New York Mets

As Noah Syndergaard heads for Tommy John, White Sox are thankful those days are behind them

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USA TODAY

As Noah Syndergaard heads for Tommy John, White Sox are thankful those days are behind them

The only thing that seems to be happening in baseball right now? Some of the best pitchers in the world are headed for Tommy John surgery.

Last week, former White Sox ace and current Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale joined the lengthy list of hurlers who need the procedure, and this time, it’s New York Mets star Noah Syndergaard.


With the 2020 season a complete and total unknown, there's a silver lining for pitchers slated to miss the next year of baseball due to Tommy John: No one is playing baseball for the time being. So while a year of their prime is still lost, at least they won’t miss as many games as they normally would have. Their absences will be less impactful on their teams’ chances at winning a championship.

But as we glance over at the White Sox rotation, you’ll notice that most of these pitchers have already had the surgery.

Michael Kopech is ready to return from his lengthy Tommy John absence. Carlos Rodon along with pitching prospects Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert will be good to go at some point this season, too. Lucas Giolito already had Tommy John surgery. And so has Dylan Cease.

While it’s not unheard of for pitchers to undergo a second Tommy John surgery or to be waylaid by another serious injury (just ask Rodon, who had shoulder surgery at the end of the 2017 season), the White Sox can certainly add this to the list of reasons the future looks so bright. Their young fireballers have been through these long recoveries already.

Take the Mets, who had plans to compete for a championship in 2020. And why wouldn’t they? They have some impressive young hitters, like reigning NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, and a menacing 1-2-3 in the rotation with Jacob de Grom, Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman. But now, Syndergaard won’t pitch at all in 2020, and that pokes a pretty huge hole in the team’s ability to compete.

To make matters worse for New York, Syndergaard is only under team control for another two seasons. And if his recovery extends into 2021 (as Passan hinted it could), that turns a two-year window for the Mets to capitalize on Syndergaard into as little as a few months.

In the case of the White Sox, they’re looking at a four-year window in which they’ll control Giolito, Kopech and Cease. Kopech is under team control for five years, Cease for six, and the clocks haven’t even started on Dunning and Lambert yet. And every single one of those pitchers has a Tommy John surgery in the rear-view.

Obviously, the hope would be that no player ever needs Tommy John surgery. But for the White Sox, the silver lining here is that they have a long period of time in which they control young, hard-throwing pitchers who are already over the Tommy John hump. Which means it’s way less likely that the injury will derail a potential World Series-caliber season.

Anything can happen, but the White Sox should be extremely relieved that they'll likely be able to keep their contention window open for as long as it’s contractually scheduled to be.

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Could baseball's sign-stealing scandal lead to a manager's job for Ozzie Guillen?

Could baseball's sign-stealing scandal lead to a manager's job for Ozzie Guillen?

Will baseball's sign-stealing scandal have a silver lining for a South Side legend?

Three teams whose managers were caught up in the scandal are suddenly without skippers just a month away from the start of spring training: the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. The Astros' practice of stealing signs and relaying them to players on the field during their championship season in 2017 led to the firings of A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, creating three high-profile job openings.

January managerial searches aren't common, for obvious reasons, and while any or all of the teams in the market for a new manager could go about it as a regular search — potentially sticking with baseball's trend of young, inexperienced guys at the helm — there's a good argument to be made that an experienced skipper would be best to slide into that position this late in the offseason calendar.

There has been no shortage of suggested candidates, but one was conspicuously absent from an extensive list discussed on MLB Network, an experienced manager with a World Series championship on his resume. And that former manager was happy to point out the omission.

Guillen hasn't managed since 2012, after his one-year tenure leading the Miami Marlins came to an end. But he obviously turned in a legendary managerial career on the South Side, guiding the White Sox to a World Series win in 2005 and winning nearly 700 regular-season games during his eight seasons as skipper.

While the always outspoken Guillen does not exactly fit the trendy mold of an inexperienced manager with a close relationship to the front office, he's undoubtedly been successful running a major league team. That experience could prove valuable for any of the three teams that have seen their cultures get blown up in recent days.

Swooping in at the last minute to provide a steady hand for an organization in crisis isn't the typical way to land a long-term gig, and people with personalities like Guillen's are disappearing from managerial roles and the game, in general.

But the Astros, especially, as well as the Red Sox and Mets, to lesser degrees, are capable of winning. Guillen knows a thing or two about winning, and these front offices might want to keep that in mind as they're looking to fill these surprise vacancies.

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White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing's name brought up as Mets look for new manager

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USA TODAY

White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing's name brought up as Mets look for new manager

When the White Sox announced they parted ways with hitting coach Todd Steverson earlier this week, they added that the rest of the coaching staff will return in 2020.

But what if someone leaves to be the manager of the New York Mets?

Let's not go that far quite yet. But in the wake of Mickey Callaway's firing Thursday, one reporter brought up White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing as a name to keep an eye on as the Mets conduct their search for a new skipper.

McEwing has been with the White Sox for 12 years. He was the hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte in 2008, the manager at Class A Winston Salem in 2009 and 2010 and the manager at Charlotte in 2011. He joined Robin Ventura's big league staff in 2012, working as the third-base coach for five seasons. He's been Rick Renteria's bench coach for three seasons.

White Sox fans got used to seeing quite a lot of McEwing, who managed a series and made mound visits for pitching changes and the like in the wake of Renteria's shoulder surgery this season. McEwing also serves as the White Sox infield coach, a role in which he's worked closely with Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada as they've continued to develop at the major league level.

McEwing spent more time with the Mets than any other team during his nine-year big league career, playing in Queens from 2000 to 2004. He was part of the Mets team that won the NL pennant in 2000.

With a couple big names on the managerial market, specifically former Cubs skipper Joe Maddon and former New York Yankees field boss Joe Girardi, the Mets might be looking to make a more sizable splash. But as that tweet mentioned, McEwing has come close to helming the Mets before. Something to keep an eye on.

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