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Seby Zavala Jersey White Sox

The Chicago White Sox acquisition of Yasmani Grandal is a big deal for the franchise. The move does leave James McCann‘s future with the team in question, though.

Currently, the team has five catchers on the 40-man roster. Aside from McCann and Grandal, the team also has Zack Collins, Yermin Mercedes, and Seby Zavala.

McCann, 29, had the best offensive season of his career in 2019 in which he hit .273/.328/.460 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI to give himself a 109 OPS+. He also made his first career All-Star game.

The White Sox have been very active this offseason and with more moves to be made, it remains to be seen what the acquisition of Yasmani Grandal will actually mean for McCann and his future with the team.

As of now, McCann has one more year of team control before he would become a free agent after the 2020 season.

This will be his last season of arbitration, although, he will hit the open market for the second time in his career.

After the 2018 season, the Detroit Tigers non-tender McCann which resulted in the White Sox signing him to a one-year. $2.5 million contract to start at catcher for them in 2019.

I believe that the White Sox have three legitimate options to consider when it comes to McCann going forward this offseason.

James McCann Jersey White Sox

CHICAGO — All-Star catcher James McCann agreed to a $5.4 million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox on Monday, more than doubling his salary.

The 29-year-old McCann was eligible for arbitration. He signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal with Chicago last December after Detroit didn’t offer him a contract for the 2019 season.

McCann set career highs with a .273 batting average, 18 homers and 60 RBI in his first year with the White Sox. He also was an All-Star selection for the first time.

The White Sox signed free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal to a $73 million, four-year contract last month. But McCann played a pivotal role in the development of Lucas Giolito into a front-line starter, likely cementing his return to Chicago.

McCann was selected by the White Sox in the 31st round of the 2008 amateur draft, but he decided to go to the University of Arkansas instead. He then was drafted by the Tigers in the second round in 2011.

McCann made his major league debut in September 2014 and spent his first five seasons with Detroit, batting .240 with 40 homers and 177 RBI in 452 games.

In other moves Monday, Chicago declined to offer 2020 contracts to Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sanchez and relievers Ryan Burr and Caleb Frare, making the trio free agents. Right-hander Thyago Vieira was released to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan.

Left-hander Carlos Rodon, closer Alex Colome, reliever Evan Marshall and utlityman Leury Garcia were tendered contracts, making them eligible for arbitration.

Jose Ruiz Jersey White Sox

Jose Ruiz found himself at a familiar place Saturday. The airport.

He’s been getting on and off planes at a dizzying pace this season, and the 24-year-old relief pitcher knows the route quite well by now.

Chicago to Charlotte. Charlotte to Chicago. Back and forth, to and fro.

“You have to be ready for everything if you play this sport,” Ruiz said. “You have to be strong mentally and be ready.”

The Chicago White Sox optioned Ruiz to Class AAA Charlotte on Saturday. It is very common for young middle relievers to bounce between the minor leagues and majors, but Ruiz’s case is a bit extreme.

Since joining the Sox from Triple-A on April 3, has been sent back to Charlotte five times.

Ruiz, 1-2 with a 5.24 ERA in 35 appearances with the White Sox this season, stays in a hotel when he’s in Chicago and he stays with a friend when he’s in Charlotte.

“I never put my head down,” Ruiz said. “No matter where I am, I stay the same every day. I try to get better every day. When I am here (White Sox), I try to take advantage of the opportunity and do a good job.”

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Robert reaches 30/30:
Prized Sox prospect Luis Robert hit another home run with Class AAA Charlotte on Saturday night, giving him 30 for the season.

Add in his combined 36 stolen bases for Charlotte, AA Birmingham and high A Winston-Salem and Robert is the first 30/30 player in the minor leagues since the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson accomplished the feat with Class AAA Albuquerque in 2014.

“It’s impressive,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “He’s done some really, really impressive things this season. Good for him. He’s showing everybody that he continues to improve and progress, which is what the organization has wanted.”

Robert, a 22-year-old center fielder, is clearly good enough to be with the Sox right now.

He deserves to come up when rosters expand in September, but the White Sox might wait on Robert until next season.

