White Sox

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

The trade deadline passed on Monday and all was quiet in the White Sox clubhouse.

While nearly every other team in baseball furiously attempted to make last-minute deals before the 3 p.m. (CST) nonwaiver trade deadline, the White Sox remained silent. Though there had been a few rumblings of possible moves the past few days, none surfaced involving White Sox players on Monday.

And for the first time since the All-Star break there was a relative sense of calm within the clubhouse. Monday’s tranquility was not the byproduct of a decision by the White Sox front office to stand pat but rather because of the flurry of trades Rick Hahn completed the previous 17 days. Those five deals removed involved seven members of the White Sox 25-man roster and has had players living with their heads on a swivel for almost a month. After one final trade sent Melky Cabrera’s trade to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the remaining group was admittedly happy to see the deadline pass.

“It was tough,” third baseman Matt Davidson said. “Just everybody. You didn’t know what was going to happen any day. It was so random.

“It’s kind of nice that it’s over and for the most part this is going to be the clubhouse for the rest of the year.”

In all likelihood, this will be the White Sox roster the rest of the season.

There could be a few additions in the way of Triple-A players who are promoted. Rick Renteria reiterated on Monday that some of the club’s top pitching prospects are close to arriving in the majors. There also could be a few more subtractions if a contending club found one of the team’s veteran pitchers to their liking.

But the bulk of the White Sox roster has already been systematically ripped apart through a series of trades.

“It always happens so fast,” infielder Tyler Saladino said. “(Sunday) Melky was just walking through giving people hugs. Blink of an eye, something else happens. But you’re five minutes away from team stretch so you don’t really have time to think about it. You just say your goodbyes and your well-wishes and move forward.”

“You process it, but it’s not a lengthy process.

“Everything happens pretty fast around here.”

The upheaval of the 25-man roster began July 13 with a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs. Five days later, the White Sox packaged Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson in a deal to the New York Yankees. Anthony Swarzak followed them on Wednesday when he was traded to Milwaukee. Dan Jennings was traded on Thursday to the Tampa Bay Rays and finally Cabrera was dealt to Kansas City on Sunday.

Now the White Sox are left with a roster full of inexperienced parts, including a bullpen that includes only one pitch from the Opening Day roster (Jake Petricka). The loss of so many key players will unquestionably lead to some trying times over the final two months of the regular season.

“It’s a good chance for those guys to get some experience,” Saladino said. “But it can be challenging because we’re very young at a level of game that requires a lot of experience.”

Once surrounded by a veteran crew, Petricka and newcomer Tyler Clippard are the only relievers with more than one year of service time. Petricka likened the massive turnover as something similar to when a series of moves is in made concurrently in the minor leagues. But, he also contends that the last two weeks has been different.

“I haven’t been a part of something like this,” Petricka said. “We’ve just got to prove it. It is a great opportunity for everyone. We’ve just got to go out and do our job and show we all belong and we all know we do.”

White Sox scored rebuilding win in avoiding Kris Bryant style headaches

White Sox scored rebuilding win in avoiding Kris Bryant style headaches

The White Sox will never have to deal with this Kris Bryant service-time grievance business. And that's a good thing.

For a bit there, service time was all we were talking about, first with Eloy Jimenez, then with Luis Robert. Would the White Sox treat their star prospects like the Cubs treated Bryant in 2015, keeping them in the minor leagues for a few weeks at the start of their respective rookie seasons in order to ensure one more year of team control?

Certainly they could have, as the outcome of Bryant's grievance against the Cubs shows. The ruling was in the Cubs' favor, and Bryant will be a free agent after the 2021 season, instead of becoming a free agent after the upcoming 2020 campaign, as he argued he should be. However unfair to the player, the Cubs didn't break any rules. The White Sox wouldn't have, either.

But the White Sox did away with all this service-time stuff when they inked both Jimenez and Robert to big-money contract extensions that will keep them on the South Side through the 2026 and 2027 seasons, respectively.

