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White Sox seeking new flagship radio home

WLS-AM 890 also drops Bulls coverage in bankruptcy filing
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox and Chicago Bulls issued a joint statement on Friday regarding Cumulus Media and the future search for a new flagship station for both teams' radio broadcasts.

Cumulus announced plans to drop the multiyear deals to broadcast White Sox baseball and Bulls basketball on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago, according to numerous reports, as Cumulus tries to emerge from bankruptcy.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox and Chicago Bulls issued a joint statement on Friday regarding Cumulus Media and the future search for a new flagship station for both teams' radio broadcasts.

Cumulus announced plans to drop the multiyear deals to broadcast White Sox baseball and Bulls basketball on WLS-AM 890 in Chicago, according to numerous reports, as Cumulus tries to emerge from bankruptcy.

"As part of its bankruptcy filing, Cumulus Media informed us this week that it intends to reject its broadcasting rights agreements with both the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls effective February 1, 2018," the statement read. "The Bulls, White Sox and Cumulus have worked to find an amicable solution that would provide broadcast continuity to our fans, while addressing Cumulus's financial issues, but these efforts have been unsuccessful.

"The teams remain confident in finding a radio broadcast solution for their fans, and together, the Bulls and White Sox are exploring all options for a new radio home. The teams will make announcements regarding future broadcast plans as updates are available."

WLS became the White Sox flagship in April 2016. The team is in its third year of a six-year deal with the station.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox

Engel working to steady barrel in Year 2

White Sox center fielder focused on offense this offseason
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The chance to talk hitting with Jim Thome -- who should soon be elected to the Hall of Fame -- always rates as a beneficial move for young players.

But in the case of Adam Engel's interaction with the White Sox special assistant to the general manager, during the organization's hitters mini-camp this week, it was a conversation centered more on the center fielder's newfound confidence as opposed to what he needed to learn.

CHICAGO -- The chance to talk hitting with Jim Thome -- who should soon be elected to the Hall of Fame -- always rates as a beneficial move for young players.

But in the case of Adam Engel's interaction with the White Sox special assistant to the general manager, during the organization's hitters mini-camp this week, it was a conversation centered more on the center fielder's newfound confidence as opposed to what he needed to learn.

"I was telling Jim Thome, this is the most excited I've been from an offensive standpoint in my entire career," Engel said during a phone interview from Camelback Ranch. "If Spring Training started today, I would feel like I'm in a better spot than I've ever been, and I just believe in what I'm doing.

"Everything has a purpose. I fully understand why I'm doing what I'm doing, and it's going to give me an edge from a confidence standpoint. Obviously, mechanically I feel like I've definitely taken a huge step forward. I'm really excited."

Engel, 26, played Gold Glove-caliber defense after taking over in center field for the 2017 White Sox. He matched Mookie Betts' 16 outs above average, according to Statcast™, trailing only Byron Buxton (25) and Ender Inciarte (19).

Video: 2017 MLB Awards: Best Play, Defense - Adam Engel

His rookie numbers on offense weren't anywhere near elite, as Engel hit .166 with a .517 OPS, 39 OPS+ and 117 strikeouts against 19 walks over 336 plate appearances. Engel described his mechanics as "pretty inconsistent," and he had an early talk with White Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson concerning how those flaws would keep him from reaching full capabilities.

Engel made improved offense his offseason focus, after he started to implement changes on the fly in-season.

"My barrel was moving a lot last year, and in an inefficient way," Engel said. "So that's definitely been a huge focus this offseason, to try to quiet that down, and make sure if I'm moving my barrel, it's going to be beneficial rather than just kind of not helping me out."

"He's been working tirelessly to be able to make better contact, more contact, to make some things happen," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz. "When he does reach first base, he has an opportunity now to impact the game on the basepaths because of speed that he brings to the table and the fear that he puts on the defense, and certainly on the pitchers."

Steverson and Engel talk at least once every two weeks and often once per week, with Engel sending video of what he's been doing and then discussing the next step. That progression can be difficult to explain by phone, making Engel's weeklong work at the mini-camp an important stretch.

"That's been my biggest goal, to really make use of this time," Engel said. "Get in front of [Steverson] and other instructors and show everyone where I'm at and getting everyone's take on the progress and what's next.

"Once Spring Training rolls around, I just get to come in and believe in what I'm doing, and every adjustment after that will be a small one, what I feel like I need to do as I go. It won't be quite as dramatic as what I was doing at the end of last year or what I was doing this offseason."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Adam Engel

Inbox: Who replaces Rodon in the rotation?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers fans' questions
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Let's take a look at this week's Inbox questions, with SoxFest 2018 a little over one week away.

Do we have an option besides Carson Fulmer while we wait for Carlos Rodon? If not, are we expected to sign someone, or stick with Fulmer? I feel like we need one more veteran to eat innings.
-- Michael, @mike__prousa

CHICAGO -- Let's take a look at this week's Inbox questions, with SoxFest 2018 a little over one week away.

