White Sox

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Tampa Bay Rays?

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USA TODAY

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Tampa Bay Rays?

As the 2018 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.

What’s there to know about the Tampa Bay Rays?

Well, remember all the players on the Rays that you know? Bad news. They aren’t on the Rays anymore.

That’s not entirely true, I suppose, as Chris Archer is still on the Rays. But he’s got to be looking around the home clubhouse at the Trop these days and wondering, “Where’d everybody go?”

Perhaps trying to emulate the other fish-based Florida franchise, the Rays traded away a bunch of players this offseason, making this roster — one that somehow managed to finish third in the American League East last season — unrecognizable.

Evan Longoria, perhaps the best player in this young franchise’s history, was traded to the San Francisco Giants. Jake Odorizzi was traded to the Minnesota Twins. Corey Dickerson was DFA’d, then traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Steve Souza was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. And look at this lengthy list of guys who were lost to free agency: Alex Cobb, Lucas Duda, Logan Morrison, Tommy Hunter and Steve Cishek.

Can someone go check and make sure the rays in that tank in center field didn’t get traded, too?

So who’s left from this offseason purge? Well, there’s Archer, who despite being an awesome face for the game has finished with an ERA north of 4.00 in each of the last two seasons. He’s still really good, at this point almost a lock for 200 innings and way more than 200 strikeouts. But who’s going to help him out?

The additions of 34-year-old Denard Span and 32-year-old Carlos Gomez were … odd. There are two former White Sox in the mix in Micah Johnson, who’s been on like 17 teams since November, and Daniel Hudson, who the Rays got back for Dickerson. Matt Duffy didn’t play at all last season. Kevin Kiermaier only played in 98 games last year but was quite good, having the best offensive season of his career. After an All-Star season for the Washington Nationals, Wilson Ramos missed most of last season, his first with the Rays.

The best player on the team, or at least the one with the best 2017 campaign, is closer Alex Colome, the pitcher whose name begins “Alex Co” that the Rays still employ. He led baseball with 47 saves last year, and that’s on a team that won only 80 games. Mighty impressive. He’s got 84 saves in the last two seasons combined.

That doesn't mean there's not help on the way. Much like White Sox fans, Rays fans can salivate over a potentially promising future. The organization boasts three of the top 25 prospects in baseball: pitcher Brent Honeywell (No. 18), infielder Willy Adames (No. 22) and "first baseman/pitcher" — that sounds fun — Brendan McKay (No. 25). And they have two more guys in the top 100, including shortstop Christian Arroyo, the big piece coming back in that Longoria deal with the Giants. So the future is perhaps as bright as that sunburst in the Rays' logo.

In the end, though, it ain’t shaping up to be a good year in St. Pete, and the catwalk-filled baseball warehouse has only a little to do with that. The post Joe Maddon/Andrew Friedman Era hasn’t gone too well. Meanwhile, Maddon's won a World Series with the Cubs, and Friedman's been to one with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Any other wacky managers and baseball geniuses out there?

2017 record: 80-82, third place in AL East

Offseason additions: Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, C.J. Cron, Micah Johnson, Joey Wendle, Daniel Hudson

Offseason departures: Evan Longoria, Jake Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson, Steve Souza, Alex Cobb, Lucas Duda, Logan Morrison, Tommy Hunter, Steve Cishek

X-factor: He's not the X-factor, but it's worth pointing out that the Rays do have a player named "Mallex," which sounds like the name of a bad guy in a superhero movie. While Archer looks real lonely on that starting staff, there's some interesting guys around him. Somewhat strangely, the Rays are going to employ a four-man rotation. The X-factor of the bunch is Jake Faria, who in his first big league season last year turned in a 3.43 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts. He struck out 84 batters in 86.2 innings. Past Archer and Faria, you've got Blake Snell, who struck out 119 guys in 129.1 innings, and Nathan Eovaldi, the one-time New York Yankee who missed all of last season.

