White Sox

Rick Hahn hoping to make some deadline deals but expecting White Sox to be quieter than last summer

0710-rick-hahn.jpg
AP

Rick Hahn hoping to make some deadline deals but expecting White Sox to be quieter than last summer

As the trade deadline approaches, White Sox fans shouldn't be expecting a repeat of last summer. At least that's what Rick Hahn says.

The White Sox general manager talked about the potential for deadline deals this month and was sure to point out that he expects his front office to perhaps be significantly less active than it was a season ago, when it made a bevy of trades that included the high-profile crosstown swap with the Cubs, the selling off of much of the bullpen and the shipment of big names Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera away from the South Side.

This time around, the assets aren't quite as plentiful. And while Hahn would certainly like to add more talented youth to his rebuilding effort, he's not promising another busy July 31.

"We're going to continue to be aggressive out there and have the same conversations or have the same tenor of conversations we've had for the last 18 months, doing everything we can to put ourselves in a strong long-term position," Hahn said Tuesday. "I think obviously this time around, this trade deadline is going to be considerably different from last one based upon the amount of moves we already made versus what we currently have at the major league level. So it's probably going to be a little bit quieter than what we had 12 months ago, for good reason. At the same time our views or our intentions remain the same."

Just because the White Sox might not be super busy at this year's deadline doesn't mean they'll be completely inactive. There are pieces that could draw the interest of contending clubs. Starting pitcher James Shields is a veteran arm who's been to a pair of World Series and could help get a team to a division title or a playoff spot at the back end of its rotation. Three bullpen pitchers — Joakim Soria, Xavier Cedeno and Luis Avilan — have improved as the season has gone on and could end up being the sign-and-flip guys they appeared to be when they were acquired over the winter.

"Yes, teams are definitely interested in numerous guys on our roster that could potentially help them win," Hahn said. "I don't think there's any club anywhere throughout the league, regardless of the position they're in, that doesn't feel like they could improve themselves from a pitching standpoint, so that's certainly an area of conversation."

While young players can most definitely surprise — just look at what Ti'Quan Forbes, acquired in last August's trade that sent Miguel Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers, is doing this season — it doesn't seem that any of the above-listed guys are the type to land a highly touted prospect in return. Shields, Soria, Cedeno and Avilan wouldn't figure to demand the kind of return packages the White Sox got in the Quintana trade with the Cubs or even the trade with the New York Yankees that sent David Robertson, Frazier and Tommy Kahnle out of town in exchange for, among others, Blake Rutherford, a top-100 prospect in baseball. For that reason, it's possible that no trade made this summer could have earth-shattering effects for the rebuild.

Fans might speculate about the kind of trade that could, however. Would the White Sox deal away some of their prized prospects in a move like that?

"We've talked about that from the start, that there will come a time where we're doing prospect-for-prospect-like trades where we're dealing from a position of strength to fill positions of need in the system. We've had some conversations with other clubs along those lines. Do I think that's likely in the next three weeks? Probably not," Hahn said. "Simply because this tends to be the time when it's more veterans-for-prospect mindset for most clubs.

"But in the coming three to 12 months, you might see a little more of those as we again want to make sure we're diversified enough across our prospect base to have enough premium talent all around the diamond."

The White Sox won't be sleeping through the trade deadline. But a big deal? A lot of deals? Probably not.

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

renteria-817.jpg
USA TODAY

As White Sox continue to pile up the strikeouts, Rick Renteria is taking the broad view

White Sox third baseman Matt Davidson has in his mind an ideal number of times he’d strike out in a season.

“If I had it my way I’d probably strike out 20 times a year but I don’t know how you do that, really,” Davidson said before the Sox defeated the Royals 9-3 on Friday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It’s not realistic for an everyday player to go through the season with that few strikeouts, especially on a Sox team that entered Friday’s game with 1,163 of them, the second-highest total in the major-leagues behind the Rangers’ 1,168. The Sox were on pace to strike out 1,570 times, which would break the franchise record of 1,397 set last season.

Against the Royals, the Sox struck out seven times, but made more than enough contact—including three-run home runs from Jose Abreu and Nicky Delmonico—to win for the eighth time in their last 14 games.

