It’s been awhile since I have written a blog post so let’s catch up on what the Sox have done this off-season:
Paul Konerko retired at the end of last season. Moises Sierra was claimed off waivers by Kansas City in October. Felipe Paulino and Matt Lindstrom elected for free agency. And the Sox sent Michael Taylor and Frank De Los Santos back to AAA-Charlotte.
In November the Sox made their first free agent move, a minor one at that adding outfielder J.B. Shuck from Cleveland. Then on November 18th a big upgrade was made to the bullpen with the addition of Zach Duke. Ronald Bellisario was designated for assignment and Jared Mitchell was sent back to the Charlotte roster. Former Cubs outfielder, Tony Campana was added to the minor league roster and given an invite to Spring training.
Then on November 25th as Scott Carroll was designated for assignment, the White Sox made their next huge move as 1B/DH Adam LaRoche was acquired.
As the Winter meetings rolled in, Rick Hahn was at work to make some major moves and he did just that. In December the Sox acquired catcher Rob Brantley, traded for right-handed starting pitcher Jeff Samardzjia of Oakland, signed free agent reliever David Robertson from New York to be the new closer, traded for reliever Dan Jennings of Miami as the meetings closed.
Soon after, on December 14th, the Sox signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a 3-year deal.
These are all MAJOR moves that myself and many others believe will have the White Sox contending in 2015. But Hahn was not done. Since my last blog post the Sox have made a few other moves.
On January 4th they signed 3B Andy LaRoche, brother of recently acquired Adam, to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. On January 8th as I was anticipating Dayan Viciedo’s departure due to the signing of Cabrera, the Sox designated Jordan Danks for assignment instead as they made room on their 40-man roster bringing in more speed in Emilio Bonifacio the utility infielder from Toronto. I like the addition of Bonifacio, I was just a bit puzzled why Danks was moved and yet the Sox had been unable to find any suitors for Viciedo. On January 16th, Danks was claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies.
On January 22nd, the Sox signed catcher Geovany Soto, relievers Brad Penny and Jairo Asencio, right-handed starter J.D. Martin, as well as former White Sox reliever Jesse Crain to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training as well as resigning Scott Carroll to a minor league deal.
Then on January 28th in a surprising move the Sox resigned 2B Gordon Beckham to a 1-year 2-million dollar deal and designated Dayan Viciedo for assignment to make room on the roster for Beckham.
(Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
So let’s examine some of these recent moves. Brad Penny was actually acquired on December 16th, but the deal did not become finalized till late January. Penny, 36, has had some major injury issues in recent years. He was out of baseball in all of 2013 and in 2014, while appearing for the Miami Marlins, he made just eight appearances (four starts) and posted a terrible 6.88 ERA. He had been a starter most of his career although he appeared exclusively out of the bullpen for the Giants in 2012 and his four starts with Miami are the only ones he has made in the majors since 2011. I can’t see him appearing for the White Sox this season unless an injury occurs, but I guess it is good to have depth. Although this reminds me a lot of the Felipe Paulino situation and we all know how that worked out.
(Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Emilio Bonifacio, a super utility player is a nice addition to this team. He can play 2nd, shortstop, 3rd, and all three outfield spots. He is a switch-hitter with a lot of speed. He was signed to a 1-year, 3-million dollar deal with a 4-million dollar option or a 1-million dollar buyout for 2016. He is 29 years old and his versatility is amazing. In his career he has played 196 games at 2nd base, 175 games in center field, 141 games at 3rd base, 101 games at shortstop, 70 games in right field and 34 games in left field (all stats courtesy of Scott Merkin at MLB.com).
Bonifacio spent last season between the Cubs and the Braves. He will be a great addition to the bench and can give a day off to almost any player on the field except for pitcher, catcher and first base. Being a switch hitter with good speed he can also be a pinch hitter or runner when needed. He is a career .291 hitter and has a .721 OPS against left handed pitchers.
(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Andy LaRoche was acquired on January 12th with the deal being finalized weeks later. He is a 31-year old 3rd baseman who has not seen consistent major league playing time since 2011 with Oakland which is the last time he had over 100 plate appearances in the big leagues. 2013 he had 4 at-bats with Toronto but that was it. In AAA last season he hit .248 with five homers and 29 RBI’s in Buffalo.
