2016 Trade Deadline Rumors Open Thread: Thursday


Earlier this week the Yankees swung a blockbuster trade with the Cubs, sending Aroldis Chapman to Chicago for Adam Warren and three prospects. There were an awful lot of rumors and buildup to that trade — that’s a Theo Epstein hallmark — but things have been fairly quiet since. That’s not unusual for the Yankees. Their moves tend to come out of nowhere. The Chapman trade was the exception.

Of course, the Yankees are also said to be on the fence about selling, and their recent 11-6 hot streak hasn’t exactly helped matters. It’s making me a little nervous. The Yankees are going to make some important decisions these next four days, decisions that really impact the future of the franchise. Anyway, here are Wednesday’s rumors, and once again, we’ll keep track of the day’s trade rumors right here, so make sure you check back often. All time stamps are ET.

  • 9:30pm: The Yankees will move Ivan Nova no matter what before the deadline. The team is not planning to make him the qualifying offer after the season, so they want to get something for him at the deadline rather than nothing after the season. The pitching market is so bleak right now that I think Nova might actually fetch something halfway decent. [Joel Sherman]
  • 11:25am: The Yankees have called the White Sox about Chris Sale multiple times. Chicago wants five top prospects for their ace lefty, and thanks to the haul from the Aroldis Chapman trade, the Yankees just might have the pieces to get it done. [Jon Heyman]
  • 12:04pm: One Yankees-connected person said there is “no chance” they trade Andrew Miller. The team is listening to offers, but their asking price is “prohibitive.” Given what they received for Chapman, I can’t even imagine what it would take to get Miller. [Heyman]
  • 2:09pm: The Yankees asked the Nationals for a four-player package built around young pitching for Chapman. First they asked for Lucas Giolito, and when Washington said no, they asked for Joe Ross. The Nationals said no again. [Heyman]

Reminder before you comment: Your trade proposal sucks.

King: White Sox asked about Gary Sanchez this week, but asking price was “far too high”


According to George King, the White Sox asked the Yankees about top catching prospect Gary Sanchez earlier this week, but talks didn’t progress far because the asking price was “far too high.” The ChiSox just lost Alex Avila to a hamstring injury and are looking to stay in the wildcard race. Also, Sanchez would be a long-term solution behind the plate.

Sanchez, 23, went into last night’s game hitting .281/.321/.487 (132 wRC+) with nine homers in 55 Triple-A games. He missed a few weeks earlier this season after taking a foul tip to the thumb and suffering a fracture. Sanchez spent one day in the big leagues a few weeks ago, serving as the DH against the White Sox, coincidentally enough. Anyway, I have three quick thoughts on this.

1. So the Yankees asked for one of the lefties, right? I’m guessing the Yankees asked the ChiSox for one of their three left-handed starters, meaning Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, or Carlos Rodon. When a team asks about one your top prospects, you ask about getting one of their best players in return. That’s how this usually works. Sale and Quintana are presumably off-limits and I’m sure the Yankees knew that. They were probably asking for Sale or Quintana, and willing to “settle” for Rodon. He’d satisfy their need for young pitching controllable beyond 2017.

2. What else do the White Sox have to offer? The White Sox don’t have a great farm system, especially with Tim Anderson now holding down the shortstop position in the big leagues. Carson Fulmer, the eighth overall pick in last year’s draft, has a 4.76 ERA (4.11 FIP) with a 13.0% walk rate in Double-A this year. His stock is down because concerns about his high-effort delivery and imprecise command are manifesting themselves in pro ball.

Here is MLB.com’s top 30 White Sox prospects, for your perusal. I don’t see anyone — or even a combination of multiple players — worth giving up Sanchez to get. Maybe I’m just a raging homer. If nothing else, that prospect list shows why the Yankees (probably) focused on the White Sox’s lefty starters. What else do they have to offer? Brett Lawrie? No thanks.

3. Sanchez is the most “untouchable” prospect the Yankees have. As far as I’m concerned, the Yankees do not have an untouchable player in their organization. They don’t have a young franchise cornerstone like Mike Trout or Francisco Lindor, and they don’t have a truly elite prospect like Lucas Giolito or Dansby Swanson. Those guys should be untouchable. Not players like Sanchez or Didi Gregorius or Aaron Judge.