Do we have an option besides Carson Fulmer while we wait for Carlos Rodon? If not, are we expected to sign someone, or stick with Fulmer? I feel like we need one more veteran to eat innings.
-- Michael, @mike__prousa

Having another veteran who could move between the rotation and the bullpen is something I've mentioned a few times over the past month or so. I'm guessing that option would be someone not currently on the roster, or maybe a player already in the system with starting experience.

:: Submit a question to the White Sox Inbox ::

Don't sleep on Fulmer, though, as I look for the right-hander to take full advantage of his starting opportunity. He worked his way through a tough 2017 season by finding great rhythm and confidence on the mound at the end, posting a 1.56 ERA over his last four starts.

The White Sox have a bunch of good right-handed pitching prospects. How long before we have a good idea which are going to be starters, which go to the bullpen and which should be traded?
-- Bob, Reading, UK, @bobito64

Year 2 of the rebuild centers on development, an unofficial theme general manager Rick Hahn has pointed out on a number of occasions. But that development also will give the White Sox a chance to see a little more of what they have in each of these prospects to make those decisions you've mentioned, Bob.

• Kopech could join rotation by midseason

Hahn's past comments have focused on giving a pitcher they view as a starter the chance to stay a starter as long as possible, but as things line up now, there seems to be a few too many quality-looking pitchers to fit into one rotation. It's a good problem to have if it plays out.

How about Mike Moustakas on a one-year deal to play third? If it works, then discuss long-term contract. Thanks, Scott.
-- Mike, Chicago Midway, @mikewalsh4609

The White Sox lack pure left-handed power, but I haven't heard any rumblings of the team's interest in the 30-year-old Moustakas. I like the combination of Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson at third for this season.

Yes, they can be opportunistic at this stage of the rebuild. Then again, taking a one-year chance on a player who might leave even after a positive experience this season only becomes worth it if the White Sox ultimately envision him as part of their long-term plan. The White Sox certainly could surprise in '18, but this season is one year early for prime contention.

If Avisail Garcia plays like he did last season, what kind of return could we get at the [Trade Deadline]?
-- Stephen, Chicago, @slynch34

It's interesting that Garcia, who turns 27 during the 2018 season, is being looked at by many as trade potential as opposed to a part of the rebuild. That outlook is influenced by the White Sox having just two years of control over Garcia and a plethora of elite outfield prospects coming through the system. Another strong year from Garcia increases his value in a trade, but also within the organization.

Video: Renteria credits consistency to Avi's strong 2017

What is a realistic debut date for Eloy Jimenez?
-- Joe, Midlothian, @jdwyer02

There's a chance Jimenez plays the whole 2018 campaign at the Minor League level, with 73 plate appearances for Double-A Birmingham in '17 marking his high point of competition. But Jimenez is the sort of elite player who should force the issue, so I'll say somewhere later in the season -- maybe August.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox

Collins ranked MLB's No. 9 catching prospect

Former first-round Draft pick focusing on swing, defense in offseason
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Zack Collins ranks as the No. 9 catching prospect per the newest list released by MLB Pipeline on Thursday.

It shouldn't be too long before the left-handed hitter, taken in the first round of the 2016 Draft, emerges as the No. 1 catcher for the White Sox.

CHICAGO -- Zack Collins ranks as the No. 9 catching prospect per the newest list released by MLB Pipeline on Thursday.

It shouldn't be too long before the left-handed hitter, taken in the first round of the 2016 Draft, emerges as the No. 1 catcher for the White Sox.

"He just continues to work hard and find ways to get better," said White Sox director of player development Chris Getz. "He looks athletic, looks lean, looks strong and ready to go. He's been working really hard and fine-tuning his skillset."

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

Collins, who turns 23 on Feb. 6, hit .224 overall during 2017 stops with Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and 34 at-bats for Double-A Birmingham. While his average wasn't where he expected, Collins showed solid plate discipline with a .370 on-base percentage. He added 19 home runs, 20 doubles, 53 RBIs and an .816 OPS.

Posture and body position were a few of the things Collins worked on with Minor League hitting coordinator Mike Gellinger in regard to his swing during instructional league action in late September and October. It was much more of a swing refinement as opposed to an overhaul.

With an average pop time of 1.9 seconds, Collins threw out 47 baserunners during his first full season as he continues to make progress behind the plate as well.

"The biggest thing for me now is staying positive and taking in the next season and playing hard every day," said Collins during a recent interview. "And obviously working on stuff and getting better at every aspect.

"Being in Birmingham was definitely good for me, and I got to play with those guys toward the end of the season and get comfortable there. I feel good with where I'm at."

Cleveland's Francisco Mejia tops MLB Pipeline's catching prospects. He's followed by the Cardinals' Carson Kelly, Keibert Ruiz of the Dodgers, Oakland's Sean Murphy, the Tigers' Jake Rogers, the Phillies' Jorge Alfaro, Baltimore's Chance Sisco, Toronto's Danny Jansen, Collins and the Cubs' Victor Caratini.