On that same day the White Sox agreed to a 1-year 4.4 million dollar deal with Dayan Viciedo. A surprising move, seeing as how I did not see a spot for him on this roster. Soon though, that would change…
On January 15th, the Sox avoided arbitration with Hector Noesi, Javy Guerra and Nate Jones. Noesi signed a 1-year 1.95 million dollar deal, Guerra signed for 937,500 and Jones signed for 660,000.
One day later the Sox avoided arbitration with Jeff Samardzjia as he signed a 1-year 9.8 million dollar deal and Tyler Flowers as he signed a 1-year deal worth 2.675 million.
(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Geovany Soto, who was signed to a minor league deal, has a lot of MLB experience in playing with the Cubs, Rangers and A’s and he will look to battle for the backup catcher spot out of spring that has gotten pretty deep. He is a career .248 hitter that has had some recent thumb injuries that have bothered him.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)
J.D. Martin, 32, has appeared in 24 MLB games since making his debut with Washington in 2009. As a starter he has posted a 6-9 record with a 4.32 ERA. All of that came in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jairo Asencio, 31, has appeared in 43 games as a reliever with a 1-2 record and a 5.34 ERA in 55 2/3 innings since 2009. He has played for Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Jesse Crain and Scott Carroll are back. Crain was a 2013 all-star for the club and has a non-roster invite to spring training. He was traded to Tampa Bay in that season and he never recovered to help them in the post-season that year due to injury. He spent last season in Houston but never pitched for them. He is now back in Chicago with a chance to maybe help the club. Scott Carroll has also returned as he tested the free agent waters before coming back to Chicago.
(Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The big shocker as of late was bringing back Gordon Beckham. Beckham was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on August 21st last season and is now back. The 2008 first-round pick of Chicago could see some playing time at multiple spots in the infield and be a nice complement to the left-handed Conor Gillaspie off the bench at 3rd base.
Also getting nothing in return for Viciedo was a bit of a shock. Either way this team is shaping up well with a ton of depth.
I have not seen this much buzz around this team maybe ever. It is awesome. It’s great for the city of Chicago. Heck, even the Cubs made a lot of big moves. The AL Central will be very competitive and we should see some very exciting baseball in 2014. Yet some questions remain:
Is the bullpen ready? Will Conor Gillaspie continue to do well and will Matt Davidson show the promise that was expected when they acquired him from Arizona? Will Jeff Samardzjia be a one-year rental or will he resign with the team? How much time will Jose Abreu and Adam LaRoche split at first base? Can Carlos Rodon crack the starting rotation out of spring training? Where will Gordon Beckham play? Who plays 2nd base? Can this team win the division or perhaps more?
I’m ready for baseball. Are you?
Less than 24 hours after Alejandro De Aza was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for two minor league pitchers, the White Sox made yet another move as they have now traded Adam Dunn to the Oakland A’s for Nolan Sandburn, the Oakland A’s 12th best prospect in their farm system according to MLB.com.
Sandburn, a right-handed reliever, has good quality stuff, it is just the control that is a concern for most scouts. Yet seeing as how the White Sox need any young bullpen help they can get, this is a great move. Sanburn, 23, was an outfielder in high-school so he has “less mileage” than other pitchers at this stage of his career than others do.
Dunn was going to be gone at the end of the season anyway. At least this way, Chicago got something for him. Oakland had to make the move today by 11pm ET if they wanted to have Dunn eligible for their post-season roster. Dunn, remaining in the AL, will most certainly be in the DH role. His career with the Sox was certainly a disappointment to say the least.
Oakland has decided to pick up 1/2 of Dunn’s remaining salary which is about 1.2M MM of Dunn’s remaining 2.4MM for the remainder of the season. Dunn had to waive his no-trade clause for this to happen, yet it is not surprising he did so seeing that he is 34 yrs old and wants to win that first championship ring or at least make the playoffs which he has never done.
In turn, the Sox have sent Chris Bassitt back to AAA, purchased the contract of Andy Wilkins (1B/DH) and Scott Snodgrass, and also activated Moises Sierra from the 15-day DL who will replace De Aza who was traded last night. Wilkins is in the lineup at 1B today and making his MLB debut.
It is possible that the Sox could make another move by the end of the day so stay tuned…
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!
In a game that featured two pitchers making their MLB debut, the Tigers’ Kyle Ryan out performed the White Sox Chris Bassitt on this night.
