White Sox

Dylan Covey's status in White Sox future keeps fluctuating as string of poor results continues

Dylan Covey's status in White Sox future keeps fluctuating as string of poor results continues

It wasn’t long ago that it seemed quite reasonable to ask the question: Does Dylan Covey have a place in the White Sox rebuild?

But it didn’t take long for Covey to make that question seem not so reasonable.

The notion that rebuilds are chock full of surprises and that guys can emerge as key pieces who you never thought would emerge remains a real one. And for a bit, it looked like Covey could be a candidate for that kind of player.

He seemed to have solved the woes that plagued him during his rough 2017 campaign. He had a 1.53 ERA over the course of five starts. He was generally pitching better than the rest of the White Sox starting rotation, including Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, two guys expected to have big roles to play as the future creeps closer for this rebuilding franchise.

But what’s happened since has made Covey disappear from that long-term picture a little bit, not unlike Marty McFly fading away in “Back to the Future.”

In his past five starts — including Tuesday night’s outing that, after he left, ballooned into a 14-2 beating — Covey’s got an 11.70 ERA. He’s allowed at least four runs in each one of those starts. In the two starts prior to Tuesday’s, he combined to allowed 14 earned runs in only six innings of work.

Tuesday’s wasn’t that kind of disaster, and both Covey and manager Rick Renteria said they thought he looked better than he’s been looking. But the results weren’t dramatically different.

“Felt good early on,” Covey said. “I think my ball started creeping up in the zone a little bit as I went. Those ground balls turned into base hits, and they strung a few together. Struggled to get it back down. Did feel good, though.

“Just need to be a little bit better with my off-speed for strikes early so they aren’t just sitting on the fastball early, which is something that I think a lot of teams are trying to do on me, especially second time through the lineup. Just need to be able to get some pitches over for strikes that are not a fastball early and go from there.

“I think I figured some things out in the ‘pen this week. I saw the results of that really quick in the first couple of innings. And then, runner got on, thinking ground ball, (they) string together some hits and just try to grind through it from there.”

It’s probably more than a little unfair to put so much weight on a small handful of starts, to suggest Covey was a piece worthy of future planning after five good starts or to suggest that Covey has no place in this rebuild after the same number of bad ones.

And it’s worth noting that pitching on a team like this one, 31 games under .500 after Tuesday, has its pitfalls. He wasn’t the one who mustered just five hits Tuesday night. He wasn’t the one who gave up the bulk of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals’ eye-popping offensive output.

But just as Covey’s string of quality outings sparked speculation about where he could wind up in the White Sox long-term plans, this string of poor performances sparks the same speculation. That’s what this rebuilding season is about for every player: figuring out where they fit in this team’s long-term future.

Covey doesn’t carry the same kinds of high hopes or high expectations as guys like Giolito, Lopez, Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning, Dylan Cease or anyone else in the crowded rotation of the future. But even crowded rotations have room for surprises — if a spot is earned.

Right now, we don’t know what Covey’s future is with this team, but it’s safe to assume that his performance this season will determine what it is. Half the performances have been good, half of them bad. Covey will need to figure things out and return to way things were if he wants to stay in the picture.

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Revenge tour: After Eloy Jimenez homered against Cubs, Yoan Moncada homered against Red Sox

Call it the White Sox Hitters Revenge Tour.

Last week, Eloy Jimenez provided the single best image of rebuilding progress to date for the White Sox, smashing a game-winning homer in the ninth inning against the Cubs, the team that traded him, at Wrigley Field, the park he always assumed would be the one he'd call home as a big leaguer.

Well, a week later, Yoan Moncada exacted similar revenge on the team that traded him.

In the first of a three-game series between the White Sox and Boston Red Sox, Moncada took a second-inning pitch out to left field, depositing a ball over the top of the Green Monster for a tie-breaking two-run homer at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox traded Moncada — as part of a package that also included Michael Kopech and Luis Basabe — to the White Sox during the Winter Meetings in 2016 in the deal that jump-started the South Side rebuilding project.

Between signing with the Red Sox in 2015 and making his White Sox debut in 2017, Moncada spent time as the No. 1 overall prospect in the game. After a disappointing first full season in the majors last year, Moncada is having a much better go of things in 2019, bringing a .295/.347/.509 slash line into Monday night, when he belted his 13th home run of the season.

Of course, the Red Sox are pretty happy with their return in that trade, Chris Sale, who in addition to being one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two and a half seasons got the championship-clinching out in the World Series last October.

But part of the reason the White Sox future is so bright is the return they got in the Sale trade. And one of those players got his revenge, Eloy style, on Monday night.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Chris Getz on Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal and more!

Chuck Garfien gets the inside info about some of the top prospects in the White Sox organization from director of player development Chris Getz.

They talk about the wow factor of Luis Robert, what he's working on before being promoted to Triple-A, if he can make the majors in 2019, what kind of major league player he will be and more (3:45)

-Why Nick Madrigal has the "it" factor and why he might have been disappointed with Getz at the start of the season (10:10)

-Why Zack Burdi has struggled this season and a great sign of things to come (16:30)

-Why Kyle Kubat is so highly thought of in the White Sox farm system (18:20)

-How close Dylan Cease is to the major leagues (20:15) and more.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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