White Sox

Who needs Uber when you have your hero?

Who needs Uber when you have your hero?

Yoan Moncada was arriving in his new town and texted a friend to see if he could pick him up at the airport.

Who was Jose Abreu to say no?

So when baseball’s top prospect arrived at O'Hare on Wednesday, a familiar face was already there waiting. Teammates previously for Cienfuegos and now again with the White Sox, Moncada said he and Abreu are in a “unique” position, one the veteran first baseman absolutely relishes. Abreu wants to be there for the young second baseman and thought there was no better way to display that then to pick him up at the airport on the day Moncada is set to make his White Sox debut.

“It was a good ride,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “We got a little bit nervous because the traffic was bad, but it was good. He’s going to do great here. He’s an outstanding player, and I’m going to be here right by his side to help him in anything that he needs help. Of course, he’s going to have some butterflies flying around his stomach the first game and probably during the first week or so, but I’m going to be there for him.”

Moncada, 22, has known Abreu since the first baseman was Cuba’s superstar player, the man everyone simply referred to as “Pito.” The two met when Moncada was 15 and they began to play together for Cienfuegos in 2012. Abreu was 25 at the time.

Moncada played 56 games that season.

“That was an outstanding experience for me,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “I was glad to see him there and we talked a little about everything — nothing in specific.

“It means a lot to me because we played together in Cuba. We met in Cuba. And now to have the opportunity to play here together it’s unique. I’m really happy for that.”

White Sox manager Rick Renteria is also pleased with how the O'Hare Shuttle worked out. He knows Abreu is aware how important his mentorship can be for Moncada and likes how he immediately reached out.

“Talk about leadership,” Renteria said. “He’s an individual who has been with the White Sox for a few years and is from a very similar background. Cuba, playing at the major league level, he wanted to make sure he had direct contact with him and make sure to kind of lay the foundation, to kind of give a sense of what is going on from someone who has been around.”

Moncada has a sense about life in the big leagues after he spent a month in the majors last season with the Red Sox during the pennant race. Playing a new position, Moncada struck out 12 times in 20 plate appearances over eight games.

“You have to be consistent in this game,” Moncada said. “You have to find a consistent approach and also you have to try to enjoy the game.”

Moncada sounds as if he’s ready to appreciate the moment on Wednesday. He said he could feel the excitement in pregame when he was surrounded by more than two dozen media members. The White Sox also reportedly sold an extra 2,500 tickets after the announcement of Moncada’s promotion was made at 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

He and Abreu didn’t enjoy the traffic and construction on the way back from O'Hare. But everything else has been pretty good.

“I’m happy,” Moncada said. “I’m trying to enjoy the moment and enjoy this opportunity. I’m in the big leagues right now and this is where I want to be.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

The crew wraps up the final day of the Winter Meetings for the White Sox.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Ryan McGuffey talk about a rumored deal between the White Sox and the Red Sox (2:41) that would move some pieces around.

Rick Hahn speaks for the final time in San Diego and the guys react to his comments.

Later, they debate why fans are disappointed with the White Sox and the outcome for the team at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

SAN DIEGO — David Price on the South Side? Maybe.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have had trade conversations involving Price with at least five teams, and the White Sox are “in play” for the veteran left-hander.

Boston is trying to shed salary, and getting rid of the $96 million remaining on Price’s deal over the next three years would be a good way to accomplish that goal.

The White Sox, given their financial flexibility, are a team that could absorb that kind of money in a trade. While much discussion of Rick Hahn’s statement in February that “the money will be spent” has focused on high-priced free agents, the general manager said Wednesday that such fiscal positioning could be beneficial on the trade market, too.

“Absolutely,” he said during his final media session of the Winter Meetings. “You’ve seen over the years us use our financial flexibility to acquire some contracts. I think back to the (Joakim) Soria trade with the Dodgers. The thing we brought to the table there was the ability to absorb some contracts. That flexibility doesn’t always have to be spent on free agents.”

But here’s the thing. ESPN’s Jeff Passan got this whole Price conversation going when he reported the interest of multiple teams on Tuesday, and he suggested the Red Sox might be able to ship Price out of town if they included a “player of value.” A young player with affordable club control would sweeten any such deal, and speculation latched onto outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who is under team control for three more years.

That’s the kind of deal — before we hear what it could cost, obviously — that would look like a good one for the White Sox.

Well, another nugget in Feinsand’s report throws that idea out the window.

“One scenario that has been floated in recent weeks would have the Red Sox attaching a young player — Andrew Benintendi's name has been mentioned often — to Price in order to dump the pitcher's contract.

“A source said that concept has not been considered by Boston's front office — nor will it be, especially not with Benintendi.

“‘That's not going to happen,’ the source said.”

If that’s the case, if the Red Sox are talking about a Price trade that doesn’t involve a young, controllable player coming back, is there any reason for the White Sox to consider such a move? Is there any reason to trade for Price alone?

The White Sox do need pitching, quite badly, as a matter of fact. Their quest for two arms to add to the starting rotation has yielded no additions yet, with their high bid for Zack Wheeler spurned in favor of a lower offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Price would be an upgrade to the White Sox rotation, and they could potentially get him without having to give up any of their prized prospects (a trade involving someone like Benintendi might cost a high-level prospect, in addition to salary relief).

After turning in some memorable performances during the Red Sox championship run in 2018, Price got off to a great start in 2019, with a 3.16 ERA in his first 17 starts. But due to a cyst in his wrist, he made only two starts over the season’s final two months. He finished with a 4.28 ERA, second highest of his career.

Considering the White Sox are heading into 2020 with just three rotation spots spoken for, they could do a lot worse than Price from a production standpoint. But the veteran lefty doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a clubhouse presence. NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase listed several red flags in a recent piece: “He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily. He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.”

Do the White Sox need those headaches? Aren’t there options out there, via trade or free agency, that would bring in similar levels of production without all that other stuff? It doesn’t seem like a young team that is developing what appears to be a very positive culture needs someone who “consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse.”

Now, if someone like Benintendi — or, for example, the large contract of designated hitter J.D. Martinez — comes along with him, maybe it’s a pill you’re willing to swallow. Of course, that would require other unpleasant possibilities, such as letting a recent first-round draft pick like Nick Madrigal or Andrew Vaughn go. Hahn talked about the team’s unwillingness to deal away its prized prospects for a short-term gain. The White Sox lost a combined 195 games to end up with the draft picks that produced Madrigal and Vaughn. That was an awful lot of suffering just to trade those guys away.

A potential Price trade has its upsides, but ones contingent on other aspects of such a deal. If those aspects go by the wayside, acquiring Price doesn’t make quite as much sense.

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