Birmingham figures to be Collins' 2018 starting point. The White Sox brought in veteran catcher Welington Castillo via a two-year, $15 million deal with an option for 2020, and already have Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith in place, so there's plenty of time for Collins to develop as a necessity the White Sox have afforded to all of their top prospects.

Seby Zavala also has put his name in the future White Sox catching picture, after hitting 21 homers last season between Class A Kannapolis and Winston-Salem and following up that showing with an impressive offensive performance in the Arizona Fall League. But an ultra-fit Collins feels ready for the big leagues or whatever new challenge the White Sox envision.

"Physically he's in a good spot," Getz said. "He's in great shape."

"I'd like to be with them after Spring Training," Collins said. "I'm in no rush but whenever they need me up there, I'll be ready."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox

With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy

White Sox top prospect, 21, continues to hone skills, eager to be a building block
MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Eloy Jimenez was 15 years old when he made up his mind.

It was 2013, months before he would officially sign his $2.8 million deal, and not long after the top international prospect in the class had endured 13 tryouts with 13 different teams in one week.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Eloy Jimenez was 15 years old when he made up his mind.

It was 2013, months before he would officially sign his $2.8 million deal, and not long after the top international prospect in the class had endured 13 tryouts with 13 different teams in one week.

Chicago would be the city where he would play in the big leagues, the young Jimenez told himself after the 14th tryout. The teen would go on to turn down larger offers from the Rangers and the Astros to sign with the Cubs that August in part because he liked the Cubs' colors.

• Young White Sox hitters gather for mini-camp

"My favorite player was Sammy Sosa, and I liked home runs and all of that," Jimenez, 21, said in Spanish. "I was young, just a kid, but I knew I wanted to play in Chicago. As a player, you sign, and you think you will grow up with that team and make it to the big leagues with them, but God had a different plan for me. I'm still going to play in the big leagues in Chicago, so that part hasn't changed."

The triumphs and struggles the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Jimenez has experienced during his pro career have helped him mature. The club's top prospect is still growing physically, and like most players his age, is still honing his skills on offense and defense.

"These colors are good, too," Jimenez said as he tugged on a black and white White Sox T-shirt. "I really like what we are doing here. The White Sox are building something special, and they want me to be part of it, and that's a good thing."

Video: Renteria's impressions of Robert and Jimenez

This week, Jimenez joins a group of 30 players that includes Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Zack Collins, Jake Burger, Micker Adolfo, Matt Davidson and Nicky Delmonico at the club's fifth annual hitting camp at Camelback Ranch, the team's Spring Training facility. In addition to hitting on the field and in the cages, the players also meet with coaches and staff several times a day.

Jimenez was acquired as part of a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.

"This is an important camp for us simply from the standpoint of getting everyone in one place and getting everyone acclimated to our way of doing things," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "A lot of what goes on here happens in the classroom in more of a chalk-talk environment. For some of these players, it's their first time at Camelback Ranch, and it gives them the opportunity to get comfortable with the surroundings and staff before Spring Training starts."

Jimenez is in Arizona to work on his swing. He hits towering home runs and puts on a show during batting practice, but there is still room for improvement.

Last season, he combined to hit .312 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs at Class A Advanced with the Cubs and White Sox and later at Double-A with the White Sox. He's also played in the last two MLB All-Star Futures Games. Jimenez was in Rookie ball in 2014 at age 17.

Video: Rick Hahn discusses importance of White Sox mini-camp

"Everything we heard about him was true," said Class A Advanced Winston-Salem hitting coach Charlie Poe, who worked with Jimenez last season. "The ceiling is high and the aptitude for the game is outstanding. He does not get beat on fastballs and stays on the breaking balls. He doesn't chase balls in the dirt. He has a good approach."

It's been a busy 12 months for Jimenez. He capped off 2017 with a successful stint with the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League late last year. Spring Training starts next month.

"To be honest, I think last season was my best because I faced good competition and I was able to stay calm and adjust, and that's what's going to help me get to the big leagues," Jimenez said. "I remember being in Rookie League and just getting so frustrated when I made outs. I was 17. That feels like a long time ago."

There's no doubting Jimenez's confidence, and he feels like he can play in the big leagues in 2018. The White Sox do not want to rush him. That said, his play will dictate where he starts and ends the season.

"I want them all to feel like they are all ready. We are going to have 60 guys in big league camp, and I want them all thinking they can force their way on the 25-man roster," Hahn said. "It's our job in the front office along with the coaches to try to take a little longer-term view in what we are trying to accomplish over an extended period of time and not try to rush anything to get short-term satisfaction."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

 

Chicago White Sox, Eloy Jimenez

Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp

MLB.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Robert's training begins once he steps into Yoan Moncada's rental car each morning.

The 10-minute drive from the nearby hotel to Camelback Ranch, home of the White Sox Spring Training facility and the site of this week's hitters mini-camp, is short but helpful. Robert peppers Moncada with questions about baseball and life in the United States after living in Cuba. The second baseman does his best to answer them while he maneuvers a white sedan to the complex.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Luis Robert's training begins once he steps into Yoan Moncada's rental car each morning.

