White Sox

White Sox announce Carlos Rodon is part of rotation

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White Sox announce Carlos Rodon is part of rotation

MILWAUKEE — A maintenance plan remains in place, but Carlos Rodon is officially part of the White Sox starting rotation.

While Rodon won’t make each of the 27 turns left in the rotation, general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday that the time is now to begin transitioning the team’s top prospect from the bullpen into the rotation.

After he made a successful first start and won on Saturday, Rodon’s next turn comes Friday in Oakland. But much like they monitored Chris Sale’s workload in 2012, the White Sox intend to adjust how they use Rodon in the hope of preservation in both the long and short term.

“We are going to remain flexible and may have to make some alterations,” Hahn said. “There will be periods of breaks for him in this process.

“There will be times when he is skipped, there will be times when he has more than the regular four or five days off. But the process of transitioning him into a starter will begin Friday in Oakland.”

[MORE WHITE SOX: A statistical look at the White Sox slow start]

Hahn previously has discussed the move from Triple-A Charlotte to the White Sox as the final step in Rodon’s development. The White Sox know he has the tools, they just need the process refined. Manager Robin Ventura believes the move from reliever to starter should help, particularly because Rodon will have to use the changeup more often.

“The best part of it is he gets to use everything,” Ventura said. “When he goes in there as a reliever, he’s just trying to get in and out as fast as he can. Now with that start that he had, you’re able to use maybe his changeup a little more and have a little more variety than just fastball-slider. And I think command-wise he’s going to be better with that.”

Rodon only threw his changeup twice in a 108-pitch effort over six innings against the Cincinnati Reds. But that was more a function of helping Rodon, the third overall pick in last June’s draft, get through his first start and using the pitches with which he’s the most comfortable — the fastball and slider.

“The changeup is on the side,” Rodon said. “We can use it too. I have a feel for it. It’s whatever is put down is what I’m going to throw.”

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He’s also on board with whatever the White Sox ask. Rodon understands this is a process and the White Sox have his best interest in mind.

Hahn won’t say if the White Sox have a specific innings limit for Rodon. After all, Sale went from 71 innings in 2011 to 192 in 2012. But the thought is the White Sox would like to keep Rodon around 150-160 innings, and he already has 22 1/3 on the books.

“First full season in pro ball, you have to manage innings,” Rodon said. “I’m kind of not used to that kind of workload. Most I’ve thrown is 130 or 150 innings. It gets up to 190 or 200 pretty easily.

“Just go along with what they put in front of me and take it day by day. ... We’ll manage to it.”

A plan is mapped out, but the White Sox are ready to adjust as needed. As they did with Sale, the White Sox will rely heavily on communication from Rodon. While nothing is set in stone on how he’ll be used, Rodon made it clear on Saturday he can impact the club.

“As we said from the start when we drafted him, we viewed him as a long-term member of the rotation and at some point we though he would join it, we just didn’t know exactly when,” Hahn said. “Based upon, obviously that last outing was strong, as well as some of the stuff we wanted to work on in a sideline, which started today with Don (Cooper), we felt now was the right time to start that process.”

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

 

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

 

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Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the White Sox could be on the verge of filling the void in their outfield with one of the bigger names on this winter’s free-agent market.

Dominican reporter Frank Castillo tweeted Saturday that the White Sox will sign Marcell Ozuna, planning to announce the free-agent deal Monday.

Well, that was followed up by a report from The Score’s Bruce Levine, who said the White Sox are not about to sign Ozuna.

So there’s that.

The White Sox were connected to Ozuna earlier this offseason, as well as more recently, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writing last week that the team had interest in Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but were waiting to hear on the decisions of Ozuna and fellow free agent Nicholas Castellanos first.

Ozuna turned heads with his fantastic 2017 season for the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Since being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozuna hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs in two seasons.

The White Sox have a pressing need in right field, making it little surprise that they’ve been tied to numerous options, including Ozuna, Castellanos and Joc Pederson. Ozuna, though, exclusively played left field in St. Louis. Were the White Sox to add him, would they insist he play right field? They’ve expressed little to no interest in moving Eloy Jimenez out of left field.

It’s rumor season, and there should be plenty more of them with the Winter Meetings starting Monday in San Diego. The White Sox are expected to continue the aggressive approach they’ve displayed already this winter with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and their reported high bid to Zack Wheeler, who took less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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