White Sox

White Sox reportedly shop comeback candidate Adam LaRoche

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White Sox reportedly shop comeback candidate Adam LaRoche

NASHVILLE — If he returns, the White Sox think Adam LaRoche should bounce back to form next season. But there’s a chance he might not be back.

The White Sox are reportedly shopping the veteran first baseman this week at the Winter Meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

LaRoche — who hit .207/.293/.340 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs in 484 plate appearances last season — is set to earn $13 million next season. While it has never been the team’s practice to eat significant chunks of salary to trade a player, the White Sox might be motivated to move LaRoche, 36, to free themselves up for other plans.

Still, White Sox manager Robin Ventura has to operate under the assumption LaRoche will return next season. Ventura said Tuesday he thinks LaRoche would receive a big boost once his stats are reset to zero.

“Anybody would need that,” Ventura said. “There's been a lot of guys that have had bad years, and once you can clear it off and almost reset your mind as well as the numbers ... it's not always easy going out there and looking up at the board, and it's not a very attractive number. You see it every time you walk to the plate. I think it would help him to just have it scratched out and ready to go next year.”

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Both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners are in need of a first baseman and would prefer a left-handed hitter. The Mariners also place a premium on defense (LaRoche is still considered a strong defender) and have shown a willingness to take on players who could potentially rebound. But even though LaRoche has only one season left on his deal, neither team would sign on for the full amount.

One industry source suggested the White Sox would have to eat at least $8 million of LaRoche’s salary to trade him for a mid-level prospect. Though the White Sox absorbed more than $7 million of Jeff Keppinger’s three-year deal when they released him in May 2014, they haven’t made that type of move a common practice.

Still, $5 million of freed up salary could help general manager Rick Hahn in his quest to improve the team’s offense. It also would clear more playing time for Trayce Thompson, who impressed the White Sox down the stretch.

But the White Sox view LaRoche as a bounce-back candidate and could hang on to him. LaRoche owns a career .798 OPS and has hit 20 or more home runs 10 times in his career, which leads the White Sox — and perhaps other clubs — to think he should make a comeback in 2016.

“He did have a couple of injuries during the year that hopefully are behind him now, and hopefully they don’t reoccur once we get to Glendale,” Hahn said. “And simply because we have had such a long track record of performance, he’s the type of guy you’d want to bet on at least in terms of having the potential to bounce back.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 1

We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn says 'there will be many' promotions for White Sox prospects this week

The White Sox have a number of highly-rated prospects performing well in the minors and some of them will be on the move within the system in a matter of days.

General manager Rick Hahn talked to reporters ahead of Monday night's White Sox game in Cleveland, a 6-2 loss, and gave the news. Well, sort of.

He didn't include names, but he did say that "there will be many" promotions after the minor league all-star games for Double-A and both Single-A teams take place on Tuesday.

Hahn added that Chris Getz, the White Sox player development director, will address the media before the White Sox host Oakland on Thursday about the moves.

If the all-star games are a reason to wait, it's safe to think some of the players involved will be playing in those games. So who could be on the move?

Double-A Birmingham has six all-stars: Eloy Jimenez, Zack Collins, Seby Zavala, Danny Mendick, Dane Dunning and Ian Hamilton. Jimenez is the name everyone wants to see on the move. He has torched the Southern League since getting off to a late start to the season due to injury. Hahn was asked about Jimenez, but didn't tip his hand as to whether he would be one of the promotions.

Dunning has been good in Double-A (2.78 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings), but was already promoted this season so he may not be on the move again.

Single-A Winston-Salem has five all-stars: Dylan Cease, Luis Alexander Basabe, Joel Booker, Bernardo Flores and Matt Foster. Cease, 22, could be due for a promotion with a 2.89 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings. There's also that outfield logjam the Dash, which won the first-half division title, have had all season.

Other than Basabe and Booker, Blake Rutherford and Alex Call are also noteworthy prospects being forced to split time in the Dash's outfield. If Jimenez is moving up to Triple-A, one or two names from this group could be on the move to take his spot in Birmingham.

This would especially make sense if highly-touted outfield prospect Luis Robert, who was supposed to be in Single-A Kannapolis for a short period before joining the Dash, is ready to move up as planned. Robert is hitting .289/.360/.400 in 13 games with the Intimidators.

Birmingham, Winston-Salem and Kannapolis were all off Monday. The various all-star games will take place Tuesday and the three teams will be off again Wednesday. The promotions could be announced Thursday ahead of Getz's scheduled media availability.