White Sox

Todd Frazier has monster night in White Sox win over Rangers

Todd Frazier has monster night in White Sox win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- So much for Todd Frazier's sub-.100 slump over his previous nine games.

The Chicago slugger hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the 12th inning for his second homer of the game, powering the White Sox to an 8-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

Frazier, whose average had dropped to .194 because of a 3-for-35 slide, had four hits and a career-high six RBIs to help the White Sox win after the bullpen blew leads in the eighth and ninth innings despite a majors-leading 1.82 ERA coming in.

"It felt good. It felt really good," Frazier said. "With experience, you understand that it's going to come around. Just glad it came today and in extra innings."

Last year's All-Star home run derby winner in front of the home crowd in Cincinnati, Frazier hasn't stopped hitting long balls during his slow start. He has 10 since the offseason trade, two behind Robinson Cano's AL lead at the start of the day.

His go-ahead blast to left came off left-hander Cesar Ramos (0-2).

"We ran into a guy that got hot tonight," said Texas manager Jeff Banister, who was ejected in the ninth after arguing from the dugout following a pitch called a ball for closer Shawn Tolleson. "That was tough."

Dan Jennings (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th as the White Sox won their fourth straight in a series opener between teams coming off three-game sweeps. Jennings got an inning-ending double play from Mitch Moreland with the bases loaded in the 10th.

"Danny was on a tightrope there, gets a ground-ball double play," manager Robin Ventura said. "Great job by the defense. After that, he held 'em enough that our lineup comes around."

The AL Central-leading White Sox beat Texas for the sixth consecutive time going back to last season after a sweep in Chicago in April.

Chicago closer David Robertson had a shot a save and a win but couldn't get either one, allowing a tying double to Ian Desmond in the eighth and a tying single to Hanser Alberto in the ninth.

Avisail Garcia and Austin Jackson had three hits apiece and teamed up for a go-ahead play in the ninth before the Rangers pulled even for the second time. Garcia scored for a 4-3 lead on Jackson's suicide squeeze bunt that turned into a hit when nobody covered first for the Rangers.

Frazier's ninth homer gave Chicago a 2-0 lead in the sixth. He had a run-scoring single for a 3-1 edge in the eighth.

Rougned Odor's team-leading seventh homer for Texas leading off the sixth ended Miguel Gonzalez's one-hit shutout, and his leadoff triple in the eighth sparked the game-tying rally.

After Adrian Beltre's single scored Odor, Robertson came on for a four-out save. He didn't even get the first one, allowing Desmond's double that scored pinch-runner Drew Stubbs.

Desmond's line drive fooled left fielder Jerry Sands, who had replaced Melky Cabrera after Cabrera was ejected by home plate umpire Laz Diaz for arguing a called third strike in the sixth.

Banister also was tossed by Diaz after a two-strike pitch from Tolleson was called a ball and Alex Avila followed with a singled when the White Sox took the lead in the ninth.

REPLACING DANKS

Gonzalez made the second Chicago start in the No. 5 spot that opened last week when the White Sox released John Danks, a 2003 first-round pick by Texas who spent 10 years with the White Sox after a trade.

Called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Charlotte, the 31-year-old right-hander retired 11 straight hitters from the first to the fifth. Gonzalez gave up three hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings in his second start of the season.

Erik Johnson got the first shot at replacing Danks last week, also getting called up from Charlotte before allowing four runs on eight hits in five innings of a 7-3 loss to Boston and going back to the minors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: Avila returned at catcher after missing two weeks with a right hamstring strain. He went 1 for 4 with two walks.

Rangers: RF Shin-Soo Choo (right calf strain) says he will spend four or five days in Arizona before a decision on a possible rehab assignment. He's been on the DL since April 10.

UP NEXT

White Sox: LHP Carlos Rodon (1-4, 4.36) allowed one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts in six innings in his only previous start at Texas in 2015. It was a no-decision.

Rangers: LHP Derek Holland (3-2, 5.40) makes his first start since allowing 11 hits and 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings at Toronto, raising his ERA from 2.48 through his first five appearances.

