White Sox

Teammates hoping for best as Danny Farquhar is stable but in critical condition following brain hemorrhage

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AP

Teammates hoping for best as Danny Farquhar is stable but in critical condition following brain hemorrhage

“It’s shocking. It’s sad.”

Don Cooper’s two-sentence assessment of the feeling in the White Sox clubhouse was as apt as any.

White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar remains in critical condition at RUSH University Medical Center after suffering a brain hemorrhage in Friday night’s game against the Houston Astros. Farquhar passed out in the dugout in the sixth inning and was carried out and taken to the hospital. Saturday morning, the team updated his status, saying that tests revealed that a ruptured aneurysm caused the brain bleed and that he’s undergoing continued treatment.

His teammates and coaches offered their thoughts and prayers as they got ready to play another game Saturday night, baseball certainly not the most important thing on their minds.

“It crushes us in this clubhouse,” pitcher James Shields said. “And nothing really matters baseball-wise when something like that happens, you know? When you see one of your brothers go down like that, it’s not very fun to watch, and he’s such a resilient human being and we’re praying for him. We hope everything goes well with that.

“Baseball doesn’t matter when it comes to something like that. All that matters is family and life, and like I said, he’s a brother of ours, he’s a great teammate and you don’t ever want to see one of your brothers go through something like that. We’re praying for him.”

Farquhar, who joined the White Sox in the middle of last season, has a clubhouse reputation as a good guy, a funny guy who has made a positive impression on his teammates.

“He’s awesome. Teammate, clubhouse guy, all-around just a great guy, good family guy. Just a good friend,” pitcher Hector Santiago said. “Just kind of sucks how everything just went down like that, unexpected like that. It’s something you can’t control. I mean he just pitched in a big league game and a couple minutes later he’s lying on the ground, so it’s a very worrisome situation and it sucks, but you just pray for him and hope for him to come back soon and hopefully everything works out great.”

“He’s a great kid. Hard worker,” manager Rick Renteria said. “When you look at him he probably had to battle his whole career to do what he’s doing. Has a very good arm. Hes a nice man with a beautiful wife and kids. And just a nice guy to have around.”

As Renteria alluded, Farquhar’s baseball journey has been an eventful one.

He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008, traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2010, traded back to the Blue Jays the following year and made his big league debut in September of 2011. The next summer, he was claimed off waivers by the A’s, then claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees two weeks later, then traded to the Seattle Mariners a month after that. In 2015, he made seven trips between the Mariners and their Triple-A affiliate. The following offseason, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, and he made seven more trips between the bigs and Triple-A in 2016.

Released by the Rays last summer, he was signed by the White Sox and made his first appearance with the South Siders in August. He logged 14.1 innings in a White Sox uniform in 2017 and pitched eight this season, including the 0.2 he threw Friday.

Even with all that moving around between the majors and minors, he’s pitched in parts of seven different big league seasons.

Farquhar’s teammates and coaches said they hope that perseverance will help him in this situation — one that’s far more important than anything that’s happened on the baseball field.

“As of right now it’s not looking great,” Shields said. “He’s definitely stable from what we hear, but he’s got a long way to go and he’s fighting. So, one thing I know is that Farqy, he’s a fighter, man. So again we’re praying for him and his family. Our thoughts are with him and his family.”

“Listen, all of the kids that come into your life, I don’t know if they come into our lives, we come into their lives or our worlds combine. But I believe things kind of happen for a reason,” Cooper said. “You want their pitching and baseball lives to be wonderful. You want them to have the careers they are looking for, and that would certainly hold true outside of baseball. I know this: He’s alive, he’s got a chance and that’s what I’m hanging on to. And prayers are more necessary than talk.”

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

White Sox free agent focus: Turning to Marcell Ozuna to fill out the outfield

Baseball free agency is heating up as the weather gets colder. This week we are breaking down 10 potential free-agent targets for the White Sox ahead of the Winter Meetings.

Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals

Age: 29

2019 salary: $12,250,000

2019 stats: .241 BA, .328 OBP, .472 SLG, .800 OPS, 29 HR, 89 RBI, 80 R, 12/14 SB 

What Ozuna would bring to the White Sox

Ozuna appeared on the verge of becoming an elite star like Anthony Rendon after a breakout season in 2017 with the Marlins. Ozuna came up at 22 and had decent years early in his career. He improved upon his first few years with 37 home runs, 124 RBIs and a .924 OPS as a 26-year-old.

Unlike Rendon, who broke through in 2017 and has sustained that for three seasons now, Ozuna's breakout year appears to be more of a flash in the pan. Ozuna was traded to the Cardinals before the 2018 season and saw a dropoff in his production.

His power and walk rate took big dips in 2018, although he bounced back in both last season. However, he hit .241, which was the lowest batting average of his career.

Ozuna had a career-high walk rate (11.3%) and had the second-best extra-base hit and home run rates of his career (he was only better in those areas in 2017). His strikeout rate (20.8%) was in line with his career average. So what went wrong? His batting average of balls in play was a career-worst .257, which suggests that maybe he's due for some form of bounce back in 2020 as far as batting average.

To simplify all that, Ozuna was good in some areas and inexplicably poor (and maybe unlucky) in others. Does that mean he will return to his big 2017 year wherever he signs? Probably not, but it does help to alleviate some of the feeling of risk for a player who has been inconsistent in his career.

Defensively, Ozuna has a Gold Glove on his resume from 2017, but the stats say he's just an average fielder. Not to mention, he's become infamous for this fielding gaffe.


What it would take to get him

He's young with a mostly positive track record offensively and if he can recreate his 2017 season offensively, he's an all-star outfielder. He won't be cheap, but he has enough question marks to come up just short of $20 million per year.

Ozuna should be able to get four or five years in the mid-to-upper teens per year, similar to fellow outfield free agent Nicholas Castellanos.

Why it's a fit for the White Sox

The White Sox need a corner outfielder. He fills a position of need, adds depth, patience and power to the lineup and won't be a liability in the field.

Ozuna isn't the splashiest signing the White Sox could make, but it makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.

Latest rumors

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

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USA TODAY

White Sox add flamethrowing Tayron Guerrero to bullpen

The White Sox added a flamethrower to their bullpen.

Tayron Guerrero is the newest member of the White Sox relief corps, the team claiming the 28-year-old right-hander off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Friday.

Guerrero's most eye-catching attribute is his triple-digit fastball. He averaged 98.9 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2019 and threw the second most 100-mph pitches (178) of any pitcher in baseball. He posted a 10.6 K/9 in 2018.

But throwing hard and giving up runs are two different things. In 2019, Guerrero had a 6.26 ERA, a number that jumped up from the already less-than-ideal 5.43 ERA he turned in a year prior. He also had some trouble locating said fireball, walking 36 batters in 46 relief innings in 2019 for a ridiculously high 7.0 BB/9.

Still, this type of addition was signaled as perhaps the primary way the White Sox would add to their bullpen this offseason. With so many other items on Rick Hahn's offseason to-do list and the back end of the bullpen being a pretty stable part of the roster, the general manager said that small signings and waiver claims would continue to be part of the strategy when it comes to making additions to the relief corps.

Hahn referenced the team's acquisitions of Evan Marshall, who was signed to a minor league contract last winter, and Jimmy Cordero, who was claimed off waivers in the middle of the 2019 season, as moves to emulate going forward.

"All 30 teams will tell you ... that adding more bullpen pieces is an offseason priority, and we're no exception," Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference in September. "Cordero's been a nice find, as has been Marshall, but that's not going to stop us from continuing to potentially take guys off waivers like Cordero or (sign) minor league free agents like Marshall.

"It's going to go into this offseason continuing to be a place we want to add because relievers are tricky. You see it every year, guys go from the top of the list to the bottom and back."

As Hahn frequently says, you can never have too much pitching, and while this might be a low-risk move, it could end up proving fruitful, as those Cordero and Marshall moves did.

Spending on money on more proven guys has also been a part of the White Sox strategy in this department in the recent past. Hahn's front office gave Kelvin Herrera a two-year deal just last winter. But as Herrera showed during a rough first year of that contract, even guys with good track records can lead to easy second-guessing on those kinds of deals. So building up depth through less splashy means figures to be a good idea, regardless of the results.

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