White Sox

White Sox offseason plan still in development


White Sox offseason plan still in development

They have done the legwork and discussed a variety of potential scenarios that could play out in the next six weeks. For now, however, the White Sox seem to be in wait-and-see mode with their offseason potentially headed in any number of directions.

Less than a week after the general manager’s meetings came to a close, Kenny Williams said Tuesday night that general manager Rick Hahn hasn’t yet finalized the team’s offseason plan — which doesn’t surprise the White Sox executive vice president given the early date on the Hot Stove calendar. With so many variables at play and the team sounding more focused on the trade market than free agency, Williams isn’t sure what form the offseason will take.

“A lot of it depends on what’s available to you,” Williams said. “For instance, if you put a wish list together and you head down a certain path and you see what the alternatives are, well, if you like them maybe you continue down that path and now it gives you clarity on direction. If you don’t, then perhaps that path is an unrealistic path to take so you shift gears and you go another (way).

“We have had a number of conversations, even as late as (Tuesday) morning and Rick hasn’t presented to us a definitive direction based on his talks that he wants to travel down.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up during the offseason, White Sox fans!]

The canvas for last offseason wasn’t totally blank, but this current one isn’t nearly as wide open.

Headed into last winter, the White Sox roster had far more needs than check marks. They also had a ton of cash to spend and attractive free agents available in several desired positions.

This year, the White Sox have far more specific needs at positions that aren’t as easy to fill as left field, designated hitter, closer, left-handed reliever and starting pitcher were in 2014-15.

There are few third baseman available in free agency and those on the trade market come with hefty price tags. Shortstop is always a challenge to fill and catcher may even be more difficult, especially after Matt Wieters accepted a qualifying offer from the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

Though Williams said no assumptions should be made about more or less payroll — the team spent $118 million in 2015, according to BaseballProspectus.com — flexibility could be hard to come by with $85.5 million already owed to nine players.

And unless they trade Chris Sale or Jose Quintana, which they don’t sound eager, some of the team’s best chips are younger pitchers who aren’t established major leaguers.

“We certainly have a number of guys in our system who are appealing to other clubs,” Hahn said last week. “You’re still going to have to line up with their time horizons — some of them arguably aren’t quite ready to contribute at the big league level. So are they going to move you a big league piece for a guy like that? That might take a little more time and a little more thought on their end.”

Though he stated a preference for finding young, controllable players, Hahn in the same breath noted every team hopes for the same. He’s made it clear he’s not married to that idea and is prepared to alter his plans, including a willingness to acquire stopgap players if necessary.

“You’re going to have to be adaptable to respond to what the market is via trade and free agents,” Hahn said. “It is very much conceivable we acquire a shorter-term fit via trade or free agency in the end. It’s important that you go into these things with a plan.”

The plan is still being formed, which Hahn suggested would happen even after a robust week in Florida. Potential trade partners still have to figure out their own plans and whether or not those could be addressed in free agency or other trades.

[RELATED - Dealing Chris Sale unlikely, but could expedite White Sox turnaround]

“We have to see what the potential possibilities are and how they fit and if you add money on your right, can you subtract money on your left to make it work?” Williams said. “Or can you simply just add money? And money doesn’t cure all your ills so is it best to not go that route and to go the trade route, or to rely on your own players form your system? There are just so many things tofactor in. What is it Nov. 17 right now? There aren’t a whole lot of answers. Rick is having conversation on a daily basis. I have a number of conversations with him on a daily basis with regard to how things are evolving. But as far as a plan of attack right now, if I went to him and said ‘OK, I want your definitive plan heading into the winter meetings,’ he couldn’t give it to me.”

With 12 years of experience in Hahn’s chair, Williams knows what his successor is going through. Any number of variables of events could take place and jumpstart the offseason — in several directions.

“I’ve been there so I certainly understand,” Williams said. “A lot of things are in play right now. I know it can be confusing, but it’s completely understandable from my perspective that this is what you do before you decide on the definitive plan.”

Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button


Sox Drawer Q&A: Joe Girardi, Enoy Jimenez and Chris Sale's 'infected' belly button

We made it above 60 degrees in Chicago today: A cause for celebration and another edition of the Sox Drawer. Questions from White Sox fans range from Joe Girardi to Enoy Jimenez (yes, Enoy) to Chris Sale’s “infected” belly button. Here we go.

Q: Jon Heyman tweeted out earlier that Joe Girardi pulled out of the Reds managerial search because he wants to wait a year for the Chicago job. Do you think he’s talking about the Sox? — @piratedwight

CG: I don’t know if the report is true or not, but what I do know is that Girardi grew up a Cubs fan and he later played for the Cubs. Put those two together and I’d assume he would love to manage them in the future. Something to consider: The main reason Yankees general manager Brian Cashman gave for firing Girardi in 2017 was that he felt he had trouble communicating and connecting with the young players. For a young, rebuilding team like the White Sox, that might be a red flag. Granted, that’s the Yankees' side of the story. Personally, I don’t think he’s interested in managing the White Sox.