Bassitt, allowed five runs on seven hits, walked four and struck out four in his MLB debut in 6 1/3 innings. He had a rough 3rd inning where he allowed two runs and then allowed three more in the 4th, but in the other innings he did show some signs of promise. The first round choice in 2011 did strike out Miguel Cabrera for his first MLB strikeout to end the 1st inning–a moment he will never forget.
His counterpart, Kyle Ryan threw six scoreless innings, allowing just five hits, walking two and striking out one.
When the Tigers finally went to their weak bullpen the Sox struck for four runs in the 8th inning. Blaine Hardy who pitched a scoreless 7th was still on the mound and he walked Adam Eaton to begin the frame. He was then replaced by Jim Johnson who allowed a double to Alexei Ramirez and then walked Jose Abreu to load the bases before being replaced by Joba Chamberlain. Avisail Garcia would ground into a force out at 2nd base, allowing Eaton to score, before Dayan Viciedo would hit a 3-run homer to cut the Tigers lead to just 5-4.
That however would be all the closer the White Sox would get. Chamberlain would retire the final two outs in the inning before the Tigers would score three runs off the Sox bullpen in the top of the 9th. Joe Nathan would record the final three outs to end the game with a Sox 8-4 loss.
The Sox will finish this 4 game set with the Tigers today at 2:10pm ET as Jose Quintana (6-10; 3.48 ERA) faces Rick Porcello (15-8; 3.06 ERA).
During the game, the White Sox did finalize a transaction that will change their team. More could be coming too. Alejandro De Aza was sent to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitchers Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar. I like this move. De Aza was not going to be back next season. This moves make perfect sense from Rick Hahn’s standpoint as now they get two young right-handed minor league arms that they can try to develop to either starters or bullpen arms. Chalas is just 22-yrs old and has spent most of this season in class-A where he has a 4.80 ERA out of the bullpen. Blackmar, also 22, has posted a 3.18 ERA mostly as a starter in Class-A. Neither are ranked in the O’s top 20 minor league players. Also, after the game Scott Carroll was optioned to AAA Charlotte and Bassitt was kept on the 25-man roster for now. With De Aza gone, the 25-man roster is currently at 24. The Sox will make a move before the game begins today.
With this move, not only do the White Sox save some money but they also allow another roster spot to open up for the competition that comes with September call-ups. It allows the Sox to see what yet another player has before next season where they expect to compete for a playoff spot.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!
Gordon Beckham’s days in Chicago are done. Rumored to be traded numerous times, the White Sox finally made that move on Thursday afternoon as they traded him to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a player to be named later or cash considerations. I have always liked Gordon Beckham and I will defiantly miss his positive attitude and amazing defense on the South Side, but his lack of hitting was a huge hole for this team.
Selected 8th overall in the 2008 first-year player draft out of Georgia, Beckham was seen as someone with a high ceiling and the Sox hoped they found a second baseman who would play for them for years to come in the infield somewhere. In 2009 he finished 5th in the Rookie of the Year voting playing 3rd base. He hit .270 had 14 homers and drove in 63 runs. He also showed excellent defensive ability.
Yet after that season things were never the same for Beckham at the plate. Over the next 5 years Beckham hit just .244 with 40 homers and 177 RBI’s. An average of 10 homers and 44 RBI’s a season. His defensive ability made up for a lot of his lack of offense at the plate as he was consistently one of the best defensive 2nd baseman in all of baseball when he moved to the position in 2010 in his 2nd season.
The move by Rick Hahn was obviously done for a few reasons. First, was what was mentioned above–the lack of offense. Second is the fact that this gives the White Sox a chance to see some of the talent they have in the minors at the major league level. Besides pitching, ff all the positions in the minors, the Sox may have the most depth at the middle infield spots.
Already having Leury Garcia with the big club, the White Sox have Carlos Sanchez, Marcus Semien, and Micah Johnson waiting for their chance. Johnson is hurt for the season so Carlos Sanchez will be the first one to get a shot. Semien is expected to be a September call-up. Sanchez did make one start at shortstop on July 13th against Cleveland but is seen as a better fit at second base.
This also does give the White Sox a bit more flexibility for the coming season along with other players who are coming off the books at the end of the year. I really hope that Beckham succeeds in LA as I really did like the guy, but the move had to be done.
Tomorrow the White Sox begin a 3-game series with the New York Yankees in the Bronx where Carlos Sanchez is expected to start at 2nd base.
LETS GO WHITE SOX!!!