“It has been really, really important for him to stay out there and get the at-bats and get the experience at the minor-league level, let alone the major-league level, to show everybody what his skills are about,” Renteria said.

“He’s scratching the surface, and hopefully that is something that will be able to transition somewhere down in the near future here at the major-league level.”

Swing and a miss:
When told that Texas manager Chris Woodward said he was happy they didn’t have to face him in the four-game series that ended Sunday, emerging Sox ace Lucas Giolito had a laugh at his own expense.

“Last year, I’m sure 29 of 30 teams would’ve loved to have me for a series,” Giolito said. “It’s a little bit different now. It’s cool to see recognition from peers and other managers and things like that when it comes to the personal success I guess I’ve experienced this year. That’s a good feeling.”

Last season Giolito had the highest ERA (6.13) in baseball. This year he ranks sixth in the American League with a 3.20 ERA.

Kodi Medeiros Jersey White Sox

Kodi Medeiros has seen the player-as-commodity business side of MLB before the trade that sent him from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Back in 2014, the Waiakea left-hander was Milwaukee’s first-round pick in the MLB draft. The Brewers picked Saint Louis right-hander Jordan Yamamoto in the 12th round.

They were teammates in the Arizona rookie league in 2014 and reunited in Advanced A-ball with the Carolina Mudcats in 2017.

Yamamoto was traded in January to the Miami Marlins in the package for outfielder Christian Yelich, who wanted out after Derek Jeter started a payroll teardown.

Besides a plus slider, Medeiros has always had a good eye of perspective, and he looked at the trade from a wide lens.

“I am really excited for this opportunity,” he said. “It’s a little stressful because everything happened very quickly, and I was on the move right away when I got the call.

“I’ve made so many friends, and I really enjoyed my time being a part of the Milwaukee Brewers organization.”

For a young farmhand like Medeiros, 22, the hope if a trade happens is to land with a rebuilding team that avoids big-ticket free agents.

Like the Marlins, the White Sox are in full-on teardown mode. They’re 19.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central.

According to Cot’s contracts, Chicago has no big pitching deals on its books. Most of the pitchers are signed to one-year deals that expire after the 2018 season.

Of all the BIIF players in MLB farm systems — Kean Wong (Tampa Bay), Quintin Torres-Costa (Milwaukee), Jodd Carter (Cleveland), Joey Jarneski (Texas), and Micah Bello (Milwaukee) — Wong and Medeiros are seemingly in the best promote-from-within organizations.

The small-market Rays rarely sign expensive free agents on the open market because they’ve struggled with attendance since their inception in 1998 at Tropicana Field, where they average 14,947 fans. (Miami is last with an average of 9,762 fans.)

However, the Rays are set to move into a new stadium in 2023 that would cost over $890 million.

The Sports Business Journal reported that the Rays’ new regional TV deal, starting next season, will pay $82 million per season over 15 years, a $1.23 billion total. (For comparison’s sake, the Dodgers signed an $8 billion deal five years ago.)

Whether the Rays remain frugal or chase free agents when their new stadium opens remains to be seen.

For Medeiros (7-5, 3.14 ERA in Double-A ball), he’s in a pitching-rich farm system with the White Sox, who sent closer Joakim Soria to the Brewers.

On mlb.com’s Top 30 prospects list, Medeiros is ranked No. 19, and there are seven pitchers ahead of him, but those prospect websites, such as baseballamerica.com, are dubious at best.

On mlb.com’s Tampa Bay list, Wong is not even ranked. He was a Triple-A all-star and has seen time in the Arizona Fall League, where ballclubs send their best prospects.

Meanwhile, Medeiros has made a steady climb up the minor league ladder and hasn’t suffered an arm injury, negating concerns about his low three-quarter arm angle.

The MLB amateur scouts, who spend their summers scouting the minors, and opposing managers, who file reports on their players and the opposition, likely came to the same conclusion: Medeiros is worth trading for.

“The White Sox told me I’ll be in Double-A with the Birmingham Barons,” Medeiros said. “I’m scheduled to meet up with the team on Saturday. We play the Mississippi Braves.

