White Sox

White Sox officially designate Yonder Alonso for assignment among other roster moves

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USA TODAY

White Sox officially designate Yonder Alonso for assignment among other roster moves

The White Sox officially moved on from Yonder Alonso on Friday, designating the veteran hitter for assignment a day after it was reported they would do just that.

Alonso was acquired in a December trade with the division-rival Cleveland Indians, and while fans focused on the fact he was the brother-in-law of mega free agent Manny Machado, who the White Sox pursued all winter, general manager Rick Hahn touted the 2017 All Star's offensive ability and mentorship potential inside the clubhouse.

On the field, none of that panned out, with Alonso posting a woeful .178/.275/.301 slash line with seven homers and 27 RBIs in his 67 games. Fans directed much of their frustrations at him, and the White Sox clearly started looking elsewhere for production both with Alonso's limited use during the month of June and the promotion of Zack Collins, who looked primed to further eat into at-bats that before the season started were allotted for Alonso.

Alonso's departure will dominate the conversation Friday, but it was one of four roster moves the White Sox made at the outset of a weekend series against the first-place Minnesota Twins.

Tim Anderson expectedly landed on the 10-day injured list after suffering a high ankle sprain Tuesday night at Fenway Park. The severity of the sprain is still unknown, but Anderson will miss at least 10 days and likely won't see any further action before the All-Star break, which comes in little more than a week. The team will certainly address what will happen at shortstop while Anderson is on the shelf, but it looks like Leury Garcia and Jose Rondon sharing duties there is a safe bet.

The White Sox also brought Daniel Palka back from Triple-A Charlotte, where the lefty slugger had been since being sent down on April 17. Palka notably began the 2019 season with the major league team but went hitless in his first 32 at-bats before picking up a pinch-hit single in that April 17 game against the Kansas City Royals. His 1-for-35 start prompted his being sent down to Charlotte, where he was able to turn things around, with a .271/.374/.548 slash line and 16 home runs in 59 games. Palka's power bat figures to replace the one the White Sox thought they were getting in Alonso, and a three-position timeshare of sorts between Jose Abreu, James McCann, Collins and Palka could be in the works at catcher, first base and DH, though Palka is capable of playing right field, as well, and will likely see time there, too.

Finally, the White Sox called up starting pitcher Ross Detwiler, who they signed as a minor league free agent earlier this season. The team's shredded starting-pitching situation adds another name at the big league level, and it'll be Detwiler getting the start Friday night against the high-powered Twins. It will be Detwiler's first big league start since the 2016 season. At Charlotte, the left-hander posted a 3.98 ERA in eight starts, striking out 35 batters in 43 innings.

Who knows how long Detwiler might be around. But Tommy John surgeries for Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon, far more minor injuries that Dylan Covey and Manny Banuelos are still recovering from and the failed experiments of Ervin Santana and Odrisamer Despaigne have pushed the depth to its limits. The White Sox did recently sign Hector Santiago for his third go-round with the organization, and top pitching prospect Dylan Cease figures to make his major league debut before long. But right now, it's Detwiler.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins to discuss Gerrit Cole and the Sox meaning business this winter

Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Vinnie Duber are at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

MLB.com's Jon Morosi joins them to discuss the latest on Gerrit Cole (0:30) and the White Sox meaning business this winter (3:00). Plus, Jon says who he thinks is more likely to land in the Sox outfield: Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos? (5:00)

When all is said and done, what will the White Sox do this week? The four guys give their predictions. Morosi expects a big name, free-agent starter to come to the South Side. (12:00)

Chuck, Guff and Vinnie then discuss what is fact and fiction about Marcell Ozuna (18:00) and have more of the rumors from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:

White Sox Talk Podcast

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Nicholas Castellanos or Marcell Ozuna: Who's the better fit for White Sox?

Nicholas Castellanos or Marcell Ozuna: Who's the better fit for White Sox?

