White Sox

Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, Nelson Cruz: Reports link White Sox to more free agents

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USA TODAY

Patrick Corbin, J.A. Happ, Nelson Cruz: Reports link White Sox to more free agents

CARLSBAD, Calif. — The links between the White Sox and big-name free agents keep on coming.

A day after MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported that the South Siders were interested in this offseason's top two free agents, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, he added two more big names to the list of potential targets: starting pitchers Patrick Corbin and J.A. Happ.

Much like his reasoning for the White Sox being candidates to land Harper and/or Machado — that they have one of baseball's smallest payrolls and "need a new face of the franchise" — Morosi's reasoning for why the White Sox would be interested in the services of Corbin and/or Happ doesn't make a ton of sense on its own. The innings total of Carlos Rodon and the ERA of Lucas Giolito are not reasons why the White Sox are shopping for starting pitching. Michael Kopech's recovery from Tommy John surgery and James Shields' departure are the reasons the White Sox are in the market for additions to their rotation.

But additions the caliber of Corbin and Happ could have something to do with how the White Sox view their crop of starting pitchers in the long term. In the short term, they need two arms to go every fifth day in 2019. In the long term, though, signing proven starters to multi-year contracts could provide a safety net for Kopech when he returns from recovery and Dylan Cease or Dane Dunning when they eventually hit the major and get their first tastes of big league ball. Having Corbin, for example, at the front end of a rotation could decrease the load that would need to be shouldered by an inexperienced pitcher on a potential contender.

The 29-year-old Corbin is perhaps the No. 1 starting pitcher on the free-agent market after Clayton Kershaw opted to skip free agency and reup with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Corbin was an All Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018, finishing the season with a 3.15 ERA and a career-high 246 strikeouts. He's expected to get a big contract (possibly from the New York Yankees) and would line up with a team looking to make a big addition not just for 2019 but for a long time beyond that, for example, when the White Sox plan to field a perennial contender.

Happ, meanwhile, is an Illinois native who attended Northwestern. He just turned 36, meaning he might be more of a short-term option. But he was very good after a midseason trade to the Yankees last season, when he had a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts.

But that's not all. While it's no surprise the rebuilding White Sox are shopping for pitching this winter, it's significantly more unexpected to see them linked to a 38-year-old designated hitter.

Nelson Cruz seems like the opposite of the kind of player the White Sox would be looking to acquire, as he has little versatility (he hasn't played more than five games in the outfield in each of the past two seasons) and would figure to be no part of a long-term plan given his age. Cruz spent the last four seasons with the Seattle Mariners and was incredibly productive for the majority of that time, but his numbers dipped last season, most glaringly with a .256 batting average that was his lowest in more than a decade.

That being said, the White Sox could potentially buy low and hope Cruz returns to form in the first few months of the 2019 season, in which case they might be able to flip him in a rebuild-advancing trade.

But with Rick Hahn talking so much about moves that would improve the White Sox in the long term Tuesday at the GM Meetings, the link to Cruz comes off as a bit of a head-scratcher.

White Sox Podcast: Joc Pederson to the White Sox?

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USA TODAY

White Sox Podcast: Joc Pederson to the White Sox?

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber discuss the rumor that the White Sox have been in talks with the Dodgers about acquiring outfielder Joc Pederson.

-Good move? Bad move? (1:30)

-What should the White Sox give up for Pederson? (8:30)

-Plus, don't overlook the moves the White Sox have already made this offseason (17:20)

-Why Dane Dunning and Zack Burdi didn't get an invite to White Sox spring training (19:40) and

-Previewing SoxFest (23:15)

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

White Sox Talk Podcast

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White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

White Sox & Hall of Famers Cross Paths

Today is one of my favorite days of the year; the day where the Hall of Fame results are announced. I’m all in favor of a big Hall; I enjoy celebrating the greatness of players, so the more, the merrier. Today we welcome four new members to Cooperstown. 

None of the four ever played for the White Sox, so there’s no White Sox highlights piece to write. However… what about notable games, moments or milestones where the White Sox intersect with one of the newly elected Hall of Famers? 

Below are nine of those.

September 12, 1987
By the time Edgar Martínez entered the game in the 6th inning (as a pinch runner for Jim Presley), Seattle was comfortably ahead by the score of 11-1. His first plate appearance came two innings later when he fouled out against Sox reliever Ray Searage. Welcome to the Majors, Mr. Martínez. It was his Major League debut.

August 4, 1991
The White Sox beat the Orioles 1-0 in a pitcher’s duel at New Comiskey Park. The difference in the score – just one run. The difference in the age of the starting pitchers – over 20 years. Charlie Hough (age 43 years, 211 days) tossed a complete game shutout. Mike Mussina (age 22 years, 239 days) took a tough loss… it was his Major League debut.
By the way, the lone run was a Frank Thomas solo homer in the 6th inning. The Big Hurt went 3 for 3 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk against Mussina. This would become a theme. He homered more against Mussina (9 times) than any other pitcher throughout his Hall of Fame career.

July 4, 1995
The White Sox lost 4-1 against the Yankees on Independence Day. The lone run they scored was a John Kruk RBI single in the 9th inning off Yankees closer John Wetteland. The Yankee starter that day tossed 8 scoreless innings and struck out 11. It was the only 10+ strikeout performance of Mariano Rivera’s career.

May 2, 2003
Edgar Martínez went 2 for 4 with a walk against the White Sox in a 9-2 win at US Cellular Field. 
The second hit, a 6th inning single off Gary Glover, was the 2,000th hit of his MLB career.

April 11, 2004
The White Sox scored three runs in the top of the first inning in the Bronx off Yankees starter Mike Mussina.
It wasn’t enough. The New Yorkers clawed back and won the game 5-4. It was Mussina’s 200th career win.

July 16, 2006
Mariano Rivera became the 4th member of the 400-save club in a 6-4 win over the White Sox at Yankee Stadium. It was the 11th and final time he had a save of at least 2 innings during the regular season (his first 2-inning save was also against the White Sox on August 14, 1996).

August 8, 2006
Paul Konerko, born in Providence, Rhode Island, set a monumental record on this day. With his 237th home run, he passed Gabby Hartnett for the all-time record for career home runs by players born in the smallest US state. The White Sox were playing the Yankees at home, and the record-setting blast handed Mariano Rivera a blown save, tying the game at 5 in the bottom of the 9th.

May 31, 2007
Mark Buehrle tossed a complete game two-hitter, walking none at the Rogers Centre, which was great except for two things: 
First, both hits were solo home runs. Second, opposing starter Roy Halladay allowed no runs in his seven innings. The Jays won 2-0 and Halladay earned career win number 100.

July 28, 2007
Speedster Jerry Owens played 129 career games – all with the White Sox. 
He also hit one career home run… a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 7th inning to break a scoreless tie. The pitcher? Roy Halladay. It would be the only two runs of a 2-0 White Sox win over the Blue Jays at US Cellular Field.