That said, it would be tougher to part with some players than others, and Sanchez is one of them as a Triple-A catcher with a chance to hit in the middle of the order. Those guys are hard to find. Trading Judge would make more sense because the Yankees have a ton of outfield prospects in Double-A and Triple-A. Trading Jorge Mateo would also make more sense because he’s only in High Class-A and the Yankees have a whole bunch of other quality shortstop prospects. They only have one Sanchez though. Outfield and shortstop are positions of depth. Catcher isn’t.

* * *

Austin Romine‘s surprisingly competency as Brian McCann‘s backup has bought the Yankees some time. They’ve been able to leave Sanchez in Triple-A so he can continue to work on his defense. He is clearly the catcher of the future, and his path to the job is pretty clear. Sanchez figures to spend next year as McCann’s understudy before taking over as the No. 1 guy in 2018 or 2019. Trading him shouldn’t be off the table, but the Yankees are right to set the price high.

Yankeemetrics: South side flop [July 4-6]


The Yankees opened the second half of the schedule against the White Sox with a game that had a familiar tune: substandard starting pitching, lack of clutch hitting and a listless loss.

The Yankees had plenty of chances to make a dent in the scoreboard but their sputtering lineup went hitless in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position. It was their worst 0-fer with a man on second and/or third since Sept. 12, 2012 against the Red Sox, a game they actually won 5-4; the last time they had such an awful day with RISP and lost was May 21, 2012 in a 6-0 loss to the Royals.

Starlin Castro was one of the few Yankees who actually provided some offensive fireworks with four hits in four at-bats, including two doubles, in his first game back in Chicago.

He’s the first Yankee second baseman to go 4-for-4 or better against the White Sox since Willie Randolph in 1976. With that perfect line, Castro upped his batting average at U.S. Cellular Field to .397 (25-for-63), the highest mark by any active player with at least 50 at-bats there.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Bronx hitmen
The Yankees flipped the script on Tuesday night with a lopsided 9-0 victory in the Windy City. They put together one of their most complete games of the season — a rare confluence of terrific starting pitching and explosive bats.

The last time the Yankees had at least 20 hits and allowed zero runs was an 11-0 win on August 11, 1997 against the Twins at the Metrodome. They’d never done it before in any game against the White Sox, a rivalry that dates back to the beginning of the franchise in 1903.

The team’s offensive breakout was encouraging, but the frustrations with men on base continued as the Yankees stranded 14 guys. The only other game in the last decade where they had 20 or more hits while leaving 14 or more men on base was September 13, 2009 in a 13-3 win over the Orioles.

And if it felt like they should have scored a bunch more runs based on their bloated hit total … you’d be correct. This was the first time in at least the last 100 years that the Yankees pounded out at least 20 hits in a nine-inning game but failed to score in double digits.

Masahiro Tanaka bounced back from his worst outing of the season, firing 7 2/3 scoreless innings for his sixth win of the season. With that ace-like performance, he lowered his road ERA this season to 1.14, the lowest among starting pitchers the majors through Tuesday. It was his ninth straight road start allowing no more than two runs, the longest such streak by any Yankee pitcher since at least 1913.

From heroes to zeroes
With a chance to get back to .500 and build some momentum heading into their final pre-break series, the Yankees laid an egg as they were blanked by the White Sox, 5-0, on Wednesday night. It was just the second time they’ve ever been shut out at the current version of Comiskey Park/U.S. Cellular Field (which opened in 1991); the other game was also a 5-0 loss on April 13, 1994.

With the loss, the Yankees fell to 5-11 at U.S. Cellular since 2012, their worst record at any AL ballpark in that span, and the second-worst record by any AL team at that stadium over the past five seasons (the Rangers are 4-11).


Looking to extend a solid run of six June starts during which he posted a 2.75 ERA with 49 strikeouts, Michael Pineda reverted back to his early-season form, giving up five runs across six innings. Four of the five runs were scored with two outs in the second frame, highlighting two of his biggest statistical bugaboos this season: early-game troubles and difficulties closing out innings.

