White Sox

Here come the hot stove rumors, including one that has White Sox interested in Marcell Ozuna

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USA TODAY

Here come the hot stove rumors, including one that has White Sox interested in Marcell Ozuna

The World Series hasn't even started yet, but the hot stove is already getting switched on.

Yes, it's that time of year, and the rumors are beginning to fly. So, too, begins the White Sox involvement in such rumors, no surprise considering how aggressive the team plans to be and how many holes it has to fill, most realistically via free agency.

According to a tweet from a Dominican reporter, the White Sox are one of eight teams interested in St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna, one of the top corner outfielders slated to hit the free-agent market this winter. And brace yourselves, because the report also includes a rumored price tag for Ozuna's services, and it ain't cheap.

White Sox fans will recognize Hector Gomez from his reporting during last offseason's Manny Machado saga. Here he's just passing on some reporting from Adan Lesther, who attached some eye-popping length and cost details in this rumor about potential Ozuna suitors, a price tag that surely wouldn't fly with plenty of teams. It's also a little bizarre to see certain clubs pop up on this list, as it would be somewhat strange for the rebuilding Kansas City Royals or last-place Miami Marlins — who used to employ Ozuna before dealing him to the Cardinals — to hand over the big-time dollars supposedly needed to land Ozuna.

From the White Sox standpoint, yes they need a corner outfielder, and yes Ozuna is that. He's one of a trio headlining that market this offseason, along with Cubs right fielder Nicholas Castellanos and Cleveland Indians right fielder Yasiel Puig. The White Sox specifically need a right fielder, as general manager Rick Hahn laid out in his end-of-season press conference last month. Ozuna hasn't spent an inning in right in each of his two seasons in St. Louis, last appearing there with the Marlins in 2017, when he played just 1.1 innings at the position. In his five seasons as a big leaguer, he's appeared as a right fielder in 65 of the 913 games he's played.

But there's no doubting the offensive upside Ozuna could bring. He's a career .272/.329/.455 hitter just two years removed from a sensational 2017 season with the Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs. This season, he slashed .241/.328/.472, which are obviously significant dips from those 2017 numbers, but it's worth noting his .800 OPS was the second highest of his career. He probably made himself some money during the postseason, though, when he swung a hot bat as the Cardinals reached the NLCS. In nine October games, Ozuna hit .324/.359/.595 with a couple homers, four doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored.

However, right field could also be the opportunity Hahn is looking for to add some balance to his lineup and bring in a left-handed hitter. Ozuna doesn't fit that bill, nor do Castellanos and Puig, for that matter.

Like with any player, there are pros and cons to looking at Ozuna as a potential free-agent option for the White Sox. Certainly there seem to be better fits out there, but Ozuna has definitely produced at the plate and would be an obvious upgrade in right field, offensively, for the South Siders. At the very least, seeing the White Sox included in this list of teams could be an indication they're casting a wide net during what's expected to be a very aggressive offseason.

Make no mistake: The rumor mill is already churning.

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2020 MLB Draft: Reid Detmers is best player who could fall to White Sox

2020 MLB Draft: Reid Detmers is best player who could fall to White Sox

When the White Sox are on the clock next Wednesday in the first round of the MLB Draft, remember the name Reid Detmers.

If the former Louisville Cardinals left-hander with one of the coolest curveballs you will ever see is still available, the White Sox might have a steal on their hands.

“In my mind, (Detmers) is the best player who could fall to No. 11,” MLB.com draft expert Jim Callis said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “I’m not saying he will. I think he’s the guy who could. That would be the best player you could probably hope for at 11 would be Reid Detmers.”

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Detmers isn’t going to wow you with his velocity. His fastball tops off in the low-90s.

What he’s known for is a sweeping curveball that takes a wild scenic route to a whole other area code once it leaves Detmer’s hands, before somehow finding the catcher’s mitt on the other end of the rainbow.

“He has one of the best curveballs in the draft,” said Callis, which to me, is an understatement. Just watch this:


And this:


RELATED: Top 20 MLB Draft prospects: Who will White Sox pick at No. 11?

Right-handed pitcher Max Meyer, who is expected to be chosen ahead of Detmers next Wednesday, was recently asked by Callis on MLB Network if he could take one pitch from last year’s Team USA squad, whose would he take? Meyer chose Detmers’ curveball. Who wouldn’t? That thing is nasty.

During his 2019 season, abbreviated due to the coronavirus pandemic, Detmers dominated in his four starts, finishing 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA, 48 strikeouts and six walks in 22 innings. In 2019, he set Louisville’s single-season strikeout record with 167 strikeouts in 113.1 innings.

Detmers has a chance to not only be one of the best pitchers in the draft, Callis believes he could be the most major league ready, as well.

“To me, there’s a lot of good college pitching in this draft. That’s the strength of this draft. Reid Detmers is probably the first college starting pitcher in the big leagues in this draft,” Callis said.

But before you can pencil him into the starting rotation on the South Side in 2022, he’ll first have to be on the board when it’s the White Sox turn to pick. If he is, will the White Sox, with new scouting director Mike Shirley, choose him? We’ll learn next week.

In the meantime, check out the podcast with Callis. We go over several other options for the White Sox. There are some intriguing possibilities at multiple positions, including a former star shortstop from Mt. Carmel whose idol is Tim Anderson.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Who should the Sox take in the newly formatted draft?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Who should the Sox take in the newly formatted draft?

Chuck Garfien is joined by Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline and MLB.com to discuss the upcoming MLB draft. With the draft only being five rounds this year, Callis discusses the differences between this year and a normal draft and who the Sox should take.

(2:45) - Differences between this draft and previous ones

(8:20) - Who should the White Sox take with the 11th overall pick?

(13:25) - Where will former Jackie Robinson West Little Leaguer Ed Howard land in the draft?

(20:00) - Should the White Sox take a catcher?

(27:08) - The player in the draft who the White Sox are rumored to like

Listen here or below.

White Sox Talk Podcast

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