White Sox

Sox Drawer: Jeter in White Sox stripes?

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Sox Drawer: Jeter in White Sox stripes?

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
12:18 AM

By Chuck Garfien
CSNChicago.com

Of all the needs the White Sox possess this off-season, finding a new starting shortstop ranks near the bottom, somewhere between another KennyOzzie feud and a second Disco Demolition.

In Alexei Ramirez, they have one of the games brightest, and for the moment cheapest stars. Hes not going anywhere.

But then came the stunning news this past week out of the Bronx: Derek Jeter is available. Arguably the greatest shortstop in a generation, maybe more, has been told by Yankees GM Brian Cashman to test the market after Jeters camp was baffled by the teams three-year, 45 million offer. His agent is reportedly asking for a four-to-five year deal at 23-24 million per season.

Mickey Mantle never made more than 100,000 a year. Times have obviously changed.

Most assume the two sides will eventually come to their senses, and reach an agreement. The Yanks need Jeter, and vice-versa, like human beings need air, food, water and cable TV.

But what if they dont?

What if the Yankees look at Jeters age (36), his career-low batting average in 2010 (.270), the money needed for free agents in 2011 and 2012 like Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols and Jimmy Rollins (yes, even the Yankees have a budget); and conclude that its 45 million or bust for Jeter, opening the door for their longtime captain to walk?

Dont think the Yankees havent discussed the possibility. Why else would they offer him a pay cut of over 7 million a year? Clearly they believe that Jeters best days are behind him.

Or what if Jeter feels so disrespected by the Yankees, and tired of being in the financial shadow of Alex Rodriguez, that he calls the Yankees bluff and spurns them for another team? Jeter has some Joe DiMaggio in his blood. Like Joltin Joe, he can hold a grudge.

Red Sox anyone?

These are questions to consider, especially if youre an American League GM, who by signing Jeter can strengthen your team, while weakening the hated Yankees.

Its the dream scenario.

Jeter did struggle in 2010, but for him that still meant 111 runs, 30 doubles, plus intangibles as a leader that remain at the top of the MLB charts. Considering his competitive drive, plus a burning desire to prove the Yankees wrong if he left, Jeter could have a career renaissance for his new team.

Which leads us to the White Sox. Would Kenny Williams contemplate rolling the dice on Jeter?

Out of wild curiosity, I texted Williams to see if he would bite on the Jeter scenerio. He didnt respond. Wasnt expecting him to.

But honestly, going after Jeter seems right up Kennys alley. Its the kind of headline-grabbing move that has defined the Williams era on the South Side. Kenny likes going after the big fish: Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Miguel Cabrera...even if he swings and misses.

Jeter might be past his prime, but hes still a great white shark. Would Williams just sit there with a player of Jeters caliber available and not see if hell take the bait? Any bait?

On the surface, Jeter on the Sox doesnt seem like a logical fit. For one, Ramirez is locked in at shortstop.

But what if Jeter was willing to play third base? No team has ever won a pennant with a 36-year-old shortstop, let alone 37, which hell be next October. Think the Yankees are concerned about that? Theres even been talk in New York about moving Jeter to left field. Jeter cant play shortstop forever, a switch is coming, it's just a matter of when.

The Yankees captain did win a fifth Gold Glove in 2010, but he's lost a good chunk of his range. Plus, the award is a popularity contest, and we in Chicago know who really deserved the award: Ramirez.

And if A-Rod can move to third, why cant Derek? Then the question is this: Can the White Sox afford him?

Considering their payroll, Williams would seemingly need Bart Conner, Mary Lou Retton, and Nadia Comaneci for the financial gymnastics needed to make room for his salary. Thats a major stumbling block, and extra moves would be an absolute necessity. Plus, Jeter needs a major dose of reality, because hes certainly not worth 23-24 million a season - nowhere close.

Judging by the Sox pursuit of Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn, there is money to be spent. They lost out on Martinez, there's plenty of competition for Dunn, what if they strike out there? Personally, I'd rather have Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski back than take a stab at Jeter.

But the future Hall-of-fame Yankee is out there, his market value has taken a hit - although he doesn't seem to realize it yet.

Derek Jeter to the White Sox?

It may not be as far-fetched as you think.

Chuck Garfien hosts White Sox Pregame and Postgame Live on Comcast SportsNet with former Sox sluggers Frank Thomas and Bill Melton. Follow Chuck @ChuckGarfien on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox news and views.

In Astros' dominance, White Sox fans might catch a glimpse of their team's future

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USA TODAY

In Astros' dominance, White Sox fans might catch a glimpse of their team's future

It might end up an ugly week for the White Sox in Houston. But try to find some beauty in what this Astros team looks like. Because it's what the White Sox hope to look like, eventually.

