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Yasmani Grandal Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a four-year, $73 million contract with free-agent All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal, the team announced Thursday.

“He’s such a quality guy,” White Sox president Ken Williams said of Grandal. “And for him to understand our messaging, our goals, our path, and to say, ‘I want to be a part of that and I’m going to commit to it early so we can move on to the next thing heading into the winter meetings,’ [it] just shows what kind of character we’re talking about.”

It is the biggest contract in the history of the White Sox franchise. Grandal, 31, will receive $18.25 million per season through 2023.

“There’s a lot of young talent,” Grandal said. “The way I looked at it, this team could be a dark horse in the next year or so.”

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White Sox take big step toward contending by signing Yasmani Grandal

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Last offseason, Grandal turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers and reportedly declined a four-year, $60 million offer from the New York Mets.

He bet on himself to have a big year. It paid off.

After signing a one-year, $18.25 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers, the switch-hitting Grandal posted career highs in homers (28) and RBIs (77) and earned his second All-Star appearance. He walked over 100 times to post a .380 OBP, which ranked first among major league catchers.

He also led all catchers in games played (153) and was second in extra-base hits (56), total bases (240) and RBIs.

Grandal declined to exercise his part of a $16 million mutual option with the Brewers for 2020, with a $2.25 million buyout, so he could again become a free agent.

“Unlike last year around this time, where the market was kind of completely nonexistent, this year was just slightly different,” Grandal said. “It seemed like there were several teams that were working hard within their limits to be able to compete. There were several teams that were really interested. The one thing that kind of stood out the most for me is the White Sox. I love their professionalism, their preparation and the direction of the program.”

General manager Rick Hahn said he met with Grandal at the general managers meetings in Arizona last week and reached an agreement on Wednesday night.

“Exciting day for us around here, being able to add one of the elite talents at a premium position,” Hahn said.

The White Sox went 72-89 in their seventh straight losing season and missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years since the 2005 team won the World Series.

James McCann, 29, was the White Sox’s starting catcher last season and was an All-Star for the first time, hitting .273 with 18 home runs and 60 RBIs. He is signed for the 2020 season with a contract that carries a base salary of $4.9 million.

Hahn said either could be used at designated hitter, with Grandal also getting time at first base.

“Having too many guys who are quality big leaguers is a good thing,” Hahn said. “Not something that we necessarily view as a problem.”

With young players establishing themselves in the majors and promising prospects in the minors, the White Sox think they are setting themselves up to make a big jump.

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“This was all planned, going back five years ago when we started this and started thinking about [rebuilding],” Williams said. “We get ourselves in position with our young core and we could augment it with guys like this.

“… Clearly, we’re trying to put ourselves in a window that could very well start next year but extend to the next five to seven years.”

Led by right-hander Lucas Giolito, the White Sox could have a solid rotation in 2020 if Michael Kopech bounces back from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease develops as the team has envisioned.

Offensely, Tim Anderson led the majors with a .335 batting average, and Yoan Moncada had a breakthrough season, hitting .315 with 25 homers and 79 RBIs. Eloy Jimenez showed pop as a rookie, with a .267 average, 31 homers and 79 RBIs.

Prized outfielder Luis Robert figures to debut next spring, and promising second baseman Nick Madrigal also is in the pipeline.

“I’m not going to prognosticate how this plays or how people should interpret it or what this means in terms of what we’re going to do next,” Hahn said. “Generally, in my experience, people don’t want to hear about the labor; they want to see the baby. We had a boy today, I guess. … My point being the impact this has on future deals, we’ll talk about after there’s future deals.”

Grandal, who leads all major league catchers with 117 homers since 2015, has a career .241 batting average with 141 home runs, 416 RBIs and 374 runs scored over eight seasons with the Brewers, Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was the bench coach for the Padres while Grandal was with San Diego.

To make room on the roster for Grandal, the White Sox designated outfielder Daniel Palka for assignment.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jimmy Lambert Jersey White Sox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rick Hahn will, along with the rest of baseball’s team-runners, make the trip to the desert this week for the general managers meetings.

Hahn will speak to reporters for the first time since his end-of-season press conference in September. And while not too much has happened in terms of player movement in the perennially slow-to-get-going baseball offseason, his comments could shine some new light on what the White Sox are hoping to accomplish this winter.

We know Hahn’s front office will look to plug holes in right field, at designated hitter and in the starting rotation. But there’s a lot about the specifics that we don’t know. Hahn’s not the type to come out say exactly which free agents the White Sox will attempt to sign, so don’t expect that. But his answers to questions this week could provide some clues about what kinds of players the team will look to add to the mix.

Here are five things we could learn about the White Sox offseason.

1. Are the White Sox still focused solely on long-term additions? And will that prevent them from signing potentially helpful short-term pieces?

Hahn has long preached a long-term vision during this rebuilding project, and rightfully so. It’s that valuing the long term over the short term that has created the White Sox exciting young core and put them in position to potentially vault into contention mode in the near future. But that dedication to the long term has disappointed certain fans who have craved additions that would make the team more competitive in the immediate.

The idea that the White Sox will continue to try to enhance their success over a long period of time isn’t going anywhere, but Hahn said the White Sox are moving into the “next phase” of the rebuild. Rick Renteria said that “it’s time to turn the page.” Lucas Giolito said this: “Our goal will 100-percent be making the playoffs and getting as deep as we can. If we don’t, then I don’t think we’ve come close to what we should be doing.”

Does all that declaration mean that those short-term additions are suddenly on the table?

Hahn refuses to set specific expectations for next season until he knows what his roster looks like, a wise stance. But he’s also pledged aggressiveness and that “the money will be spent” on premium free agents. The kind of move he’s envisioned as a goal of his rebuilding project — like the ultimately failed attempt to land Manny Machado last winter — has always seemed an obvious long-term move, one that will fuel the White Sox for years to come. The best players in the game rarely sign short-term contracts, and teams often want to lock those players up with long-term deals that will extend their championship window.