The 10-minute drive from the nearby hotel to Camelback Ranch, home of the White Sox Spring Training facility and the site of this week's hitters mini-camp, is short but helpful. Robert peppers Moncada with questions about baseball and life in the United States after living in Cuba. The second baseman does his best to answer them while he maneuvers a white sedan to the complex.

"Growing up, I don't think we ever imagined we would be here," said Robert, 20, who first met Moncada as a young teen on the baseball fields in Cuba. "It's really good to have someone from Cuba to be a guide and speed up the adjustment."

Together, Moncada and Robert represent part of the future for the franchise. Separately, the young Cubans are working to solidify their place in the organization. Robert, who defected from Cuba in late 2016 and signed with the White Sox last May for a $26 million bonus, is entering his first full Minor League season in the United States. Moncada, who signed a $31.5 million deal with the Red Sox out of Cuba in 2015, will enter his first full big league season as the White Sox starting second baseman.

Video: Rick Hahn discusses importance of White Sox mini-camp

Robert and Moncada were teammates on Cuba's U-18 team in 2013.

Robert, who is ranked as the No. 23 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, admits it will take time to adjust to life in the United States. He doesn't speak English and understands there are cultural differences he will face. That's where Moncada will step in to help Robert, just like White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, who is also from Cuba, helped him. Robert said an uncle from Cuba who lives in California will also help in the transition to the United States.

However, some things will remain the same. Robert's days in the Dominican Republic, where he lives, are spent working out, and he hopes to create a similar routine in the United States. He's looking forward to learning new training techniques.

Video: Luis Robert homers in his first pro at-bat in the DSL

Robert's contract gives him the type of financial freedom he could have never imagined, but he said he's still the same homebody he was before he signed the multimillion dollar deal. And yes, Robert likes video games and having fun with social media, like other people his age, but he said he left everything behind in Cuba to become a Major League player, so that's what he is focusing on.

"My life has changed in many ways, but maybe the biggest change since I signed is that I don't worry about what's next," Robert said in Spanish. "My life is tranquil. I can just concentrate on the game and my family, and not where I am going to sign."

The most significant change in Robert's life has been a personal one. His parents and sisters recently joined him in Santo Domingo.

"It's important to keep in mind this year that so much of what is going to happen with him from a developmental standpoint is going to happen off the field," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's a thrill watching him in BP and make these fields look small, and it's going to be fun to watch him in Spring Training, and ultimately, whatever affiliate he gets assigned to for the 2018 season. But no matter how he performs, a lot of what he's going to get used to is life in the States, different culture and a different type of baseball, different expectations, and different schedule and different diets."

Video: Renteria's impressions of Robert and Jimenez

Since joining the White Sox, Robert has played in the Dominican Summer League and participated in the White Sox instructional league at the club's Dominican Academy. He will be in big league camp for Spring Training next month. There's a chance he will be assigned to one of the club's Class A affiliates at Kannapolis or Winston-Salem (Advanced) for the regular season.

"I'd like to be in the big leagues like everyone else, but I don't know the plan for me right now," Robert said. "I'm just going to focus on doing my work and getting better."

As for Moncada, he finished the 2017 season with a .231 batting average, eight home runs, 22 RBIs, 31 runs scored and three stolen bases. He hit .211 in 20 plate appearances with the Red Sox in 2016, and he later was acquired by Chicago from Boston as part of the package for pitcher Chris Sale during the offseason.

Like many young players with his experience level, Moncada is a work in progress.

Video: Top Prospects: Luis Robert, OF, White Sox

"[Yoan] is extremely young with half of a year of big league play under his belt," Hahn said. "I think he is going to be a lot more comfortable and know more about how the pitchers are trying to get him out, and how he needs to adjust, and he knows he's going to be out there in the lineup every day."

The immediate future for Moncada and Robert includes a trip to a Cuban restaurant near the hotel for a taste of the island. It's another chance for them to catch up on the past and dream about the future.

"Yoan is still very young and still establishing himself as a big leaguer," Hahn said. "The fact that he is taking such care and consideration for one of his younger teammates going through something he went through himself speaks highly about his character."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

 

Chicago White Sox, Yoan Moncada

Kopech close to joining White Sox rotation

MLB Pipeline's No. 3 RHP prospect could get call midseason
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech probably won't break camp as part of the 2018 White Sox starting rotation.

But the No. 3 right-handed pitching prospect in the game, according to a list released Tuesday by MLB Pipeline, certainly will arrive soon.

CHICAGO -- Michael Kopech probably won't break camp as part of the 2018 White Sox starting rotation.

But the No. 3 right-handed pitching prospect in the game, according to a list released Tuesday by MLB Pipeline, certainly will arrive soon.

"I'm anxious for him to get there and stay there," White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I'm anxious to see the continued work we will put into Spring Training but also the continued work he will get to continue to improve, because for a lot of these guys, not only Kopech, their time is coming.