With the Sox going through the trials and tribulations that come along with a radical rebuild, perhaps it’s not a surprise the team strikes out as much as it has the past two seasons. They are young, aggressive at the plate and still learning at the major-league level.

“It’s just some of the experience and learning your swing and trying to improve on it every single year,” said Davidson, who went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts Friday night. “I don’t think coming up (in the minors) everybody was striking out as much as we do here so that just shows that the competition is better and we’re just also trying to learn.

“The MLB (web site) has a section just showing how nasty pitches are,” Davidson added. “Guys are really good here. It’s just a part of learning. It’s about seeing the ball, learning the zone, learning counts and understanding when they’re going to throw stirkes and when they’re going to throw balls and also just putting the bat on the ball.”

The Sox were particularly susceptible to the strikeout when they fanned 10-plus times during an eight-game stretch from Aug. 5-13, a franchise record. They fell one game short of matching the dubious major-league record of nine consecutive games with 10-plus Ks set by the Brewers in 2017.

Sox manager Rick Renteria said the cause of all the strikeouts “depends on who you want to look at. You could look at it collectively (or) you can look at it individually. We have one of the young men (Yoan Moncada) who has quite a few under his belt, both looking and swinging (for a major-league leading 172 this season). Two-strike approach obviously is something we talk about a lot and still has to be implemented in practical terms so that it's useful. We don't want our guys swinging out of the zone. We do want them to be able to defend themselves and keep a ball in play possibly when need be.

“But I'm not thinking in regards of how (strikeouts) continue to mount and what that indicates or doesn't indicate,” Renteria added. “We look at all of our guys individually and figure out what it is we can help them with in terms of attacking that strike zone and being ready to hit.”

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

ricky.jpg
USA TODAY

Rick Renteria still looking for 'a little better effort' from Avisail Garcia despite injury

Rick Renteria proved once again that he won’t let his boys quit.

The White Sox manager pulled Avisail Garcia from Friday night’s 9-3 victory over the Royals after the outfielder failed to run hard out of the box during a first-inning flyout. It wasn’t the first time Renteria has made a point by pulling a player during a game. Garcia was yanked from a spring training contest for not running hard out of the box and Tim Anderson got the same treatment in July.

“I didn’t think (Garcia) had given me an effort on the Texas Leaguer,” Renteria said after Friday’s victory. “If the ball falls in, you have to possibly advance.”


Renteria was quick to point out that Garcia is playing with a right knee injury that the right fielder said would have to be addressed—likely with surgery—during the offseason.

“He does have a knee that’s bothering him a little bit,” Renteria said. “I told him, ‘you certainly looked like something was bothering you.’ He said, ‘I felt it click when I came out of the box.’ ‘I said you understand you can still give me a better effort out of the box (and) he said, ‘yes, I understand that. I’m feeling this.’ We addressed it a little bit. He’ll be back in there (Saturday night). He realizes he still feels he can give us a little better effort.”

Garcia, who has been on the disabled list twice this season due to hamstring injuries, said he understood Renteria’s decision. 

“I felt a click (in the knee) and I didn’t run,” Garcia said. “Even if I felt a click I can do a better effort if I want to play and I want to play. That’s why they take me out. I felt a click and I was a little bit scared about it but I’m OK.”

Renteria said it is important down the stretch to communicate with Garcia when it comes to managing his knee.

“That’s why we had the conversation,” Renteria said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the lineup. He says he can play every day, he says, ‘I can manage this, I can play through this, I’ll be fine.’ I said then give me a little more effort on some of those plays. I get it that you may feel it but if you feel it, just explain to me what’s going on and we can manage it that way. He really doesn’t want to come out. He wants to play.

“We’ve never had a problem with (Garcia),” Renteria added. “Despite a couple times here or there where we’ve taken him out, if you watch him he busts his rear end pretty much all the time. That was a rarity. At that particular point in time it was my decision to pull him out.”

Garcia said he will continue to play through the knee issue.

“I just have to keep going,” Garcia said. “But I was scared a little bit because I felt like a click. But at the same time, I didn’t run hard enough so I’m OK with it. I’m good to play.”

When asked if Garcia will get the knee taken care of following the season, he responded, “yeah, for sure. One-hundred percent.”