White Sox

Moving on from Manny Machado: The White Sox superstar might already be here

Moving on from Manny Machado: The White Sox superstar might already be here

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With the wounds still fresh from the White Sox losing out in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, how about we begin with some healing words from Indians general manager Chris Antonetti about future White Sox superstar Eloy Jimenez:

“Can he go to San Diego, too? How about Cleveland? Would that work?” Antonetti told NBC Sports Chicago. “(Jimenez) is a really, really good player. It’s been fun to see him develop. Right now, I’ve really enjoyed watching his development in the minor leagues. I’m not sure how much I’ll like to see that development in the major leagues.”

Jimenez looks like he’s going to be the total package — both on and off the field. His talent, personality, charisma and desire to be one of the best players in the game give him the necessary intangibles to eventually become the face of the White Sox franchise now that Machado is headed to San Diego.

How great of a player does Jimenez want to become?

“Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, superstars. That is my dream,” Jimenez said on the White Sox Talk Podcast soon after the White Sox acquired him from the Cubs in 2017.

Jimenez talks a big game. He continues to back it up with his play. Last season in 55 games at Triple-A Charlotte, he hit .355/.399/.597.

Having Jimenez in the same lineup as Machado certainly would have been a huge boost for the rebuild, but as an executive in the White Sox division, Antonetti is acutely aware of what the White Sox already have without Machado.

“I think the White Sox are very well positioned with some of the extraordinary trades that they have made and the players they have brought into the organization and the way that they have complemented them with some experienced veteran guys,” Antonetti said. “They have a compelling story to tell about why they’ll be in contention this year.”

That’s certainly the plan inside the White Sox clubhouse, despite not having Machado as a teammate. All the players I’ve spoken to in the last few months openly wanted the White Sox to sign him. Who wouldn’t? But now that he isn’t coming and this tedious negotiation process is in the past, are they glad it’s finally over?

“F**k yeah. S**t, maybe you’ll stop asking me this,” said Tim Anderson when I asked what is hopefully my very last Machado question.

Anderson added, “We’re going to be South Side regardless. Nobody’s decisions determines what we’ve got going on in this locker room. I feel like we have a great group of guys here. We’re going to do something special. The White Sox are moving in the right direction. One decision doesn’t dictate our season.”

While many White Sox fans are feeling the gloom and doom of missing out on Machado, the mood inside the White Sox clubhouse on Tuesday had the usual pep of spring training.  

Yolmer Sanchez was blasting Latin music on his massive boom box. He wildly danced on a chair behind Anderson as the White Sox shortstop met the media.

Basically, your typical day at Camelback Ranch.

“I always say I wish the best for (Machado) to get the best deal. $300 million is a lot of money. I’m really happy for him. As a baseball player, that’s the goal,” Sanchez said about Machado’s reported deal with the Padres. “I hope he enjoys playing in San Diego. If we play against him, we’re going to beat him.”

As for Rick Hahn, he’s feeling the lumps of a general manager who lost out on Machado. He and Antonetti have been close friends and competitors for years. It’s a relationship that goes back to the late 1990s.

“I’m guessing, knowing how competitive Rick is, he’s probably not happy at the moment,” Antonetti said about Hahn. “He may have gotten a few more gray hairs.”

If it wasn’t for the $300 million guaranteed offer by the Padres, Machado would have likely been on his way to Glendale to join the White Sox. Instead, he’s headed down the road to the Padres' spring training site in nearby Peoria. For the White Sox, he might as well be in Alaska now. They’re moving on.

“You either ride with us or you get run over. We’re going to keep rolling,” Anderson said. “We can care less about who’s on the boat with us. We know who’s on the boat with us. We know which way we want to sail, so we’re going to get there.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox 2005 Rewind: A.J. Pierzynski's most powerful month on the South Side

1211-aj-pierzynski.jpg
AP

White Sox 2005 Rewind: A.J. Pierzynski's most powerful month on the South Side

May 2005 was A.J. Pierzynski’s most powerful month in his eight years in a White Sox uniform.

