White Sox

David Robertson doing all he can to push trade rumors out of his mind

David Robertson doing all he can to push trade rumors out of his mind

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The reality of his situation isn’t all that pleasant, so David Robertson is doing his best to solely focus on baseball.

Second only to Jose Quintana in the team rumor mill, the White Sox closer said Tuesday morning that the uncertainty surrounding the team’s rebuild hasn’t been easy. Even though spring training has already begun, Robertson, who primarily has been the focus of trade talks with the Washington Nationals, said he realizes anything can happen. So for now Robertson -- who went 5-3 with 37 saves in 44 tries and a 3.47 ERA in 62 games -- wants to keep his attention on preparation for the World Baseball Classic and then on the regular season, wherever he may be.

“It's tough because there's nothing I can really do,” Robertson said. “I can't control anything about it so I just try to put it in the back of my mind. Just come to the field and do the work I need to do and whatever decisions this organization makes is what they're going to do. I only have a choice, I'll end up doing what I want to do, play baseball.”

The rumors of Robertson to Washington haven’t slowed down at all. Earlier this week, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said dialogue between the two teams has continued up until the edge of spring camp only to have their most recent talks stall again. But the two potential trade partners have held intermittent discussions dating back to December when there was discussion of including Robertson in the trade that sent Adam Eaton east.

Dealing with constantly hearing his name in rumors can’t be easy and both general manager Rick Hahn and manager Rick Renteria understand the human element involved. While Renteria said Tuesday he hasn’t addressed the topic individually with players, he won’t hesitate to if it’s necessary. Renteria addressed his team for the first time before Tuesday’s workout and stressed that his door is open at all times.

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“We’re certainly open to talking about it, personal or otherwise,” Renteria said. “Those are things that for all these guys, they’re professionals. I think right now they’re more focused on getting ready to perform.”

Hahn agrees with Renteria -- being at camp is probably the best distraction. Robertson has another diversion as well as he’s one of four White Sox pitchers participating in the World Baseball Classic, which runs from March 6-22.

“When they are here, they can focus more on doing their job,” Hahn said. “Regardless of the uniform they are wearing, they know how to prepare for a season.

“They are able to a little more easily block out a little more of the outside distractions when they are hear getting ready for their profession. I don’t foresee that being an issue at all.”

It wasn’t until Sale was traded to the Boston Red Sox that Robertson received clarity on which direction the White Sox were headed this winter. Given how the team attempted to piece together its roster in his first two seasons, Robertson half expected more additions and another try in 2017. But all the uncertainty was cast aside at the point Sale was traded.

“I didn't know which direction the organization was going to take but obviously, they kind of set the table by making those trades,” Robertson said. “They're looking to rebuild so either I'm going to be a part of it or I'm going to be a piece that gets moved.”

Robertson, who has two years and $25 million left on his current contract, is excited to pitch for Team USA. The right-hander, who had surgery to clean up a meniscus tear in the offseason, said he’s ahead of his normal throwing schedule. When he returns from that, Robertson can then focus on the regular season.

“What else can I do?” Robertson said. “I'm here to play baseball. I'm going to continue to work on getting better and let the cards fall where they're going to be. I can't do anything about it. I'm just going to try my best to stay here. If I stay here, great. If I get moved, it's their decision.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Could the White Sox trade with the Red Sox?

The crew wraps up the final day of the Winter Meetings for the White Sox.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien, Vinnie Duber and Ryan McGuffey talk about a rumored deal between the White Sox and the Red Sox (2:41) that would move some pieces around.

Rick Hahn speaks for the final time in San Diego and the guys react to his comments.

Later, they debate why fans are disappointed with the White Sox and the outcome for the team at the end of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly 'in play' for David Price, but how much sense would a trade make?

SAN DIEGO — David Price on the South Side? Maybe.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Boston Red Sox have had trade conversations involving Price with at least five teams, and the White Sox are “in play” for the veteran left-hander.

Boston is trying to shed salary, and getting rid of the $96 million remaining on Price’s deal over the next three years would be a good way to accomplish that goal.

The White Sox, given their financial flexibility, are a team that could absorb that kind of money in a trade. While much discussion of Rick Hahn’s statement in February that “the money will be spent” has focused on high-priced free agents, the general manager said Wednesday that such fiscal positioning could be beneficial on the trade market, too.

“Absolutely,” he said during his final media session of the Winter Meetings. “You’ve seen over the years us use our financial flexibility to acquire some contracts. I think back to the (Joakim) Soria trade with the Dodgers. The thing we brought to the table there was the ability to absorb some contracts. That flexibility doesn’t always have to be spent on free agents.”

But here’s the thing. ESPN’s Jeff Passan got this whole Price conversation going when he reported the interest of multiple teams on Tuesday, and he suggested the Red Sox might be able to ship Price out of town if they included a “player of value.” A young player with affordable club control would sweeten any such deal, and speculation latched onto outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who is under team control for three more years.

That’s the kind of deal — before we hear what it could cost, obviously — that would look like a good one for the White Sox.

Well, another nugget in Feinsand’s report throws that idea out the window.

“One scenario that has been floated in recent weeks would have the Red Sox attaching a young player — Andrew Benintendi's name has been mentioned often — to Price in order to dump the pitcher's contract.

“A source said that concept has not been considered by Boston's front office — nor will it be, especially not with Benintendi.

“‘That's not going to happen,’ the source said.”

If that’s the case, if the Red Sox are talking about a Price trade that doesn’t involve a young, controllable player coming back, is there any reason for the White Sox to consider such a move? Is there any reason to trade for Price alone?

The White Sox do need pitching, quite badly, as a matter of fact. Their quest for two arms to add to the starting rotation has yielded no additions yet, with their high bid for Zack Wheeler spurned in favor of a lower offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Price would be an upgrade to the White Sox rotation, and they could potentially get him without having to give up any of their prized prospects (a trade involving someone like Benintendi might cost a high-level prospect, in addition to salary relief).

After turning in some memorable performances during the Red Sox championship run in 2018, Price got off to a great start in 2019, with a 3.16 ERA in his first 17 starts. But due to a cyst in his wrist, he made only two starts over the season’s final two months. He finished with a 4.28 ERA, second highest of his career.

Considering the White Sox are heading into 2020 with just three rotation spots spoken for, they could do a lot worse than Price from a production standpoint. But the veteran lefty doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation as a clubhouse presence. NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase listed several red flags in a recent piece: “He's no longer a 200-inning pitcher. His elbow could blow. He considers himself a great teammate, but he consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse, which multiple rival executives have noted warily. He's too expensive. He hasn't made an All-Star team or earned a Cy Young vote since 2015. He's past his prime.”

Do the White Sox need those headaches? Aren’t there options out there, via trade or free agency, that would bring in similar levels of production without all that other stuff? It doesn’t seem like a young team that is developing what appears to be a very positive culture needs someone who “consistently brings negativity into the clubhouse.”

Now, if someone like Benintendi — or, for example, the large contract of designated hitter J.D. Martinez — comes along with him, maybe it’s a pill you’re willing to swallow. Of course, that would require other unpleasant possibilities, such as letting a recent first-round draft pick like Nick Madrigal or Andrew Vaughn go. Hahn talked about the team’s unwillingness to deal away its prized prospects for a short-term gain. The White Sox lost a combined 195 games to end up with the draft picks that produced Madrigal and Vaughn. That was an awful lot of suffering just to trade those guys away.

A potential Price trade has its upsides, but ones contingent on other aspects of such a deal. If those aspects go by the wayside, acquiring Price doesn’t make quite as much sense.

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