“I have the same goals, but now it’s just with a different team.”

Kelvin Herrera Jersey White Sox

While it is not their biggest need or even close to it, the Chicago White Sox need to add a proven reliever or two this offseason.

The White Sox definitely don’t need this to be their biggest focus as they have much more pressing needs such as filling out their rotation and acquiring a right fielder.

That being said, the team definitely can’t ignore adding bullpen help in favor of making bigger moves.

Signing Zack Wheeler or Stephen Strasburg would be great, but if the team’s bullpen can’t protect a one-or-two-run lead, it could all be for nothing.

Now, to be fair, the White Sox bullpen actually was in the middle of the pack in 2019 as they ranked 14th in all of baseball and seventh in the American League with a 4.31 ERA as detailed by ESPN.

If you look at the team’s roster, though, it’s tough to find many options that will stick and be successful in 2020. Alex Colome is an obvious name that should not concern anyone.

Aaron Bummer was very impressive in 2019 with a 2.13 ERA, 3.41 FIP, and 0.990 WHIP with 8.0 K/9 as compared to 3.2 BB/9. But, with a career ERA of 4.36 prior to this past season, it is certainly possible that he regresses.

Evan Marshall could be a good option too as he had a 2.49 ERA in 2019, but with a career 7.89 ERA prior to that, it is far from a given especially considering his FIP this past season was 4.30.

Kelvin Herrera is almost certain to be with the team in 2020, but that’s due to the fact he’s set to make $8.5 million (Spotrac).

His 6.14 ERA certainly is not desirable and while the team could certainly hope he bounces back to his 2018 form in which he had a 2.44 ERA, they can’t bank on it.

On the free agent market, the White Sox should look to sign someone from the Will Harris, Dellin Betances, and Steve Cishek tier and then sign a few relievers to very low salary MLB and minor league deals.

Ian Hamilton Jersey White Sox

Last August, over at South Side Hit Pen our old friend WSM put together an early primer on the looming 40-man roster crunch for the Chicago White Sox heading into the 2019 Winter Meetings in December.

Working off of WSM’s original draft, with updates over time, here’s a thumbnail look at how the 40-man should shape up as the Rule 5 draft looms, about a month from today.

Arbitration-eligible players
Let’s assume all five arb-eligible guys will be offered arbitration and kept:

Alex Colomé
James McCann
Leury García
Yolmer Sánchez
Carlos Rodón

José Abreu took the qualifying offer from the White Sox, so let’s consider him a signed free agent, while fellow FAs, Iván Nova (unlikely to return) and Jon Jay (heh … right) are cut loose.

Regular 40-man roster
So with six players on the 40, here are the 22 musts currently on (and remaining) on the 40-man:

Micker Adolfo
Tim Anderson
Luis Basabe
Aaron Bummer
Ryan Burr
Dylan Cease
Zack Collins
Jimmy Cordero
Caleb Frare
Jace Fry
Carson Fulmer
Lucas Giolito
Ian Hamilton
Kelvin Herrera
Eloy Jiménez
Michael Kopech
Reynaldo López
Evan Marshall
Danny Mendick
Yoán Moncada
José Ruiz
Seby Zavala

That puts the 40-man roster at 28. It’s conceivable that players like Fulmer, Cordero, Mendick, Frare, Burr or Ruiz are designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man, but you’d think it would take a massive win-now trade or incredible early free agent shopping to necessitate such moves before the Winter Meetings. So let’s assume these 28 are locks.

Vulnerable guys
So, the core White Sox 40-man stands at 28. There are five guys on the 40-man who might find their spots in jeopardy:

Dylan Covey
Adam Engel
Kodi Medeiros
Daniel Palka
Thyago Vieira

Engel and Medeiros would seem to be locks to stick on the 40-man, while the other three … ?

If all five remain on the roster, putting the running total at 33.

Possible additions
Obviously, the White Sox can protect a full 40 players on its roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft, designating the lowest-priority players if and when the need arises as trades are made/free agents acquired. (Keep in mind that the club did not fill up its 40-man last year, and yet still did its funny little dance with the crosstown Cubs over Ian Clarkin.)