Projected lineup:

1. Denard Span, DH
2. Matt Duffy, 3B
3. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
4. Carlos Gomez, RF
5. Brad Miller, 2B
6. Wilson Ramos, C
7. C.J. Cron, 1B
8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
9. Mallex Smith, LF

Projected rotation:

1. Chris Archer
2. Blake Snell
3. Nathan Eovaldi
4. Jake Faria

Prediction: Fifth place in AL East, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
New York Mets
Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates

On this day in 2000, Mark Buehrle made his White Sox debut

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AP

On this day in 2000, Mark Buehrle made his White Sox debut

On this day 18 years ago, former White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle made is MLB debut.

NBC Sports Chicago’s stats guru Chris Kamka tweeted out Buehrle’s debut.

Buehrle was just 21 years old when he got called up to the big leagues, and spent 12 seasons with the Sox. He also had stints with the Marlins and Blue Jays.

Buehrle was never an overpowering pitcher with his fastball in the high 80’s. He was also known for working quickly on the mound to keep hitters off balance.

That paid big dividends for the Sox hurler, as he’s known for tossing a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers in 2007 and MLB’s 18th perfect game against the Rangers in 2009, with both of those games coming at then U.S Cellular Field.

A big highlight from the perfect game, a lot will never forget is former Sox outfielder Dwyane Wise saving Buehrle’s perfect game with a ridiculous juggling catch in center field. Ever since then, “The Catch” has been engraved on the outfield wall in left center.

Besides the no-hitter and perfect game, Buehrle knew how to field his position. Eight years ago against the Indians on Opening Day, Buehrle kicked a ground ball off his foot into foul territory and to record the out, he flipped the ball between his legs to first basemen Paul Konerko who barehanded it and got the out.

Let’s just say that play was at the top for that season.

But, as for eating up innings, Buehrle did not shy away from showing his durability.

After his rookie season, Buehrle threw over 200 innings 14 consecutive seasons. In his tenure with the Blue Jays, he was just an inning and a third away from becoming the fifth pitcher in MLB history to record over 200 innings pitched in 15 straight seasons.

In his 16 years in the MLB, Buehrle finished with 214 wins and 160 losses, with a 3.81 ERA in 518 games and 493 starts over 3,000 innings. He won the 2005 World Series with the Sox, he also won the Cy young that year.

Buehrle appeared in five All-Star games, and he won four gold gloves, along with two pitcher of the month awards.

2005 was a good year to say the least for Buehrle. He finished the year at 16-8 with a 3.12 ERA which arguably could’ve been his best season in a Sox uniform.

His number 56 was retired by the Sox last season, becoming the 12th player in Sox history to have their jersey retired.

What a career it was for number 56. 

ESPN.com names Tim Anderson to their 'waiver wire All-Stars'

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com names Tim Anderson to their 'waiver wire All-Stars'

ESPN.com recently named their 'waiver wire All-Stars', players available in most ESPN fantasy leagues who could provide tremendous value.

Only one player from either of the Chicago teams made the cut, and that was White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. According to ESPN, Anderson is on 60.5 percent of ESPN.com fantasy baseball rosters, and that number could decrease soon, making him available in more than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.

ESPN senior writer Eric Karabell had this to say of Anderson's solid season:

He is not a helper in batting average but being on pace for 23 home runs, 37 stolen bases and 88 runs scored should afford him a bit more love, methinks. Anderson has actually made strides with walk rate and is hitting more fly balls. These numbers are legit and worth more than people think.

Anderson has already racked up a career-high 21 stolen bases. And his 13 home runs are impressive, as Karabell notes, he is on pace to pass his career best of 17 homers from last year.


Our Chuck Garfien recently had an interview with Anderson where he confessed that despite having made great improvements—like his career-best 23 walks—he still knows he has a long way to go to becoming a great player.

But with many of his flaws—like his 13 errors on the season—being on the defensive side of things, his .246 batting average is the only thing stopping him from becoming a top-10 fantasy baseball shortstop.