White Sox

White Sox reportedly continue to pursue Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes

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White Sox reportedly continue to pursue Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes

The White Sox reportedly are still in the hunt for outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon.

New reports surfaced on Tuesday that the White Sox continue to pursue the free agent outfielders, including one that lists the White Sox among the leaders for Cespedes, who was valued at 6.7 Wins Above Replacement last season by Fangraphs.com.

While the White Sox have already made a series of moves this offseason sure to impact the roster, general manager Rick Hahn said earlier this month the team would stay aggressive on “multiple fronts.” After they spruced up the infield with the additions of Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie and two offensive-minded catchers were added, it appears the team’s focus is now on the outfield.

[RELATED - In pursuit of offense, White Sox haven't overlooked defense]

One factor that can’t be overlooked is how the shelves are still stocked full of premium players with spring training roughly seven weeks away. Many suspected the $184-million deal Jason Heyward signed with the Cubs on Dec. 11 would break the ice and begin a wave of signings.

But Gordon, Cespedes and Justin Upton remain unsigned with the New Year right around the corner. A surplus of talent (Dexter Fowler also remains unsigned) could mean that prices have dropped, which likely gives the White Sox a better chance to add an outfielder.

Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal suggested the White Sox are strong in their pursuit of the two outfielders on Tuesday. Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez said the White Sox and Baltimore Orioles are considered in the lead “for now” for the services of Cespedes.

Cespedes, 30, is expected to earn a bigger annual salary than Gordon and could command a deal in the five-year range. But, because he was traded last July, Cespedes — who hit .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs last season — doesn’t require the team he signs with to surrender a draft pick.

While the White Sox have said they’d prefer to hang on to their draft picks, including the compensatory selection for losing Jeff Samardzija, Hahn said it wouldn’t stop them from signing a player if he were deemed the right fit.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Gordon, who turns 32 this season, is expected to receive a lesser deal in the four-year range. The Kansas City Royals product and four-time Gold Glove winner hit .271/.377/.432 in 104 games last season and would tidy up an outfield that was minus-22 in Defensive Runs Saved, according to Fangraphs. But in order to sign Gordon, the White Sox would have to surrender their second-highest pick, which is expected to fall between 27-29 in next June’s draft.

With Frazier, Lawrie, Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro in the mix, payroll for the White Sox 25-man roster already is hovering in the $115 million range. 

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.