MLB proposing colossal changes to minor leagues, including eliminating dozens of teams

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USA TODAY

MLB proposing colossal changes to minor leagues, including eliminating dozens of teams

If Major League Baseball gets its way, there could be seismic changes coming to the minor leagues.

According to a report from Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, the league has proposed a host of sweeping changes to the minor leagues, including the elimination of 42 affiliated teams.

The proposal is merely the beginning of what are expected to be lengthy negotiations over a new version of what’s called the “Professional Baseball Agreement,” basically the contract that keeps the major and minor leagues connected and minor league teams stocked with players employed by major league clubs. The existing edition expires at the end of the 2020 season, and so a new one will need to be hashed out.

Major League Baseball is looking for control over how the minor leagues are organized, with an eye on improving facilities and clustering affiliates and leagues from a geographic standpoint to cut down on travel costs. There’s also expected to be an increase in salaries for minor league players, which has long been a talking point thanks to the increasing number of descriptions of how financially difficult life can be for those trying to reach the majors.

To accomplish those goals, Major League Baseball is proposing drastic solutions.

The one that will grab the most attention is the elimination of more than a quarter of the existing affiliated teams in the minor leagues, removing affiliated minor league teams from more than three dozen cities across the United States and getting rid of more than 1,000 jobs for minor league players. Simply, the entire short-season rookie ball (excluding squads that play at team-owned facilities in Arizona and Florida) would be eliminated, leaving only four levels of affiliated teams: Low Class A, High Class A, Double-A and Triple-A.

If you’re wondering what would happen to those 42 teams, the proposal is for them to form something called a “Dream League,” which would essentially serve the same purpose as an independent league, allowing players without jobs to keep playing and try to get a job with a major league team.

Additionally, Major League Baseball is proposing radical restructuring of existing leagues in order to cluster teams closer together. That could include changing the level of certain teams, such as making a Class A team a Triple-A team based on the quality of facilities and what makes the most geographic sense. Leagues could also gain or lose a large number of teams, with the Triple-A International League growing to 20 teams and the Triple-A Pacific Coast League shrinking to just 10 teams. One Class A league was described as being reduced to just six teams, while the rest of its current teams would be put into a brand-new league.

As for how the White Sox and their affiliates would be affected, team-specific information was not included in the report. One read of the details of this proposal could see something such as the White Sox affiliates being relocated to Midwestern cities. Another, however, could see the White Sox affiliates mostly staying how they currently are, given those teams are all geographically close to one another, with all but one located in North Carolina.

Buried in all of this is another big change, a proposed move of the draft from June to August, giving players a couple more months to show off for major league teams, and a reduction in the number of rounds from the current 40 to somewhere between 20 and 25. That, and the elimination of short-season rookie ball, would likely prevent draftees from playing minor league baseball in the same year they’re drafted.

It’s all something to keep an eye on, for sure, as many fans across the country who closely follow minor league teams in their hometowns could experience a dramatic shakeup.

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State of the White Sox: Manager and coaching staff

State of the White Sox: Manager and coaching staff

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The 2019 season is over, and the White Sox — who have been focusing on the future for quite some time now — are faced with an important offseason, one that could set up a 2020 campaign with hopes of playoff contention.

With the postseason in swing and a little bit still before the hot stove starts cooking, let’s take a position-by-position look at where the White Sox stand, what they’re looking to accomplish this winter and what we expect to see in 2020 and beyond.

We’re wrapping things up with the manager and the coaching staff.

What happened in 2019

While it’s easy to cruise through the statistical production of players and determine just how well they performed in 2019, that’s a little more difficult when it comes to manager Rick Renteria and his coaching staff.

In the end, managers and coaches are evaluated on win-loss record — or at least how close they came to meeting the expectations in that department. While the White Sox are a gruesome 83 games under .500 in Renteria’s three years at the helm, that’s not really falling outside the expectations he had when he took over a rebuilding club. So it’s pretty hard to argue that because the White Sox lost 89 games in 2019, Renteria did a poor job.

Truly, his performance as a manager can’t be determined until he’s managing a team with expectations of winning. Renteria more than anyone has been the one setting such expectations for 2020, spending much of the waning weeks of the 2019 campaign voicing his opinion that all this losing stops next season.

