White Sox

White Sox continue to talk to Pierzynski

916723.png

White Sox continue to talk to Pierzynski

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Though it appeared unlikely not long ago, the White Sox have continued their pursuit of A.J. Pierzynski, according to a baseball source.
On Tuesday, one day after White Sox general manager Rick Hahn went out of his way several times to say the club hasnt ruled out Pierzynskis return, and amid swirling New York Yankees rumors, a baseball source confirmed the two sides continue to have dialogue.
The events of the last two days are in stark contrast to early November, when all signs appeared to point to Pierzynskis departure after eight seasons on the South Side. After all, the White Sox had several needs and limited funds; the veteran is due a raise after hitting a career-high 27 home runs last season; the club has a viable replacement in Tyler Flowers and also appeared to be inclined to solve their other issues first.
Though Hahn has stated all along hes interested in Pierzynski returning, he also has thoroughly backed Flowers as a potential replacement.
The White Sox are high on Flowers game-calling abilities coupled with his receiving skills and arm. Though he at times struggled at the plate last season, the team also believes Flowers is capable of 20-home run power and all at a bargain price compared with Pierzynski, who earned 6 million last season and made it clear he wants a market-value deal.
Over the last few days, Mike Napoli signed a three-year, 39 million contract with the Boston Red Sox and Russell Martin received 17 million over two seasons from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sources made it sound as if the White Sox were OK with the prospect of handing Flowers the reins and letting Pierzynski leave because of expected high prices.
But the White Sox position may have shifted recently for several reasons.
One prominent issue is the team would almost certainly need to find a left-handed bat to replace Pierzynski were he to leave. While Hahn has said he doesnt believe it to be a fatal flaw, the White Sox lineup would be down to Adam Dunn and Alejandro De Aza as their only regular left-handed hitters if Pierzynski left.
Hahn has also noted the team would weigh the cost of signing or trading for a third baseman versus their own internal options. On Tuesday, Hahn and manager Robin Ventura said they wouldnt rule out the chance of Brent Morel making the team were he healthy. Morel -- who eight homers and had 19 RBIs in 27 games in September 2011 -- missed most of the 2012 season with a back injury, but the team believes hes on the road to recovery.
Another significant issue is Hahn doesnt sound like he wants to break up the White Sox pitching depth to solve their issues. Even though Gavin Floyds name has been mentioned consistently among trade rumors, the White Sox would likely need to bring in another arm were they to move Floyd, whose 9.5 million salary next season is a bargain. The White Sox would likely need to spend more money than theyd like to find a pitcher capable of providing them 200 innings.
Floyds durability -- he has made at least 29 starts in each of the last six seasons -- could also prove important for several other reasons. Jake Peavys 219 innings were his most since he had 173 23 in 2008. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana each eclipsed career highs for innings in 2012. And though indications are John Danks is well on the road to recovery, hes still coming off an August shoulder surgery.
While recent developments appear to be a 180-degree shift, none of it should come as a surprise, either.
Last month, Hahn refused to handicap the situation because of the sentiment factor. Last time Pierzynski was a free agent before the 2010 season, owner Jerry Reinsdorf stepped in at the last minute to ensure the catcher stayed in town.
Pierzynski, who likely is looking at his final contract, has also spent eight years with the White Sox. Hes comfortable in the clubhouse and is loved by fans for helping to bring Chicago its only World Series title in the last 95 years.
So while chances once appeared remote, and another source suggests they may still be, the possibility of Pierzynskis return to the South Side next season still exists.

Tim Anderson won't stick to sports: 'This problem is bigger than baseball'

Tim Anderson won't stick to sports: 'This problem is bigger than baseball'

Tim Anderson is a baseball player. It’s how he makes a living for him and his family.

In this moment in history, he affirmed that indeed he is finding it difficult to try to care about baseball.

“I guess you could just say take care of what really matters,” he said during a conference call Monday afternoon. “I think this problem is bigger than baseball at the moment.”

Anderson, the reigning big league batting champ and the only Black American player on the White Sox roster, sees what’s happening across the country, watching the thousands of protesters demanding an end to police brutality against and the police killings of Black people in the wake of the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.

“Definitely witnessing something I only have heard about but I never have lived in,” he said. “It was definitely crazy. Just to see the things that are going on and how the world is reacting, I think there are a lot of angry people out there who feel like they are going unheard.

“I think that’s why it’s boiling down the way it is and things are happening the way they are. There’s a lot of angry people out there.”

It’s impossible to think about athletes and the issue of police brutality against Black people and not think of Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who took a stand by taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games. He enraged plenty in the process and has remained jobless despite being a Super Bowl quarterback in a league constantly searching for answers at the position.

RELATED: White Sox's Tim Anderson: 'You have to show the good, the bad and the ugly'

Anderson hasn’t gone that far. He said he hasn’t participated in any of the protests. His public response to the current climate can be summed up in a few tweets, the most striking of which featured four pictures of him posing in front of the aftermath of Saturday night’s protests and separate acts of destruction and vandalism in Chicago. Monday, he described “the good, the bad and the ugly” of that aftermath as a piece of history, as well as art.


