White Sox

Todd Frazier trade rumors roll along with three players in potential Yankees deal

Todd Frazier trade rumors roll along with three players in potential Yankees deal

The New York Yankees are very close to acquiring Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox, a baseball source confirmed Tuesday.

WSCR 670’s Bruce Levine and Ken Rosenthal first reported the proposed deal.

The move would mark the fourth massive trade made by the White Sox front office since they started to peddle players in December with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. The White Sox continued their selloff on Thursday when they traded Jose Quintana to the Cubs for four prospects.

In all, the White Sox have received 11 prospects in return for the three players, an influx of talent that has overhauled their farm system. Seven of those players acquired are highly-touted prospects, including Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito, among others.

Given that Kahnle has two-plus seasons before he becomes a free agent and Robertson is under control through 2018, the White Sox should receive a strong prospect package in return from New York, who has one of the top farm systems in baseball. Frazier is a free agent after the 2017 season.

Almost certainly the return the White Sox receive would give them the top farm system in the majors only eight months after they were stuck in the bottom third. Earlier Tuesday, Baseball America editor J.J. Cooper said the White Sox could very well have the best group of prospects in baseball by July 31 if they continued to trade players away.

A baseball source confirmed that 20-year-old outfielder Blake Rutherford, the Yankees' first-round pick in 2016, would be the main part of the package. Bob Nightengale first reported this. Rutherford is ranked the No. 30 prospect in baseball by MLBPipeline.com and No. 36 by Baseball America.

A hot commodity over the last few days, Boston was thought to have the most interest in Frazier, who made sense for their timeline given his recent productivity as well his impending free agency. Frazier would have provided the Red Sox with an answer at third as well as a place holder for top prospect Rafael Devers, whom is expected to take over next season.

But the presumed deal hasn’t materialized. Everyone’s ears perked up 40 minutes before Tuesday’s game when Frazier was removed from the lineup and listed as a healthy scratch.

A former Yankee, Robertson has been strong out of the bullpen this season, striking out 47 batters and walking only 11 with a 2.70 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. Robertson is in the third year of a four-season deal he signed for $46 million. Robertson said last week he wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded, something he also partly expected in each of his first two seasons with the White Sox.

Kahnle has been even better than Robertson, striking 60 batters and walking seven in 36 innings with a 2.50 ERA. Kahnle originally was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2010 draft before he was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 2014 Rule 5 draft.

Frazier became a more important piece for the Yankees when it was announced first baseman Greg Bird would have ankle surgery on Tuesday. Bird told reporters his season was ‘not over’ but the Yankees are in need of a corner infielder.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Frazier, who hails from Toms River, N.J. and was a huge Derek Jeter fan growing up, said recent rumors hadn’t been a distraction.

“It hasn’t really bothered me playing wise,” Frazier said. “I’m always going to keep playing the game hard. When I’m out in the field, it’s two different things. You turn into a different player and all for the good. The last three games haven’t been what I know I can be. At the same time, it’s not because of trade rumors. It’s one of those things I’m going through.

“You wish everything could go in a simple manner and go as quickly as possible or just say it’s not going to happen. Right now we are not at that point.”

Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

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Carlos Rodon's first win in 10 months showed he could still be the ace of the future for White Sox

As encouraging as the reports are on many of the White Sox’s minor-league pitching prospects, Carlos Rodon’s effort against the Athletics on Sunday at Guaranteed Rate Field could prove just as significant to the rebuild on the South Side.

Looking much like the ace the Sox envisioned prior to Rodon’s rough 2017 season that ended with shoulder surgery, the left-hander put together his most successful effort of ’18 during a 10-3 drubbing of the Athletics before a sun-drenched crowd of 21,908.

Making his fourth start of the season, Rodon matched a career-high by going eight innings. He yielded two runs on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Rodon earned his first win of the season to help the Sox salvage a split of the four-game series.

“I felt good today—a lot of strikes,” Rodon said. “It was good to go eight and just be ahead of guys.”