Here’s the group worth considering for protection on the 40-man (unprotected players won’t be “lost,” of course, but they will be vulnerable to other teams during the Rule 5 draft), ranked in a rough priority order rather than alphabetical:

Dane Dunning
Blake Rutherford
Bernardo Flores
Yermín Mercedes
Zack Burdi
Jimmy Lambert
Matt Foster
Kyle Kubat
Alec Hansen
Ti’Quan Forbes
Zach Thompson
Joel Booker
Danny Dopico

What’s your call?
So, based on the priority list above, and protecting all five “vulnerable” guys, that leaves a maximum of seven spots on the 40-man roster. Filling the 40-man means that Foster would be the last man protected.

Will the White Sox protect a full 40? And what players should be re-shuffled from the above lists in order to guaranteed that the strongest White Sox roster survives the Rule 5 draft?

Go on ahead and weigh in to the 40-man in the comments. It’s probably smart to assume the top 28 above are all safe and add up to 12 players from there.

Carson Fulmer Jersey White Sox

The American League Central Division is an oft-confusing place, and will likely find a way to be such again in 2020. The Central was historically bad in 2018, then boasted the best team in baseball for a large stretch the following year, yet it was not its three-time defending champion.

As things stand currently, it makes sense to believe that both the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians will regress towards the mean, and we should be primed for an even more interesting battle next season.

Not much about the Chicago White Sox indicates that they are on the cusp of making a run for the division. They finished 20.5 games back of even the Indians in 2019, with a -124 run differential, even outperforming their expected record of 69-92 by three games.

Yet Chicago is at an interesting point in their rebuild. They saw significant steps forward from their young core of Yoan Moncada (24 years old), Tim Anderson (26) and Lucas Giolito (25). Top hitting prospect Eloy Jimenez got a year under his belt while posting 33 homers, as well as exceptional xSLG (86th percentile), exit velocity (87th) and hard-hit% (92th) marks.

There are more bats on the way, too. Luis Robert bolted through the minor leagues in 2019, posting a 1.432 OPS over 19 games in High-A to start the season, making a 56 game stop in Double-A, and finishing the year with a .974 OPS in 47 contests at Triple-A. The 22-year-old will likely languish in the minors long enough to avoid a year of service time before joining Jimenez in the outfield.

The call may not be so quick for 22-year-old Nick Madrigal, who only posted a .822 OPS in 29 games in Triple-A, but that was with a .398 OBP. The fourth overall pick from the 2018 draft was pegged as the most complete player in that class, and has overcome power-sapping injuries to still post gaudy hitting marks.

Combined with Robert, the pair came into 2019 as the 32nd- and 43rd-ranked prospects in the game, respectively. Between graduations and big seasons, each will be high in 2020. MLB Pipeline already lists Robert as the third-best prospect.

This is all without mentioning the 17th prospect on Pipeline’s list, starter, Michael Kopech, acquired alongside Moncada in the deal for Chris Sale in 2016. There has been a reason that no pitcher has been mentioned since Giolito so long ago. The Sox severely lack pitching, an issue which was exacerbated by Kopech’s need for Tommy John in 2019. Kopech should be ready for 2020, and says the surgery was “the best thing to ever happen” to him.

The 23-year-old and his 80-grade fastball will not solve the Sox’s rotation alone, and no team wants to rely on only a handful of 22-to-25-year-olds to propel them to the playoffs. Luckily for him, Jerry Reinsdorf has his team perhaps most under their salary budget relative to all other clubs. While Reinsdorf and the word ‘cheap’ are often paired together by Chicagoans, general manager Rick Hahn says he will spend the $250 million offered to Manny Machado last winter.

If Hahn believes the window is now, he has the money to splurge on Stephen Strasburg, should he decide that a 31-year-old pitcher would accelerate things. Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi are also reasonable 30-and-under arms that would make sense. They could also wait and make a run at Trevor Bauer or Marcus Stroman next winter as well.

There are not currently many promising arms in the team’s system outside of Kopech, unless Reynaldo Lopez, Dylan Cease and/or Carson Fulmer make considerable jumps here soon. When it seems like time to go for it, it makes sense for Hahn to spend on pitching.