He’s now allowed 17 runs in the first inning, and 17 runs in the second inning this season (compared to 25 runs in all other innings combined). The 34 total runs given up in the first and second frames are the second-most by any pitcher the majors, behind only James Shields (38). Pineda also now leads all MLB pitchers with 37 two-out runs allowed.

Pineda will enter the All-Star break with first-half statistics that are both dominant (113 strikeouts in 95 1/3 innings) and dreadful (3-8 record, 5.38 ERA).

The Good: his strikeout rate of 10.69 per nine innings is the second-best in franchise history before the break (min. 60 innings), just a hair behind David Cone’s 10.72 in 1997. The Bad: he is the second Yankee pitcher to make more than 10 starts before the break and post an ERA of at least 5.30 with a win percentage of .273 or worse; the other, coincidentally (or not), was David Cone in 2000 (1-7, 6.40 ERA in 16 starts).

Putting it all together, his mix of strikeout excellence and awful run prevention is unprecedented in baseball history. Pineda’s 5.38 ERA is the highest by any pitcher heading into the All-Star break who also had a strikeout rate of at least 10 batters per nine innings and at least 75 innings pitched.

7/4 to 7/6 Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

Is that a Joe Crede statue?! (Presswire)
Is that a Joe Crede statue?! (Presswire)

Time for the second city of this ten-game, three-time zone road trip. The Yankees are on Chicago’s south side for three games with the White Sox this week. These two teams played three games in Yankee Stadium in mid-May. That was Aroldis Chapman‘s second series back from his suspension. The Yankees won two of three to the surprise of everyone.

What Have They Done Lately?

The ChiSox got off to an excellent start this season (23-10), then they slumped for a few weeks (10-26), and now they’re back to playing well again (9-4). They took two of three from the Astros this weekend. The Second City’s second team is 42-40 overall with a -10 run differential on the season. They’re in fourth place in the AL Central and two games back of a postseason spot.

Offense & Defense

Despite their big offseason additions, the White Sox have had a below-average offense this season. They’ve averaging 4.17 runs per game with a team 90 wRC+. The ChiSox are without two ex-Yankees: CF Austin Jackson (77 wRC+) is on the DL with meniscus tear and LF Melky Cabrera (112 wRC+) is day-to-day with a mild wrist sprain. He hasn’t played since last Tuesday but it sounds as though he could return to the lineup any day now.

Anderson. (Bob Levey/Getty)
Anderson. (Bob Levey/Getty)

The White Sox have made a change at shortstop since the Yankees last saw them in May. Top prospect SS Tim Anderson (108 wRC+) has replaced veteran SS Jimmy Rollins (67 wRC+), who was released. Manager Robin Ventura has been using Anderson as his leadoff hitter, with RF Adam Eaton (102 wRC+), 1B Jose Abreu (98 wRC+), and 3B Todd Frazier (98 wRC+) following as the 2-3-4 hitters. Melky had been hitting fourth with Frazier hitting fifth before his wrist issue.

2B Brett Lawrie (99 wRC+) typically follows the top four (top five when Melky is healthy) hitters in the lineup. C Alex Avila (97 wRC+) and C Dioner Navarro (70 wRC+) split catching duties, and with Cabrera and Jackson hurt, CF J.B. Shuck (69 wRC+) and LF Avisail Garcia (78 wRC+) have been getting regular playing time. IF Tyler Saladino (84 wRC+), IF Carlos Sanchez (7 wRC+), and OF Jason Coats (39 wRC+) are the White Sox’s other bench players. They’re carrying a normal four-man bench, which I guess isn’t so normal these days.

Defensively, the White Sox made huge upgrades over the winter with Frazier and Lawrie. Replacing Rollins with Anderson has been a big help as well. Eaton, who moved from center to right in deference to Jackson, has been very good at his new position. Shuck is a capable replacement for Jackson, though going from Melky and Jackson to Shuck and Garcia is a net downgrade. You can run on Avila and especially Navarro.

