White Sox

White Sox open to trading Avisail Garcia


White Sox open to trading Avisail Garcia

They haven’t moved on from Avisail Garcia, but the White Sox have let teams know the outfielder can be acquired in the right deal.

With several positions of need, not many big league assets to trade and a replacement lined up, the White Sox have entertained offers for the young right fielder this month, according to major league sources.

A trade for Garcia is just one of a number of solutions the White Sox have considered as they attempt to fill out the left side of their infield and improve their offense.

General manager Rick Hahn declined to comment on Garcia’s trade availability. But at last week’s GM meetings, Hahn said the White Sox remain optimistic about Garcia, who had a .257/.309/.365 slash line with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs in 601 plate appearances in 2015.

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“We can’t lose sight of the fact that he was still playing last year at 24, at a young age,” Hahn said. “That really was his first full season in the majors.

“The ceiling is still extremely high. Certainly everyone, including Avi, would have preferred to show more consistency and flashes of that upside on a more consistent basis. But it doesn’t change the optimism around him for the future.”

While the team’s confidence in Garcia hasn’t publicly wavered, their options around him have improved.

The centerpiece of a three-team trade that sent Jake Peavy to Boston in July 2013, Garcia -- who is arbitration eligible this offseason -- has been the club’s Opening Day right fielder in each of the past two seasons. But the addition of Melky Cabrera last offseason along with a strong performance by rookie Trayce Thompson down the stretch in 2015 have given the White Sox license to at least consider moving Garcia, who was at times the club’s best hitter and at others the most aggravating.

[MORE: White Sox offseason plan still in development]

One National League scout said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Garcia, who struck out 54 times and drew only eight walks from June 9-Aug. 3, on the trade block.

“Their people are very frustrated with him,” the scout said.

Part of the frustration has to stem from the flashes of potential Garcia has shown. Over his other 102 games, Garcia walked once for every three strikeouts as he made adjustments in his stance that better allowed him to see pitches. Minus his lengthy slump, Garcia hit .269/.329/.412 with 27 extra-base hits, including 11 homers, and 46 RBIs.

“His window is not gone yet,” said one American League evaluator. “There’s still plenty of time.”

Ideally, Garcia would tap into the pull-power potential that Paul Konerko once said is capable of producing 40 home runs while with the White Sox. But with the emergence of Thompson, who has the team’s best outfield glove, the White Sox may have to include Garcia -- a below-average defender -- to sweeten a deal to return major league talent. Though they brought Thompson along slowly after his August promotion, the White Sox are enamored with his potential. They still need to see more from him, which ultimately may lead them to holding onto Garcia, but Thompson opened some eyes.

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“I think Trayce has shown the ability to start,” Hahn said last week. “How we make that work is probably a better question come spring once we see how the whole roster looks. We’ve known from Trayce for the last several years he can be an above-average major league defender at three outfield positions. That gives us a little flexibility on how to work him in best and he’s certainly from an offensive standpoint showed he deserves to play. That’ll either work itself out before spring based on transactions or come spring we’ll figure out a way to use him best.”

With Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton both owed considerable money, Garcia would be the easiest player to move to open space for Thompson. But as appealing as that option may be, the White Sox might not be inclined to let go of Garcia, who oozes potential.

“The confidence is still there in Avi very much,” Hahn said in October. “He’s still a developing player.

“Avi is nowhere near the player we foresee him being. But you see flashes of it, you know the talent is there, and age is very much on his side. That’s a player that has specifically been given a plan about what we’re expecting from him going forward, and a roadmap to get there. Now it’s going to be incumbent on him to follow that roadmap.”

Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Prospects Zack Burdi, Luis Basabe to begin rehab stints in White Sox minors

Tommy John surgeries have knocked out two top White Sox pitching prospects for 2019 (Michael Kopech and Dane Dunning), but one pitching prospect is set to make a notable step in his return from the surgery.

Zack Burdi will join Single-A Kannapolis on a rehab stint on Monday. Burdi had Tommy John surgery in July of 2017. In his first game action since the surgery, he made seven appearances last August with the Arizona League White Sox (rookie level). The Downers Grove native made five more appearances in the Arizona Fall League before being pulled from the league due to “general fatigue.” He talked about his recovery process on an episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

In spring training, Burdi was not invited to major league camp and he wasn’t on a minor league roster when the season began. With this news, he is set to hit another milestone in his return. If all goes well in Kannapolis, it is expected that Burdi will join Triple-A Charlotte, where he was in 2017 when he got hurt.

If Burdi can recapture his stuff, which profiled him as a back end of the bullpen pitcher, he could even join the White Sox sometime in 2019. He has to show he is healthy and back to his old self first though. The 24-year-old was taken with the 26th pick in the 2016 draft and is the No. 16 prospect in the system according to MLB Pipeline.

Another prospect will be joining Burdi in Kannapolis on a rehab assignment. Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, No. 7 prospect in the system, will also join the Intimidators on Monday. Basabe broke the hamate bone in his left hand during batting practice in spring training. It was initially estimated that he would return in late May, so Basabe appears to be ahead of schedule. The 22-year-old spent the second half of 2019 with Double-A Birmingham and is expected to return there after rehabbing with Kannapolis.

Elsewhere on the White Sox prospect injury watch, Luis Robert left a game on Saturday with soreness in his left hand and is reportedly day-to-day. He was hit by a pitch in the first game of a doubleheader for Single-A Winston-Salem. He made one at-bat in the second game, a leadoff groundout, and then was taken out of the game. He did not play on Sunday.

Robert endured an injury-plagued 2018. He was limited to 50 games, but has been on fire early in 2019. Robert leads the Carolina League in batting average (.475), home runs (6), hits (28), runs (16), on-base percentage (.530) and slugging percentage (.915) and is tied for the league lead in RBIs (18) and stolen bases (7).


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Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August


Saturday's White Sox-Tigers game postponed due to rain; makeup scheduled for August

The White Sox and Tigers were likely to start Saturday's game (12:10 p.m. CT) in a rain delay. Instead, the game has been pushed back altogether.

With rain expected all afternoon in Detroit, Saturday's game has been postponed. A makeup is scheduled for Aug. 6 at 12:10 p.m. as part of a split doubleheader. The originally scheduled game will start at 6:10 p.m. CT.

According to a press release, all paid tickets from Saturday's game will be valid for the first game of the doubleheader.

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