“I’m expecting that this is it,” Renteria said. “We’re trying to win. We talk about it, we’re going through it. I know there’s still some refining to do, but I’ll be honest with you, we’re coming in, we’re finishing this season, we’re talking about coming into next season ready to battle. Period. Exclamation point. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

Renteria and his staff did plenty in 2019 to continue developing the team’s young players into the core of the future. But the skipper's most memorable on-field moment came in September, when even after he stopped making mound visits because of shoulder surgery, he went out to the mound and had an animated conversation with Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez made a habit of following up stellar performances with ugly ones, lacking consistency in a fashion that made even the optimistic Renteria throw up his hands at times. Renteria utilized that frustration on the mound in Detroit in an attempt to get some points across to the pitcher.


When it comes to Renteria’s staff, certainly they deserve some credit for some of the breakout seasons on the roster. Hitting coach Todd Steverson did offseason work with both Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson ahead of 2019 campaigns that saw them transform into the best all-around hitter on the team and the big league batting champ, respectively. Pitching coach Don Cooper helped oversee Lucas Giolito’s transformation into an All Star. Infield coach Joe McEwing worked with Moncada, who made a smooth transition from second base to third base.

But if the coaches earn some of the credit for the things that went right, they must also be mentioned alongside the things that went wrong. Steverson coached an offense that ranked near the bottom of the game in most categories. Cooper coached a starting rotation that finished the season with a 5.30 ERA. McEwing coached Anderson, who committed a major league high 26 errors.

None of that is to say those guys are wholly responsible for those negative outcomes. Just as the players have to be the ones to turn in the good results, they’re the ones who have to turn in the poor ones, as well. Steverson, however, along with assistant hitting coach Greg Sparks, will not be back for the 2020 season.

What will happen this offseason

The White Sox have already made their coaching moves this offseason, parting ways with Steverson and Sparks and replacing Steverson with Frank Menechino, who after several seasons on the Miami Marlins staff took over as the hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte in 2019.

Menechino impressed the White Sox with his work there, spent September with the big league club and was quickly promoted once the season was over. At Charlotte, he worked with top-ranked prospects Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, who both had fantastic seasons playing at three different minor league levels and figure to be everyday players for most of the 2020 season.

The change, in the end, seemed to be more about how the White Sox felt about what Menechino could bring to the table than a reaction to the offensive production from a team that didn’t have expectations of doing much more than it did during another rebuilding season.

General manager Rick Hahn announced that the rest of the staff will be back in 2020.

What to expect for 2020 and beyond

There will be a change in the expectations game come 2020. That should be mostly because of the breakout 2019 seasons from so many young players, the pending arrival of Robert and Madrigal and the offseason additions anticipated to be made by Hahn’s front office. But if nothing else, the expectations, when it comes to Renteria, will be different because he’s already said they will be.

“I'm not going to make any bones about it, it's time to turn the page,” he said just last week, “it's time to get us to another level of performance. That goes across the board, it goes with all aspects of our game.”

And so judging him and his staff can reach another level, too, because it will no longer solely be about hard-to-define development but the cold, hard wins and losses. Plenty of fans have taken to Twitter and complained about Renteria during this losing stretch, suggesting he’s not the one to manage this team into a winning era, but those were conclusions that cannot be drawn considering the quality of the rosters he’s managed in his three years on the South Side. How can you judge a manager’s ability to contend when he doesn’t have the tools to do so?

That’s about to change, so there will finally be some actual evidence to back up either side of that argument.

It’s clear where the White Sox stand in that discussion. They’ve been praising the job Renteria has done for three years now, and they’ve expressed nothing but confidence that he’ll be the guy to get it done.

“When Ricky was put in that role, it wasn't with the idea that he was just going to be the right guy for the first stage, the stage that is coming toward an end here, or is at an end here,” Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference last month. “Obviously, the history and teaching and communicating and holding guys accountable is very important now. But even at the time we hired him, we felt he had the ability to not only set the right winning culture but to put guys in the best position to win.

“His ability to communicate with all 25 or 26 guys on a daily basis, to know where they're at, to know what they're capable of doing and putting them in the best position, makes us fairly confident that once that roster is deep enough and strong enough that he's going to be able to maximize the win potential with that roster when the time comes.”

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