Pitching Matchups

Monday (2:10pm ET): LHP CC Sabathia (vs. CWS) vs. RHP James Shields (vs. NYY)
Boy are the Yankees catching a break this series. They’re playing three games against the ChiSox and won’t face Chris Sale or Jose Quintana. That is a gift from the baseball gods. Shields, now 34, actually started this season well, but he’s now allowed 36 runs and 63 baserunners in his last six starts and 23 innings. His last two starts were decent too (three runs in five innings, one run in 6.2 innings). Goes to show how bad he was before that.

Overall, Shields has a 5.85 ERA (5.23 FIP) in 16 games and 87.2 innings between the Padres and White Sox this year. His grounder rate (44.4%) is right in line with his career norms, but his strikeouts are down (17.8%), his walks are up (10.4%), and he’s giving up a ton of homers (1.54 HR/9). Not a good combination there. As you’d expect, Shields is getting hammered by both righties and lefties this year. These days Shields sits 90-91 mph with his four-seamer and in the mid-80s with his cutter. His trademark changeup is still in the mid-80s, and he also throws an upper-70s curveball. The Shields we saw all those years with the Rays is no more. His stuff is down across the board. Years of throwing 200+ innings have taken their toll.

Tuesday (8:10pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Carlos Rodon (vs. NYY)
I still can’t believe the Marlins didn’t take Rodon with the second pick in the 2014 draft. They took high school righty Tyler Kolek instead, and he had a disappointing 2015 season before blowing out his elbow this spring and needing Tommy John surgery. Rodon was close to MLB ready and he’s a local kid from Miami, plus his family is from Cuba, and that appeals to a large portion of the Marlins fan base given the large Cuban community in South Florida. Instead, the Marlins took Kolek and the ChiSox grabbed Rodon with the third pick. He was in their rotation nine months later.

Anyway, the 23-year-old Rodon is having a serviceable sophomore season, pitching to a 4.24 ERA (4.22 FIP) in 15 starts and 87 innings. His strikeout (23.1%), walk (79%), and grounder (45.5%) numbers are all promising, though he has been really home run prone (1.34 HR/9). Righties have crushed him, both this year and last year. Rodon’s money maker is a devastating mid-to-upper-80s slider …

Carlos Rodon slider

… that is truly Andrew Miller-esque. Rodon sets the slidepiece up with mid-90s sinkers and four-seam fastballs. He also throws a mid-80s changeup that is clearly his third pitch. When push come to shove, Rodon’s going to throw the slider. It’s by far his best pitch and the pitch he’ll use to get out of tight spots. His slider is so good that he could tell you it’s coming and you still might not be able to hit it.

Wednesday (8:10pm ET): RHP Michael Pineda (vs. CWS) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (vs. NYY)
The Yankees tried and failed to sign the 32-year-old Gonzalez this spring, after the Orioles cut him loose because his velocity was down so much in Spring Training. He opted to join the White Sox because there was a clearer path to a spot in their rotation. Sure enough, John Danks got hammered early in the season and a rotation spot opened up. Gonzalez has made eleven starts (and one relief appearance) with Chicago so far, and he has a 4.88 ERA (4.47 FIP) in 62.2 innings. For the most part his underlying performance (17.6 K%, 9.5 BB%, 43.0 GB%, 1.01 HR/9) is in line with his career averages, and once again his platoon split is small. That’s because Gonzalez has a great mid-80s splitter that neutralizes southpaws. His four-seamer and sinker sit in the low-90s, and, not surprisingly, he’s added a mid-80s cutter this year. ChiSox pitching coach Don Cooper has a reputation for developing cutters. Gonzalez also has an upper-70s curveball that he’ll use a handful of times per outing. Unlike Shields and Rodon, the Yankees did face Gonzalez when these clubs met back in April. They touched him up for three runs in 4.2 innings.

