White Sox

Is Tim Anderson happy the Manny Machado saga is over? 'F**k yeah'

Is Tim Anderson happy the Manny Machado saga is over? 'F**k yeah'

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Manny Machado is about to be a San Diego Padre. The White Sox are looking likely to start the 2019 season without a monster free-agent addition. And fans are not at all happy.

So what do the guys in the clubhouse have to say? Are they glad this whole thing has come to an end?

“F**k yeah,” Tim Anderson said Wednesday. “S**t, maybe y’all can stop asking me now.”

For months, these guys have been peppered with questions about Machado and the team’s ongoing pursuit of one of the two big names on this year’s free-agent market. They’ve answered them as you’d expect: Machado, his immense talent and his All-Star production would be welcome, but if he goes elsewhere, that’s fine, too.

If you’ve been on Twitter since Tuesday’s news broke, you know that’s hardly the same opinion as the White Sox faithful.

Anderson has been one of the more distinct voices in this whole thing, however, as it was potentially his job as the starting shortstop that might have been handed to Machado had the White Sox signed the 26-year-old superstar. He told Our Chuck Garfien at SoxFest that “shortstop is mine” and said that he’s worked too hard for fans to give his job away to someone else.

So it will come as little surprise that Anderson is happy to be done talking about Machado.

“I could (not) care less about (Bryce) Harper and Machado’s situation,” Anderson said. “I know where we’re headed. We have a great group of guys here.

“We’re going to be South Side regardless. Nobody’s decision determines what we’ve got going on in this locker room. I feel 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 won’t dictate our season.

“We’re going to keep rolling. Either ride with us or get run over. We know who’s on the boat with us and which way we want to sail.”

Yonder Alonso had a less fiery approach than Anderson, not a surprise considering Machado’s his brother-in-law and he’s happy for him.

But one of the newest White Sox echoed Anderson’s comments when it came to talking about the guys currently in the room, currently on this roster, and spoke about the big expectations that have been the theme of the early weeks of spring training.

“Inside this room, the 60-plus players, plus the coaching staff, the front office, it’s always been about the guys in here,” Alonso said. “It’s been about going out there and getting better every single day and taking care of one another. I think the media, at times, can maybe pull out a different take on things, but I know for us inside this room, we’re all one and we’re all together.

“You say (the talent is) coming, but I think it’s here. At some point here, enough is enough. We feel like right now is the time, and we feel like not only is it the time right now but it’s the time going forward in the stage where we’re at. I think we’re hitting that peak where you’re going to see a lot of guys here for a lot of years doing great things.”

The ability to focus on baseball, focus on the upcoming season, now that the unfinished business is, for better or worse, finished would seem to be a benefit to this group of players. As general manager Rick Hahn has said all along, no one player is going to define the rebuilding process. And so these players, a part of this process for varying amounts of time into the future, are ready to continue on the track they’ve been on this whole time.

And they’re probably happy to be done with these questions, right, Yonder?

“What do you think?” he said with a laugh.

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Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

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USA TODAY

Kenny Williams shuts down rumor connecting free agent Yasiel Puig to White Sox

You can put to bed the rumors about free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig possibly signing with the White Sox. It’s not happening.

The two sides did get together during the MLB Winter Meetings in December. Kenny Williams, Rick Hahn and Rick Renteria met with Puig for about 90 minutes to discuss the possibility of the 29-year-old joining the White Sox as their everyday right fielder.

But instead, the White Sox chose to take a different route. That same week, they acquired Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Steele Walker, ending any chance of Puig coming to the South Side.

“After our meeting we came away big Yasiel Puig fans, but he wasn’t the right fit for us then and he isn’t right now,” Williams said.

With spring training games starting this weekend and the regular season a little over a month away, fellow Cuban Jose Abreu says he’s surprised the flashy 29-year-old outfielder remains a free agent.

“Yes, I am (surprised). That’s one of those things that happen that you don’t understand. A guy with his talent. He’s still so young,” Abreu said through a translator. “He doesn’t have a team yet. It’s a surprise. I’m confident he’s going to find something this year.”

Even with Puig’s talent, Abreu looks around the White Sox clubhouse and agrees with the decision by the White Sox not to sign the former All-Star, who hit .267/.327/.458 with the Reds and Indians last season.

“I don’t think he would be a good fit here. Don’t get me wrong. He has a lot of talent, but we’re full," Abreu said. "Our outfield is looking great with Nomar (Mazara), Eloy (Jimenez) and (Luis) Robert. There’s no reason for us to make more moves in that area of our team. He’s someone who would fit in with any major league ball club because he has the talent to help any of those teams.”

What about possibly platooning Puig with Mazara in right field? On paper, that might sound like a good plan, although Puig has traditionally hit better against righties than lefties in his career. But a larger issue could be the timeshare. The idea of Puig, nicknamed “Wild Horse,” being forced to the stable for half the season could spell problems, not only for him, but the chemistry inside the clubhouse.

“It would be difficult, especially for him being an everyday player,” Abreu said about Puig being a platoon player.  “When you have to make that decision, it’s not easy.”

So, where will Puig end up?  No one knows for sure, but it won’t be with the White Sox.  

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White Sox lock up Aaron Bummer with record five-year extension

White Sox lock up Aaron Bummer with record five-year extension

PHOENIX — The White Sox have locked up a key part of their bullpen and did it in record fashion.

The team is keeping Aaron Bummer on the South Side for the next half-decade. The deal contains a pair of team options that could keep Bummer in a White Sox uniform through the 2026 season. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, it’s the biggest extension for a pre-arbitration, non-closer reliever in baseball history.

According to the team’s announcement, Bummer will receive $1 million in 2020, $2 million in 2021, $2.5 million in 2022, $3.75 million in 2023 and $5.5 million in 2024. The White Sox hold options for $7.25 million in 2025 and $7.5 million in 2026, with $1.25 million buyouts for either season.

The White Sox have good reason to want to keep 26-year-old Bummer around. He was excellent during the 2019 season, emerging as one of the team’s most reliable late-inning options. He finished the campaign with a 2.13 ERA in 58 appearances. A left-hander, he was effective against both right- and left-handed hitters, holding righties to a .188 batting average and lefties to a .178 average.

“Any time you’re looking at relievers, there’s the capacity to come in in key situations, in high-leverage and be that guy that you can count on in any situation. That’s what we have with Aaron," White Sox assistant general manager Jeremy Haber told reporters Saturday in Glendale. "In addition, the nature of the position — there’s ups and downs, and he’s experienced that in his career on and off the field, demonstrated that resiliency that you look for in that position."

Bummer will continue playing a prominent role in the White Sox ‘pen in 2020, likely starting the season as Rick Renteria’s primary eighth-inning option and forming a formidable back end of the bullpen alongside closer Alex Colome, and new addition Steve Cishek.

But with Colome slated to hit free agency after the 2020 season, it’s possible Bummer could be a candidate to take over the closer’s job.

"The reliever role and coming in in the seventh, eighth, ninth inning — it takes a certain type of temperament," Haber said. "Not to just deal with and thrive in those, but handle the ups and downs whenever they come, and Aaron’s shown that."

Add Bummer’s name to the list of young, core players the White Sox have under team control for a long time. Now there’s an exciting bullpen arm to go along with locked-up stars in the making such as Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson and Luis Robert, among the other youngsters like Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech who aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

You need a strong bullpen to compete and with their eyes on competing long into the future, the White Sox are trying to build just that for the long-term.

"Every organization seeks to acquire and develop, and retain championship-level talent," Haber said. "We’re very pleased to have been able to accomplish that today with another piece."

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