White Sox

White Sox erase four-run deficit, but lose series opener to Mariners in walk-off fashion

White Sox erase four-run deficit, but lose series opener to Mariners in walk-off fashion

SEATTLE -- If there’s a way to lose 10 of 12 games and still not feel as if all hope is lost, the White Sox may have discovered it.

Under manager Rick Renteria’s watch, the White Sox have developed a battle-to-the-final-out mentality that has at the least made their games more interesting.

But after they fell again on Thursday night, a 5-4 walkoff loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, Renteria said he would like to start converting on some of these missed opportunities. Despite homering three times late to rally from four runs down, the White Sox lost their fourth straight contest and fell to 17-22. Guillermo Heredia’s pinch-hit, two-out single off reliever Dan Jennings did the White Sox in as Jarrod Dyson scored the winning run.

“They don't quit,” Renteria said. “The one thing you want to make sure to do when you're having games like this is ultimately try to finish it out. That puts the icing on the cake and I think that when they continue to battle and fight, that speaks to the character of those guys and how they go about their business.

“They've been doing it all year."

The White Sox looked out of it early on yet again.

They had no solution for Mariners rookie starter Sam Gaviglio, who allowed three hits and walked one in five scoreless innings. But once they got into the struggling Seattle bullpen the White Sox offense -- who stranded four in scoring position through six innings -- finally woke up.

Matt Davidson blasted a two-run homer off Seattle’s Casey Lawrence in the seventh inning to get the White Sox within 4-2. An inning later, the White Sox roared back with two outs against reliever Dan Altavilla.

Todd Frazier made it a one-run game with a 382-foot shot to left. Tim Anderson followed Frazier’s drive with an opposite-field homer to tie it at 4. Anderson, who finished 3-for-4 and scored two runs, was fired up as he raced around the bases.

“It’s definitely good for me to tie the game up there and give us a shot at it,” Anderson said. “We’re feeling real good. It’s definitely something we can build off of. The fight is there. We’ve just got to keep battling and competing and giving ourselves a shot to win.”

Ultimately, the White Sox didn’t emerge victorious.

Dyson reached on a fielder’s choice after Taylor Motter’s leadoff single in the ninth. He just beat Frazier’s throw to second on Carlos Ruiz’s groundout, a play that proved critical. With two outs, Jennings intentionally walked Jean Segura. Seattle opted for Heredia over Ben Gamel and he delivered.

Frazier admits it sounds strange to look at the positive side of things when the team has gone from 15-12 to five games under .500. But the White Sox expect if they continue to fight back, eventually they’ll reverse their fortunes.

“Out of those 10 I bet we were in 70 percent of them,” Frazier said. “We came back, what were we down, 4-0? Late innings, a couple of big home runs, and we kept battling. That’s what Rick always talks about. Keep battling and eventually good things are going to happen. It was just unfortunate. Danny threw a good pitch, the guy hit a blooper. In this game, sometimes you don’t need a good swing. You’ve seen that from me. Sometimes it happens, and that’s baseball.

"They came back and beat us.”

Dylan Covey felt like he hurt his own cause with a fifth-inning walk of Ruiz. Renteria said Covey’s outing -- he allowed four earned and five hits in six innings -- was the rookie’s best to date.

But Covey couldn’t escape a trouble spot in the fifth inning. Dyson, who homered in the third inning, singled with two outs and stole two bases in the fifth inning. Covey then walked Ruiz a second time, which set up Segura’s three-run homer to put Seattle up 4-0.

“That was something me and Coop talked about: Didn’t want to walk (Ruiz) to get to Segura,” Covey said. “Tried throwing a fastball 3-2 and spiked it. If I could have an at-bat back, that would be it, just go right after him. But I felt decent overall.”

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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White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

Baseball free agency is heating up as the weather gets colder. This week we are breaking down 10 potential free-agent targets for the White Sox ahead of the Winter Meetings.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals

Age: 29

2019 salary: $12,250,000

2019 stats: .241 BA, .328 OBP, .472 SLG, .800 OPS, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 80 R, 12/14 SB 

What Ozuna would bring to the White Sox

Ozuna appeared on the verge of becoming an elite star like Anthony Rendon after a breakout season in 2017 with the Marlins. Ozuna came up at 22 and had decent years early in his career. He improved upon his first few years with 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS as a 26-year-old.

Unlike Rendon, who broke through in 2017 and has sustained that for three seasons now, Ozuna's breakout year appears to be more of a flash in the pan. Ozuna was traded to the Cardinals before the 2018 season and saw a dropoff in his production.

His power and walk rate took big dips in 2018, although he bounced back in both last season. However, he hit .241, which was the lowest batting average of his career.

Ozuna had a career-high walk rate (11.3%) and had the second-best extra-base hit and home run rates of his career (he was only better in those areas in 2017). His strikeout rate (20.8%) was in line with his career average. So what went wrong? His batting average of balls in play was a career-worst .257, which suggests that maybe he's due for some form of bounce back in 2020 as far as batting average.

To simplify all that, Ozuna was good in some areas and inexplicably poor (and maybe unlucky) in others. Does that mean he will return to his big 2017 year wherever he signs? Probably not, but it does help to alleviate some of the feeling of risk for a player who has been inconsistent in his career.

Defensively, Ozuna has a Gold Glove on his resume from 2017, but the stats say he's just an average fielder. Not to mention, he's become infamous for this fielding gaffe.


What it would take to get him

He's young with a mostly positive track record offensively and if he can recreate his 2017 season offensively, he's an all-star outfielder. He won't be cheap, but he has enough question marks to come up just short of $20 million per year.

Ozuna should be able to get four or five years in the mid-to-upper teens per year, similar to fellow outfield free agent Nicholas Castellanos.

Why it's a fit for the White Sox

The White Sox need a corner outfielder. He fills a position of need, adds depth, patience and power to the lineup and won't be a liability in the field.

Ozuna isn't the splashiest signing the White Sox could make, but it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.

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