Awww D-Rob. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
Awww D-Rob. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

Bullpen Status

I would stop short of saying the White Sox have a great bullpen, but it has been good overall, and their setup/closer tandem doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the best in baseball. Here is the relief crew Ventura is working with these days:

Closer: RHP David Robertson (3.28 ERA/3.22 FIP)
Setup: RHP Nate Jones (2.61/3.08)
Middle: LHP Zach Duke (3.08/2.75), RHP Matt Albers (5.17/5.72), LHP Dan Jennings (1.85/3.75)
Long: RHP Chris Beck (5.79/4.88), RHP Michael Ynoa (3.00/3.50)

I’m so old that I remember when Michael Ynoa was Michel Inoa. He was arguably the highest profile international amateur free agent ever, and the Athletics gave him a then-record $4.25M bonus back in 2008. The Yankees tried to sign him but fell short, and of course they were crushed for it. Ynoa got hurt and stalled out in the minors, and the A’s eventually traded him to the White Sox in the Jeff Samardzija deal last year. He finally made his MLB debut this season.

Anyway, Robertson and Jones are Ventura’s big end-game arms, and both Duke and Albers will also see high-leverage work from time to time. The other three guys are there because, well, someone has to throw innings when you’re losing. Both Jones and Robertson pitched Saturday and Sunday. Head over to our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s relief crew.

Yankeemetrics: Light at the end of the tunnel? [May 13-15]

Chase "Mr. Clutch" Headley (AP Photo)
Chase “Mr. Clutch” Headley (AP Photo)

Raise the white flag
Friday’s pitching matchup between Chris Sale and Luis Severino looked like a complete mismatch on paper, and that’s how it played out in real time as the White Sox crushed the Yankees, 7-1, in the series opener.

Sale went the distance, dominated the Yankees lineup and moved to 8-0 with a 1.67 ERA this season. He also lowered his career ERA versus the Yankees to 1.17, the best mark against the Yankees by any pitcher in major-league history who has made at least five starts against the team.

Holding the Yankees to one run on six hits, Sale also became the first White Sox pitcher with a complete game win at Yankee Stadium since Jim Abbott on July 18, 1995. The last White Sox pitcher to allow one run or fewer in a nine-inning complete-game win at Yankee Stadium was Neil Allen in 1986.

Severino was removed in the third inning after surrendering seven runs, and fell to 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA in seven starts. The only other Yankees in the last 100 years to go winless in their first seven starts of the season, and lose at least six of those games, were Chien-Ming Wang (2009), Doyle Alexander (1982) and Stan Bahnsen (1969).

Two good to be true
The Yankees bounced back from Friday’s deflating loss with a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon, improving to 9-2 against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium since the start of 2013, their best record in the Bronx against any team over the past four years.

The win was also their first this season when scoring fewer than three runs; entering Saturday, the Yankees were 0-16 in those games, the worst record among all MLB teams.

Ivan Nova, making his second start of the season, was outstanding in giving the Yankees 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He’s now allowed one run or fewer in six of his seven starts against the White Sox, including all three at Yankee Stadium. His 2.42 career ERA versus Chicago is the best by a Yankee pitcher in the Wild Card era (min. 44 innings).

Dellin Betances relieved Nova in the sixth inning and struck out all four of the batters he faced. That’s the second time in his career he’s thrown more than an inning and punched out every guy.

He is the only Yankee pitcher in the last 100 years to have multiple outings like that. Two other active pitchers have two such games on their resume: Steve Geltz (Rays) and Kenley Jansen (Dodgers).

Milestone Man (mlb.com)
Milestone Man (mlb.com)

Don’t call it a comeback
Slowly, but surely, the Yankees are starting to dig themselves out of the massive hole they dug themselves into during the first month of the season. After taking the rubber game on Sunday afternoon against White Sox, the Yankees clinched their third series in a row and finished off a strong 10-game homestand at 7-3.

Carlos Beltran, hitless in his previous three games, broke out of that mini-slump in style with a towering home run in the sixth inning to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. It was also the 400th of his career, putting Beltran in rare company with some of baseball’s greatest sluggers. He is the:

  • 54th player in MLB history with 400 career homers;
  • eighth player to reach the 400-homer milestone in a Yankee uniform (Babe Ruth, A-Rod, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano);
  • fourth switch-hitter to reach the milestone (Chipper Jones, Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray);
  • third Puerto Rican in the exclusive club (Carlos Delgado and Juan Gonzalez).