Were those deals risky? Sure. Neither player had played in a major league game when they signed, and Robert obviously still hasn't. But if those guys live up to the hype that's accompanied them through their young pro careers, those contracts will look like a bargain.

That's one area where Rick Hahn has excelled during his rebuilding effort and an area where Theo Epstein didn't take what's now proving to be beneficial action. Of course, Bryant might not have ever signed such an extension, as players earn their right to hit the open market as free agents. Bryant's star rose immediately upon his arrival in the big leagues, giving him all the reason to believe his eventual free-agent payday would be sky high. But the Cubs, once believed to be primed for a dynastic run, are now seeing their championship window shrinking as they face franchise-altering decisions on which players to keep for the long term.

Hahn might face criticism one day down the road for not locking up Lucas Giolito or Yoan Moncada in similar fashions — deals that could certainly be attempted before those two head to free agency after the 2023 season and something already on the minds of White Sox fans — but he won't face simultaneous choices between Jimenez and Robert.

The White Sox have long had a track record of these kinds of team-friendly, long-term deals. Tim Anderson has been in the majors for four seasons and is still under team control for another five. Before him, it was team-friendly deals for Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and Jose Quintana that allowed Hahn to acquire such massive hauls in the trio of trades that jump started the rebuild in the first place.

The contracts for Jimenez and Robert are not just the latest in that line, but they aim to keep the White Sox window propped open for as long as possible. Not only can Hahn ink Jimenez and Robert into the lineup for the better part of the next decade, but he can take advantage of these team-friendly deals to make the roster even better with outside additions, increasing the team's championship chances.

The window has to actually open first, of course. Jimenez has to leave his rookie-year growing pains behind him, and Robert needs to adjust to life in the majors. But the ceilings for these guys are so high, they're viewed as potentially the two most important pieces of the White Sox long-term puzzle.

Hahn has glued those pieces in, and he doesn't have to worry about the same kinds of things the Cubs have spent their offseason worrying about with Bryant.

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Forget a Yolmer Sanchez return to White Sox, he reportedly has deal with Giants

Forget a Yolmer Sanchez return to White Sox, he reportedly has deal with Giants

The dream many fans had of Yolmer Sanchez returning to the South Side for the 2020 season might be over.

According to reports, Sanchez has a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants. Sanchez, who won an American League Gold Glove at second base last season with the White Sox, reportedly turned down a couple major league offers to compete for the everyday second baseman's job in San Francisco.

Sanchez was a fan favorite during his tenure with the White Sox, a positive clubhouse presence who earned a reputation as a fun-loving teammate through his various on-field antics, including repeated pranks involving the dugout's Gatorade bucket. He also proved himself to be one of the game's finest defensive infielders, a valuable skill even if his offensive production rarely lived up to the same standards. Last season, as the starting second baseman, Sanchez hit .252/.318/.321 with a pair of home runs and 43 RBIs.

Even after the White Sox non-tendered him earlier this offseason, team brass spoke positively of him, an indication that the door might not be closed on a reunion. But the White Sox infield is fast filling up with long-term pieces. Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada had huge seasons on the left side in 2019, and Nick Madrigal, one of the top-rated prospects in baseball, is expected to reach the major leagues in the early portions of the 2020 season. Madrigal, the White Sox first-round draft pick in 2018, had an excellent offensive season in the minors last year and carries a similar defensive reputation as Sanchez. Whether Madrigal will make the Opening Day roster remains to be seen — it sounds unlikely — but he's expected to be the team's starting second baseman for the bulk of the 2020 campaign.

Given that crunch on the infield, Sanchez, even after his Gold Glove win, seemed destined for a reserve role had he returned to the South Side. Who knows if the White Sox were one of the teams that extended a major league contract offer to Sanchez, but there didn't seem to be room for him to have a starting job with this group. He can at least compete for such a role with the Giants.

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