White Sox

Another significant injury to a White Sox prospect, as Micker Adolfo needs Tommy John surgery

Another significant injury to a White Sox prospect, as Micker Adolfo needs Tommy John surgery

The injuries keep piling up for the White Sox wealth of highly touted prospects.

Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dane Dunning are all on the disabled list. Alec Hansen missed months while recovering from a springtime injury. Jake Burger is out for the season and beyond thanks to two Achilles tears.

And now you can add Micker Adolfo to that list, with general manager Rick Hahn announcing Tuesday that the minor league outfielder needs Tommy John surgery on the elbow he injured back in spring training. Adolfo will be out for the next eight to 10 months.

"As a position player, the return to play protocol is quite different than for a pitcher," Hahn said. "We're hopeful to have him back in the vicinity of eight to 10 months, which would have him hopefully with an affiliate by May 1 of next year."

Adolfo injured the elbow back in the spring, and the White Sox hoped he could avoid surgery by strictly playing designated hitter and staying out of the outfield. That's what happened the last few months, but he had a setback during a recently commenced throwing program and now surgery is required on what was at one point considered one of the best outfield arms in the organization.

Adolfo's bat was not affected too badly by the injury. He slashed .283/.368/.466 in with 11 homers and 50 RBIs in 78 games with Class A Winston-Salem.

The injury doesn't prevent Adolfo from being an important piece of the White Sox rebuild. But like the injuries to all the other talented youngsters, it brings up the question: How will it affect his development and his timeline to reach the South Side?

"Obviously not great news for Micker," Hahn said, "but at the same time for those of you who have been following this story going back to spring training that initially we were concerned he was going to end up missing the entire year, and at least this way Micker was able to get over 300 plate appearances at Winston-Salem, had a very solid year from a development standpoint and will be back in time — assuming everything goes smoothly — with a chance for essentially a full season in 2019.

"Should not set him behind too far developmentally, but obviously not great news for the kid personally."

White Sox Team of the Future: First base

White Sox Team of the Future: First base

What will the next championship-contending White Sox team look like?

That's what we're setting out to determine (or at least make a guess at) this month. Ten members of our White Sox content team here at NBC Sports Chicago put our heads together to try to project what each position on the diamond would look like in one, two, three years. Basically, we posed the question: What will the White Sox starting lineup be the next time they're capable of playing in the World Series?

That question can have a bunch of different answers, too. We didn't limit ourselves to players currently a part of the organization. Think the White Sox are gonna make a big free-agent addition? Vote for that player. Think the White Sox are gonna pull off a huge trade? Vote for that player. We wanted to see some creativity.

Well, you could argue that our pick at first base shows absolutely no creativity or a whole lot of it. Why? Our first baseman of the future is Jose Abreu, the same guy we picked as our designated hitter of the future last week.

How can this be? Well, sometimes things like this happen in this democratic voting process of ours. The big takeaway, though, should be this: Five of our voters picked Abreu as the first baseman of the future, with four others picking him as the DH of the future, meaning nine out of 10 voters believe Abreu, who is entering the final season of his current contract, will end up staying on the South Side for the long haul.

That's significant, in that the White Sox would need to sign Abreu to an extension (or a new contract after he hits the free-agent market) to make that happen. All but one of us believe that will happen, and it's no illogical conclusion given the rave reviews Abreu constantly receives from White Sox brass and his teammates in the home clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field. He's discussed as a model for the younger players arriving from the minor leagues, an example of how to put in work, prepare for games and generally go about things the right way. It's why Yoan Moncada, such a big part of the team's long-term plans, has his locker right next to Abreu's.

Abreu saw a dramatic dip in his statistical production last season, unable to make it a fifth straight with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. Of course, that was due to an uncharacteristic, prolonged slump in the middle of the season and a pair of freak injuries toward the end of the year. Still, he was elected as the American League's starting first baseman in the All-Star Game and won the second Silver Slugger of his career.

Full health and a more typical go of things should make for a bounce-back campaign in 2019. The White Sox made a move to help that become more likely, acquiring Yonder Alonso in a trade with the Cleveland Indians. Abreu and Alonso are slated to share first base and DH duties in 2019, with Abreu perhaps seeing more time at DH than in past seasons to keep him off his feet. Is Abreu a better fit for first base or DH in the long term? That likely depends on how some of the White Sox prospects develop. But his reduced workload in the field in 2019 should help with either scenario.