Beltran’s legacy is more than just homers, though, he’s one of the best all-around, five-tool players. There are now three players in major-league history with at least 400 homers, 75 triples, 1,000 walks and 300 stolen bases in a career: Beltran, Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.

While Beltran provided the biggest milestone moment of the game, Chase Headley delivered the decisive blow with a two-out, pinch-hit RBI double in the bottom of the seventh that broke a 5-5 tie. It was his fifth go-ahead hit in the seventh inning or later since his debut in pinstripes on July 22, 2014. That’s tied with A-Rod for the most go-ahead hits in the seventh inning or later among Yankees during that span.

5/13 to 5/15 Series Preview: Chicago White Sox

$40M+ in career earnings for Melky. (Matt Hazlett/Getty)
$40M+ in career earnings for Melky. (Matt Hazlett/Getty)

For the first time since 2012, the White Sox are visiting the Bronx in the first half of the season. These series have been a staple of the September schedule the last few years for whatever reason. The Yankees and White Sox kick off a three-game series tonight. This is the only trip the South Siders will make to New York this year.

What Have They Done Lately?

The two best teams in baseball this season both play in Chicago. The Cubs have the game’s best record at 25-8 and the White Sox have the second best record at 23-12. The ChiSox’s +35 run differential is sixth best in MLB. They had an off-day yesterday and did lose two straight to the Rangers before that, but still. They’re really good. The White Sox have won 13 of their last 19 games overall.

Offense & Defense

As you’d expect given their record, the White Sox have a good offense this season, one that has averaged 4.43 runs per game with a team 101 wRC+. They started really slow before picking up the pace the last few weeks. Kinda like the Yankees, I guess. Manager Robin Ventura has one injured position player and he’s not really injured: 3B Todd Frazier (117 wRC+) cut up his lip pretty bad Wednesday falling into the stands to make a catch. He’s listed as day-to-day and I would be shocked if it keeps him out of the lineup tonight.

Frazier. (Tom Pennington/Getty)
Frazier. (Tom Pennington/Getty)

The ChiSox generally have a set lineup. RF Adam Eaton (122 wRC+) leads off, 1B Jose Abreu (104 wRC+) and Frazier bat third and fourth, and LF Melky Cabrera (122 wRC+) and 2B Brett Lawrie (137 wRC+) back them up as the No. 5 and 6 hitters. SS Jimmy Rollins (87 wRC+) and CF Austin Jackson (72 wRC+) have been sharing time in the No. 2 spot. OF Avisail Garcia (117 wRC+) and UTIL Jerry Sands (74 wRC+) are splitting DH time while C Alex Avila (82 wRC+) and C Dioner Navarro (64 wRC+) split catching duties. That’s the regular lineup. IF Tyler Saladino (41 wRC+) and IF Carlos Sanchez (30 wRC+) are the other bench players.

Last season the White Sox were the worst defensive team in baseball by almost every objective measure. They ranked dead last in UZR (-39.5) and third to last in DRS (-39) among the 30 clubs. The additions of Frazier, Rollins, Lawrie, and Jackson have improved things substantially. Melky still takes funny routes and Lawrie has a tendency to get a little crazy and make mistakes by rushing things, but otherwise the ChiSox have solid or better defenders all around the field. Huge, huge improvement defensively from last season.

Pitching Matchups

Friday (7pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Chris Sale (vs. NYY)
There was a time a few weeks ago when folks were talking about the possibility of a Sale trade in the wake of the Drake LaRoche nonsense. That blew over quickly, huh? Sale, who just turned 27, has a 1.79 ERA (2.76 FIP) in seven starts and 50.1 innings this season. He talked about trying to get quicker outs back in Spring Training, and the result is his lowest strikeout rate (24.9%) and second highest ground ball rate (45.2%) as a starter. He still doesn’t walk anyone (5.3%) and he’s tough to take deep (0.54 HR/9). Sale is death on left-handed batters and he chews up righties pretty good too. He averages about 94 mph with his four-seamer and sits a tick below that with his sinker. A sweepy upper-70s slider is Sale’s trademark pitch, but his mid-80s changeup is really good too. Everything plays up because he has that funky delivery as well. Sale is on the very short list of the best pitchers in baseball. He’s a Cy Young candidate year after year because his stuff is phenomenal and he’s as cold and calculated as it gets (GIF via @Nick_Pants):

