Alonso, White Sox focused on getting better

February 20th, 2019

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox first baseman Yonder Alonso is very excited for Manny Machado, his brother in law, as the third baseman embarks on his next Major League Baseball chapter with the Padres.

But Machado reportedly agreeing to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres doesn’t really change life for Alonso and the White Sox.

“Inside this room, the 60-plus players, plus the coaching staff, the front office, it’s always been about the guys in here,” Alonso said on Wednesday. “It’s been about going out there and getting better every single day and taking care of one another.

“The media, at times, can maybe pull out a different take on things, but I know for us inside this room, we’re all one and we’re all together. Win or lose, we’re still going to be together, we’re going to keep our heads very high and continue to compete at a high level, and bring a championship home.”

General manager Rick Hahn spoke extensively on Tuesday about Chicago's aggressive, but ultimately unsuccessful pursuit of the premium free agent at both the team’s spring complex and during Cactus League media day at the Glendale Civic Center. Hahn understood the fans’ disappointment, adding as someone who also lives and dies with the White Sox, it was a tough day for him personally as well.

Hahn wouldn’t get into a potential pursuit of fellow premium free agent Bryce Harper. The GM did say the money allocated for Machado, which could have reached $350 million based on all the vesting options and incentives reached, eventually will be spent.

“It might not be spent this offseason, but it will be spent at some point,” Hahn said. “This isn’t money sitting around waiting to just accumulate interest.

“It’s money trying to be deployed to put us in best position to win some championships. It doesn’t change the fact that we are going to once again be in this market when the time is right, and hopefully at that time convert.”

Abreu in waiting

The 2019 season marks the final year of contractual control for the White Sox over Jose Abreu. But based on comments made by Hahn at the Cactus League media day, any extension talks would seem to come during the offseason.

“Never say never, but more often than not, we handle our business in the offseason,” Hahn said. “There’s been exceptions over the years. We did [Mark] Buehrle mid-season and Jermaine Dye mid-season. Generally, we prefer to do business in the offseason.”

Cactus League opener hurlers announced

Donn Roach will get the start in the Cactus League opener against the Dodgers on Saturday at Camelback Ranch. Jordan Stephens, Jose Ruiz, Thyago Vieira, Ryan Burr and Carson Fulmer also are scheduled to work in that contest.

Jordan Guerrero will take the mound for the White Sox in their split-squad contest against the A’s on Saturday in Mesa. He will be followed by Colton Turner, Randall Delgado, Zach Thompson and Evan Marshall. Manager Rick Renteria said it will be “a little bit” before the main guys of his staff get into Cactus League games.

“A lot of work will be getting done on the back fields,” Renteria said. “Just continue to move them, working, and then we'll start transitioning and start seeing a lot of those guys getting some work in the regular games.”

Renteria wasn’t certain as to the team’s Opening Day starter against the Royals on Mach 28 at Kauffman Stadium.

Diamond versatility

While Yoan Moncada continues the transition to third base, working extra time with White Sox bench coach and infield instructor Joe McEwing, Jose Rondon will play some Cactus League innings in the outfield. Rondon is out of options and the 24-year-old infielder, who hit 24 home runs between the White Sox and Triple-A Charlotte last year, will try to add to his on-field versatility.

“We're trying to get as much flexibility out of where we're going to be able to use him,” Renteria said. “I know he's played left field in winter ball. He's willing do anything he can to help us, so we'll continue to expand his roles.”

They said it

“We gonna keep rolling. Either ride with us or get run over. We know who’s on the boat with us and which way we want to sail.” -- Shortstop Tim Anderson, on the White Sox direction without Machado

“As Ricky put it the other day, some of the flowers are starting to bloom. We might not have the full bouquet ready to go just yet. But some of the flowers will start blooming over the course of this summer, and we believe it will be a compelling product more so over time.” -- Hahn, on the top young players starting to develop