White Sox

Just how good is Ryan Cordell? Rick Hahn says three teams have called about the White Sox outfield prospect

Just how good is Ryan Cordell? Rick Hahn says three teams have called about the White Sox outfield prospect

While South Side baseball fans are having endless fun projecting and debating the White Sox lineup of the future, here's someone you might not have been thinking about.

Ryan Cordell, the outfielder acquired in last summer's trade that sent Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers, is not a frequent part of those projections. Avisail Garcia, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and even guys like Blake Rutherford and Micker Adolfo are generally the names discussed when trying to map out the outfield in a few years' time.

But general manager Rick Hahn shared an interesting tidbit during a Friday-night SoxFest seminar at the Hilton Chicago when asked about how his team's outfield will shake out this season, saying that three teams have called about Cordell since the White Sox acquired him last summer.

Now, that sparks one big question to go along with several smaller ones: Just how good is Cordell?

Again, he's not one of the more talked-about young players in this rebuilding effort, and the trade that brought him to the White Sox was an under-the-radar one, especially considering Cordell was injured when he was acquired last season, recovering from a fractured vertebra. Cordell played 68 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs before the injury, slashing .284/.349/.506 with 10 homers, 18 doubles and 45 RBIs.

The long-term question is whether Cordell is good enough to challenge all those guys mentioned above for a spot in the White Sox crowded outfield of the future. The short-term question, as it seems Hahn raised the possibility, is whether Cordell is good enough to make an impact at the big league level in 2018 — and could he do that right away?

The outfield would figure to look something like this when the season begins: Avisail Garcia in right, Leury Garcia in center and Nicky Delmonico in left. But when asked by a fan what the outfield will look like, Hahn mentioned Cordell as well as Charlie Tilson as guys who could be in the mix. That broad inclusion was likely intentional to show no decisions have been made before spring training begins next month in Arizona, and with the team not expected to contend for a championship in 2018, why not give plenty of guys an opportunity?

But Hahn said that both Cordell and Tilson are without restrictions — Tilson has had more than his fair share of injury woes since joining the White Sox in the 2016 trade that sent Zack Duke to the St. Louis Cardinals — perhaps indicating that they should be considered worthy challengers for those starting spots in left and center field.

And center field is a position of offensive need for the 2018 edition of the White Sox. Adam Engel, who will also surely be in the mix this spring, was terrific defensively but struggled at the plate. Leury Garcia was OK when healthy, though that was only for about half the season — not to mention that his versatility could be used to spell infielders, as well. All in all, White Sox center fielders were offensively the worst in the American League, slashing .221/.284/.351 on the 2017 season. They ranked last in batting average and on-base percentage and second to last in slugging percentage.

The note on Cordell drawing trade interest certainly raised eyebrows, both in the room and on social media, with fans and observers perhaps sensing a dark horse candidate to provide some offense to that center-field position.

So just how good is this guy? Will he be in the starting outfield in 2018? Will he be in the starting outfield after the likes of Jimenez and Robert crack the big leagues?

That all remains to be seen, though answers will start to come when spring training gets going.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Emotional interview with Michael Kopech and Vanessa Morgan

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USA Today

White Sox Talk Podcast: Emotional interview with Michael Kopech and Vanessa Morgan

Chuck Garfien and Ryan McGuffey speak with Michael Kopech and his wife Vanessa Morgan at SoxFest about their relationship, Michael’s comeback from Tommy John surgery, his battles with mental health, removing himself from social media, handling fame, Morgan’s acting career and more.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

What White Sox fans wanted to know from Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria at SoxFest

SoxFest brings the opportunity for fans to question team brass. And sometimes things can get a bit fiery.

This year, however, it was more of a victory lap for Rick Hahn after he loaded up the roster with an incredible amount of offseason acquisitions. Rick Renteria, too, got plenty of adulation after he came out and said the White Sox have their sights on reaching the postseason for the first time in more than a decade.

But there were still questions. Fans stepped up to the microphone and got some answers out of Hahn and Renteria during a pair of panels Friday and Saturday.

Here are some of the more interesting and pertinent questions and answers from the two sessions.

Extensions for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito?

The White Sox have made headlines in each of the last two offseasons by handing out big-money extensions to Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert before they played a game in the major leagues. But Saturday brought a fan question about whether the team was planning more extensions, specifically ones for Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, two guys who broke out in a big way in 2019 and established themselves as the team's best all-around hitter and the ace of the starting staff, respectively.

These are not terribly pressing matters, obviously, as both guys are under team control for another four seasons. But the longer they go on their current deals and the longer they're allowed to keep improving, the more expensive they'll become to retain.

Hahn said that it's a White Sox priority to keep all of their talented young players together for as long as possible. He also mentioned that it has long been a part of the plan during the rebuilding process to be aggressive on extensions, as the team has shown with the deals for Jimenez and Robert. Players earn the right to reach free agency and explore the open market, but the White Sox do have a pretty good track record of retaining their own players, often on deals that have allowed them to keep some financial flexibility.

Tim Anderson in right field?

Whether it was a legitimate strategy proposal or a makeshift way to get Yolmer Sanchez back to the South Side, one fan suggested moving Tim Anderson to right field, pointing out Anderson's large number of errors at shortstop and that moving Anderson off the position would open room for Sanchez to work his defensive wonders on a daily basis.

Well, that suggestion didn't get much consideration from Renteria, who said rather definitively he will not be playing Anderson in right field.

The question might not have been the most realistic suggestion, but it allowed Renteria to express his belief in Anderson's defense. Though Anderson has made a ton of errors at shortstop — 88 of them in his four big league seasons — he continues to receive rave reviews from White Sox brass. Renteria said Saturday he believes Anderson will be "an elite shortstop in the big leagues," and Hahn said this weekend he believes Anderson will be a Gold Glove finalist one day.

As for Sanchez, he's still on the free-agent market despite winning a Gold Glove in 2019. And while the White Sox have shortstop spoken for with Anderson and second base spoken for with Nick Madrigal, eventually, Hahn was asked about the likelihood of a Sanchez return Friday night and basically reminded everyone to never say never.

More starting pitching?

Hahn said Thursday that while there likely won't be any more big-ticket additions, the White Sox busy winter might not be completely over just yet, with minor moves still being discussed by the front office. More starting pitching would seem to make plenty of sense considering there's not a ton of depth behind the five guys slated to make up the Opening Day rotation: Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease and Gio Gonzalez. Considering the plan for Michael Kopech has yet to be finalized and Dylan Covey is no longer with the organization, some small additions like the Ervin Santana deal last spring would be logical.

One fan asked why not add a slightly bigger ticket item, specifically bringing up free-agent pitcher Taijuan Walker, to further bolster the starting staff. Hahn wouldn't close the door on adding more starting pitchers but pointed out that because of the depth the White Sox have on the way — with Kopech factoring into things somehow and Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert all working their way back from Tommy John surgery — the White Sox might not be the most attractive destination for a mid- or bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher, who could see his opportunity to pitch vanish once all those arms return to full strength.

A return for Dane Dunning?

Speaking of starting-pitching depth on the way, Hahn did offer up some sort of timeline for one of those guys, saying that Dunning could be pitching for a minor league affiliate come "June-ish." That's a made-up month on the same level as "Smarch," but it's also a good sign for the White Sox, who saw Dunning flying through the system before his injury.

Hahn said at last year's SoxFest that if not for the arm injury he suffered in 2018, Dunning could have factored into the Opening Day rotation for the 2019 season. Considering that level of potential readiness — a level most likely altered in some fashion by the surgery and long layoff — Dunning might be someone who could play a role in the 2020 season.

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