But once that window opens, short-term moves can be mighty beneficial.

Insight into this thinking will apply to how the White Sox go about numerous things this winter. For example, let’s look at that vacant designated hitter spot. J.D. Martinez seemed like the perfect long-term fit, but he opted to stay with the Boston Red Sox. So does Hahn turn to a short-term option like Edwin Encarnacion to plug that hole? Or does that kind of short-term move — one that would benefit a run at a title in 2020 and nothing more — still not make sense for these White Sox?

2. Are the White Sox in a position to consider a trade for only one guaranteed season of one of the best players in baseball?

This kind of goes with the first item, but the Red Sox quest to get under the luxury tax has made them the most notable sellers in the game. Martinez. Mookie Betts. Jackie Bradley Jr. Andrew Benintendi. David Price. Nathan Eovaldi. Those are some pretty gigantic names, and every one of them has been speculated about potentially leaving the Bay State in the name of fiscal responsibility.

The first two names on that list are arguably the best designated hitter and right fielder in the game, respectively, so perhaps the White Sox, given their positional needs, should be interested. But both Martinez and Betts would be acquired with just one guaranteed season of club control, making any deal a risky proposition.

Part of the reason Martinez opted to stick with his current contract is because he can do all this again next offseason, deciding whether he wants to become a free agent or not. So, like 2019 was, maybe 2020 is the final year before he seeks a new multi-year deal. The Red Sox couldn’t get rid of his $23.75 million just by wishing it away, but they might be able to via trade. The White Sox seemed to have a perfect solution to their DH question ready for the inking, but it didn’t happen. Doesn’t mean it still can’t.

Betts, meanwhile, is projected to receive $27.7 million through the arbitration process, perhaps pricing him out of Boston’s already packed payroll. Well, he would look pretty good in right field at The Rate. He’s a year removed from an MVP season, and the White Sox sure could use one of the best hitters in baseball in their lineup. Though he seems to be set on reaching free agency when it rolls around for him next winter.

Neither would be guaranteed to stick around past 2020. So is Hahn ready to ship some of that carefully collected prospect capital away to Boston to make a big splash that might dry up once the 2020 season’s over — with potentially nothing to show for it but a short-term surge in shirsey sales?

It’s all part of the long-term-vs.-short-term game the White Sox have been playing for a while now. Prior to this winter, the answer was always an easy one. But with increased expectations come tougher decisions. The question is do Hahn’s expectations for the 2020 season warrant that big of a gamble?

3. What’s the deal with the starting rotation?

(Note: That is to be read in your best Jerry Seinfeld impression.)

There are a ton of things we could learn this week about the White Sox pursuit of pitching, something Hahn has hinted was coming for some time. While he stocked the farm system with arms that seemed primed to battle each other for spots in the much discussed rotation of the future, things haven’t exactly panned out that way — yet.

Tommy John surgeries for Michael Kopech, Carlos Rodon, Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert slowed their respective rises. Giolito blossomed into an All Star and an ace, but only after putting up the worst statistics in baseball a year earlier. Dylan Cease’s first taste of the majors didn’t go much better than Giolito’s. Reynaldo Lopez continues to pinball back and forth between top-of-the-rotation promise and a guy Renteria needs to remind that he’s pitching.

All of those pitchers could still reach their high potentials, but the general mystery over what comes next for any of them — not to mention the glaring lack of major league ready starting-pitching depth in 2019 — put starting pitching at the top of Hahn’s offseason to-do list.

But here are some questions:

What kind of starting pitching is Hahn looking for?

There are two huge names at the top of the market, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, who figure to command contracts that last much of the next decade. They’d be rotation-toppers, and if the White Sox are interested, they could install a bona fide, Hall-of-Fame type ace in the No. 1 spot for the foreseeable future, making for a pretty terrifying 1-2 punch when you add in Giolito. But at least one report has indicated they might be more interested in veteran types like Dallas Keuchel and Cole Hamels. That leaps over the idea of them chasing another veteran in Madison Bumgarner. Or are they searching for younger but less top-of-the-rotation arms like Jake Odorizzi and Zack Wheeler?

How many starting pitchers is Hahn looking for?

He slotted Giolito, Cease and Lopez into 2020 rotation spots back in September, leaving two spots unclaimed. But Kopech will start spring training with no restrictions after his Tommy John recovery and figures to be slotted into one of the vacancies. Will he be on an innings limit of some kind? Dunning, Rodon, Lambert, they’ll be back at some point. How much do the White Sox expect to get from those guys? And how much opportunity will Lopez continue to get if his unpredictability stretches into a season with more meaningful games? All that works into how many starting pitchers the White Sox will target this winter.

How will the White Sox address their depth issues without a repeat of the Ervin Santana experiment?

Santana’s addition during spring training seemed like a fine low-risk move — until there was no reward. He made all of three starts and was crushed in every one of them. That was a valiant attempt at providing another big league arm, but it didn’t work and, along with Rodon’s season-ending injury, opened the floodgates for the parade of ineffective fifth starters that lasted until season’s end. There needs to be more depth and more reliable depth, but that’s easier said than done. The White Sox can’t sign six guys to big league contracts, mash them together with their in-house starting staff and then just put the rest in the bullpen. Quality pitchers aren’t going to sign up for a job they might not have. Now, as Santana’s signing last spring showed, there should be options available who will. But will that create the same problem all over again?

With the starting-pitching market seemingly so rich this offseason, there are a lot of directions in which the White Sox could go. But which one will it be? Maybe we’ll find out this week.

