White Sox

Sox begin rebuilding process with Santos trade

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Sox begin rebuilding process with Santos trade

DALLAS -- Of all the players who were on the White Sox trading block, Sergio Santos was down near the bottom of the list. But Tuesday, Kenny Williams surprised everyone by trading his closer to the Blue Jays for minor league pitching prospect Nestor Molina.

That was followed by a word used by Williams that many White Sox fans have been fearing for the last several weeks:

Rebuild.

The White Sox have begun the process, but its not a complete tear-down.

It is the start of a rebuilding and you guys know that Ive not used that word in 12 years, but it is the start of rebuilding now, Williams told reporters. Is it the start of a falling domino-type of rebuilding? No, absolutely not, because as we currently sit here I do not like whats currently being offered for our valuable pieces. So Im of the mindset that while we may do a couple more things, as we sit here right now well probably keep the rest of the pitching intact.

That means John Danks and Gavin Floyd are safe...for now.

"It's going to be interesting what rebuilding means to Kenny," Santos told Chicago Tribune Live Tuesday. "It could be something completely different for him than it does everybody else. I'm sure they're going to have a competitive team they're going to put out there in 2012 and give Detroit and everybody else in that league a run for their money."

Santos, the converted reliever who saved 30 games for the White Sox last season, was on the golf course when he got the news that he had been dealt.

Sergio was caught off guard, Williams said. Its always a difficult conversation because he gained his success with us and a new life with baseball with us. But he took it very professionally and hes looking forward to the opportunity to continue pitching in the major leagues. The team wanted him so badly to give up such a prospect.

That prospect, Molina, put up lights-out numbers last season in the minors, going 12-3 with a 2.21 ERA, 148 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 130 innings at both Class A Dunedin and Class AA New Hampshire.

But is he ready for the big leagues?

I would hope that we give him a little bit more seasoning, but hes got the kind of ability that, there are certain guys that will force his way onto major league rosters. When you look at a young pitcher, you look at what kind of stuff he has, what kind of composure he has, and his ability to command the strike zone, and this guy does it in a way that very few do so. Im not going to say that he cant, and he wont.

The White Sox clearly think highly of Molina. So do the Blue Jays, who were divided internally about letting him go.

We had to pay a very steep price and it was not easy to do, said Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. Obviously, hes one of our better prospects, definitely a tough one (to trade), but at the same time we think were getting a guy who has a chance of being an elite closer in the American League.

So who will be the White Sox next closer? There are several candidates: Matt Thornton, Addison Reed, and Jesse Crain are the obvious ones. And if youre wondering how Robin Ventura will be managing behind the scenes in regards to the players on his roster, Williams gave us a little glimpse.

Robin was in the meeting, and the Blue Jays guys asked who was going to close, Williams said. I started rattling off some names, I looked over at Robin and he had a quizzable look on his face and said Ill decide that.

Meanwhile, the Mark Buehrle train continues to leave the station in Chicago.

I hear hes a very popular man, and hes going to be even richer than he is, Williams said.

Asked if he anticipates having another conversation before Buehrle makes a final decision, Williams said "it's possible" explained their current position quite matter-of-factly.

Hell be missed unless something happens that is unforeseen right now.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

The crew wraps up the final day of the Winter Meetings for the White Sox.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Ryan McGuffey talk about a rumored deal between the White Sox and the Red Sox (2:41) that would move some pieces around.

Rick Hahn speaks for the final time in San Diego and the guys react to his comments.

Later, they debate why fans are disappointed with the White Sox and the outcome for the team at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

SAN DIEGO — David Price on the South Side? Maybe.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have had trade conversations involving Price with at least five teams, and the White Sox are “in play” for the veteran left-hander.

Boston is trying to shed salary, and getting rid of the $96 million remaining on Price’s deal over the next three years would be a good way to accomplish that goal.

The White Sox, given their financial flexibility, are a team that could absorb that kind of money in a trade. While much discussion of Rick Hahn’s statement in February that “the money will be spent” has focused on high-priced free agents, the general manager said Wednesday that such fiscal positioning could be beneficial on the trade market, too.

“Absolutely,” he said during his final media session of the Winter Meetings. “You’ve seen over the years us use our financial flexibility to acquire some contracts. I think back to the (Joakim) Soria trade with the Dodgers. The thing we brought to the table there was the ability to absorb some contracts. That flexibility doesn’t always have to be spent on free agents.”

But here’s the thing. ESPN’s Jeff Passan got this whole Price conversation going when he reported the interest of multiple teams on Tuesday, and he suggested the Red Sox might be able to ship Price out of town if they included a “player of value.” A young player with affordable club control would sweeten any such deal, and speculation latched onto outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who is under team control for three more years.

That’s the kind of deal — before we hear what it could cost, obviously — that would look like a good one for the White Sox.

Well, another nugget in Feinsand’s report throws that idea out the window.

“One scenario that has been floated in recent weeks would have the Red Sox attaching a young player — Andrew Benintendi's name has been mentioned often — to Price in order to dump the pitcher's contract.

“A source said that concept has not been considered by Boston's front office — nor will it be, especially not with Benintendi.

“‘That's not going to happen,’ the source said.”

If that’s the case, if the Red Sox are talking about a Price trade that doesn’t involve a young, controllable player coming back, is there any reason for the White Sox to consider such a move? Is there any reason to trade for Price alone?

The White Sox do need pitching, quite badly, as a matter of fact. Their quest for two arms to add to the starting rotation has yielded no additions yet, with their high bid for Zack Wheeler spurned in favor of a lower offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Price would be an upgrade to the White Sox rotation, and they could potentially get him without having to give up any of their prized prospects (a trade involving someone like Benintendi might cost a high-level prospect, in addition to salary relief).

After turning in some memorable performances during the Red Sox championship run in 2018, Price got off to a great start in 2019, with a 3.16 ERA in his first 17 starts. But due to a cyst in his wrist, he made only two starts over the season’s final two months. He finished with a 4.28 ERA, second highest of his career.

Considering the White Sox are heading into 2020 with just three rotation spots spoken for, they could do a lot worse than Price from a production standpoint. But the veteran lefty doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a clubhouse presence. NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase listed several red flags in a recent piece: “He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily. He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.”

Do the White Sox need those headaches? Aren’t there options out there, via trade or free agency, that would bring in similar levels of production without all that other stuff? It doesn’t seem like a young team that is developing what appears to be a very positive culture needs someone who “consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse.”

Now, if someone like Benintendi — or, for example, the large contract of designated hitter J.D. Martinez — comes along with him, maybe it’s a pill you’re willing to swallow. Of course, that would require other unpleasant possibilities, such as letting a recent first-round draft pick like Nick Madrigal or Andrew Vaughn go. Hahn talked about the team’s unwillingness to deal away its prized prospects for a short-term gain. The White Sox lost a combined 195 games to end up with the draft picks that produced Madrigal and Vaughn. That was an awful lot of suffering just to trade those guys away.

A potential Price trade has its upsides, but ones contingent on other aspects of such a deal. If those aspects go by the wayside, acquiring Price doesn’t make quite as much sense.

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