SAN DIEGO — The White Sox are searching for a new right fielder, but it might end up as more of an excuse to add a big bat to the middle of their lineup.

They’re reportedly interested in both Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna, the top two names on the free-agent outfield market, neither of which comes with a stellar defensive reputation. But they can both swing it, and that’s what the White Sox could be making a priority.

“I think the key thing right now for the Sox is the one more bat they want to get,” MLB.com’s Jon Morosi said on the White Sox Talk Podcast. “They’ve already got (Yasmani) Grandal in house, but they’re very much involved on Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna, as well.

“I think, at this point in time, they’ve got a pretty good chance to land one or the other. It’s hard to say, percentage wise, at this point in time, but they’re very much involved in both those conversations and I think assessing a pretty high priority there.”

A rumor out of the Dominican Republic that Ozuna signing with the White Sox was imminent got a good debunking over the weekend, and the White Sox surprise at the report was still lingering as the Winter Meetings started Monday.


But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. Still, he might not be the best fit of the two.

“I would think that Castellanos, between the two, has a better chance to be a fit with the White Sox,” Morosi said. “He knows the ballpark, knows the division. I think he loved playing in Chicago for the Cubs.

“Castellanos has really found something, I believe, in his approach. … He came up to the major leagues at such a young age on a veteran-laden team with (Miguel) Cabrera and (Prince) Fielder and so many big names there at the time with the Tigers, Victor Martinez. And it took him some time to find his way. He has done that. And I think with the Cubs, his approach was really good.”

The White Sox are rather familiar with what Castellanos can do. He shredded South Side pitching in recent seasons with the division-rival Tigers. In 2017, he slashed .303/.387/.561 with four homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs in 17 games against the White Sox. In 2018, he slashed .363/.414/.625 with five homers, six doubles and 20 RBIs in 19 games. In 2019, he slashed .389/.410/.722 with two homers, six doubles and eight RBIs in only eight games.

As Morosi mentioned, Castellanos obviously had something working after a midseason trade to the Cubs, slashing .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs and 21 doubles in 51 games for the North Siders. He ended up leading the majors with 58 doubles.

Of course, Castellanos’ defensive reputation is not good, something backed up by the numbers: He had minus-nine Defensive Runs Saved in 2019. Observers say he’s not quite as bad as those statistics would make it seem. But to combine him with a work-in-progress Eloy Jimenez in left ahead of Luis Robert’s rookie season in center field would be a less-than-ideal situation from a defensive standpoint.

Ozuna had two DRS in 2019, though he got them as a left fielder, where he exclusively played in his two years with the St. Louis Cardinals. His reputation as a defender there was not super strong, either, particularly when it comes to his throwing arm, affected by an injured shoulder during his stint with the Redbirds.

So neither, potentially, would provide as much defensive value as someone, for example, like Joc Pederson, who the White Sox have been linked to in trade rumors for the second straight winter. But with interest in both Castellanos and Ozuna, the White Sox are potentially throwing defensive preference out the window in favor of the offensive upgrades they could provide.

Ozuna is not long removed from a sensational 2017 campaign with the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Those numbers fell to Earth a little bit after the trade to St. Louis, where he hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs over the last two seasons. Of note, new White Sox hitting coach Frank Menechino was Ozuna’s hitting coach in Miami.

The longer the White Sox are tied to these two, the longer it will appear that offense is the priority, and there’s nothing wrong with that after the team ranked near the bottom of the game in plenty of different categories in 2019. Robert and Nick Madrigal should provide offensive boosts when they arrive at the big league level, as should the new guy Grandal. But a good way to boost things right away would be to add another sizable bat from outside the organization, and the only positions to do that are right field and DH — and we still don’t know, after the Grandal signing, whether the White Sox even consider DH a need anymore.

Sacrificing defense? It might have to happen for the White Sox to build a fearsome lineup. We’ll see.

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