4. Will the White Sox deviate from their stated objectives to make a big splash?

Right field. Designated hitter. Starting pitching. You’re probably getting sick of me talking about those three positions at this point. But, as I recently chronicled in great detail, there are some pretty big names on the free-agent market who don’t fall into those three categories. Will the White Sox close the door on those opportunities from the outset, or will they rearrange their priorities to capitalize on such an opportunity?

Hahn showed just last offseason he’s willing to chase a player who plays a position the team has filled in the name of adding that “finishing piece” to his rebuilding puzzle. The pursuit of Machado irked incumbent shortstop Tim Anderson, and perhaps it’s Yoan Moncada who gets bugged by the White Sox chasing Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson, or James McCann getting miffed the South Siders are going after Yasmani Grandal.

Hahn essentially answered this question already, asked in September if position would be a deal-breaker.

“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,” Hahn 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.”

But maybe there’s more to learn. Moncada has supposedly told Renteria he can play the outfield. Does that make a pursuit of a free-agent third baseman more likely? What about at catcher? How do the White Sox view their long-term future there, considering McCann’s All-Star first half yielded to a far less appealing second half and Zack Collins is very much still an unknown after only a couple months of big league action in 2019?

5. What is the latest with Jose Abreu?

Seemingly the most predictable part of the White Sox offseason was the assumed re-signing of Abreu, who spent the entirety of the 2019 campaign giddily describing how badly he wanted to remain on the South Side and join the youngsters in their planned ascent to contender status.

Well, a multi-year deal keeping Abreu in what Jerry Reinsdorf supposedly told the first baseman is the only uniform he’ll ever wear still seems the obvious outcome. But this situation is not without its interesting wrinkles, particularly after the team extended Abreu a qualifying offer last week. It still strikes as the White Sox simply covering their bases and lining themselves up to receive a draft pick in the unlikely event Abreu winds up somewhere else. But now there’s talk of a potentially weak market for Abreu and with it, some incentive to take the one-year contract worth $17.8 million.

It’s extremely rare that a player accepts a qualifying offer, though there’s speculation Abreu might. We’ll find out his decision this week, as his 10-day window to accept or reject started last Monday.

Again, the most likely result remains him inking a new multi-year contract to stay on the South Side. But, as Hahn pointed at as a possibility back in September, Abreu actually made it to free agency and remains not a White Sock at the moment. Will that soon change? Maybe the general manager has some updates.

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Matt Foster Jersey White Sox

Ahead of a Wednesday deadline to protect players ahead of December’s Rule 5 Draft, the Chicago White Sox purchased the contracts of seven players, including pitcher Dane Dunning and outfielder Blake Rutherford.

The moves by the White Sox leave their 40-man roster at maximum size, and means that the players cannot be selected in the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 12.

The team opted to protect Dunning, along with pitchers Zack Burdi, Matt Foster and Jimmy Lambert. Hurler Bernardo Flores Jr. was also protected, along with catcher Yermín Mercedes and Rutherford.

According to the White Sox, five of the players are ranked among their Top 30 prospects by MLB Pipeline, including Dunning, Rutherford, and Lambert.

Per MLB rules, any player chosen in the Rule 5 Draft must remain on his new team’s 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season, and the selecting team must pay the player’s original team $50,000.

If a team later wants to send a Rule 5 player back to the minors, they must clear waivers, and the team they were drafted from gets first rights to bring the player back into their organization for a cost of $25,000.

Bernardo Flores Jersey White Sox

The White Sox made some important decisions Wednesday, protecting seven players from selection in next month’s Rule 5 draft by moving them to the 40-man roster.

Dane Dunning, Blake Rutherford, Jimmy Lambert, Zack Burdi, Bernardo Flores, Yermin Mercedes and Matt Foster were moved to the 40-man roster, making them unable to be plucked away by other teams in the Rule 5 draft Dec. 12 during the Winter Meetings.

That’s obviously good news for the White Sox, who will hang onto those prized prospects regardless of what happens next month. But the team opted to leave plenty of other players open to selection, including Alec Hansen, Zach Thompson, Spencer Adams and Kyle Kubat.

The 40-man roster is now full at the maximum 40 players, meaning any offseason additions made from here on out will require a player being removed from the 40-man roster.

Dunning is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization and despite undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this season still has a bright future as a potential member of the White Sox rotation. In fact, he was moving along so positively in 2018 that general manager Rick Hahn said if not for the injury Dunning could have been part of the team’s Opening Day rotation in 2019. He last pitched in 2018, turning in a stellar 2.71 ERA and striking out 100 batters in 15 starts between Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.

Rutherford remains ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the organization but finds himself one of many outfield prospects who had disappointing 2019 campaigns. He saw significant statistical dips playing at Birmingham from the numbers he put up in 2018 at Winston-Salem. In 2019, he slashed .265/.319/.365 in 118 games. He failed to do much of anything in the Arizona Fall League, either, slashing .179/.281/.385 in 21 games.

Lambert is ranked as the No. 18 prospect in the organization and, like Dunning, underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year. If not for the injury, he might have factored into the big league starting staff by the end of the 2019 campaign. He followed up a strong 2018 season (3.67 ERA in 18 starts between Winston-Salem and Birmingham) with a 4.55 ERA in 11 starts at Birmingham in 2019.

Burdi is still ranked as the No. 23 prospect in the organization despite an injury-plagued last couple of seasons. A knee injury ended his 2019 season early, this after missing almost the entirety of the 2018 season (just a few appearances in Rookie ball) while recovering from Tommy John surgery. A first-round pick in 2016, Burdi struggled before the knee injury, with a 6.75 ERA in 22.2 innings between Birmingham and Class A Kannapolis.

Flores is ranked as the No. 28 prospect in the organization. He had a mighty promising 2018 season at Winston-Salem and Birmingham, with a 2.65 ERA in 25 starts. Those numbers jumped up in 2019, with Flores finishing with a 3.33 ERA in 15 starts at Birmingham.