Outside of last year, Abreu's production since arriving from Cuba ahead of the 2014 season has been sensational, and he's already established himself as one of the best hitters in White Sox history. Given that consistent on-field production and his much-loved off-the-field contributions, it would be no surprise to see him get a new contract and stick around for the transition from rebuilding to contending on the South Side.

Of course, there are other options for the ever-flexible White Sox, who could conclude that Abreu's long-term prospects — he'll turn 32 later this month — don't align with those of the many young players coming up through the system. They could decide a midseason trade to acquire younger players might be more beneficial to the long-term future.

But with how beloved Abreu is within the organization, it would make sense that keeping him a part of it — something he's expressed a desire for — would be the preferred course of action.

Other vote-getters

Yonder Alonso. The aforementioned Alonso will split time with Abreu at first base and DH during the 2019 season. And while Alonso isn't guaranteed to be with the White Sox past the 2019 season (neither is Abreu, of course), one voter believed the White Sox would like what they see enough to keep him in their plans. Alonso has certainly played a lot of first base, and he's just two years removed from an All-Star season in which he posted an .866 OPS with a career-high 28 home runs. His numbers took a tumble last season in Cleveland. He'll turn 32 shortly after Opening Day. Is he a long-term option? Most likely no, but that doesn't prevent him from hitting his way into those long-term plans.

Zack Collins. Questions about Collins' defense have been present since the White Sox drafted him in the first round in 2016. He's moving his way through the farm system, spending all of the 2018 season at Double-A Birmingham, though he wasn't included among baseball's top-10 catching prospects, per MLB Pipeline's just-released rankings for that position. Last season's .382 on-base percentage was phenomenal, and continuing that kind of production could land him in the majors soon. But the questions about his defense haven't gone anywhere. In fact, while splitting some time with Seby Zavala last season, he played just 74 of his 122 games at catcher, the others at designated hitter. There exists a scenario in which Collins' bat is major league ready but his glove isn't, meaning perhaps first base is the best place for him. Of course, the White Sox have a ton of faith that he'll be a big league backstop.

Gavin Sheets. Sheets was a second-round pick of the White Sox in 2017, and he posted some good numbers in his first full season in the organization. Playing at Class A Winston-Salem last year, he batted .293 with a .368 on-base percentage. Of course, first base is a power position, and Sheets hit only six home runs in his 119 games. But he's still ranked as one of the top 15 prospects in the organization, and it's most definitely in the realm of possibility for Sheets to be the first baseman of the future.

Paul Goldschmidt. If the White Sox miss out on Manny Machado and Bryce Harper this winter, the need for a "finishing piece" to this rebuilding project will still exist, and the team will likely be as aggressive in their pursuit of one during the next round of free agency. One of the biggest names in next winter's free-agent class is Goldschmidt, the new St. Louis Cardinals first baseman who has been one of baseball's best hitters during the first eight seasons of his big league career. He's been an All Star in each of the last six seasons, won three Gold Gloves and twice finished the runner up for NL MVP honors. In other words, he'd be a heck of a "finishing piece" for the White Sox, and one voter thinks he could be the guy manning first base in the future.

Justin Bour. One of our voters likes the idea of Bour arriving on the South Side as a not too flashy but perhaps important addition to a contending roster at some point down the road. He's hit 83 home runs over the last four seasons, mostly with the Miami Marlins, though he played in 29 games with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Bour has some pop and some good on-base skills, so his bat would perhaps be a welcome addition down the line.

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Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

Manny Machado's agent has had ENOUGH of these contract rumors and we can't blame him

MAKE IT STOP.

To recap: today's Manny Machado rumors started with a somewhat head-turning report that his sitting offer was 7-years and $175 million. 

That settles it. Buster Olney is trustworthy and the White Sox have offered that much money and baseball's impending work stoppage is moving on as planned, full steam ahead. 

Ha! Just kidding. That is of course not where things went from there: 

Uhhh, sure! Everyone has heard everything and yet no one knows how much money Manny Machado is about to get over how many years. This prompted Machado's agent to tweet out this piece of art:

"I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both," Lozano said in a statement. "But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don't know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox's level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.

"I am well aware that the entire baseball universe -- fans, players, teams and media members alike -- are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipualated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players' livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate 'news' or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity, and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.

"Moving forward, I will continue to respect the CBA's prohibition on negotiations through the media and hope that others would do the same."

It is extremely amusing that a power broker like Dan Lozano 1. is faking outrage about negotiating in the media 2. acting like leaked reports that perhaps sway team perception is a thing that has never happened before Machado.