It is also reasonable to think that they could make a splash for Anthony Rendon. Though it would force Moncada back to second base, the Sox would reasonably have one of the top-two offenses in the division.

We all know that money and prospects mean nothing, but the White Sox have a considerable magnitude of each. The current iteration of the team leaves much to be desired, but the potential of their young players are as high as any in the game.

It may not be in 2020, but the White Sox have the opportunity to insert themselves into the AL Central race sometime soon. With the Royals and Tigers still tearing down more than building up, the Sox taking a step forward could insert some randomness into their record, and further randomize the Central.

They’re poised to do so. Hahn, once positioned as one of the top GM candidates in the game, must finally prove the hype, much like his stable of young players.

Dylan Covey Jersey White Sox

The White Sox have already made notable moves this winter. All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal arrived on a four-year, $73 million deal, the biggest in franchise history. Franchise first baseman Jose Abreu accepted a qualifying offer than extended his deal with a three-year, $50 million pact.

#WhiteSox’s offer to Wheeler was for MORE than the $118M he will receive from the #Phillies, sources tell The Athletic. As @MarcCarig said, Wheeler’s wife is from New Jersey, and that proximity was an important consideration in his decision.

— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 4, 2019

Chicago have been players in the starting pitcher market, too. Zack Wheeler ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on a five-year, $118 million deal, but – as reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal – the White Sox actually outbid the Phils. Wheeler preferred to stay on the east coast, meaning Chicago are still looking for a big-name starter.

Andy Martino reported that the White Sox – along with the rivals the Minnesota Twins – are among heaviest suitors’ for Madison Bumgarner.

Work to Be Done
With Wheeler, Michael Pineda and Cole Hamels gone, Chicago are facing plenty of competition to add to their rotation. The Twins, Yankees and Angels are just three of the teams in the market for a free agent arm.

A willingness to spend has contributed to their odds moving, but it remains to be seen if they can land a difference making starter after their rotation ranked 25th in Baseball Reference’s Wins Above Average in 2019.

If they are to construct a contender for 2020, the White Sox are not just reliant on making sensible additions this winter. They also need Lucas Giolito to pick up where he left off in 2019 and getting a fully healthy Michael Kopech back would be a huge bonus after he missed last season with Tommy John surgery.

The bullpen was solid in 2019, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Rick Hahn make a move for an experienced reliever, too. Daniel Hudson or Will Harris are two of the best free agents available with Will Smith, Chris Martin, Jake Diekman and Drew Pomeranz already having signed elsewhere.

Super Bowl 54 Odds Tracker
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No Value Just Yet
Being in the American League Central – with the Royals and Tigers not expected to be competitive in 2020 – gives the White Sox an advantage. The Indians could be about to embark on a retool with rumors of trades for Francisco Lindor and Corey Kluber appearing as well.

Minnesota, despite winning 101 games last season, should be strong again.

There’s no value backing Chicago at +2500 to win the World Series. The average odds of +4700 are slightly more tempting, though that still relies on multiple major moves over the next few weeks.

In the wake of Wheeler signing with Phillies and Hamels signing with Braves, Bumgarner market is clarifying. Per sources, White Sox and Twins among heaviest suitors there. Yankees involved to some degree.

— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) December 4, 2019

Even with Nick Madrigal and Robert on the way, they could use another bat. There’s uncertainty in the rotation. Fangraphs currently projects Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, Dylan Cease and Dylan Covey to follow Giolito. Kopech impressed in Arizona, but he’s far from a guarantee coming off surgery and having appeared in four Major League games.

Adding a couple of veteran starters before opening day should be a priority for Hahn. Tying up Abreu and landing arguably the best catcher in the game has been a great start to their off-season, but it’s not enough to make them World Series contenders in 2020 just yet.

Jimmy Cordero Jersey White Sox

The White Sox added a flamethrower to their bullpen.

Tayron Guerrero is the newest member of the White Sox relief corps, the team claiming the 28-year-old right-hander off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Friday.

