White Sox

Could a Phillies coaching hire trump the lure of Manny Machado uniting the 'Miami Baseball Brotherhood' on the South Side?


Could a Phillies coaching hire trump the lure of Manny Machado uniting the 'Miami Baseball Brotherhood' on the South Side?

The White Sox can offer something no other team in the Manny Machado derby can: the opportunity to play alongside brother-in-law Yonder Alonso and good buddy/winter workout buddy Jon Jay, a chance to unite the "Miami Baseball Brotherhood" on the South Side.

But the Philadelphia Phillies, the White Sox chief and perhaps only remaining competitor in this sweepstakes, have made their own interesting move to try and add an aspect of comfort and familiarity to their pitch.

According to a couple reports, the Phillies added former Baltimore Orioles coach Bobby Dickerson to their coaching staff. Dickerson has been described as Machado's mentor and had a close relationship with him during the 26-year-old free-agent superstar's time in Baltimore.

The Phillies' front office is already stacked with former Orioles brass, but Dickerson provides a whole different level of familiarity.

This story from The Athletic's Dan Connolly, written amid the firestorm created by Machado's antics during the NLCS back in October, is packed with details of the relationship between Machado and Dickerson, including that Dickerson was the one sent to Machado's Double-A team to teach him how to play third base when he was 19. Machado won a pair of Gold Gloves at the hot corner as a big leaguer, even though he now claims a preference for shortstop, what he was playing when Dickerson coached him up in the minors.

Connolly wrote that the two cried together when Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer and that they still text on a weekly basis. And Dickerson had a unique insight on all those negative headlines Machado has grabbed during his career, whether for throwing equipment in the middle of games, executing spikes-up slides or dragging his foot across Jesus Aguilar's leg during the NLCS.

"I’ve always tried to challenge him with what does he want his legacy to be. That’s how I tried to talk to him," Dickerson told Connolly. "Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t work. But, ultimately, I just tried to challenge him,” Dickerson said. “I definitely didn’t try to boss him. I tried to challenge him and say, ‘Hey, how do you want this to look when your career is over? What do you want it to be like?’

"I don’t think he is intentionally doing things like that. I think sometimes, maybe, he screws up. I don’t think anything he does is malicious. I know him personally. He’s been really good to me and good to my family and my son. He’s a good guy. He’s got a good heart. He’s all these things if you know him personally. A lot of people will never get to know who the guy is, who the man is. They just know who Swaggy Machado is."

Nothing, though, should do a better job convincing outside observers that the Phillies' hiring of Dickerson could be a big deal then Connolly's opening line to that story: "Besides​ select​ family​ members​ and​ a few close friends,​ there​ might​ be no one​ who knows​ Los​ Angeles Dodgers​ infielder Manny Machado​​ better than Bobby Dickerson."

Of course, the White Sox have a family member and a close friend on their roster in Alonso and Jay.

The New York Yankees, perhaps "out" on Machado depending on which report you read at any given moment during this always-changing saga, made a move that did a similar job of raising eyebrows earlier this offseason, adding Carlos Beltran to their front office right before their meeting with Machado. During his playing days, Beltran was represented by Machado's current agent. But Beltran was a Yankee, too, and received rave reviews for the part he played in the Houston Astros' recent championship run.

And you can make a case that the familiarity those in the Phillies' front office have with Dickerson from their days in Baltimore makes him a valuable addition, regardless of the tie to Machado. If he helped a superstar like Machado so much, he'll be of great value to other young players, right?

So, too, did Rick Hahn argue that the White Sox adding Alonso and Jay were "baseball moves" that make the White Sox better and have nothing to do with "the relationships they have with other players throughout the game."

But at the very least, there is now another argument the Phillies can make for why they're the best destination for Machado. Just like the White Sox are the only team that can offer the opportunity to play alongside family and friends, the Phillies are the only team that can offer the opportunity to continue a significant working relationship with a coach.

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Remember That Guy: Rob Mackowiak


Remember That Guy: Rob Mackowiak

Not too many players from the Chicagoland area make it to the Majors. Oak Lawn’s Rob Mackowiak did. And he even made his way to the South Side to play for the White Sox.  

After attending South Suburban College in South Holland, he was a 53rd round pick of the Pirates in 1996. That’s something that could never exist today. The MLB Draft capped at 50 rounds in 1998, then lowered again to 40 rounds for 2012.

Mackowiak, primarily an outfielder but also occasionally seeing infield duty, worked his way through the minors from 1996-2001. He suited up for the Lynchburg (VA) Hillcats, the Augusta (GA) GreenJackets, the Altoona (PA) Curve and the Nashville Sounds before debuting for Pittsburgh May 19, 2001 at PNC Park against the Brewers. His first career at-bat a strikeout against Ben Sheets. He collected his first career hit a few days later at Veterans Stadium off the Phillies’ Robert Person. His first home run came May 30th in Pittsburgh off the Marlins’ Braden Looper.

