White Sox

White Sox announce minor league managers for 2020 season


White Sox announce minor league managers for 2020 season

There are some new faces in the White Sox minor league managerial ranks.

The team announced the skippers for its farm teams Monday, with new managers for all four teams: two of them new to the organization and the other two new to their teams. Wes Helms is the new manager at Triple-A Charlotte, Justin Jirschele is the new manager at Double-A Birmingham, Ryan Newman is the new manager at Class A Winston-Salem, and Guillermo Quiroz is the new manager at Class A Kannapolis.

Helms spent 13 years as a big leaguer, playing exclusively in the National League with the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies. He worked as a bench coach the past two seasons, with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs in 2018 and with the White Sox organization last season in Birmingham.

2020 will be Jirschele's fourth season as a manager in the White Sox system and Birmingham his third stop in the last three seasons. He spent 2019 in Winston-Salem after two seasons at Kannapolis. He'll turn 30 in April.

Newman has nearly a decade's worth of managerial experience in the White Sox system, managing rookie league teams for five seasons and spending time as the skipper at Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Birmingham. He was the manager at Kannapolis last season and will return to Winston-Salem in 2020, where he managed in 2013.

Quiroz spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors with six different teams. He was part of the coaching staff at Charlotte in 2019.

Additionally, the White Sox announced their entire player-development staff for the 2020 season. Notably, there are new pitching and hitting coaches at Charlotte: Matt Zaleski, the Arlington Heights native who's spent the last three seasons as a pitching coach in the White Sox system (including last year at Winston-Salem), and former big leaguer Howie Clark, respectively. Danny Farquhar, the former White Sox reliever who recovered from an in-game brain aneurysm suffered during the 2018 season, will be the new pitching coach at Winston-Salem.

Chris Getz returns for his fourth season as the team's director of player development. Everett Teaford is the team's minor league pitching coordinator, and former big league first baseman Ben Broussard is the team's minor league hitting coordinator.

The focus figures to shift more and more away from the minor leagues as the White Sox make their transition from rebuilding to contending at the big league level. But the key to sustained success is continuing to replenish the farm system and continue to bring more highly ranked prospects up to the majors as time goes on. All the minor league names White Sox fans have learned over the past few rebuilding seasons figure to be playing on the South Side in 2020 or shortly thereafter, but ideally, there will be waves of talent to follow, making the work of the player-development staff important in perpetuity.

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Watch Luis Robert rope a triple for his first hit of spring training

Watch Luis Robert rope a triple for his first hit of spring training

Of all the excitement surrounding the White Sox entering 2020, Luis Robert might have the most juice right now.

After dominating three levels of the minors last season and fresh off signing a lucrative contract extension before even playing in a big league game, Robert has plenty of buzz around him. On Tuesday, he showed off a little bit of why in Cactus League action.

Robert roped a ball into the right-center field gap and raced to third for a triple.

Robert is known for his power and speed combination, which led to a 30-30 season in the minors last year. This is a good example of it. 

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Any Yoan Moncada extension would be in line with White Sox strategy


Any Yoan Moncada extension would be in line with White Sox strategy

Is a Yoan Moncada extension in the works?

Moncada's not aware of anything, or so he told reporters Tuesday in Arizona.

"Honestly, I don’t pay too much attention to that," he said through team interpreter Billy Russo. "My focus is just in the game and preparing myself to be in the best position that I can be for the season. Just work hard. That’s my goal right now. That’s where my focus is right now.

"If my agent calls me and tells me there is something ... then we’ll consider it. For now, I’m just focusing on my game and my preparation."

Whether winds blowing throughout the Twittersphere are onto something or not, indeed it is extension season. The White Sox just announced a long-term commitment to reliever Aaron Bummer over the weekend. It was in the run-up to Opening Day last spring that Eloy Jimenez signed his big-money deal that assured he broke camp with the big league club and could keep him on the South Side for as long as seven more seasons.

The big-money deal for Luis Robert — the second for a player yet to play a major league game in as many years — came well before the first full-squad workout at Camelback Ranch. But it shows the continued commitment by the White Sox to keep this core together as long as possible.

Seeing that kind of commitment to Moncada, who emerged as the team's best all-around hitter last season, after struggling through his first full year in the majors in 2018, would not be surprising.

"This tends to be the most productive time of year in terms of getting extensions done," general manager Rick Hahn said the day pitchers and catchers reported to Glendale. "Doesn’t mean anything is going to happen. But especially early in camp when things are a little quieter, it’s a little easier to have those conversations and certainly not distract the player from their in-season games or their late-camp preparation.

"In terms of whether any of those will materialize, we’ll see."

One already has, with Bummer. Could Moncada be next?

Though purely speculation, the White Sox third baseman would perhaps be less inclined than others to jump at big dollars now. After all, he received a record $31 million signing bonus when he signed with the Boston Red Sox as an international free agent. Since coming over to the White Sox in the Chris Sale trade, he's shown why the other color of Sox invested that much in him in the first place. While dancing around some injury issues in 2019, he slashed .315/.367/.548 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs. He was considered an All-Star snub by many in the home clubhouse at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Whether Moncada and his representation want to cash in now or hold off for a bigger payday in free agency — scheduled to arrive after the 2023 season — is up to them.

The White Sox have shown their dedication to extending a contention window by keeping these youngsters on the South Side for a good, long while. Certainly they would be happy to employ Moncada for as long as possible, particularly if his 2019 breakout was merely a sign of things to come.

Take a look at how long the White Sox have their core under club control:

— Through the 2021 season: Nomar Mazara, Carlos Rodon

— Through the 2022 season: Jose Abreu

— Through the 2023 season: Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez

— Through the 2024 season: Tim Anderson, Michael Kopech

— Through the 2025 season: Dylan Cease

— Through the 2026 season: Eloy Jimenez, Aaron Bummer

— Through the 2027 season: Luis Robert

That's a lot of club control, and moving Moncada down on that list a few spots would only make the long-term future look all the better.

"I feel comfortable on this team," he said. "I have been feeling comfortable on this team since the moment I came here. I actually see myself on this team for a very long time."

We'll see, to borrow a Hahn term, if anything materializes before Opening Day. But if something does, that would be right in line with the front office's strategy as they look to open that contention window.

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