Tommy Kahnle

White Sox surprised that nobody has acquired Miguel Gonzalez

White Sox surprised that nobody has acquired Miguel Gonzalez

MINNEAPOLIS -- The White Sox remain in let’s-make-a-deal-mode, Miguel Gonzalez has pitched well for six weeks and yet he’s still here.

If you’re surprised by that development, you’re not alone.

Even the White Sox starting pitcher’s manager reflected his astonishment about the status of Gonzalez roughly 90 minutes before he took the mound on Thursday. Gonzalez pitched well yet again, though the White Sox ultimately lost to the Minnesota Twins 5-4 at Target Field. It was the eighth quality start produced by the free-agent-to be in nine outings since he returned from the disabled list on July 18. The waiver trade deadline for Major League Baseball falls at 11 p.m. CST on Thursday night.

“A little bit (surprised),” Renteria said. “He’s pitched against some of the top clubs in the big leagues in his last four or five starts and has done a nice job keeping us in ballgames and minimizing damage, to a run or two in some or most of the starts. But I am surprised. He has done a great job. I wouldn’t be surprised (if he’s traded). It’s still not midnight yet so if today is the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if something would happen.”

The market for Gonzalez has been relatively quiet with few exceptions. Given that Gonzalez has a 3.27 ERA since he returned from a shoulder injury in mid-July and is affordable (he’s owed a little more than $1 million), the White Sox had to believe their asset would drum up more interest.  

Though he doesn’t overpower hitters with the fastball, Gonzalez has a nice mix of pitches and has proven to be consistent and likes attacking the strike zone. Gonzalez posted a 3.45 ERA between 2012-2014 for the Baltimore Orioles. He struggled in 2015 and did so again earlier this season after a shoulder injury limited his ability. Prior to the injury, however, Gonzalez pitched well for the White Sox in 2017, posting a 3.18 ERA in his first six starts after he finished 2016 on a good run. Gonzalez posted a 2.72 ERA over his final 13 starts of 2016 (79 1/3 innings).

But for now at least, a run of seven poor starts from mid-May to mid-June in which Gonzalez had a 7.15 ERA and eventually landed on the disabled list has tempered the interest. Since returning, Gonzalez has only had on rough outing on Aug. 3 at Boston as he got chased after 1 2/3 innings.

“I saw him throw in Boston and he didn’t throw well, but he still has good stuff,” one American League scout said. “I’d like to have him. He could at least pitch out of the bullpen.”

Gonzalez said he has tried to avoid thinking about the potential for a trade even as the White Sox traded a boatload of players over the past six weeks.

Anything that isn’t nailed down has been on alert to the possibility of a trade since the White Sox began to offload players last December with the trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. The process included a series of trades in July that saw the departures of Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Dan Jennings, Anthony Swarzak and later Tyler Clippard.

But Gonzalez, who was stunned to be released by the Baltimore Orioles at the end of spring training in 2016, has enjoyed his time with the White Sox. He’s 12-18 with a 4.01 ERA in 45 games (44 starts) since coming over and credits the White Sox for giving him a chance after a rough 2015 season.

Gonzalez has been one of the team’s steadiest pitchers since he returned in July. On Thursday, the right-hander said he wasn’t as crisp as normal but got by in the early innings because the Twins had an aggressive approach. The Twins doubled three times off Gonzalez in the fifth inning to score twice and tie the game. But Gonzalez stranded the go-ahead run with a strikeout of Eduardo Escobar and retired four straight to get through the sixth. Gonzalez allowed three earned runs, seven hits and walked two while striking out five in a 110-pitch effort over six innings.

“Not thinking about it, honestly,” Gonzalez said. “If something happens then it’s meant to be. But if it doesn’t than I’m here all the way with the White Sox.

“It is what it is. Nothing that we can control. We’ve got to keep pitching, keep going out there every fifth day and try to make things happen.

“I’m happy (with my recent performances). A lot of positives. Been able to go out there until the sixth, seventh inning, even to the eighth. That’s a blessing in disguise. Struggling for a lot of months and to be able to come back and do that has been great.”

White Sox deal Tyler Clippard to Houston

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USA TODAY

White Sox deal Tyler Clippard to Houston

After just 27 days in a White Sox uniform, Tyler Clippard is off to Houston.  

The 32-year-old reliever, who notched two saves in 11 appearances on the South Side, was moved late Sunday for cash considerations and a player to be named later, the team announced. It's unclear whether Clippard even finished moving in.  

Before having a cup of coffee with the Sox, Clippard was a member of the Yankees bullpen. He had a dismal 4.95 ERA in the Bronx, but after Rick Hahn dealt Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to New York in exchange for Clippard and prospects, the reliever improved. 

Under Don Cooper's tutelage, he posted a 1.80 ERA with two of his outings at Guaranteed Rate Field came against his current team, the Astros. In those appearances he picked up a save and worked another clean inning, helping lift the Sox to a three-game sweep. Maybe he left an impression. 

Although Clippard hasn't tweeted since the MLB season commenced, he assisted Ken Rosenthal's breaking report by changing his Twitter account to read, "Play for the Houston Astros." He also reworked his Instagram page:

That's certainly attention to detail. 

By now, it seems as if Clippard could have moving companies on speed dial. Houston is the latest stop in the reliever's ballpark tour: 

And with that, the Tyler Clippard Era is officially over. 

Report: Astros trying to acquire Tyler Clippard from White Sox

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USA TODAY

Report: Astros trying to acquire Tyler Clippard from White Sox

Tyler Clippard must have really left an impression on the Astros. 

During the White Sox three-game sweep of the Astros last week, the new closer on the South Side notched a save and added another clean inning. Now, according to Ken Rosenthal's report, Houston may be looking to deal for the 32-year-old reliever. 

Although nothing is official yet, Clippard changed both his Twitter and Instagram accounts to note that he pitches for the Astros. 

That's one way to break some news. He also seems to really enjoy golf, FYI. 

Clippard's made just 11 appearances for the Sox, posting a 1.80 ERA with two saves and a 2.4 strikeout to walk ratio. Given the state of the current rebuild, though, Rick Hahn and company have shown little hesitancy to make a move. Case and point is when they acquired Clippard and prospects from the Yankees in exchange for fan-favorite third baseman Todd Frazier, flamethrower Tommy Kahnle and solid closer David Robertson. 

Hahn's phone stays blowing up. Clippard's bags stay packed.