White Sox

White Sox notes: Giolito struggles, Rodon progresses, Quintana returns

White Sox notes: Giolito struggles, Rodon progresses, Quintana returns

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lucas Giolito didn’t make it out of the first inning in his start against the Seattle Mariners Tuesday at Peoria Stadium, allowing four runs on four hits with two walks in two-thirds of an inning.

Giolito didn’t get a swinging strike over the 30 pitches he threw, and he didn’t finish off his allotted pitch count by throwing in the bullpen after he was pulled. In his previous start March 9, Giolito lasted four innings and allowed one run. 

While it’s unfair to read too much into spring training results, Giolito did issue back-to-back walks to load the bases and then score a run. Seattle went on to win, 7-6.

"It’s hard to pinpoint one issue," Giolito said. "I didn’t really execute anything I was trying to do today. As a starting pitcher, you want to work efficiently, you want to throw low pitch count innings, work through a game and I threw, what, 30 pitches. Didn’t get out of the first inning. Just didn’t do my job." 

Another "simmy" on tap for Rodon

Carlos Rodon threw 64 pitches over four "innings" of a simulated game on Tuesday, but the White Sox have yet to set a date for when the left-hander will make his first Cactus League start of 2017.

Rodon got up and down four times and threw all of his pitches -- he hadn’t thrown his slider before Tuesday -- from the both stretch and windup. Manager Rick Renteria said the White Sox have one more simulated game lined up for Rodon before he could potentially get into a game. 

"(Pitching coach Don Cooper) was really happy with how he looked," relayed Renteria. 

'Q’ back from WBC

Jose Quintana returned to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday after spending the weekend in Miami with the Colombian National Team for the World Baseball Classic. Despite Quintana’s best efforts -- 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the United States on Friday -- Colombia was eliminated from the tournament. 

The White Sox haven’t formulated a plan for Quintana, but he’ll likely stay on the same schedule he had while ramping up for the World Baseball Classic. Renteria said last week the White Sox could look to have Quintana pitch in 'B’ games to keep his intensity level low after he started that higher stress game at Marlins Park on Friday. 

And as for whether or not Quintana will start Opening Day, Renteria didn’t provide an answer: "We’re still setting it all up right now and I promise you guys will get it as soon as I get it."

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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