While White Sox fans were likely staring with a frown at Brad Peacock mowing down their team's lineup and at a couple home runs absolutely blasted out of Minute Maid Park in the first of this four-game series Monday night, know that the inverse of that feeling is what the White Sox front office is hoping to deliver in the coming seasons.

The Astros, along with the Cubs on the North Side of Chicago, are the template for what the White Sox are trying to do with their ongoing rebuilding process. Houston experienced some hideous seasons on the way to becoming a perennial contender and a World Series champion in 2017, losing a combined 416 games in four seasons from 2011 to 2014. In 2015, the Astros made their first postseason appearance in a decade. Two years later, they were the world champs, and they remain an annual title contender and are currently the best team in baseball two years after that.

The first part of that should sound familiar, as the White Sox have lost a combined 195 games in the two seasons since this rebuild officially began. Things are better now than they were during last year's 100-loss campaign, but it's expected to be another season of more losses than wins and another season without a playoff berth on the South Side, which would be the franchise's 11th straight to end without a trip to the postseason.

The second half of the Astros rags-to-riches story is yet to come for the White Sox, who are still waiting for young players to develop at both the major league and minor league levels, still waiting for the entire core to assemble in the big leagues. That includes, right now, waiting for certain players to recover from serious injuries. That includes watching growing pains up and down the organization. It's not unexpected for such things to happen in the middle of a rebuild. But when mired in the losing years, they become constant sources of frustration for fans.

Just like no one in Houston looks back fondly on the 100-loss seasons of 2011, 2012 and 2013, it's unlikely South Side baseball fans will look back fondly on these loss-heavy campaigns. But it's part of the process, as maddening as that might be to keep hearing.

Fortunately, there are examples of what the end of the tunnel looks like, and the White Sox are up against one of those examples this week. The Astros are dominating the competition so far this season, their young core of sluggers and a few overpowering starting pitchers fueling the best team in baseball. George Springer and Jose Altuve might have been out of the lineup Monday night, but Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman were still on display. And none of those guys were the ones to blast home runs halfway to Oklahoma off the White Sox on Rick Renteria's otherwise successful bullpen day. Peacock was traded a few times before landing in Houston, and Justin Verlander and Geritt Cole were trade acquisitions, as well. All of those guys have made the Astros a formidable force once again.

The White Sox are likely going to have to make a few outside acquisitions, too, before they can finally reach baseball's mountaintop. General manager Rick Hahn says that's the plan. But the homegrown portion of those rosters of the future could resemble what the Astros have put together in recent seasons. Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins. That's the planned core on the South Side. And Hahn has a number of young pitchers who could make up a fearsome rotation, too, in Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito. There are more names White Sox fans are familiar with who could play big roles, too.

That's a lot of talent, and while White Sox fans might remain skeptical until the wins start coming at an increased rate, the blueprint is there for those pieces to come together and create something special. The blueprint is what's across the field from the White Sox this week in Houston.

The Astros might cause some bad feelings for the White Sox and their fans over the next few nights. But if they look closely, they might catch a glimpse of the White Sox future if this rebuild goes where Hahn & Co. envision it going.

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Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Eloy Jimenez returns to White Sox a little more than three weeks after spraining ankle

Things looked grim when Eloy Jimenez, the White Sox top-ranked prospect and a centerpiece of the South Side rebuilding plans, was down in pain on the warning track.

But a little more than three weeks later, Jimenez is back in the lineup, returned from his stay on the injured list for the start of a four-game series against the Houston Astros.

Jimenez made a leaping attempt to catch a home-run ball in the April 26 game against the Detroit Tigers. In the process, his foot got stuck in the padding of the left-field wall, and the 22-year-old suffered a high ankle sprain. He limped off the field and needed help getting into the dugout and clubhouse. Thoughts of "here we go again" flashed through a fan base that's watched top prospects suffer one significant injury after another in recent seasons.

The White Sox said Jimenez would be reevaluated in a couple weeks, while cursory Google searches revealed recovery times of more than a month for this type of injury.

But Jimenez seems to have healed quickly. He went on a minor league rehab assignment last week, playing in five games with Triple-A Charlotte before being deemed ready to return Monday.

This is phenomenal news for the White Sox and their fans, of course, who in the time Jimenez has been sidelined have seen another key piece go down with Carlos Rodon's Tommy John surgery. Jimenez hasn't got off to the rip-roaring start some predicted — he's slashed .241/.294/.380 with a trio of home runs in his first 21 major league games — but all playing time for the youngster is good playing time as he continues his development in his first big league season. Throw in Jimenez's four-game stay on the bereavement list prior to that game against Detroit, and he's had just one at-bat since April 21.

So maybe expect some rust, and manager Rick Renteria said Jimenez could perhaps be eased back with a game at DH here and there as he continues to work on improving his defense in left field.

Jimenez did go 7-for-22 (a .318 batting average) with a homer and a double in his rehab stint in Charlotte. Now he's back in the major league outfield, a good thing for everyone following along with this rebuild.

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