Chris Sale bat

Saturday (1pm ET): RHP Ivan Nova (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (vs. NYY)
The one who got away. Quintana, 27, spent the 2010-11 seasons in the Yankees’ minor league system, but the team opted not to add him to the 40-man roster to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent, so he signed with the White Sox prior to 2012. He ranks tenth among all pitchers in WAR since then. D’oh! Quintana is off to the best start of his career this season, pitching to a 1.38 ERA (2.12 FIP) in seven starts and 45.2 innings. His strikeout (24.0%), walk (5.1%), and homer (0.20 HR/9) numbers are all excellent, though I’m not sure that homer rate is sustainable given his home ballpark and low ground ball rate (40.3%). Quintana is been hard on lefties throughout his career. Righties too, but not as much. He operates with low-90s four-seamers and sinkers, as well as a 90 mph cutter he didn’t have while with the Yankees. Pitching coach Don Cooper is renowned for teaching the cutter and that’s how Quintana picked it up. An upper-70s curve and low-80s changeup are his two secondary pitches. This dude’s tough. The White Sox are 13-1 in the 14 games started by Sale and Quintana this season, by the way.

Sunday (1pm ET): RHP Masahiro Tanaka (vs. CWS) vs. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (vs. NYY)
The Yankees tried to sign Gonzalez to a minor league contract a few weeks back, but he instead opted to join the White Sox because they offered a clearer path to a rotation spot. The ChiSox pulled the plug on John Danks a few days ago, creating a spot for Gonzalez. The 31-year-old former Oriole has allowed six runs on 14 hits and five walks in eleven innings so far this season. He’s struck out ten and made two starts. Gonzalez’s platoon split has traditionally been small because his mid-80s splitter/changeup hybrid is an equalizer against lefties. His fastball has sat in the low-90s early this season, and he also throws upper-80s cutters and upper-70s curves. Gonzalez’s game plan is get ahead in the count so he can go to the split-change. That’s it.

A good ex-Yankee. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)
A good ex-Yankee. (Mike McGinnis/Getty)

Bullpen Status

The White Sox were able to improve their bullpen over the winter by doing nothing. Two key setup relievers, RHP Matt Albers and RHP Nate Jones, returned from injuries midway through last season and gave the bullpen a nice boost. This year those two have been available since Opening Day. Here is their relief crew:

RHP Matt Albers: 16.1 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 11 K, 2 HR
RHP Scott Carroll: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
LHP Zach Duke: 13.2 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 13 K, 0 HR
LHP Dan Jennings: 14.1 IP, 15 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 11 K, 1 HR
RHP Nate Jones: 14.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 0 HR
RHP Zach Putnam: 13.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 14 K, 1 HR
RHP David Robertson: 14.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 17 K, 0 HR

Robertson is the closer — he did throw an inning in Yankee Stadium last year, so if he pitches this series, it won’t be his first appearance in the Bronx as a visitor — and Jones is the primary setup man. Jones throws really, really hard. Albers is in the setup mix too. Duke is manager Robin Ventura’s go-to lefty in the late innings. Putnam and Jennings are the middle men and Carroll is the long man.

The White Sox had an off-day yesterday, so their bullpen is as fresh as it’s going to get. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s bullpen.

The Rest of MLB [2016 Season Preview]


The new season is upon us. Opening Day is Monday, which means it’s time to wrap up our annual Season Preview series. As always, we’ll end the series with a quick look around the league. Some of this is serious, most of it isn’t. Enjoy.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Why They’ll Suck: The middle infield is a mess and their corner outfield defense is going to be pretty bad if Yasmany Tomas plays left everyday. Also, they’ll probably trade some good players to unload a bad contract again.
Bold Prediction: Shelby Miller actually pitches well. I have no idea why so many analysts think he’s bad.