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox

"So what do they have to do now? They have to work on their craft and work on keeping their strong points strong ... and tighten things up basically."

Top 10 Prospects by Position

Kopech, 21, posted a 9-8 record with a 2.88 ERA over 25 starts split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte in 2017. Only his final three starts took place with Charlotte, where Kopech will begin '18.

In 134 1/3 innings, the hard-throwing right-hander fanned 172, walked 65 and yielded a mere 92 hits and six home runs. Hitters finished with a .193 average against him, commensurate with his career .196 mark.

Shohei Ohtani of the Angels ranks No. 1 among right-handed pitchers per MLB Pipeline, followed by the Astros' Forrest Whitley, Kopech, the Rays' Brent Honeywell, the Dodgers' Walker Buehler, the Pirates' Mitch Keller, the Cardinals' Alex Reyes, the Reds' Hunter Greene, the Indians' Triston McKenzie and the Phillies' Sixto Sanchez.

Reynaldo Lopez reached the White Sox in 2017, making 22 starts for Charlotte and an Aug. 11 debut at Guaranteed Rate Field, a path that could be followed by Kopech this year. He will be used as a starter during Cactus League action, according to Cooper.

"I even said this to a couple of people already on the phone: 'I want you to do what I'm doing right now,' meaning I'm welcoming this opportunity," Cooper said. "I'm looking forward to this challenge of going out and being ready.

"Let's work at our craft, and that would be for everybody who comes to Chicago when we leave Spring Training, for everybody in the Minor Leagues that is close to helping us in Chicago. This is kind of how we hope the rebuild goes: Here comes the line."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Michael Kopech

White Sox announce player development staff

Vizquel to skipper Winston-Salem; Dotson is Double-A pitching coach
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The hiring of Omar Vizquel to be the manager for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in 2018 was announced by the White Sox on Dec. 4, 2017, prior to the release of their full player development staff on Tuesday.

But there were a few other significant changes and additions to the organization's overall staff.

CHICAGO -- The hiring of Omar Vizquel to be the manager for Class A Advanced Winston-Salem in 2018 was announced by the White Sox on Dec. 4, 2017, prior to the release of their full player development staff on Tuesday.

But there were a few other significant changes and additions to the organization's overall staff.

Kirk Champion begins his 30th season with the White Sox via a move to the director of Minor League pitching instruction, after serving as director of Minor League instruction in '17 and as field coordinator from 2012-16. Champion served as the Minor League pitching coordinator from 2003-11.

Richard Dotson, who was the pitching coordinator in '17 and the Triple-A Charlotte pitching coach the previous nine seasons, moves to Double-A Birmingham as the Barons' pitching coach.

"He's a tremendous teacher," White Sox director of player development Chris Getz said of Dotson. "With the players we are going to have at the Birmingham level and his skillset, I just felt that it was a perfect fit to have Dotson go there and continue to teach these guys, and continue their development toward Chicago.

"Then with Champ, assuming a lot of those responsibilities of the coordinator, he's a natural in that position. He communicates well, very organized. He's ahead of things. He's got a passion for pitching. He knows the ins and outs, and obviously he's fluent in the pitching language. He knows what's expected of the players in Chicago.

"I felt that having him in that type of role was just going to make us strong as an organization," Getz said. "Those guys have taken the positions by the horns and are excited for the 2018 season."

Previous pitching coaches Brian Drahman (rehab pitching coach) and J.R. Perdew (pitching assistant) will continue to work in the White Sox system. Other new organizational staffers include Doug Sisson as field coordinator, Ben Broussard as leadership development coordinator, Everett Teaford as a quality control coach and Erin Santana as education coordinator. Santana's role, coupled with Broussard's job, indicates the club's rebuild is more about establishing an overall culture of success, both on and off the field, as opposed to simply assembling a plethora of high-end talent.

Getz pointed out Santana's job represents an area where the organization wanted to improve.

"We want our Latin American players to have a good education system in place. She has a lot of experience in building up curriculum in education systems," Getz said of Santana, whose primary focus will be at the White Sox Dominican Academy, but she will be more of a roving instructor. "We want to put these players in the best position possible to perform on the field, feel comfortable with the culture and communicate efficiently. Hopefully that will make them more comfortable as players.

"There are natural attributes when it comes to leadership, but we want to fully develop those skills so those are our guys that came through our system," Getz added, referring to Broussard. "They are using those skills to make us better as a whole. You are trying to create a culture for these guys to flourish. The more people you have that have the skills to do that, I want to bring in here."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox

Young White Sox hitters gather for mini-camp

No. 23 prospect Robert headlines participants at week-long event
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox present and future offensively have significant representation at their 2018 hitters' mini-camp, a week-long event beginning Monday morning at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Thirty players in total are scheduled to be in attendance, with 13 of those players coming from the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list per MLB Pipeline.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox present and future offensively have significant representation at their 2018 hitters' mini-camp, a week-long event beginning Monday morning at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Thirty players in total are scheduled to be in attendance, with 13 of those players coming from the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list per MLB Pipeline.