Mercedes was one of the bright spots of the White Sox farm system in 2019, slashing .317/.388/.581 with 23 homers splitting time between Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Many fans hoped he would have gotten a September call-up. He didn’t, but Hahn mentioned him as a potential part of the catching mix when the team heads to spring training in February.

Foster had a solid 2019 season, finishing with a 3.20 ERA in 43 relief appearances at Birmingham and Charlotte.

As for those who are exposed to selection in the Rule 5 draft, Hansen was once one of the highest ranked pitching prospects in the organization, thanks to a phenomenal 2017 campaign, when he had a 2.80 ERA and 191 strikeouts pitching at three different levels. But a 2018 forearm injury derailed everything. That year, he didn’t even make his first appearance until mid June and finished with a 6.31 ERA and an outrageous 59 walks compared to just 55 strikeouts. In 2019, he didn’t fare much better, with a 4.64 ERA and 44 more walks (compared with 66 strikeouts). He’s still ranked as the organization’s No. 27 prospect.

Thompson was excellent in 2018, with a 1.55 ERA in 43 relief appearances at Winston-Salem and Birmingham. A year later, he was pummeled to the tune of a 5.23 ERA in 45 relief appearances, most coming at Charlotte.

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Dane Dunning Jersey White Sox

It’s non-tender deadline day, perhaps more often greeted by the casual observer with a question mark as opposed to an exclamation point, but an important day on baseball’s offseason calendar, nonetheless.

The White Sox, along with their 29 major league compatriots, have until Monday night to tender contract offers to their arbitration-eligible players or to decide not to, sending them to free agency. The White Sox have decisions to make on six players: Alex Colome, James McCann, Leury Garcia, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez and Evan Marshall.

Here’s what to expect.

Yolmer Sanchez

Sanchez has been the most discussed of this group, and indeed his time with the White Sox already appears to be over. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported last week that the team placed its Gold Glove second baseman on outright waivers and that Sanchez cleared those waivers and will head to free agency. Sanchez, who had repeatedly said he wanted to stay with the only organization he’s ever known, followed with a social-media post or two indicating he was going to try to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. The team, aside from a comment from manager Rick Renteria, has not officially announced anything involving Sanchez’s status.

Certainly the White Sox moving on from Sanchez wasn’t difficult to foresee. Nick Madrigal, the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is on the doorstep of the major leagues and is expected to be the starting second baseman on the South Side for the bulk of the 2020 campaign. While Sanchez plays some exceptional defense, he can’t match what Madrigal — a top-40 prospect in baseball who has also been touted as an elite defender — can do with the bat. Sanchez slashed just .252/.318/.321 in 2019, while Madrigal tore up the minors to the tune of .311/.377/.414 and struck out only 16 times in 120 games. In the end, Sanchez would have been an expensive reserve infielder, projected to make $6.2 million in arbitration.

Alex Colome

There are certain corners of the White Sox internet that look at Colome’s second-half splits and lack of strikeouts and see doom coming around the bend. Indeed, Colome did fare much worse after the All-Star break than he did before it, with a 3.91 ERA and a frightening .265/.347/.422 slash line against in the second half after posting a 2.02 ERA and holding hitters to a .127/.194/.288 line in the first half. Is that worth a projected $10.3 million? That’s the decision the White Sox face.

But Colome has been one of the more productive ninth-inning men in baseball in recent seasons, even if the second half of 2019 didn’t look so good. Since the start of the 2016 season, he’s posted a 2.78 ERA and saved 126 games, a total that would be significantly higher if not for his playing setup man for the majority of 2018.

In a 2019 season featuring plenty of problems from the rotation and lineup, the bullpen was a reliable unit for the White Sox, with a 4.31 ERA that ranked seventh in the American League, behind only the five playoff teams and the Cleveland Indians, who narrowly missed the postseason. Stability at the back end with Colome and Aaron Bummer is a good thing to head into 2020 with, especially with so many other holes that need filling on the roster. The White Sox likely don’t want to add potentially expensive bullpen help to their offseason to-do list.

James McCann

The White Sox tendering McCann a contract is a no-brainer, but he’s been talked about an awful lot since the team inked free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to the richest contract it’s ever given out a couple weeks ago. McCann doesn’t figure to go anywhere, even with another All-Star backstop now ahead of him on the depth chart. McCann was a heck of a find by Rick Hahn last offseason, and having two good catchers is better than having one, especially considering the lineup permutations Rick Renteria might be forced to come up with if the White Sox front office opts for a DH rotation of Grandal, McCann, Jose Abreu and Zack Collins.

But McCann will be talked about on a variety of levels as the offseason goes on, too. If the White Sox could sell high on a guy who made the All-Star team last season — but who also batted just .226/.281/.413 in the second half — would they take that opportunity? Or will McCann stay on and serve as a personal catcher of sorts for Lucas Giolito after the duo had such incredible success in 2019? The White Sox have options, but no matter which path they end up traveling down with McCann, they’ll almost surely do so after tendering him a contract Monday.

Leury Garcia

Another seeming no-brainer, Garcia is likely destined for the role of utility man on the 2020 roster after playing in 140 games in 2019 and starting in 135 of them. His projected $4 million is less than Sanchez’s projected $6.2 million, and he can play all three outfield positions in addition to the three positions on the infield Sanchez can play. His .310 on-base percentage and relative light-hitting ways might not have been what some fans wanted to see from an everyday player last season, but as a guy off the bench once Luis Robert and Madrigal reach the major leagues, Garcia figures to be an asset for Renteria and the White Sox.

Evan Marshall

Marshall is also a seeming lock to get a contract tendered Monday after he was a key member of the White Sox late-inning corps in 2019. They picked him up as a minor league free agent, and he turned in a 2.49 ERA in 50.2 relief innings. Hahn is always reminding us about the volatility of relief pitching, so it’s difficult to say we should expect a repeat performance from Marshall. But he’s slated to hold a key bullpen position in 2020, as well, making him well worth a projected $1.3 million.

