White Sox

Yoan Moncada feels ready for majors, but not thinking about major league call-up

Yoan Moncada feels ready for majors, but not thinking about major league call-up

Yoan Moncada’s first month at the Triple-A level went well, with the 21-year-old second baseman hitting a healthy .330 with five home runs and a .938 OPS in 23 games. 

After struggling a bit in relatively meaningless spring training at-bats, Moncada is hitting like the guy the White Sox felt so confident in when they dealt ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox last December. The plan always was for Moncada to begin 2017 in Triple-A, with the White Sox — even with their competitive start to the season — sticking to a patient approach to developing all of their highly regarded prospects. 

Eventually, though, Moncada should make his way to the major leagues, where the White Sox expect him to stick once he’s called up. But he’s not thinking about when that moment will come. 

“My focus right now is just to play and do my job in Charlotte because that's something I can control,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “They're going to make that call whenever they think it's the right time. For me, it's just about doing my job in Charlotte.”

Moncada was named the White Sox minor league player of the month for April, and posted some other encouraging numbers with Charlotte, like his 11.3 percent walk rate and six stolen bases in eight attempts. The White Sox like the strides he’s made defensively, too

“I feel ready and I'm just waiting for that call,” Moncada said. “I’ve been doing my job here.”

Moncada struggled during a September call-up with the Red Sox last September, striking out 12 times and reaching base only five times in 20 plate appearances. He made the jump from Double-A to the majors then; whenever Moncada does reach 35th and Shields he won’t have skipped the last rung in the minor league ladder. 

"We’re real pleased with where he’s at," general manager Rick Hahn said. "The fact is he does remain a 22-year-old that coming into the year had fewer than 200 plate appearances above A ball. His development is by no means complete at the minor league level but he certainly is making a great deal of progress and we’re thrilled with where he’s at."

Padres might have just topped everyone — including White Sox — with reported offer to Manny Machado north of $250 million

Padres might have just topped everyone — including White Sox — with reported offer to Manny Machado north of $250 million

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Enter the San Diego Padres as potential party-crashers in the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

Aside from an offhand mention of an offer from the New York Yankees, the only widely reported contract offer for the 26-year-old superstar free agent with numbers attached to it was the one from the White Sox. Depending on who you believe, it was for seven years and between $175 million and $250 million, though the high number was shot down by a flurry of counter-reports.

Well, the Padres have joined the club now, with multiple reports Sunday night indicating they've gone near or over $250 million — and gone to an eighth year — with their bid for Machado's services. One reported number was $280 million, which could potentially be as much as $100 million above the previously reported White Sox offer.

If those numbers are accurate, that's big news and could spur the need for a new offer from the White Sox, if they are in fact willing to do so.

General manager Rick Hahn has talked about his team's seriousness in acquiring a "premium talent" like Machado and has vowed that the White Sox will spend the kind of money that it takes to bring in a player of this caliber.

Asked during SoxFest about what he called the "false narrative" that the White Sox aren't willing to spend, Hahn said: "We’d love to disprove that during the coming weeks. We certainly have extended offers that would ruin that narrative, if accepted, but we're not there yet."

A new high offer out of San Diego could force the White Sox to make a new decision.

The Padres offer much of the same things that the White Sox have pitched to these big-name free agents. They have even more prospects ranked in the MLB Pipeline top 100 (10 of them, to be exact) than the White Sox and can pitch an equally bright future over the better part of the next decade. They have shown recent willingness to spend, handing out a six-figure contract to Eric Hosmer just last winter. Hosmer and Machado would make two pretty attractive centerpieces as Padres prospects, such as Fernando Tatis Jr. — the No. 2 prospect in the game who the White Sox traded for James Shields in 2016 — arrive in the big leagues.

And so with similar pitches being made, money would figure to make the difference. This isn't the Yankees, supposedly Machado's preferred destination, and so there could be fewer, if any, non-financial factors in a choice between these two teams.

Also of interest were a couple of reports from earlier Sunday describing talks between Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies as "intensifying." The Phillies have been the White Sox most prominent competition for Machado (and Harper, for that matter) this winter, but if they were able to land Harper, they would presumably be done chasing Machado. That would be good news for the White Sox. But if the late-arriving Padres are as serious as they're being reported to be, there's a possibility the White Sox walk away from this offseason without landing a monster free agent.

That wouldn't be the end of the world, with the franchise's rebuilding plans still firmly on track. But fans with raised expectations after hearing the White Sox tied to Harper and Machado for months would certainly feel disappointment. Hahn would, too. He said as much during SoxFest.

It's important to remember, of course, that there will be other opportunities to land premium talent. And it's also important to remember that news of an offer from the Padres doesn't mean Machado has accepted. The White Sox are in it until they aren't.

But things just got a little more interesting. Stay tuned.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy Jimenez talks about winning a World Series

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Eloy Jimenez talks about winning a World Series

Eloy Jimenez sits down with Chuck Garfien at spring training. Jimenez talks about:

-Getting hit in the head in his very first at-bat when he was nine years old and later his first home run (06:05)

-Why he has long believed that he was meant to play in Chicago (08:00)

-Meeting Jim Thome for the first time (10:40)

-Why he thought about quitting baseball in his first season in the Cubs organization (12:15)

-Not getting called up to the majors last season (15:40)

-Michael Kopech calling him "the Babe Ruth of our generation (18:10)

-How he, Micker Adolfo and Luis Basabe talk everyday about winning a World Series (19:40)

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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