But as he’s made clear before, he’s not going to “stick to sports,” the instruction often lobbed at athletes who dare speak about anything but their chosen profession. Fans are always hungry for a baseball player’s comments on baseball. A certain subset of them has zero tolerance for their comments on just about anything else.

It’s a ridiculous way to act, as if all people should reserve their thoughts to their job and nothing more. And in these times with sports on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson perfectly explained why.

“We stand for more than just sports,” he said. “If you remove the sports, as you can see now, then what are we? We're human beings. We stand for more than our job title.

“People are trying to be themselves instead of just being ‘the baseball player.’ … I think it's just allowing more people to be themselves.”

Who knows how prevalent the tough conversations that lead to change are in clubhouses across Major League Baseball. Some players have spoken out on Twitter, including White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito. Asked about his conversations on these subjects with his teammates, Anderson singled out Giolito as someone he’s talked to before and someone who “gets it.”

“Gio is the person … we kind of conversate on a different level when it comes to certain things,” Anderson said. “You hear his perspective, and always using that as a learning tool. … He’s understanding it and kind of speaking out because we have talked about things, what it’s like growing up being black and how things are just not always what they are now.

“Definitely bold of him to speak out. Let me know he felt the love. I always knew how Gio felt about things and certain situations because that is a person I talk to. Just to see that, I definitely felt the love. He gets it and he understands it. So, I think that’s why he posted it. He wants what’s best, as well. I think we all do.”

Anderson isn’t even participating in the protests, and it's unfair to ask him to speak for Black America just because he’s the Black guy on his major league team.

But he’s an American citizen like the rest of us, and he’s choosing not to stick to sports and to act in a way he hopes can help solve what’s plaguing our country.

“We're at a moment where we need everybody's love, regardless of what race,” he said. “I think we're at a moment where we need to hold hands, every race, every color, it don't matter. I think we move better as one.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

MLB could shrink season to 50 games if no deal reached with players

MLB could shrink season to 50 games if no deal reached with players

How short a baseball season is too short a baseball season?

Major League Baseball’s latest thought as negotiations over the fate of the 2020 campaign continue: a season of only 50-something games.

Though initially reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan as an impending proposal from the league, it was later clarified by both Passan and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that there is no intention to formally propose a shortened season but that the March agreement between the league and the union allows the league to mandate a shortened season if it sees fit.

Basically, it’s a possible route the league could take if the two parties can’t come to an agreement.

With that March agreement, the players agreed to receive prorated salaries during a season shortened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But staring at a steep drop in revenue without paying customers in the stands, the owners have insisted it is not economically feasible to pay the players that much and also stage a season that is even half the normal length.

Last week, the league proposed further pay cuts in a sliding-scale system that would have lower salaried players receiving close to their full prorated salaries and highly paid players getting hammered with pay cuts the union called massive.

The players, led by the voice of Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, said that there was no point in discussing further reductions in compensation until the owners could provide adequate proof of their financial hardships. While there would be an obvious drop in revenues due to games played without fans, there would still be revenues, perhaps a lot of them, thanks to lucrative TV contracts. But without access to that information, the players are hesitant to trust the owners’ claims.

And so they pitched more games, 114 of them, to be precise, which would theoretically allow the owners to earn more TV revenue while allowing players to earn more money in prorated salaries.

RELATED: Major League Baseball swinging and missing on big opportunity

That seems to be far too much in the estimation of the owners. As The Athletic’s Jayson Stark tweeted Monday, the owners seem to be telling the players that there is a certain amount of money available to spend on player salaries and players can either make that money over a 50-game season (with full prorated salaries) or an 82-game season (with additional pay cuts).

Reports Monday indicated the league will continue to negotiate with the union on the number of games for a 2020 season, which ESPN’s Karl Ravech assured Monday will happen.

While money remains the hottest discussion topic, let’s not forget all of this is taking place during an ongoing pandemic, and an MLB-imposed 50-game schedule would have its benefits from a health standpoint. Players, especially starting pitchers, who find a brief second round of spring training insufficient to get their bodies into game shape would have vastly more off days than normal, allowing their bodies to prepare and recover. With the red flags surrounding the league’s proposed coronavirus testing strategy, cutting down the number of days players would be going into work would cut down the opportunities for the virus to spread.

Fans, however, might not greet this possibility with those things in mind, choosing instead to focus on a season so short it would make any champion illegitimate in their minds. But another opportunity exists under those circumstances, for fans to see what baseball is like as a sprint rather than a marathon and whether that adds excitement to a game criticized for an at times glacial pace.

Throughout these discussions, there have been reports of baseball's desire to end the postseason — which is expected to be expanded from 10 teams to 14 teams, the players even including that as part of their most recent proposal — as close to the end of October as possible. The league is supposedly fearful of an increased public-health risk come fall.

Soon, with the days moving regardless of whether or not these two sides can come to an agreement, the playable window will begin shrinking, forcing the number of games in the season to shrink with it.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.