Like plenty of other hitters dealing with the suboptimal hitting conditions of April — including teammates Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye — Pierzynski had a slowish start in the first month with his new team. A .269 average and a .329 on-base percentage hardly counts as an awful stretch, but Pierzynski had just one home run and only two RBIs in his first 19 games of the season.

That turned around in a hurry, and it started May 4 against the Kansas City Royals.

Pierzynski launched a two-run homer as part of a two-out rally in the fourth inning, the blast proving to be the difference in a 4-2 White Sox win.

Math aficionados will know that was just his second homer and third and fourth RBIs. But by the end of May, Pierzynski had eight home runs and 19 RBIs.

What changed? He unleashed the thunder in his bat, hitting seven homers while posting a .557 slugging percentage and a .903 OPS. All those numbers rank among the best in a single month of Pierzynski’s White Sox career.

The seven homers are the most Pierzynski ever hit in a month with the White Sox. The .557 slugging percentage was topped just three more times and not again until August 2011. Same goes for the .903 OPS, which was bested just twice.


So it’s not to say that Pierzynski’s offensive success in May 2005 was a rarity, as he was a good hitting catcher throughout his South Side tenure. But the specific power numbers were rarely seen again, certainly not over the following five seasons. So in a way, this was power from an unexpected source, and it helped the White Sox play eight games above .500 during the month.

As #SoxRewind continues moving through that month of May, we’ll see more explosive hitting from Pierzynski. The home runs came in a concentrated bunch from there, with the catcher homering in four straight games from May 14 through May 18.

But this one from May 4 was the very first, a helpful launch for Pierzynski to bust out of his early season power slump and the beginning of the most powerful month of his White Sox career.

What else?

— It’s hard to imagine that in the year they won the World Series, Hawk Harrelson wasn’t behind the mic for every inning. But this one featured the broadcasting team of Darrin Jackson and Donn Pall while Harrelson was recovering from corrective eye surgery. The man they called “The Pope” had a pretty nice career pitching for his hometown team, posting a 3.45 ERA in 394.1 innings out of the bullpen.

— Jermaine Dye hit one of his two triples of 2005 in this one. He sent a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field, and while Matt Stairs made an admirable effort, the ball bounced off his glove and rolled away, allowing Dye to make it all the way to third. He had to wait four months for the next one, tripling off Jarrod Washburn, the pitcher the White Sox faced in Game 2 of the ALCS that postseason, in an early September game against the Los Angeles Angels.

— Mike Sweeney was a notorious “White Sox killer” during his lengthy and productive career with the Royals. He drove in both Kansas City runs in this game. His numbers in 2005 were downright ridiculous in his 15 games against the South Siders: .362/.426/.759 with five homers, eight doubles, eight walks, 10 runs scored and 15 RBIs.

— Cliff Politte did an excellent job putting out Freddy Garcia’s fire in the top of the seventh inning. Garcia pitched another strong game, but he departed after loading the bases on a pair of walks and a base hit in the seventh. Politte entered with the bases juiced and only one out against the aforementioned “Sox killer” Sweeney. He got Sweeney to fly out, driving in one run, but ended the inning four pitches later with a strikeout of Ken Harvey. That sacrifice fly was the last of the scoring, as Damaso Marte and Dustin Hermanson finished off the Royals in another great job by the White Sox bullpen.

— I wrote about Jon Garland’s remarkable start to the 2005 season Friday. But Garcia strung together some sterling efforts, as well, in these early weeks of the campaign. With 6.1 innings of two-run ball in this game, he turned in a third straight strong outing. In those three starts, he allowed just five earned runs in 20.1 innings (a 2.21 ERA). He had a few more stretches that stacked up to this one during the season, but not many that were better.

Since you been gone

While #SoxRewind is extensive, it doesn’t include all 162 regular-season contests, meaning we’re going to be skipping over some games. So what’d we miss since last time?

May 3, 2005: The Royals broke a 2-all tie with a pair of solo homers off Mark Buehrle in the top of the sixth. The White Sox clawed back, with an Aaron Rowand homer halving the deficit and a two-run double by Carl Everett in the eighth delivering the tying and winning runs. White Sox win, 5-4, improve to 19-7.