Guerrero’s most eye-catching attribute is his triple-digit fastball. He averaged 98.9 mph on his four-seam fastball in 2019 and threw the second most 100-mph pitches (178) of any pitcher in baseball. He posted a 10.6 K/9 in 2018.

But throwing hard and giving up runs are two different things. In 2019, Guerrero had a 6.26 ERA, a number that jumped up from the already less-than-ideal 5.43 ERA he turned in a year prior. He also had some trouble locating said fireball, walking 36 batters in 46 relief innings in 2019 for a ridiculously high 7.0 BB/9.

Still, this type of addition was signaled as perhaps the primary way the White Sox would add to their bullpen this offseason. With so many other items on Rick Hahn’s offseason to-do list and the back end of the bullpen being a pretty stable part of the roster, the general manager said that small signings and waiver claims would continue to be part of the strategy when it comes to making additions to the relief corps.

Hahn referenced the team’s acquisitions of Evan Marshall, who was signed to a minor league contract last winter, and Jimmy Cordero, who was claimed off waivers in the middle of the 2019 season, as moves to emulate going forward.

“All 30 teams will tell you … that adding more bullpen pieces is an offseason priority, and we’re no exception,” Hahn said during his end-of-season press conference in September. “Cordero’s been a nice find, as has been Marshall, but that’s not going to stop us from continuing to potentially take guys off waivers like Cordero or (sign) minor league free agents like Marshall.

“It’s going to go into this offseason continuing to be a place we want to add because relievers are tricky. You see it every year, guys go from the top of the list to the bottom and back.”

As Hahn frequently says, you can never have too much pitching, and while this might be a low-risk move, it could end up proving fruitful, as those Cordero and Marshall moves did.

Spending on money on more proven guys has also been a part of the White Sox strategy in this department in the recent past. Hahn’s front office gave Kelvin Herrera a two-year deal just last winter. But as Herrera showed during a rough first year of that contract, even guys with good track records can lead to easy second-guessing on those kinds of deals. So building up depth through less splashy means figures to be a good idea, regardless of the results.

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Alex Colome Jersey White Sox

The Seattle Mariners made a splash on Thursday, December 5 by sending catcher Omar Narvaez to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league pitching prospect Adam Hill and a competitive balance pick for 2020.
Last year, the Mariners acquired Omar Narvaez from the Chicago White Sox for reliever Alex Colome. It sounded like a good deal to me at the time; however, trading Narvaez to the Milwaukee Brewers for a #24 top prospect and a competitive balance pick doesn’t seem enough to me. I was hoping to see a big splash instead of just a splash.

I know there are those who will or have said it is a good deal for the Mariners because Narvaez isn’t a good defensive catcher, which is true indeed; however, the Mariners haven’t had an offensive catcher in some time. I understand Tom Murphy had a good year offensively plus a better defensive catcher as well. It is true but he hasn’t proven to be a starting catcher in the major leagues yet. So why not trade Murphy to the Brewers instead for the same deal?

I know in a trade you have to look at the plus and minuses but I think the Mariners lose more than they gain unless prospect Cal Raleigh turns out to be as good offensively as Narvaez and a better defensive catcher. At this point, Raleigh has shortcomings defensively as well, though he is working at improving his skills.

There must be something about Narvaez besides his lack of defensive skills that allowed Dipoto to trade him to the Brewers. At least the Mariners won’t have to face him often unless they make the World Series or the Brewers trade him eventually to another American League team.

Keeping Narvaez, the Mariners could have had a good hitting catcher who could be a backup at the position along with playing on occasion at first base and be the regular DH when he isn’t in the field. I am sure Dipoto got what he could for Narvaez, but does that mean you have to trade him, especially right now?

This means the Mariners will depend on Daniel Vogelbach as the designated hitter against righties while Murphy and Nola could share DH against lefties. Murphy could be the starting catcher against righties than get a day off letting Nola catcher against lefties. I wonder though if Vogelbach is a one year wonder while Narvaez has shown his value hitting already. Another area of value though is in the clubhouse; Vogelbach has shown good value there while Narvaez might not be. The measure of this trade we will see by 2021 or later.