He hit .266 in 83 games in 2001, then hit 16 home runs in his first full season the following year. 2003 started out rough, hitting .183/.280/.256 through 44 games before he was able to find his groove at Triple-A Nashville. When he returned to the Pirates on August 20, he went 4 for 5 with 2 home runs. From that point on, he hit a scorching .348/.400/.609 in 100 plate appearances to finish the season.

He had as good a day as you could possibly imagine on May 28, 2004. Early that morning, his son Garrett was born. Then with the hospital band still on his wrist, he headed to the ballpark for a doubleheader against the Cubs. In Game 1, he hit a walkoff grand slam off Chicago closer Joe Borowski. In Game 2 he came off the bench in the 7th inning and hit a game-tying 2-run home run in the 9th off LaTroy Hawkins. If that wasn’t enough, he came back to terrorize the Cubs once again the next day going 2 for 4 with a home run and 5 RBI. A three-game total of 4 for 10 with a double, 3 home runs and 11 RBI (with a walk). He was named co-NL Player of the Week from May 24-30, sharing the honor with teammate Daryle Ward. He finished the year hitting .246/.319/.420 but racked up career highs in home runs (17) and RBI (75). In 2005, his final season in western Pennsylvania, he rebounded with a .272 average and .337 OBP but took a step back in the power numbers (9 HR, 58 RBI).

In 2006 he joined the White Sox in a deal sending Damaso Marte to the Steel City and hit .290/.365/.404 – career highs in BA and OBP. His first home run in a White Sox uniform was a memorable one. On May 22, 2006 the Oakland Athletics visited US Cellular Field. It was the first time Frank Thomas played a game against his formal team, and the Big Hurt delivered with a pair of home runs. Oakland was poised to win the game with a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. After Jermaine Dye homered to cut the deficit to 4-2, Juan Uribe doubled which caused manager Ken Macha to summon his closer Huston Street. Ozzie Guillen countered by taking down Brian Anderson and sending up Mackowiak, who delivered a pinch hit 2-run homer to knot the game at four. Pablo Ozuna won the game for the Sox in the 10th with a walkoff bunt scoring A.J. Pierzynski from third.

What was a solid hometown run ended at the 2007 trade deadline when the Sox sent Mackowiak to San Diego for reliever Jon Link. He finished the season with the Padres and played 38 games with the Nationals in 2008 before being released in June. He tried to catch on with minor league stints with the Reds, Mets & Indians in 2008-09 but he never made it back to the show.  He did hit .323/.418/.545 with 14 HR in 82 games with the independent Newark Bears to finish 2009.

Rob Mackowiak’s 8-year MLB career featured a respectable .259/.332/.405 slashline with 64 home runs and 286 RBI in 856 games. In 197 games with the White Sox, he hit .285/.360/.411 with 11 HR and 59 RBI. After his baseball career Mackowiak briefly worked as the hitting coach for the Windy City Thunderbolts (Frontier League). Later, he coached his son’s little league teams and worked as an instructor at Elite Baseball Training in Chicago.

A 53rd round pick. An unforgettable introduction to fatherhood. A Chicago Major League homecoming. Rob Mackowiak’s story is a special one.

Lucas Giolito goes to injured list, Sox bring Carson Fulmer and Ryan Cordell up from Triple-A

Lucas Giolito goes to injured list, Sox bring Carson Fulmer and Ryan Cordell up from Triple-A

Lucas Giolito will miss some time after straining his hamstring in Wednesday's game.

The White Sox placed the right-handed starting pitcher on the 10-day injured list ahead of Thursday's series-opener in Detroit. They also brought up relief pitcher Carson Fulmer and outfielder Ryan Cordell to take the roster spots of Giolito and outfielder Daniel Palka, who was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Wednesday night.

Giolito exited Wednesday's start after just 2.2 innings after tweaking his hamstring on a third-inning pitch. He was doing quite well in his second start of the season against the Kansas City Royals, with five strikeouts and no hits allowed before his early departure.

Giolito spoke with reporters Thursday morning in Detroit, saying the strain isn't too serious and that he expects to miss just one or two starts.

As for who will start in Giolito's stead, that remains to be seen. His turn in the rotation won't come until Monday's game that begins a series against the Baltimore Orioles. Fulmer arriving from Charlotte, however, points to Manny Banuelos being taken out of the major league bullpen to start in Giolito's place. Banuelos has had success as the White Sox long man so far this season, with a few effective multi-inning outings under his belt. Fulmer hasn't made a start since the White Sox moved him to the Charlotte bullpen last season but could serve as a replacement long man in the short term. This is Fulmer's second call-up this season, he was on the roster for one day earlier this month, pitching three innings of relief against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, Cordell arrives to take the place of Palka, who picked up his first hit of the season Wednesday after starting in a dreadful 0-for-32 slump. He was sent down after the game with the task of figuring things out at the Triple-A level. While the White Sox could have opted to slide Adam Engel into an everyday role in the big league outfield, it appears Cordell might get his shot at more frequent big league playing time. He was in the starting lineup for Thursday's game against the Tigers. Cordell made the Opening Day roster but only got six at-bats (homering in one and doubling in another) and was sent down to receive some more regular playing time, which he might now get in the majors.

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