Q: Who do you want the Sox to draft with the 3rd pick? Do some research. — @Frankie_OConnor

CG: If you look at most mock drafts right now, you’ll see high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. going first, followed by Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman (Nick Madrigal’s teammate) and Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers. Rutschman’s stock went way up because of his play in the College World Series, where he was named the Most Outstanding Player. Langeliers won a Gold Glove in 2018, named the best defensive catcher in Division I. He nailed 70 percent of would-be base stealers. Umm, I’ll take that.

The White Sox took Zack Collins with the 10th overall pick in 2016. White Sox scouting director Nick Hostelter always says “take the best player available.” Would they draft another catcher with their top pick again? Possibly.

You know what, why don’t we hear from Hostetler himself? I asked him to describe the talent level at the top of next year’s draft.

“Overall the ‘19 draft has a little bit of everything up top,” Hostetler said. “There are some interesting high school bats and arms, as well as some college bats and a few college arms that are intriguing. I’m not sure there’s a clear top five at this point, but as we’ve seen in past years, the guys sitting at the top of all the lists and mock drafts today usually change come the first Monday in June.”

In other words, let’s talk again in June. The best part about this? The White Sox will be in position to grab a very talented player for their future.

Q: After the most recent international signing of Eloy Jimenez’s brother, Enoy, do you think he could get close to the level of Eloy? Eloy wasn’t a known prospect until a few years ago, keep in mind. — @Dehhmac_

CG: In case you missed it, the White Sox signed Eloy’s 17-year-old brother to a baseball contract Sunday. Eloy posted a photo of him and his smiling brother wearing a White Sox hat and jersey.

By the way, if you do a Google search for “Enoy Jimenez,” Google will ask: “Did you mean Eloy Jimenez?” Even Google can’t believe it.

We don’t know too much about little Enoy. I say little because he’s tiny compared to his big brother. See the video we found on YouTube which was posted a couple of weeks ago. Enoy is wearing a White Sox retro tank top and a Charlotte Knights hat. If anything, he’ll fit right in at SoxFest. Seriously, he has some great baseball DNA, so he’s got that going for him. He’s an infielder. That’s about all we know. As MLB Trade Rumors put it, “scouting information on the younger Jimenez brother is virtually non-existent.”

Q: We know that Rick Hahn plays things close to the vest. In your opinion, do the White Sox view Matt Davidson as a viable two-way option? Personally, I'd like to see how he does in close games. — @emm528

CG: I know Davidson is quite serious about it. I’m not sure about the White Sox side of things. When I asked Don Cooper during the season about the possibility of Davidson having a more permanent role in the bullpen, he seemed skeptical about the idea. That said, if Davidson comes to spring training and impresses the coaching staff, they might be open to it. Davidson told me in September that he needs to train his body during the offseason so he could handle the workload as a pitcher. He just basically winged it in emergency duty last season. At one point after one of his appearances, he needed around two weeks for his body to get back to normal. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.

Q: You got to be by the dugout for most home games this year. What’s something that goes on in the dugout during a game that fans at home wouldn’t know? — @PeteCha56613119

CG: Davidson likes to throw gum at me.

Q: Chris Sale. Discuss. — @sccerlaw​​​​​​​

CG: If you’re asking about Sale getting an infection from a belly-button ring, he was joking. Sale likes to have fun with the media. Remember in 2014, when he tried to work in a specific word during his postgame media scrums? He said things like juxtapose, acquiesce, capitulated, ruminate, amalgamation. Waiting to hear what his next Harvard vocabulary word was one of the highlights of a rough fourth-place season. Sale did miss his start in Game 5 of the ALCS because of an unspecified stomach illness. Keep in mind, he’s probably taking medication for an inflamed shoulder. But he says he’s 100-percent ready now for Game 1 of the World Series.

Q: If the White Sox win the World Series next year will you get a belly button ring? — @vlamas05​​​​​​​

CG: Sure.

Q: Why don't the White Sox have a museum in the park? About 1/3 of the league does and most of those teams have half the history the Sox do. — @Gnome89​​​​​​​

CG: Good question. For this one, I went right to the source and asked Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“We used to have a small museum that fans could walk through which was attached to our team store," Boyer said. "Years ago, we converted that space as demand for a wider selection of retail products grew. We do have a museum-like historical display in the Magellan Scout Seats and have put many of the significant moments in our history on the columns leading to the sections on the 100 level. This past season we had a Negro League Museum traveling display in the Chicago Sports Depot.

"We continue to look for ways to display our history, and the Depot may very well be the best place, but, at this point, there are no plans for a permanent museum location.”

Q: Who do you see the White Sox going after in free agency this year? — @Grank2410​​​​​​​

CG: I wrote about my top five free agents last week. I don’t know for sure who the White Sox will sign, but I’d like to see them add a veteran hitter or two who have playoff experience, who know what it takes to win and can impart that on the young hitters.

Q: When will the Sox change their uniforms? — @ckottlarock​​​​​​​

CG: Personally, I’d wear the 1983 throwbacks for every game, home and away. But that’s just me.

Q: Can we please not get Machado? Can we get Nolan Arenado instead? — @drobaseball555​​​​​​​

CG: Rick Hahn, if you’re reading this, @drobaseball555 wants Arenado. Got it?

Thanks everyone for all of your questions. We’ll do it again next week.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Update: Our Chuck Garfien found this video of Enoy taking some cuts with his big brother — all decked out in White Sox gear, too.