"I'm looking forward to just seeing all of these young hitters," said White Sox manager Rick Renteria, who is in attendance for the mini-camp. "Obviously … our whole hitting coordinating staff within the system is going to be there to make sure that we're all working on the same ideas, the same plan.

"How we're attacking at bats, how we're attacking situations and at the same time looking at that skillset that these kids bring to the table, albeit in BP and what have you. You still get a chance to see some of their swings and some of the eye-hand coordination aspects."

Luis Robert's on-field debut in the United States figures to draw a great deal of attention this week. The 20-year-old outfielder, who is the No. 3 White Sox prospect and No. 23 overall in baseball, received a $26 million signing bonus with the White Sox as a top international free agent from Cuba. He played his first season as part of the organization's Dominican Summer League team and then took part in the Dominican instructional league during November.

Tweet from @whitesox: Luis Robert, Eloy Jim��nez and Micker Adolfo ��� what a trio! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/MSHcmFa662

Those scheduled to join Robert from the White Sox 40-man roster are Micker Adolfo, Luis Basabe, Ryan Cordell, Matt Davidson, Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Casey Gillaspie, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, Omar Narvaez, Daniel Palka, Kevan Smith and Charlie Tilson. Jimenez ranks as the No. 5 prospect in the game, while Moncada, who rated as the No. 1 prospect in the game for most of the 2017 season before being called up to the White Sox on July 19, continues on as the team's starting second baseman.

Tweet from @whitesox: .@CarlosSan29 and @ymoncada19 putting in work at mini-camp. 💪 pic.twitter.com/h6vlekt2Cm

Non-40-man roster players scheduled to take part are Joel Booker, Jake Burger, Alex Call, Zack Collins, Luis Curbelo, Jameson Fisher, Ti'Quan Forbes, Luis Gonzalez, Danny Hayes, Patrick Leonard, Tito Polo, Blake Rutherford, Matt Skole, Gavin Sheets, Yeyson Yrrizarri and Seby Zavala. Each day features hitters meetings, cage work and batting practice. It was the 2017 mini-camp where Davidson showed off his re-tuned swing, knocking baseballs around the back fields at Camelback Ranch as a prelude to his 26-home run, 68-RBI big league performance.

"You also get a chance to talk to them a little bit and see where they're at," Renteria said. "The truth is until they get to playing games and things of that nature, you can't really evaluate completely until they're actually trying to perform and trying to deal with those things and those situations that we're going to hopefully address in this hitters' camp."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox

The Birmingham Barons will put 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' on special jerseys this season

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and every corner of the baseball world has taken time to honor the legacy of the civil rights icon (and one-time slugger). The Birmingham Barons, however, did something unique: The White Sox Double-A affiliate unveiled a special King-themed uniform it'll wear next season, featuring the text of the famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

White Sox sign 4 for '18; Avi, Yolmer unsigned

South Siders haven't gone to arbitration since 2001
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The White Sox announced Friday they agreed to terms on one-year contracts with first baseman Jose Abreu ($13 million), infielder Leury Garcia ($1.175 million) and left-handed pitchers Luis Avilan ($2.450 million) and Carlos Rodon ($2.3 million). But they could go to salary arbitration for the first time since 2001.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia and infielder Yolmer Sanchez remain unsigned for 2018 and are eligible for arbitration. Reliever Keith Foulke, who won, was the last arbitration case for the White Sox.

CHICAGO -- The White Sox announced Friday they agreed to terms on one-year contracts with first baseman Jose Abreu ($13 million), infielder Leury Garcia ($1.175 million) and left-handed pitchers Luis Avilan ($2.450 million) and Carlos Rodon ($2.3 million). But they could go to salary arbitration for the first time since 2001.

Outfielder Avisail Garcia and infielder Yolmer Sanchez remain unsigned for 2018 and are eligible for arbitration. Reliever Keith Foulke, who won, was the last arbitration case for the White Sox.

Abreu, who will turn 31 on Jan. 29, hit .304 with 33 home runs, 43 doubles, 102 RBIs, 95 runs scored and a .906 OPS in 2017. The first baseman lead the American League with 343 total bases and became the third player in Major League history to begin his career with four or more consecutive seasons of 25-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs, joining Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio (1936-41) and Albert Pujols (2001-10).

Originally agreeing upon a six-year, $68 million deal when joining the White Sox, Abreu opted into arbitration and out of his guaranteed salaries on Nov. 14, 2016. Abreu earned $10.825 million in avoiding arbitration last season and would have made $10.5 million in '17 and $11.5 million in '18 in his original deal.

Avilan, 28, was acquired from the Dodgers on Jan. 4 as part of a three-team, five-player deal that saw right-hander Joakim Soria also join the White Sox. Avilan notched a 2-3 record and 2.93 ERA in 2017, including 52 strikeouts over 46 innings. He allowed just 18.2 percent of inherited runners to score while limiting first batters to a .196 average and left-handers to a .195 mark.