Carlos Rodon

The White Sox only have two years of team control remaining with Rodon before he’s slated to hit free agency. Between the contract situation and all the significant arm injuries he’s suffered in recent seasons, it’s not at all easy to project him as a long-term member of the rotation. That being said, it would be shocking to see him non-tendered Monday. The team has suggested all along that he’s still very much part of their plans. The White Sox are still hoping that even after a long layoff while recovering from Tommy John surgery that he can become the pitcher they envisioned he’d be when they took him with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. That has been a bit of a challenge for Rodon, who’s shown flashes of strikeout-heavy brilliance, as well as frustrating bouts of ineffectiveness. Prior to having the surgery this year, he had a 5.19 ERA in seven starts.

But the White Sox figure to crave all the starting pitching they can muster in 2020. On the hunt for a couple offseason additions, they also have plans to limit Michael Kopech — who’s returning from his own Tommy John surgery — and can’t be 100-percent certain what they’ll get out of still-promising youngsters Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez. The contributions of pitching prospects Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert remain mysteries, too, as they return from Tommy John in the middle of the season.

Bottom line: Whatever the White Sox can get out of Rodon in 2020, they’ll happily take, making the projected $4.5 million seem plenty doable.

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Carlos Rodon Jersey White Sox

Yolmer Sanchez’s tenure on the South Side is officially over.

After it was reported last week that the White Sox put the Gold Glove second baseman on outright waivers and that he was slated to become a free agent, the team announced they decided not to tender Sanchez a contract for the 2020 season. They announced the same decision for relievers Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, while saying they tendered contracts to all other unsigned players, including arbitration-eligible guys Alex Colome, Evan Marshall, Leury Garcia and Carlos Rodon.

Certainly the White Sox moving on from Sanchez wasn’t difficult to foresee. Nick Madrigal, the team’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft, is on the doorstep of the major leagues and is expected to be the starting second baseman on the South Side for the bulk of the 2020 campaign. While Sanchez plays some exceptional defense, he can’t match what Madrigal — a top-40 prospect in baseball who has also been touted as an elite defender — can do with the bat. Sanchez slashed just .252/.318/.321 in 2019, while Madrigal tore up the minors to the tune of .311/.377/.414 and struck out only 16 times in 120 games. In the end, Sanchez would have been an expensive reserve infielder, projected to make $6.2 million in arbitration.

Despite some potential red flags given the first- and second-half splits, the White Sox made the expected decision to stick with Colome in 2020. Though opposing hitters slashed .265/.347/.422 against him after the All-Star break in 2019 — and he’s projected to received $10.3 million through the arbitration process — Colome has been one of the more productive ninth-inning men in baseball in recent seasons, with a 2.78 ERA and 126 saves since the start of the 2016 campaign. His remaining at the back end of the bullpen gives the White Sox stability and prevents another potentially expensive item from being added to Rick Hahn’s offseason to-do list.

Marshall was also a key member of the White Sox late-inning corps in 2019, with a 2.49 ERA in 50.2 relief innings. Hahn is always reminding us about the volatility of relief pitching, so it’s difficult to say we should expect a repeat performance from Marshall. But he’s slated to hold a key bullpen position in 2020, as well.

Garcia is likely destined for the role of utility man on the 2020 roster after playing in 140 games in 2019 and starting in 135 of them. He can play all three outfield positions in addition to three positions on the infield Sanchez can play, providing versatility off the bench — once Madrigal and Luis Robert arrive from the minors — for Renteria and the White Sox.

The White Sox are still hoping that even after a long layoff while recovering from Tommy John surgery that Rodon can become the pitcher they envisioned he’d be when they took him with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 draft. That has been a bit of a challenge for Rodon, who’s shown flashes of strikeout-heavy brilliance, as well as frustrating bouts of ineffectiveness. Prior to having the surgery this year, he had a 5.19 ERA in seven starts. But the White Sox figure to crave all the starting pitching they can muster in 2020. On the hunt for a couple offseason additions, they also have plans to limit Michael Kopech — who’s returning from his own Tommy John surgery — and can’t be 100-percent certain what they’ll get out of still-promising youngsters Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez. The contributions of pitching prospects Dane Dunning and Jimmy Lambert remain mysteries, too, as they return from Tommy John in the middle of the season, making Rodon a valuable piece of depth, if nothing else.

Burr and Frare were, at a time, part of a group of young relief pitchers who might’ve made some impact in the White Sox bullpen. Burr had a 4.58 ERA in 19.2 innings before his 2019 season ended in Tommy John surgery. Frare was knocked around in limited big league action in 2019, tagged for a 10.13 ERA in just 2.2 innings over five different appearances. In 27 appearance at three different minor league levels, he had a 6.35 ERA in 28.1 innings.

The White Sox also announced they released relief pitcher Thyago Vieira in order for him to pursue an opportunity in Japan. Earlier Monday, they announced a one-year, $5.4 million deal for All-Star catcher James McCann.

Got all that?

The White Sox 40-man roster now stands at 36, allowing the White Sox to continue their aggressive pursuits this offseason without further trimming. Two starting pitchers and a right fielder — and possibly a DH and more relief help — remain on Hahn’s to-do list, and he has four open spots to work with a week out from the Winter Meetings.

It’s not outside the realm of possibility that any of the three players non-tendered Monday could return to the White Sox organization in one form or another. But they are free agents now.

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Adam Engel Jersey White Sox

In a whirlwind of events on Wednesday, the Chicago White Sox lost out on both Zack Wheeler and Cole Hamels. Wheeler signed a five-year, $118 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.

