draft are immediately added to a teams 40-man and active rosters. The drafting team can waive the player at any time and if he clears waivers he must be offered back to his original club for 25,000.

The White Sox 40-man roster is now at 38, though the team only has one spot open as infielder Jeff Keppingers deal should be finalized early next week.

MLB Hot Stove: Our food pitch to Bryce Harper

MLB Hot Stove: Our food pitch to Bryce Harper

The latest Bryce Harper news comes from TMZ Sports, who caught up with the outfielder at baggage claim at LAX Airport. Harper was asked which city has his favorite food, and once again, he mentions Chicago. “I like Chicago,” Harper said. “They’ve got great food.” 

He was asked if he liked deep dish pizza, and he said, “Yeah. I like a place called Steak 48, deep dish of course.” He also mentioned New York, but let’s focus on Chicago here. 

In addition to Steak 48 near downtown, Harper has no shortage of steakhouses in Chicago. A quick Yelp search mentions Chicago specialties like Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Gibson’s and RPM Steak all in the top five. 

As far as deep dish is concerned, our David Kaplan’s love, Lou Malnati’s is an easy pitch along with Giordano’s, Gino’s East, Pequod’s, Art of Pizza, and so many more. But what about Tavern Style as well? Aurelio’s is a well-loved Chicago pizza spot and style. Vito & Nick’s, Barnaby’s and Barraco’s are all favored on Eater Chicago as well. 

Why stop at pizza and steak? Let’s not forget places like Al’s for Italian Beef, Carson’s for ribs, and if Harper wants to get creative, that’s where all the foodies can help with the pitch, in a city where Parachute and Smyth & the Loyalist both just made Eater’s “America’s Essential Restaurants 2018” list. 

In Chicago, we have the food. All we need now is the free agent.

White Sox free-agent focus: Nathan Eovaldi

White Sox free-agent focus: Nathan Eovaldi

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

Few free agents to-be made their mark on the postseason like Nathan Eovaldi. A starting pitcher by trade, he stepped into a relief role for the Boston Red Sox in each of the first three games of the World Series, highlighted by his six innings of one-run ball in that marathon Game 3, the longest game in the history of the Fall Classic.

That was the exclamation point on a great run since the Red Sox acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in a midseason trade. His numbers after arriving in Boston were very good: a 3.33 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 12 walks in 12 appearances, 11 of which were starts. That solid performance for the World Series champs earned him what’s expected to be a large number of suitors this winter.

It’s hard to argue that the White Sox wouldn’t be a nice fit. They’re in the market for starting pitching, needing to fill a pair of holes in their starting rotation due to Michael Kopech’s recovery from Tommy John surgery and James Shields’ departure. Eovaldi’s just 28, lining him up nicely with the team’s long-term plans. And as an added bonus, he’s a Tommy John success story, throwing harder now than at any other point in his seven-year big league career. Kopech likely doesn’t need a confidence boost, but Eovaldi could be a nice guiding hand in the battle back from the surgery.

There are a few flags — they're not bad enough to be red flags, though I’m not sure what color they’d be; pink, maybe? — with Eovaldi, chiefly the fact that his career numbers weren’t that great prior to the second half of 2018. He missed the entire 2017 campaign while in recovery mode, and from 2014 to 2016 with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, he turned in a 4.42 ERA in 84 appearances, 81 of those starts. His 8.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 were good showings in 2018, but during that aforementioned three-season stretch, those numbers were 6.8 and 2.5, respectively.

Those numbers alone shouldn't stop Eovaldi from getting a deserved payday. But they’re worth noting to some White Sox fans who might want the South Siders to make a run at him.

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