Next up

#SoxRewind rolls on Sunday, when you can catch the May 5, 2005, game against the Royals, starting at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. Buckle up, this is a wacky one.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.

White Sox vs. Red Sox simulation on MLB The Show 20 (Game 8)

White Sox vs. Red Sox simulation on MLB The Show 20 (Game 8)

NBC Sports Chicago is simulating the 2020 White Sox season via MLB The Show during the postponement of play. The White Sox, stocked with young talent and veteran offseason acquisitions, were expected to take a big step forward in their rebuild this season. In our simulation, the Southsiders started 3-3, dropping a series vs. the Royals and winning a series vs. the Indians. Follow along as we play out the first few months of the season.

After an unusual Friday off day, the White Sox bats continued to stay on fire against the Red Sox on a sun soaked day at Fenway Park.

Jose Abreu gave the South Siders an early lead with a solo shot off Brian Johnson in the first and was followed by an Eloy Jimenez RBI double in the fourth to give the White Sox an early 2-0 lead. After the Red Sox grabbed a run off Gio Gonzalez, the White Sox responded with a two-run homer from Yoan Moncada, his fifth in eight games this season.

In the eighth, with the South Siders up 6-1, Yasmani Grandal followed the long ball barrage with a solo homer off Heath Hembree. Grandal matched his new teammate Moncada with five home runs in the first eight games.

For the second straight game, Rick Renteria went to the Sox 'pen and they in return failed to maintain a big lead. Jimmy Cordero and Jace Fry gave up five runs in the eighth to shrink the Chicago lead to 7-6 lead before Steve Cishek stopped the bleeding. In the ninth, Sox closer Aaron Bummer had a high stress outing with two aboard with only one out before striking out Rafael Devers and forcing Kevin Pillar to ground out to Tim Anderson. He picked up his American League-leading fourth save of the season as the White Sox held on to beat the Red Sox, 7-6.

Result: White Sox def. Red Sox 7-6

Record: 5-3, second in AL Central (0.5 GB of Indians)

W: Gio Gonzalez (1-0)

L: Brian Johnson (0-2)

SV: Aaron Bummer (4)

White Sox lineup

Tim Anderson: 2-5, 2 2B (.353 BA)

Yoan Moncada: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI (.371 BA)

Jose Abreu: 2-4, HR, RBI (.250 BA)

Edwin Encarnacion: 0-3, BB (.214 BA)

Yasmani Grandal: 2-4, HR, RBI (.344 BA)

Eloy Jimenez: 1-4, RBI (.276 BA)

Luis Robert: 1-3, RBI, SB (.286 BA)

Nomar Mazara: 0-2, RBI (.207 BA)

Leury Garcia: 1-4 (.250 BA)

Scoring summary

Top 1st:

Jose Abreu homered to left field. 1-0 CHW.

Top 4th:

Eloy Jimenez doubled to right. Edwin Encarnacion scored. 2-0 CHW.

Luis Robert sacrifice fly. Yasmani Grandal scored. 3-0 CHW.

Nomar Mazar sacrifice fly. Eloy Jimenez scored. 4-0 CHW.

Bottom 4th:

Kevin Pillar doubled to right. Xander Bogaerts scored. 4-1 CHW.

Top 5th:

Yoan Moncada homered to left. Tim Anderson scored. 6-1 CHW.

Top 8th:

Yasmani Grandal homered to center. 7-1 CHW.

Bottom 8th:

Rafael Devers singled to right. J.D. Martinez scored. 7-2 CHW.

Kevin Pillar singled to center. Xander Bogaerts scored. 7-3 CHW

Michael Chavis singled to right. Rafael Devers scored. Kevin Pillar scored. 7-5 CHW.

Mitch Moreland singled to left. Christian Vazquez scored. 7-6 CHW

Notable performance: Gio Gonzalez was sharp in his first White Sox start taking a no-hitter into the fourth inning. Gonzalez gave up three hits while holding the Boston bats to only one run in six innings of work. Between mixing speeds and inducing groundballs, Gonzalez showed he can be a viable rotation piece for the South Siders.

Next game: Sunday, April 5 - Gm. 9: White Sox at Red Sox (Reynaldo Lopez vs. Ryan Weber)