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.”

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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