White Sox

With Yoan Moncada starring at third base, would White Sox pursue Anthony Rendon?


With Yoan Moncada starring at third base, would White Sox pursue Anthony Rendon?

The Washington Nationals — playing the Milwaukee Brewers in Tuesday night's NL wild card game — are reportedly attempting to keep one of the biggest names on this winter’s free-agent market from getting there in the first place.

Just like they did last year with Bryce Harper, the Nationals reportedly made a contract offer to third baseman Anthony Rendon, a seven-year deal around $210 million or $215 million, per the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga. And, supposedly, it was a less back-loaded offer than the one made to Harper, meaning potentially more attractive to Rendon and his agent, Scott Boras (who is also Harper’s agent). Per Svrluga, it’s unlikely that Rendon would accept this offer and likely he’ll be on the market this winter.

What does this have to do with the White Sox? Well, that depends on whether they have Rendon in their offseason sights or not.

Rendon is slated to be the best and most expensive position player on the market this winter, arguably the best chance for the White Sox to make a splash like they tried to make last offseason with Manny Machado. Rendon has quietly put up MVP-caliber numbers over the past several seasons, the owner of a .310/.397/.556 slash line, 83 home runs and 318 RBIs in the last three years. In 2019, he finished with a .319/.412/.598 line, a career-high 34 home runs, an NL-best 44 doubles and a major league leading 126 RBIs. He was the only big leaguer to drive in more runs than Jose Abreu.

So obviously that’s something all 30 teams would love to have in their lineup. The White Sox, of course, have a third baseman and a very good one in Yoan Moncada. He was one of several White Sox who transformed his game, going from 217 strikeouts and a disappointing 2018 season to the status of the team’s best all-around player. Moncada finished the 2019 season with a .315/.367/.548 slash line, 25 home runs and 79 RBIs, with nearly 60 fewer strikeouts than he had the season prior.

Of course, in their quest to add an impact player from outside the organization, having a position spoken for didn’t stop them from chasing Machado last winter. Tim Anderson made up for the team missing out on the free-agent shortstop by having a tremendous season that ended with him winning the major league batting title. But had the White Sox been able to land Machado, Anderson (or perhaps Moncada) might have been playing a different position this season.

Could the same strategy be on the docket this winter if they have the opportunity to land Rendon? General manager Rick Hahn didn’t exactly close the door on pursuing a player who plays the same position as one of the White Sox young stars in the making.

“The talent pool is a little different, free agent-wise this offseason, but I'm not going to say we won't be creative in a couple elements, whether it's via trade or free agency,” he said. “Our roster does have a little bit of flexibility in it, and we hope in the coming years to have more flexibility built in in terms of different positions that guys can go out and play.

“That said, if we wind up breaking with Moncada at third, TA at short and Eloy (Jimenez) in left, (James) McCann behind the plate. If Jose (Abreu) is back, him at first or DH, we're going to feel real good about that initial start. It's going to be a matter of augmenting them at those specific positions I didn't name.”

Rendon might not be quite as attractive as Machado and Harper were last winter. Those two were 26-year-old superstars looking for decade-long deals, and they got them. Rendon has been as productive, but he’ll turn 30 midway through the 2020 season. What effect that has on the White Sox interest, who knows.

The White Sox also have several specified areas they’re looking to address this winter, with Hahn saying the team will look to add a right fielder, a designated hitter and a couple starting pitchers. That’s a hefty to-do list to also add Rendon to.

If the White Sox are looking to bring in the single best position player on this winter’s free-agent market, something they seemed intent on doing last offseason, then it would make sense to keep an eye on Rendon. But if they’re more concerned with filling holes, then Rendon, a third baseman, might not be in the cards.

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Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in


Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years, and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything, a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

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Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Are the White Sox about to sign Marcell Ozuna or not?

Depending on which report you choose to believe, the White Sox could be on the verge of filling the void in their outfield with one of the bigger names on this winter’s free-agent market.

Dominican reporter Frank Castillo tweeted Saturday that the White Sox will sign Marcell Ozuna, planning to announce the free-agent deal Monday.

Well, that was followed up by a report from The Score’s Bruce Levine, who said the White Sox are not about to sign Ozuna.

So there’s that.

The White Sox were connected to Ozuna earlier this offseason, as well as more recently, with MLB.com’s Jon Morosi writing last week that the team had interest in Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, but were waiting to hear on the decisions of Ozuna and fellow free agent Nicholas Castellanos first.

Ozuna turned heads with his fantastic 2017 season for the Miami Marlins, when he slashed .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs. Since being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Ozuna hit .263/.327/.452 with 52 homers and 177 RBIs in two seasons.

The White Sox have a pressing need in right field, making it little surprise that they’ve been tied to numerous options, including Ozuna, Castellanos and Joc Pederson. Ozuna, though, exclusively played left field in St. Louis. Were the White Sox to add him, would they insist he play right field? They’ve expressed little to no interest in moving Eloy Jimenez out of left field.

It’s rumor season, and there should be plenty more of them with the Winter Meetings starting Monday in San Diego. The White Sox are expected to continue the aggressive approach they’ve displayed already this winter with the signing of Yasmani Grandal and their reported high bid to Zack Wheeler, who took less money to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.

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