Leury Garcia, 26, appeared in 87 games last season, batting .270 with 15 doubles, nine homers, 33 RBIs, 41 runs scored and eight stolen bases. He started 74 games in the outfield and two apiece at second base and shortstop.

Rodon, 25, went 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 12 starts and 69 1/3 innings in 2017. He was on the disabled list from April 2 to June 8 with left biceps bursitis and again from Sept. 8 through the remainder of the season with left shoulder inflammation. Rodon underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder (bursitis and debridement) on Sept. 27 with an expected recovery time of six to eight months. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper recently told MLB.com he isn't counting on Rodon for the start of the 2018 season.

Sanchez, 25, set career highs with his .267 average, 12 home runs, eight triples, 59 RBIs and 63 runs scored in 141 games. The switch-hitter played mostly second and third base while making three starts at shortstop.

Avisail Garcia's .330 average was the third highest in the Majors. The first-time All-Star also hit 18 home runs, 80 RBIs and 27 doubles. According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, Garcia filed at $6.7 million and the White Sox filed at $5.85 million.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Jose Abreu, Luis Avilan, Leury Garcia, Avisail Garcia, Carlos Rodon, Yolmer Sanchez

Sox bring back Gonzalez on one-year deal

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez has officially returned to the White Sox.

The White Sox agreed to terms with the right-hander on a one-year, $4.75 million contract announced on Thursday. Outfielder Jacob May was designated for assignment to make room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster, which stands at 40.

CHICAGO -- Miguel Gonzalez has officially returned to the White Sox.

The White Sox agreed to terms with the right-hander on a one-year, $4.75 million contract announced on Thursday. Outfielder Jacob May was designated for assignment to make room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster, which stands at 40.

"It's good to be back," said Gonzalez during a conference call. "The coaching staff, they treated me well. And obviously the players, we had a really good connection."

"You saw Gonzo pitch very well for us," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "One of the hardest workers, most prepared professionals that I've seen in a while. We're glad to have him. It puts us in a better position to move forward, especially with all the young guys we have."

Video: Renteria glad to have Gonzalez on White Sox again

Gonzalez was a well-liked, steady presence in the White Sox starting rotation for much of the 2016-17 seasons. He has a 12-18 mark with a 4.02 ERA over 46 games with the White Sox, of which 45 were starts.

It was important for the White Sox to bring in at least one veteran starting pitcher to their rotation. White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told MLB.com this week he doesn't expect Carlos Rodon to be ready at the start of the 2018 season after undergoing season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery in September, sidelining him for six to eight months at the time. Lucas Giolito, Carson Fulmer and Reynaldo Lopez also will be pitching through their first full seasons at the big league level, while Michael Kopech, MLB Pipeline's No. 1 pure pitching prospect, continues his development at Triple-A Charlotte.

"We're trying not to rush anything," Renteria said. "We're trying to make sure everything is running on schedule in terms of the development of everybody we have. We don't want to put ourselves in a position where we call somebody up just because there's a need."

Adding Gonzalez, 33, gives the White Sox a reliable starting option. In 156 innings last season with the White Sox and Rangers, Gonzalez combined for an 8-13 mark with a 4.62 ERA and 100 strikeouts over 27 starts.

Video: DET@CWS: Gonzalez sets a career high with nine K's

From April 30 to June 14, Gonzalez struggled with a 6.79 ERA and .320 average against over nine starts. But the right-hander was pitching through some pain and was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 15 with inflammation in his AC joint in his right shoulder.

Upon his return to the mound on July 18, Gonzalez posted a 3.11 ERA over his final nine starts with the White Sox. He was traded to the Rangers on Aug. 31 in exchange for infielder Ti'Quan Forbes, but even thought at that point he could return to the White Sox via free agency.

Tweet from @whitesox: Welcome *back* to Chicago, Miguel Gonz��lez! pic.twitter.com/9U932LdQNu

Renteria and Gonzalez shared a cordial exchange on Thursday's conference call, making it seem as if the pitcher had never left the rebuild.

"I know we're rebuilding, but I'm excited for this season. Who knows? We can surprise some people," Gonzalez said. "I talked about it with my wife and she loves Chicago.

"She enjoys it there. As soon as we started talking with the White Sox about the contract, I was pretty pumped, pretty excited to come back."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Miguel Gonzalez

Cooper not counting on Rodon for start of 2018

Lefty had shoulder surgery in September, was expected to miss 6-8 months
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper doesn't see much on the agenda for Carlos Rodon other than enjoying newly married life with his wife, Ashley.

Rodon had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in late September, leaving him out for the next six to eight months. So Cooper wants to watch Rodon actually throw before making more specific plans for Rodon's immediate pitching future.

CHICAGO -- White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper doesn't see much on the agenda for Carlos Rodon other than enjoying newly married life with his wife, Ashley.

Rodon had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in late September, leaving him out for the next six to eight months. So Cooper wants to watch Rodon actually throw before making more specific plans for Rodon's immediate pitching future.

