White Sox

Sox Drawer - Hahn: 'We're not done'

942153.png

Sox Drawer - Hahn: 'We're not done'

For White Sox fans who have been waiting for their team to make some additional moves for the 2013 season, you might soon get your wish.

Were not done, said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn Tuesday on Chicago Baseball Hot Stove.

In his first off-season at his new job, Hahn has re-signed Jake Peavy to the rotation and added Jeff Keppinger at third base. Both are solid moves and fill needs, but everyone expected the White Sox to do more by now.

So did Hahn.

It has felt like its been a little bit slower in terms of coming together, he said about deals hes been working on. Its felt to me as a lot of hurry up and wait at times.

The wait for White Sox reinforcements is likely about to end.

Perhaps other things are going to be announced later in the week, Hahn revealed.

Translation? Friday at Sox Fest.

One logical addition is reliever Matt Lindstrom, the hard-throwing righty who reportedly agreed to terms a one-year deal with the White Sox over the weekend.

Thats been widely rumored, Hahn said of the White Sox hope in signing a reliever. Weve made no secret of the fact that were interested in finding a complement to Jesse Crain, perhaps from the right side of the bullpen. A power arm type that can get ground balls and can keep the ball in the park.

Hahn then looked at a monitor in the studio that was showing video of Lindstrom pitching for the Marlins.

There have been reports out there, and some video even, of guys who really fit into that role, he said with a wide grin.

Hahn admitted that he is still looking for a left-handed bat. Possibilities are out there, but he has to find a match that works for the White Sox.

If the right opportunity to get better presents itself, we will jump on it. But as of yet, we have not found that fit that we feel confident is truly an upgrade, Hahn said. We can go out and acquire a left-handed hitter which is probably going to make us look good, like were doing work and weve addressed a perceived need in January. But come April or May, if its not the right fit, then its going to be a worthless acquisition.

In 2011, the White Sox said good-bye to fan favorite Mark Buehrle. In 2012, it was A.J. Pierzynski. Now with Paul Konerko entering the final year of his contract, 2013 could be the swan song for the long-time Sox first baseman.

Konerko has not revealed his plans for beyond this season, whether he wants to continue playing or retire. He turns 37 on March 5.

Its been my experience that these things are best kept quiet between the player and the club in terms of any conversations about extensions or, Is this the end or what are your plans for the future? Hahn said. These things have a way of working themselves out, and Paulie has obviously been a big part of our past and hopefully a big part of our success in 2013, and perhaps beyond.

Who knows? Maybe Konerko will announce his intentions when he arrives at Sox Fest.
In an off-season of little news, there might be a bunch Friday.

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

0522-james-shields.jpg
USA TODAY

James Shields is having a stellar May and making comeback wins possible for the White Sox

If you haven’t checked in with what James Shields is doing in a while, your opinion of the veteran pitcher’s performance might need some updating.

Shields didn’t exactly win the confidence of White Sox fans during his first two seasons on the South Side. After arriving in a midseason trade with the San Diego Padres in 2016, he posted a 6.77 ERA in 22 starts, during which he allowed 31 home runs. He followed that up with a 5.23 ERA and 27 home runs allowed in 2017.

And the 2018 season didn’t start out great, either, with a 6.17 ERA over his first five outings.

But the month of May has brought a dramatic turn in the vet’s production. In five May starts, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in five starts, all of which have seen him go at least six innings (he’s got six straight outings of at least six innings, dating back to his last start in April).

And his two most recent starts have probably been his two best ones of the season. After allowing just one run on three hits in 7.1 innings last Thursday against the Texas Rangers, he gave up just two runs on five hits Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

The White Sox, by the way, won both of those games in comeback fashion. They scored four runs in the eighth against Texas and three in the eighth against Baltimore for a pair of “Ricky’s boys don’t quit” victories made possible by Shields’ great work on the mound.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said after Tuesday’s game. “It’s our job as starters to keep us in the game as long as we possibly can, no matter how we are hitting in a game. At the end of the game, you can always score one or two runs and possibly win a ballgame like we did tonight.”

The White Sox offense was indeed having trouble much of Tuesday’s game, kept off the scoreboard by Orioles starter Kevin Gausman. Particularly upsetting for White Sox Twitter was the sixth inning, when the South Siders put two runners in scoring position with nobody out and then struck out three straight times to end the inning.

But Shields went out and pitched a shut-down seventh, keeping the score at 2-0. Bruce Rondon did much the same thing in the eighth, and the offense finally sparked to life in the bottom of the inning when coincidentally presented with a similar situation to the one in the sixth. This time, though, the inning stayed alive and resulted in scoring, with Welington Castillo, Yoan Moncada and Yolmer Sanchez driving in the three runs.

“I’m out there doing my job,” Shields said. “My job is to try to keep us in the game. And we had some good starters against us that have been throwing well. If I can keep them close, we are going to get some wins and get some wins throughout the rest of the year like that. That’s the name of the game.”

Shields’ value in this rebuilding effort has been discussed often. His veteran presence is of great value in the clubhouse, particularly when it comes to mentoring young pitchers like Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, among others. Shields can act as an example of how to go about one’s business regardless of the outcomes of his starts. But when he can lead by example with strong outings, that’s even more valuable.

“I’m trying to eat as many innings as possible,” he said. “We kind of gave our bullpen — we taxed them a little bit the first month of the season. We are kind of getting back on track. Our goal as a starting staff is to go as deep as possible, and in order to do that, you’ve got to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

“Not too many playoff teams, a starting staff goes five and dive every single game. My whole career I’ve always wanted to go as deep as possible. I wanted to take the ball all the way to the end of the game. And we’ve done a pretty good job of it of late.”

It’s a long time between now and the trade deadline, and consistency has at times escaped even the brightest spots on this rebuilding White Sox roster. But Shields has strung together a nice bunch of starts here of late, and if that kind of performance can continue, the White Sox front office might find that it has a potential trade piece on its hands. That, too, is of value to this rebuild.

Until that possibility occurs, though, the team will take more solid outings that give these young players an opportunity to learn how to come back and learn how to win.

Ozzie Guillen offers his solution to PED use in baseball

Ozzie Guillen offers his solution to PED use in baseball

Ozzie Guillen is not one to shy away from having a strong opinion about something.

On NBC Sports Chicago’s Baseball Night in Chicago show on Tuesday, Guillen gave his view on how Major League Baseball can stop the usage of performance-enhancing drugs.

“Major League Baseball, you want to cut this thing down?” Guillen said on the show. “You cancel the contract to this kid. Then you’re going to see that. You get caught one time, you’re banned from baseball, then you’re going to stop with that. Because if you’re going to make $200 million and lose $11 million? I’m going to do it.”

Guillen is going off the idea that a player who used PEDs to get a big contract only loses part of it when he eventually gets caught and suspended. Canceling the rest of a contract takes away some of the financial incentive to use PEDs.

“If you get caught when you are young and you try to survive in the game, well, I don’t agree with them, but you can survive in this game that way,” Guillen said. “You know how hard it is right now. How Major League Baseball is on the top of this thing, day in and day out. They’re not going to play around with this thing.”

Marlon Byrd, who was twice suspended for PED use, was also on the show and talked about his PED suspensions.