It burns. It really freaking burns that Wheeler — a no-brainer acquisition — spurned the White Sox to sign with Philly for less money than the White Sox offered him.

The one time the White Sox don’t sign or trade for a major free-agent target’s family member(s), the player actually signed with a team because of the wishes and desires of their family member!

frustrated the shining GIF
Frustration and jokes aside, I’m married, so I get that Wheeler heavily considered his fiancee’s desire to stay on the east coast near her family, but that doesn’t make it hurt less from a roster construction standpoint.

It does, however, tell me that the White Sox were genuinely serious about landing Wheeler and continuing their push to become contenders in the very near future, which gives me hope that they will still make the moves necessary to make that a realization.

Wheeler took $118 million from Philly while the offer from the White Sox was above the $120 million threshold, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.

Despite those two variables, the Sox still missed their target, so they do not get a reprieve because “they tried.” If the White Sox are ever going to be taken seriously, they cannot continue to get outbid in the open market. That’s just a fact.

Now onto the burning question: where do the White Sox start in their continued search to make the leap to the next level of the rebuild? That question is much more mucky with Wheeler in Philadelphia than it would have been with him heading up a young, promising rotation in Chicago. Nonetheless, let’s dive into a potential path to contention in 2020 and beyond.

Starting Pitching
With Wheeler and Hamels off the board, the attention must immediately turn to the remaining options available on the open market.

According to Andy Martino of SNY, the White Sox and Twins are the suitors “heaviest involved” in the Madison Bumgarner talks as of Wednesday afternoon. Bumgarner, along with Hyun-Jin Ryu, become the two obvious choices for a “front-end” type of free-agent pitching acquisition, so it’s nice to hear that the Sox are back to work and making a push for one of those two guys.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Madison Bumgarner scares the crap out of me as a long-term, big-money signing.

The soon-to-be 31-year old southpaw has logged 1,846 innings in his career to this point, and if he stays healthy, he’ll eclipse the 2,000 inning mark in 2020. According to Spotrac, Bumgarner’s current market value — largely due to the inflation of Wheeler’s market — is in the ballpark of five-years, $105 million (or an AAV of $21.1 million).

This is a lot of money to invest in a high-mileage pitcher.

Add in the fact that since 2016 — Bumgarner’s last full season prior to 2019 — his ERA is up over a full point (3.90 from 2.74), his xFIP is up nearly the same margin (4.31 from 3.54), his fly ball rate is troubling in the park he’d make half his starts in, and his hard-hit rate is up a whopping 12.2 percent (43.8% from 31.6%). Madison Bumgarner, at his current market value, is an absolute disaster waiting to happen.

That’s going to be a hard pass from me, and it should be from the White Sox front office as well.

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s numbers don’t scream regression like Bumgarner’s do, but a four-year, $110 million deal (current market value according to Spotrac) would be an equally giant risk for Chicago. Some have tossed the idea of a shorter deal around, but the current perceived AAV of $27.6 million at five years would certainly rise, and I don’t see any discount deals on the horizon for the Sox from any Boras client, which unfortunately is the case with Ryu.

Dallas Keuchel, who will turn 32 before Spring Training, posted a 2 WAR season (according to Baseball-Reference) for the Braves in 2019 after sitting out the start of the 2019 season due to his reluctance to undervalue himself.

Spotrac has the former Astros’ hurler at $103 million over five years or an AAV of $20.7 million.

No thanks.

The big three left on the starting pitching board are all going to be a “no” for me, which means we’re going to have to get a little more creative than a singular splash this winter.

Alex Wood is 28, and a back injury essentially washed away his 2019 campaign in Cincinnati, but his years in Los Angeles saw him post a 3.40 ERA over the course of 839 innings of work. Over that time, Wood holds an 8.2 K/9 compared to a 2.6 BB/9. He was a Cy Young Award finalist in 2017 when he posted a 2.72 ERA over the course of 27 games to comprise his career-best campaign.

At $77 million over four years, or an AAV of $19.3 million, the left-handed Alex Wood is a much better investment for the White Sox at this point in the game.

With Wood, the White Sox could add another starting pitching piece and have more money to play with around the diamond than they would have if they signed Wheeler or any of the three aforementioned “front-line” guys.

The Sox can also take a look at the likes of Homer Bailey, Tanner Roark, and Gio Gonzalez in the way of 1-2 year deals to provide depth to the back end of the rotation.

Right Field
In the midst of the pitching frenzy that was taking place on Wednesday, Jon Morosi reported that the markets for Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos were heating up. He named the White Sox and Texas Rangers as two teams with interest in the top free-agent outfielders on the market today.

This is a crucial spot that the White Sox need to get right, and unlike the current starting pitching direction, this one is much easier.

I was super hot on Marcell Ozuna at the start of the offseason, and I still love the idea of him landing in Chicago. I also like Castellanos coming to the South Side of town, so either option is viable in my opinion.

Spotrac has the 29-year old Ozuna pegged at five years, $97 million ($19 million AAV), which would become the White Sox’s (new) largest free-agent deal in club history.

Despite having two less than overwhelming years in St. Louis, I believe that Ozuna could still remain a 25 HR/ 85 RBI bat in Chicago, which would make his deal justified and add to what looks to be a potent Sox lineup with the additions of Yasmani Grandal, Luis Robert, and continued growth of the likes of Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and Tim Anderson.

Castellanos, 27, could cost the White Sox less than Ozuna — big emphasis on could, as he’s a Boras client — but he’s less of a threat both offensively and defensively than Ozuna in my opinion. Castellanos’ career numbers at Guaranteed Rate Field are surprisingly underwhelming for a guy who has played so many games there, but he would be more than serviceable at the right price.