"I'm not counting on and I don't think anybody is counting on him being ready to start the season," Cooper said. "Obviously, we will learn more at SoxFest [Jan. 26-28] and we'll learn some when Spring Training opens up.

"He's going to have some 'take-care-of-himself' time, some 'let's-get-him-well' time."

The White Sox took it easy on Rodon as he dealt with injuries in 2017, as well. After one four-inning Cactus League start, the lefty didn't make his regular-season debut until June 28, due to biceps bursitis. The season-ending surgery meant Rodon's last start came on Sept. 2, leaving him with a 4.15 ERA over 12 trips to the mound and 76 strikeouts and 31 walks over 69 1/3 innings pitched.

Video: SF@CWS: Sox booth on Rodon out for the season

Cooper bristles at any doubts regarding the southpaw's high-end potential. Rodon has one of the game's most effective sliders and a fastball averaging 93.3 mph for his career, per Fangraphs, and has fanned 383 over 373 2/3 innings. But the question is when he'll be back near 100 percent.

"I personally believe this is just an obstacle put in his way and we are going to take care of that obstacle and help him in any way we can," said Cooper. "He is going to resume his career and continue on the path of trying to be as good as you can be.

"Prior to the injury, I would like to hear a club that wouldn't want Carlos Rodon. There are 30 teams that would say, 'Yeah, I'll take a go at Rodon.'

"Who wouldn't? Just his strikeout numbers and the streaks he's been on. But my point is the skepticism should not be on his ability and how good he is, the gifts he has. It should be more on he's run into a couple of physical problems, and how is that going to pan out."

Calls from Cooper and bullpen coach Curt Hasler are going out to White Sox pitchers, gauging what they are doing in the offseason and what to expect at the start of camp. Cooper, Hasler and baseball video coordinator Bryan Johnson had their own calls over the past few months, breaking down video and numbers and looking for ways to improve each hurler.

Improvement for Rodon, at this point, has more to do with ongoing shoulder rehab work.

"As important as Carlos is, he can't be in the front of my mind right now," Cooper said. "He's just got to travel his little course.

"The course he's got is work your [butt] off, rehab, get yourself in top shape, take care of that shoulder. Get on the throwing program and hopefully you can build up from the throwing program to sidelines to games to innings and to pitches and to back in Chicago."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Carlos Rodon

Happy, healthy Adolfo talks breakout season

Powerful prospect takes part in MLB's Rookie Career Development Program after hitting 16 homers in Class A
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Micker Adolfo selected jersey No. 27 to honor his favorite player, Vladimir Guerrero.

As Guerrero awaits the results of Baseball's Hall of Fame voting, Adolfo -- the White Sox No. 14 prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- is reveling in a breakout 2017 season, his most successful with the White Sox. The 21-year-old discussed his breakthrough while taking part in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program.

CHICAGO -- Micker Adolfo selected jersey No. 27 to honor his favorite player, Vladimir Guerrero.

As Guerrero awaits the results of Baseball's Hall of Fame voting, Adolfo -- the White Sox No. 14 prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- is reveling in a breakout 2017 season, his most successful with the White Sox. The 21-year-old discussed his breakthrough while taking part in Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program.

"Being able to stay healthy this year helped me a lot [with] progressing and moving forward," Adolfo said. "I can't help but thank all the coaches in the White Sox organization, all the conditioning and strength coaches for helping me set up a nice program to keep me on the field and do my job day by day."

Rated as the White Sox top international amateur signing until the Luis Robert move this past season, Adolfo joined the team with a $1.6 million bonus on July 2, 2013, two months shy of his 17th birthday. Since then, the right-handed outfielder has transformed from a shy, skinny kid learning into a gregarious, powerfully built prospect.

Taking part in the Career Development Program will help Adolfo's growth, too.

"I heard about it from a couple of guys that I played with before," Adolfo said. "They told me it was a really good program. When the White Sox selected me to come here, I was very honored. I'm learning a lot of things that will come in handy in the future."

In 424 at-bats across 112 games, Adolfo hit .264 with 16 homers, 28 doubles and 68 RBIs for Class A Kannapolis in 2017, notching career highs in average, homers and RBIs. During the Instructional League in Arizona, Adolfo rehabbed a fractured knuckle on his left pinky -- the result of a freak accident -- that ended his season early on Aug. 22.

Video: Adolfo on progress in Kannapolis

There also was a trip to the Dominican Instructional League in November, where Adolfo got an extremely positive first impression of Robert, the No. 23 prospect in baseball.

"His first at-bat in Dominican instructs was a home run, first pitch he saw. He cleared the trees. It was probably 430 feet," Adolfo said. "But the guy is a specimen.

Video: Luis Robert homers in his first pro at-bat in the DSL

"He can field, hit, run, throw and everything. He plays hard. He's a really good fit for the White Sox and I would love to be playing next to him some day in Chicago."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

 

Chicago White Sox, Micker Adolfo