White Sox

Rizzo, Vitters arent options for Cubs yet

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Rizzo, Vitters arent options for Cubs yet

MINNEAPOLIS This was in the middle of what turned out to be a 12-game losing streak. The Chicago media was out in force at Wrigley Field for Cubs-Sox.

Dale Sveum didnt completely dismiss the idea last month. The Cubs manager was asked about the possibility of bringing up Anthony Rizzo to be the designated hitter during interleague play.

Sveum said thats definitely going to be talked about with the front office, and that very narrow opening was all we needed to run through. Reporters were looking for something to write about, and fans had already pinned their hopes on the next big thing.

Rizzo who began the day hitting .365 with 18 homers and 49 RBI in 54 games at Triple-A Iowa wasnt at Target Field on Friday night and wont be on the South Side June 18-20. There wasnt much of a chance the first baseman would be promoted anyway.

Its serious talk, Sveum said. When is that day gonna happen? Is it the right time? You dont sit down and say: Should we do it tomorrow? We havent done anything like that. Its obviously a subject, but

We thought better of it and obviously we didnt. And there are no plans to do it against the White Sox either.

Rizzo gets all the hype now. But it was Josh Vitters who went third overall to the Cubs in the 2007 draft, while the Boston Red Sox grabbed Rizzo in the sixth round.

They were born 19 days apart in August of 1989 and played together on elite travel teams at national tournaments, even though they grew up on opposite sides of the country.

Vitters has gradually worked his way up the system. He never turned out to be the replacement for Aramis Ramirez at third base, and wont be taking Ian Stewarts job anytime soon.

Vitters is still only 22 years old. Hes hitting .272 with nine homers and 32 RBI through 57 games at Iowa. Hes not a natural defender and he needs to become more selective at the plate (13 walks in 200-plus at-bats).

Hes been swinging the bat really well lately, Sveum said. He (doesnt have) great command of the strike zone, (but he) puts the ball in play and doesnt strike out a lot.

Hes still got to develop defensively. Hes still not going all that great (at third base). Hes got to get a little better defensively before we think of that.

Sveum remains committed to Stewart, whos struggling to stay above .200 and has been dealing with a nagging left wrist injury, but covers a lot of ground on the left side of the infield.

Its just a matter of him coming in and saying its too sore to go, Sveum said. That defense is still tough to take out of the lineup. Hes going to get in there and play that defense and somehow figure something out and get hot and start carrying us offensively.

The Cubs value Stewarts left-handed bat, plus defense and track record with the Colorado Rockies (43 homers in 2009 and 2010). In the meantime, it cant hurt Vitters hanging around his buddies Rizzo and Brett Jackson, two mature, driven prospects feeling a sense of urgency to get to the big leagues.

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

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USA TODAY

White Sox fans dreaming of Patrick Corbin: His free-agent destination might already be booked

For the biggest dreamers among the White Sox faithful, here's how this offseason might be playing out.

Rick Hahn said the team will make some additions to the pitching staff. So for those dreamers, it's a rush to the top of the list of free-agent starting pitchers, right? Why not hook one of the biggest fish in the pond?

The top of that list looks like this: Clayton Kershaw (should he choose to opt out of his deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and seek a new, more lucrative one), Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Some might even have those last two names flipped, with Corbin, coming off an All-Star season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, second only to one of the best to ever throw a baseball.

The White Sox might not be capable of outbidding baseball's biggest spenders, and that's without even mentioning that they might simply not be looking to ink a hurler to a long-term contract. After all, that's what all those talented prospects are for, right? Assembling the rotation of the future? Carlos Rodon, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are all already part of the 2019 staff. Michael Kopech, when he's done recovering from Tommy John surgery, will join them in 2020. And Dylan Cease was just named MLB Pipeline's minor league pitcher of the year. With all that in mind, any offseason additions to the rotation for 2019 might simply be one-year fill-ins.

But fans often like to dream big, and a lot of them have Corbin on their wish list.

That's not surprising when you look at his numbers. He threw 200 innings last season and struck out 246 batters while finishing with a 3.15 ERA, those last two numbers the best of his six-year big league career. He's 29 years old and a long-term deal would figure to have him in the starting rotation as the White Sox plan to shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

Just one problem: There's plenty of belief out there that Corbin's destination this winter has already been booked.

This has been a talking point for a while now, as the Yankees tried to bring Corbin to the Bronx via trade last offseason. They're expected to try to do so again, this time via free agency, as they've got a ton of money to spend. Corbin was quoted in the Nightengale story from April saying: "It would definitely be great to play there. I grew up a Yankee fan."

Sorry to burst your bubbles, White Sox fans. But don't blame me. Blame the Yankees, which seems to be becoming a frequent refrain. If Didi Gregorius' elbow injury means Manny Machado ends up in the Bronx this winter, too, White Sox fans might drop the Cubs as Public Enemy No. 1.

The White Sox have enough hurdles to clear in any pursuit of one of the game's top free agents: They have to compete with baseball's traditional big spenders, and they have to try and beat win-now pitches with a pitch of planned — though not yet arrived — long-term success. It's not like that hasn't been a winning battle before, though, as the rebuilding Cubs got Jon Lester to believe in their future and brought him in to help make their transition from rebuild to championship contention.

But throw in the hurdle of a history between a player and another team, and it makes it an even harder job.

The White Sox will be making some additions this offseason, though they might not be the ones fans are dreaming about. But not landing the winter's biggest fish doesn't mean the organization's biggest, most important dream of building a perennial contender on the South Side is going anywhere.

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

Top White Sox MiLB moments of 2018: Omar Vizquel's award-winning managerial debut

With the White Sox season over, we're looking back on the top 10 moments of the club's minor league season. We'll unveil one per day for 10 days, showcasing each moment in chronological order.

The moment: Omar Vizquel is named the Carolina League Manager of the Year, Sept. 13.

Vizquel became the third Winston-Salem Dash manager to be named Manager of the Year. The Dash went 84-54, the second-highest win total in franchise history and won the division title in both the first and second half.

Vizquel's season: As soon as Vizquel retired after the 2012 season, he went straight into coaching. First, he was an infield coach for the Angels in 2013. Then, he became the first base coach for the Tigers.

Vizquel remained there until taking the Dash job in the White Sox organization this season. Winston-Salem was an important post because seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 prospects from MLB Pipeline's rankings spent some time there in 2018.

Vizquel was able to guide that talent to a whole bunch of winning. The Dash had the best record in the Carolina League in the regular season.

The playoffs did not go so well. The Dash got swept by the eventual league champion Buies Creek Astros in the first round.

Still, it was a successful managerial debut for Vizquel and the White Sox got to take advantage of his experience with a number of top prospects playing under him.

He may not manage the White Sox any time soon, but Vizquel's ties to the organization (two years playing with the team and now coaching in the organization) make him a possible candidate at some point in his managerial career.