Helping matters for Rodon was an offensive explosion by the Sox, led by Yoan Moncada’s career-high six RBIs. After falling behind 2-0, the Sox plated five runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Moncada cleared the bases with a double off the base of the wall in the fifth and launched his 10th home run of the season to drive in three more an inning later.

“Today was a great day,” Moncada said via a team interpreter. “I just went out to play the game the way that I play. Just to have fun. It was a very good game for me.”

Daniel Palka and Yolmer Sanchez also homered as the Sox won for just the second time in their last 11 games.

Rodon was the happy recipient of the run support to win his first game since Aug. 21, 2017, against the Twins. On Sunday, he threw 99 pitches, 69 for strikes and was consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball.

“I’m looking to do that every time out,” Rodon said. “Just show up and establish the strike zone with the fastball and be aggressive.”

The 25-year-old’s second-inning strikeout of Khris Davis was the 400th of Rodon’s career. It is a career that is continuing after a surgery that was a setback, but one that did not derail Rodon’s confidence that he would again pitch effectively.

“There are up-and-down days when you go through shoulder surgery or any surgery for any player,” Rodon said. “You've just got to work through it and try to make your way back. I'm here now and it’s looking up and I’m trying to get better.”

So is it reasonable to view Rodon as the future ace after all?

“You certainly can’t discount that,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He has to go out there and continue to get his feet underneath him and get through the rest of the season healthy and climbing.”

In other Sox pitching news, Renteria said starter Dylan Covey, who was removed in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game due to a hip flexor injury, “felt better” Sunday and the team will continue to monitor the right-hander’s progress.

Meanwhile, veteran Miguel Gonzalez made a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte as he continues to recover from inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Gonzalez went three innings and allowed one hit with a walk and a strikeout. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez belted his first homer for the Knights in the game.

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

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Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

No one knows better than Joakim Soria that the more successful he is as the White Sox’s closer, there is an increased likelihood that the veteran right-hander will be headed out of town at some point.

Soria has not only solidified the back end of the bullpen, the 34-year-old has emerged as perhaps the Sox’s most valuable trade asset to a contending team in need of relief help.

Over this last 14 appearances, Soria has not allowed an earned run and has converted all seven save chances with five hits allowed, two walks and 15 strikeouts.

“My body feels good and my arm feels good,” Soria said before the Sox defeated the Athletics 10-3 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I come to the ballpark expecting to pitch and … I try to be out there and help this team win.”

While the Sox haven’t done a whole lot of winning of late—Sunday’s win was just their second in their last 11 games—when they are victorious it’s accompanied by a Soria save. With the Sox’s rebuild in full swing, Soria understands that general manager Rick Hahn won’t hesitate to flip him in a trade.

“Players say they don’t think about it but you have to think about it,” said Soria, who was acquired from the Royals on Jan. 4 in a three-team trade also involving the Dodgers. “When you have a family with three kids and a wife you have to be prepared for everything. But it’s not like I come to the field thinking about that. It’s just God’s plan and whatever happens it’s a business and you prepare.”

Soria has 215 career saves, including 162 in seven seasons with the Royals, but hadn’t been a full-time closer since notching a combined 24 saves with the Tigers and Pirates. With the Sox, Soria won the closing job over fellow veteran Nate Jones in spring training and has been nearly unhittable in recent weeks.

Over his last 13 2/3 innings pitched, Soria has held opponents to a .109 batting average and sports a 2.89 ERA for the season. He has issued five walks in 28 innings and is averaging 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The two-time All-Star has settled in nicely in a Sox clubhouse featuring a mix of veterans and promising talents. Soria has to balance that with the knowledge he might not be around as the season progresses.

“It’s something I can’t control,” Soria said. “I have a really good relationship with these guys and the chemistry with this team is very good. I can’t think outside of the box because (a trade) hasn’t happened yet. You have to keep focused and be ready for today’s game.”