White Sox

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito trusting that things will eventually click in Triple-A

White Sox prospect Lucas Giolito trusting that things will eventually click in Triple-A

INDIANAPOLIS — Lucas Giolito trusts that the work he’s putting in will eventually lead to something clicking here at the Triple-A level, and ultimately in the major leagues. 

But that hasn’t happened yet, as evidenced by another day where the 22-year-old right-hander didn’t consistently command his fastball. The result was Giolito allowing five runs (four earned) with four walks and three strikeouts in five innings against the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh’s Triple-A affiliate) on Monday night.

“I definitely am not pitching the way I know I can,” Giolito said. “The ball is not coming out the way I know it can. The process, working hard on it every single day — that's what I'm doing. Hopefully the results will start to show that.”

Charlotte pitching coach Steve McCatty has been working with Giolito on not only repeating his mechanics so he can command his fastball, but also on having a more positive, big-picture view of his development. 

While Giolito can focus on his fastball getting him into trouble — as it did in Indianapolis’ four-run fifth inning — McCatty wants him to look at some of the things he’s done well this year, too.

“You're always trying to improve on your weakness and make your strengths better but you just can't go out and say, 'Man I sucked because I didn't get through five innings,’” McCatty said. “He's made progress in a lot of areas. It's a growing thing. And he's got to know what he is first, he's not even close to being a finished product that he's going to be.” 

Giolito reached the major leagues last year with the Washington Nationals, starting four games and appearing in two others as both a mid-season and September call-up. But he’s still green — he’s about five years younger than the average Triple-A player — and only has three full years of starting experience in the minor leagues following Tommy John surgery shortly after being drafted by the Nationals out of high school in 2012. 

“For him, if it took the rest of this year and next year, so what’s he going to be, 24 years old?” McCatty said. “If he goes up to the big leagues and he's throwing pretty good, what's everyone going to say? ‘Well, Lucas is doing what we think he should.’”

That hypothetical situation McCatty presented isn’t a fast track to the White Sox rotation, but more of a slow build to getting Giolito ready to be a mainstay on 35th and Shields. Even if things were to click for Giolito soon, a handful of strong outings may not be enough to prove that he’s ready to stick in the major leagues. 

Another thing Giolito mentioned he wants to get better at is in-game adjustments, which could’ve prevented that rough fifth inning on Monday. Being able to identify and correct what’s going wrong after one pitch instead of after the game is something that could help prevent things from spiraling out of control.

The White Sox, though, have long preached patience in developing the hoard of prospects they acquired in December’s Chris Sale and Adam Eaton trades. Even if Giolito had a 1.37 ERA instead of his current 7.31 mark, he might not be in line for a call-up to the major leagues for a little while. 

So he has time to work in Charlotte and hope that eventually things will click, and stay that way once he gets back to the major leagues. 

“I wasn’t expecting to start the year like this,” Giolito said. “I mean, the numbers are atrocious. It frustrated me, definitely, a lot earlier in the year, like, why aren’t I figuring it out? Now, it’s just, all I can do is trust the work I’m putting in and hopefully put it together soon.” 

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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