The third option that would work in right field would be a potential trade for Joc Pederson, a move that we know the White Sox have interest in. Pederson is making $8 million in 2020 and set to become a free agent next winter, so a deal with Los Angeles would need to hinge on a contract extension getting done unless the price was rock-bottom due to the Dodgers looking to simply offload his 2020 salary in the pursuit of a big-ticket item like Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole.

Outside of those three options in right field (and lord help us if no player included in that trio pan out), the open market offers a handful of semi-worthy names for consideration:

Yasiel Puig (29)
Kole Calhoun (32)
Corey Dickerson (31)
Kevin Pillar (31)
Beyond that, the Sox might as well pocket or otherwise invest their cash at a later date. It wouldn’t be considered a victory as far as the offseason is concerned, but Adam Engel and Leury Garcia can provide more 2020 bang-for-buck than the other outfielders on the market.

Bullpen
The bullpen is such a volatile area that it’s really hard to predict the market for it. Couple that with the fact that the Sox currently employ Alex Colome, Aaron Bummer, Kelvin Herrera (if he doesn’t end up in jail), and a handful of other could-be bullpen items in the system, and I don’t expect to see many — if any — big-name relievers inking deals with the Sox.

Blake Treinen, who had a tough 2019 in Oakland that led to him being non-tendered by the comparably frugal A’s, would be worth a 1-2 year deal. I wouldn’t count on it though.

Other Depth
I mentioned on Wednesday morning that Travis Shaw would be worth a look at the right price for the White Sox. With Yolmer Sanchez‘s departure, Shaw could provide the Sox with a left-handed power bat that could play second base until Nick Madrigal‘s impending arrival. After that, Shaw could spend time at second, third, first and DH to spell the regulars.

Shaw, 29, and posted excellent 2017 and 2018 campaigns in Milwaukee before struggling in 2019. A 1-2 year deal with an AAV in the $5-8 million range could prove to be a steal for the White Sox if the left-handed slugger can have a bounce-back campaign.

Down, but not out (yet)
Sure, the Zack Wheeler miss was a big blow to the White Sox’s overall plan this winter, but there are enough ways to get creative. Rick Hahn and co. can still pick themselves up off of the mat and continue to build a team that can be competitive in 2020.

No excuses, just get back to work and get it done. You made a promise to the fanbase, and it’s one that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Micker Adolfo Jersey White Sox

Come mid-April, an interesting thing will happen in the White Sox organization. The majority of attention will turn from the farm system to the major league team. With Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal and Eloy Jimenez in the big leagues, the farm system will not be the main attraction of the organization for the first time since the rebuild began.

This does not mean there will be nothing to watch for on the farm. There are still plenty of prospects that will be looking to make their mark on the next contending White Sox team before it’s all said and done. Let’s take a look at some of the names to watch as the White Sox rebuild begins to slowly transition into what the team hopes is its competitive stage.

The biggest name for fans to watch in the system this year will be Andrew Vaughn. The Golden Spikes Award winner and third overall pick figures to fly through the Sox system much like Madrigal did. If Vaughn follows the Madrigal path, he will likely start the season at a low-level affiliate and finish the season in Charlotte.

The White Sox hope Vaughn cements himself as the heir apparent to Jose Abreu at first base and can showcase his plus power and plus hit tool at every level in 2020. If all goes according to plan, Vaughn should be in a position to break camp with the team in 2021 or be called up shortly after the service deadline in April.

Beyond Vaughn, the White Sox system offers plenty of intrigue. Dane Dunning and Jonathan Stiever highlight the next wave of pitching prospects who the Sox hope will be making major league contributions sooner rather than later.

Dunning appeared on the fast track to the bigs in 2018, striking out 100 batters in 86.1 innings across two leagues, but Tommy John surgery sidelined the promising pitcher in 2019. He posted his first bullpen video since the surgery on Monday, and a return to the mound in 2020 seems on track. The White Sox hope Dunning returns to his pre-injury form quickly and reestablishes himself as the next talented starter to join the big-league rotation.

Stiever presents another potential middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Sox and their fans to monitor in 2020. While Stiever has only pitched in high-A for the White Sox, his promising numbers across 12 starts are worth monitoring, and he could potentially position himself as the top pitching prospect in the entire system by season’s end. Stiever is likely at least a year away from reaching the majors, but he is a name to watch in 2020 as fans look for the next wave of premier Sox pitching prospects.

In the field, the Sox farm system offers a crowded outfield picture that should begin to clear up in 2020. Steele Walker, the team’s second round pick in 2018, had an impressive campaign in 2019 and established himself as possibly the premier outfielder not from Cuba in the Sox system.

Walker may open the season in Birmingham and potentially knock on the door of the major league team towards the end of the year. He has a plus hit tool and strong intangibles which make him an intriguing prospect to watch closely in 2020. Walker has experience primarily in center, but has shown the versatility and instincts to play right field and his flexibility is something the team will consider when evaluating the 5’11, 195-pound left-handed hitter.

Behind Walker is a crowded outfield group featuring Luis Alexander Basabe, Blake Rutherford, Luis Gonzalez and Micker Adolfo. Rutherford is the outfielder in this group with the highest pedigree, being a former first round pick and crown jewel of the David Robertson Yankees trade in 2017.

However, Rutherford’s inability to unlock his natural power has caused him to lose his status as the most promising lower level outfielder in the system. Turning 22 in May, Rutherford still has time to translate to a big league talent, but at this point his future may lie as a trade piece around the deadline.

Basabe was the lottery ticket prospect acquired for Chris Sale, and has shown some promise since being acquired. The 23-year-old figures to be knocking on the door of the big-league club as soon as late 2020 and could find some time in the field at any of the three outfield positions for the White Sox. During an injury ridden season, Basabe slashed .246/.324/.336 in 69 games in Birmingham.

Adolfo, meanwhile, who signed as an international free agent in 2013, had his development set back by two elbow surgeries last year. But the 255-pound corner outfielder is still a name worth watching. His plus power has enticed the Sox since they signed him and will continue to allow him an opportunity at some of the organization’s higher level affiliates.

