White Sox

Cubs minor league update: Jackson struggling

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Cubs minor league update: Jackson struggling

With the second half underway and the Cubs rebuilding process in full swing, its once again time to take a look at the future of the club.

The Iowa Cubs are in the midst of a post-Rizzo era where run production is at a premium. But like all things in life, the show must go on. Brett Jackson, who was projected to post Rizzo-like numbers in the first half, has struggled mightily. Perhaps the top prospect will turn over a new leaf in the upcoming months and show scouts and Cubs management what he is truly capable of, or maybe not.

Jackson went 5-for-23 (.217) last week and showed no indication of climbing out of the massive rut he currently is in. He did tally four RBI and a run, but that is far from the type of production you look for out of one of your top guys. Up until Tuesday, Jackson had struck out at least once in 20 straight games. This cold streak dropped the sluggers average down to .258.

Baseball is a game of averages and slumps are bound to happen, but Jackson has been slumping for a majority of the season. Lets hope that theory comes into play soon because he is in desperate need of a confidence boost.

Josh Vitters had a solid week, going 8-for-26 (.307) to push his season average into the .300s. He also recorded three doubles and four RBI on the week. Its imperative that Vitters carries some of the offensive load while Jackson figures things out.

The third baseman seems comfortable at the plate and confident in his approach. Im not convinced that Vitters is a part of the long-term plan for Theo and Co., but an average climbing into the .300s never hurts anyones chances.

Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate. The highly-touted prospect was 6-for-27 (.222) for the week on his way to scoring four runs, driving in two and swiping four bases. His usually sparkling OBP took a hit last week largely in part to his 10 strikeouts. Lake needs to cut down in his Ks and focus on drawing out at-bats and taking the occasional walk.

Tennessee ace Eric Jokisch improved to 5-1 with the Smokies after his most recent win. Jokisch dealt an absolute gem, allowing no runs on one hit in five innings of work. The stingy right handers stock is rising substantially due to a number of consecutive lights-out starts. Jokisch is climbing the ranks and proving that he not only has the right stuff, but the right attitude on the bump.

Matt Loosen has been outstanding in Daytona all season and his last outing was just as good. Loosen went seven and a third, surrendering one run on five hits while fanning six. Charlotte had runners in scoring position in all four of the first frames but Loosen successfully shut the door each time. After that, it was relatively smooth sailing for the right hander.

Loosen now holds the best record in the Florida State League at 8-3. He has raised some eyebrows this season, but I still only have him labeled as an interesting prospect because time is of the essence. Loosen is 23 years old and needs to be producing these types of stats at the Triple A or Double A levels. For Matt Loosen, its time to take the next step.

Javier Baez continues to beat the leather off the ball and last week was no exception. The young gun was 10-for-22 (.454) with four runs, seven RBI and six extra-base hits including two round-trippers. Baez continues to make juvenile mistakes, such as getting picked off and getting caught stealing in the same game, but all is well as long as he can post a 1.405 OPS like he did last week.

Joe Musso contributed to this update.

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?

Report: People around baseball believe Joe Girardi is waiting for managerial job with Cubs or White Sox

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USA TODAY

Report: People around baseball believe Joe Girardi is waiting for managerial job with Cubs or White Sox

Joe Girardi won't be the manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 2019, perhaps because he has hopes of landing a gig in Chicago.

According to Fancred's Jon Heyman, Girardi was in the running for the Reds' managerial job (which went to former Cubs third-base coach David Bell this weekend) but pulled himself out, this after interviewing for but not getting the same position with the Texas Rangers. Heyman cites "industry speculation" that Girardi might want to remain a free agent so he can land the job of skipper in Chicago.

Heyman is of course not specific, listing a city with two major league teams, leaving this open for interpretation as either the Cubs or the White Sox.

Obviously Girardi has a history on the North Side. He had two stints there as a player, from 1989 to 1992 and again from 2000 to 2002. Joe Maddon has one year remaining on his contract, and Cubs president Theo Epstein said during his end-of-season press conference that the team has not had discussions with Maddon about an extension. After managing the New York Yankees to their most recent World Series championship in 2009, Girardi might again want a crack at managing a big-market contender.

But if Girardi is simply itching to get back to his home state — he was born in Peoria and graduated from Northwestern — perhaps he has the White Sox on his wish list, too. Rick Renteria has one year remaining on his current contract, as well, and should the rebuilding White Sox see all their young talent turn into the contender they've planned, the manager of such a team would be an attractive position to hold.

But just because folks believe Girardi wants to manage in Chicago doesn't mean there'd be mutual interest. Despite Epstein's comments that there have been no extension talks with Maddon, the president of baseball operations also backed his manager in that same press conference, refusing to blame Maddon for the team's "broken" offense down the stretch last month. And Rick Hahn and the rest of White Sox brass heap frequent praise on the job Renteria has done in his two years, describing him as an important part of player development and of establishing a culture hoped to spread throughout the organization.

Plus, it's worth mentioning that Girardi's decade-long tenure in the Bronx came to an end amid suggestion that he was unable to connect with his young players. It's unknown how much of a realistic concern that would be for any team thinking about hiring him. But the recently fired Chili Davis believed that very issue was part of the reason his time as the Cubs' hitting coach came to an end. And there are few teams out there younger than the White Sox.

Again, it's just speculation for now. But if for some reason one or both Chicago teams don't hand out new contracts to their current managers, perhaps Girardi would be interested in an opening on either side of town.