White Sox

White Sox tinker with rotation, give Carson Fulmer a week between starts

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USA TODAY

White Sox tinker with rotation, give Carson Fulmer a week between starts

The White Sox have tinkered with their starting rotation for this week's games against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers.

Carson Fulmer, originally slated to start Wednesday in the Steel City, will instead pitch the second game of this weekend's four-game set with the Rangers on the South Side. This after Fulmer had perhaps his worst start of the season against the Cubs, when he allowed five runs in just 1.2 innings of work, walking four and giving up three hits, including a grand slam. Fulmer will now have a full week between starts.

The rotation now sets up thusly: Reynaldo Lopez and Hector Santiago on Tuesday and Wednesday in Pittsburgh, followed by James Shields, Fulmer, Lucas Giolito and Lopez from Thursday through Sunday against the Rangers back in Chicago.

The White Sox could use some improved results from their starting rotation and pitching staff in general. They have the second-highest ERA in baseball, at 5.35, with only the division-rival Kansas City Royals owning a worse mark. White Sox starters' ERA of 5.78 is baseball's highest. No team in baseball has issued more walks than the White Sox, who have 175 free passes, 108 of which have come from starting pitchers.

Fulmer, meanwhile, has had a very up-and-down season in what is a "prove it" campaign for him, to show he can be a part of the rotation of the future. He has a 6.23 ERA on the year. In just 5.1 innings over his last two starts, Fulmer has allowed 10 runs (nine earned), coughed up five home runs and issued six walks. The 33 batters he's faced in the last two outings have posted a .385/.515/1.077 slash line.

White Sox being linked to Nomar Mazara trade talks with Rangers

White Sox being linked to Nomar Mazara trade talks with Rangers

The White Sox have two major needs in their lineup: a left-handed bat and a right fielder. They are reportedly in trade talks to fill both holes with one player.

Jim Bowden first reported that the White Sox are in trade talks with the Texas Rangers for outfielder Nomar Mazara. Others have since confirmed the report. There appears to be some real smoke with this one.


Working with the premise that these trade talks are happening, let’s take a look at what Mazara would bring to the White Sox.

For starters, he plays right field and is a left-handed bat. The White Sox don’t have much in the way of left-handers in the lineup. Zack Collins is a lefty, but his place in the lineup is far from secure. After that it’s switch-hitters Yoan Moncada, Leury Garcia and now Yasmani Grandal. Mazara is a lefty who had an .844 OPS against right-handers last season.

On top of that, he’s 24 years old so that part lines up with what the White Sox are trying to build in terms of having young pieces on the roster. Mazara debuted in 2016 so he hits free agency after 2021.

Mazara is a below average defender according to defensive metrics and his offensive numbers don’t stand out. Considering his age, it’s plausible to think he gets better though.

He has a career .754 OPS, including a career-best .786 OPS last season. Mazara hit .268/.318/.469 last year in 116 games. That’s decent production, but not eye-popping.

Mazara hit exactly 20 home runs in each of his first three seasons and then hit 19 last season (albeit in less playing time). He also blasted a mammoth 505-foot home run off of Reynaldo Lopez on June 22.

He mashed against the White Sox last year with three home runs in three games. Mazara has a 1.016 OPS against the White Sox in 91 plate appearances. Maybe the White Sox have been impressed and want to bring him on board.

Maybe Mazara is a change-of-scenery candidate that can breakthrough after leaving Texas. He also likely wouldn’t cost the White Sox one of their untouchable prospects like Andrew Vaughn, for example. It wouldn’t be a show-stopping move from the White Sox, but it would fill two holes while also having some upside.

The Rangers have an excess of outfielders and the White Sox are looking for one. It’s a logical move that has been discussed here before. The Cardinals are in the same boat as the White Sox, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted on Tuesday, so there could be competition for Mazara.

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White Sox reportedly interested in reliever Craig Stammen

White Sox reportedly interested in reliever Craig Stammen

For all the talk of the White Sox getting starting pitching help this winter, talk of the bullpen has been secondary.

Here’s a rumor connecting the White Sox to right-hander Craig Stammen.

Stammen has been with the San Diego Padres the last three years and was effective in his tenure in Southern California. He had a 3.06 ERA in 209 appearances with 235 strikeouts, 60 walks and 213 hits allowed. Last season was a similarly effective 3.29 ERA with 73 strikeouts, 15 walks and 80 hits allowed in 82 innings.

Stammen’s resume has been solid since moving from a starting role to the bullpen full-time in 2012 with the Washington Nationals. He has a 2.93 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in his career as a reliever.

On paper, he would be a solid addition to the bullpen. The interesting thing about the rumor is that Stammen will turn 36 in spring training. He hasn’t shown any signs of declining yet, but he doesn’t line up with the White Sox long-term view of their contention window. That said, bullpens turnover quickly so it’s not entirely reasonable to plan a bullpen for three years from now.

The top three right-handers in the 2019 White Sox bullpen in terms of appearances were Alex Colome, Kelvin Herrera and Evan Marshall. Colome was solid as the team’s closer and Marshall was surprisingly effective, but Herrera struggled.

Herrera was last year’s big free-agent signing for the bullpen and is under contract for $8,500,000 in 2020. He had a 6.14 ERA and batters hit .288 against him in 51.1 innings last season.

Stammen could be what the White Sox were hoping Herrera would be when they signed him last year. He’s older, but has a better track record. It wouldn’t be a flashy high-priced pitcher to add to the starting rotation, but you can never have enough bullpen help.

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