Luis Gonzalez, despite some promising numbers and positional versatility, finds himself the odd man out of the equation. With average tools, the 2017 draft pick offers some intrigue from the left side of the plate.

While he won’t likely be fighting anyone for at bats this season, Gonzalez needs to take another step from the plate to compliment his ability to play all three outfield positions. Otherwise, Gonzalez likely slots as trade bait for organizational depth. But, he has shown some flashes of being an intriguing prospect and will have a say in the results of the outfield logjam in 2020.

So, while there is no doubt it’s time for fans to turn their attention back to the big-league club, the farm system is still as healthy as ever, and will be worth watching to see who emerges as the next top prospects in the organization.

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Yoan Moncada Jersey White Sox

Vinnie Duber of NBC Sports Chicago reports that the Chicago White Sox have talked with the Los Angeles Dodgers about a deal for Joc Pederson to bring him to the south side.

Pederson, 27, is coming off a very good season for the Dodgers in which he hit .249/.339/.538 with career-highs in both homers (36) and RBI (74). That gave him a 127 wRC+ and 3.0 fWAR for the 2019 season.

The left-handed hitter and fielder spent most of his season in the corner outfield spots, but did have a brief stint where he started at first base for the team.

In 789 2/3 outfield innings, Pederson rated above-average with a 6.2 UZR and 11 DRS according to FanGraphs.

The only spot in the outfield that he hasn’t fared well is in center field where he has -16 DRS and a -7.1 UZR for his career (3,149 innings).

For the White Sox, he could help fill out an outfield that is expected to have Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert patrolling left and center field before the end of April.

In the article by Duber, it’s mentioned that the team is also considering signing Nicholas Castellanos to play right field in 2020, but there is one major difference between the two that should make the team prefer Pederson.

Castellanos is a pretty dreadful defender with -35 DRS and a -26.2 UZR in right field for his career.

While he has seen some improvement from that number with only -9 DRS in 2019 over 1,171 innings, there is still some serious work to be done for him to become a league-average defender.

Pederson, meanwhile, would represent an improvement for the team defensively and considering they ranked 25th in all of baseball in DRS (-49), they could certainly use a plus defender.

Furthermore, the team is only projected to have two left-handed-hitting options in their lineup in Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal (both switch-hitters) which means that Pederson could help balance the lineup more.

Now, the reason to not pursue Pederson would be if a trade for him requires giving up too much to acquire him.

That being said, Pederson only has one year of control left before hitting free agency for the first time in his career after the 2020 season.

According to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, Pederson is expected to make $8.5 million in his final season of arbitration.

Having only one year of control strongly limits his value in a trade and given the Dodgers have a glut of outfielders, it makes little sense not to trade him this offseason.

On top of it, the White Sox have a very strong farm system which should help in finding a match that is good for both sides.

If the White Sox can acquire Joc Pederson for a reasonable price, he should be their top choice to fill their right field vacancy in 2020.

Tim Anderson Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox are looking to make drastic improvements this offseason and are reportedly interested in both Zack Wheeler and Joc Pederson.
So much of the Chicago White Sox rebuild reminds me of what the Chicago Cubs were doing at this time five years ago. A young team, loaded with potential, on the cusp of being competitive and entering the offseason ready to make some noise. For the Cubs, the Jon Lester signing was the franchise-changing move that ultimately got the team over the hump, and the White Sox are looking to do the same. But their Jon Lester is Zack Wheeler, according to several reports.

Wheeler, 29, struggled to stay healthy from 2015 to 2017 but lived up to his potential in both the 2018 and 2019 campaigns that saw him post a 3.31 and 3.96 ERA, respectively. The former sixth-overall pick of the 2009 MLB Draft made 60 starts over the previous two seasons and is reportedly receiving offers from teams in the nine-figure range. While it seems like a risky price to pay for a pitcher who missed the better half of two seasons, he’s shown both the durability and dominance that a team like the White Sox would love to have in their rotation.

“Wheeler, 29, has received at least one $100 million offer and will land a five-year deal in excess of that amount, according to major-league sources.

The White Sox, Twins, Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays are among the clubs pursuing Wheeler, who is the leading free-agent alternative to fellow right-handers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg even though his career ERA+ (ERA adjusted to park and league) is exactly league average.” – The Athletic

The White Sox are arguably one starter away from fielding a competitive team, after already adding Yasmani Grandal in free agency last week. The offense, on paper, looks legit with the highly-anticipated arrival of Luis Robert next season to go along with Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Tim Anderson. But it appears that White Sox GM, Rick Hahn, isn’t banking on all of his prospects to flourish as the team is reportedly interested in trading for Dodgers outfielder, Joc Pederson, as well.

The 27-year-old was a highly-touted prospect coming up through the Dodgers organization and posted his best season in 2019. Pederson slashed an impressive .249/.339/.538 with 36 home runs and 74 RBI (127 OPS+) and is projected to make $8.5 million in arbitration this offseason. He’s under contract through next season, so any trade would likely include a contract extension to keep him in on the south side for years to come.

And while the White Sox could certainly entertain the idea of signing both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, I believe it’s a smart strategy to aim a bit lower while still allowing the financial flexibility to keep improving the roster. Keep in mind that the White Sox will eventually need to re-sign their key free agents, with several of them set to become unrestricted free agents after the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

The American League Central division appears to run through Minnesota for the time being. Still, many executives around the league believe that the Cleveland Indians could potentially part ways with both Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber this offseason. Combined with the rebuilding Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, the arrow appears to be trending up for the White Sox, and they could take advantage quicker than most anticipate.

Signing Wheeler and trading for Pederson could accelerate the process, and the Chicago White Sox would officially put the league on notice.