Atlanta Braves
Why They’ll Suck: Because they are trying to suck. Rebuilding is just a nice way of saying tanking.
Bold Prediction: Nick Markakis beats his ZiPS projection and slugs .370.

Chicago Cubs
Why They’ll Suck: They’re going to strike out way too much. It’s also only a matter of time until someone gets bit by some wild animal Joe Maddon brings into the clubhouse.
Bold Prediction: Adam Warren is their best starter. Boom!

Chicago White Sox
Why They’ll Suck: They lost their leader, Drake LaRoche.
Bold Prediction: We find out Adam LaRoche was the one who complained about Drake LaRoche being in the clubhouse all the time.

Cincinnati Reds
Why They’ll Suck: Their rotation is Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen, Jon Moscot, and John Lamb. No, wait, that’s the list of their injured starters. Now they have to turn to the B-team.
Bold Prediction: Joey Votto finally loses his mind, but in a polite, Canadian way. He’s already doing this between pitches:

Joey Votto

Cleveland Indians
Why They’ll Suck: In all seriousness, their entire starting outfield is either hurt (Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall) or suspended (Abe Almonte). They’re a Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco injury away from 85 losses. Beware.
Bold Prediction: Francisco Lindor leads all shortstops in WAR.

Colorado Rockies
Why They’ll Suck: The Rockies exist in a perpetual state of suck. Fun Fact: They have never once won a division title. They’ve finished as high as second place only three times in their 23 years of existence.
Bold Prediction: They finally trade Carlos Gonzalez. I’m thinking … Orioles.

Detroit Tigers
Why They’ll Suck: They’ve punted defense at the four corner positions and, inevitably, the relievers they acquired this winter will stink.
Bold Prediction: Justin Verlander bounces back and finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting.

Houston Astros
Why They’ll Suck: Karma for doing very little in the offseason outside of adding a new closer and fifth starter. The rebuild is supposed to be over.
Bold Prediction: Carlos Correa is more Alex Gonzalez than Alex Rodriguez.

Kansas City Royals
Why They’ll Suck: They replaced Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist with Ian Kennedy and Christian Colon. Like, on purpose.
Bold Prediction: Kennedy wins 18 games and Colon hits .310. Eff the Royals, man.

Los Angeles Angels
Why They’ll Suck: The Angels have surrounded Mike Trout with as little position player talent as possible in an effort to make him look even greater by comparison.
Bold Prediction: Jered Weaver’s fastball hits 84 mph once or twice.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Why They’ll Suck: The Dodgers have surrounded Clayton Kershaw with as little pitching talent as possible in an effort to make him look even greater by comparison.
Bold Prediction: It becomes clear Yasiel Puig peaked early.

Miami Marlins
Why They’ll Suck: The fans and players are doomed to pay for Jeffrey Loria’s evil villian-ness. Fun Fact: They’ve never won a division title either. They’ve also never lost a postseason series.
Bold Prediction: Christian Yelich breaks out and puts up Andrew McCutchen numbers. I’m serious about that one.

Milwaukee Brewers
Why They’ll Suck: They’re another team that is going to suck on purpose. Before long they’re going to trade Jonathan Lucroy too.
Bold Prediction: Ramon Flores hits 15 dingers with a .350 OBP.

Minnesota Twins
Why They’ll Suck: I don’t know, but I’m sure Twins fans will blame it on Joe Mauer.
Bold Prediction: Miguel Sano plays right field better than Torii Hunter did last year.

New York Mets
Why They’ll Suck: They’re still the Mets. Case in point: the recent Matt Harvey bladder story. Last year’s pennant didn’t change anything in that regard.
Bold Prediction: They have to trade for a starting pitcher at the deadline.

Oakland Athletics
Why They’ll Suck: No joke, I can name only one A’s starter (Sonny Gray) and one A’s infielder (Marcus Semien). Is Bobby Crosby still playing?
Bold Prediction: Josh Reddick gets traded for a holy crap package at the trade deadline. I’m thinking … Royals.

Philadelphia Phillies
Why They’ll Suck: Still reeling from the 2009 World Series, obviously.
Bold Prediction: Someone not named Maikel Franco or Ryan Howard hits a home run.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Why They’ll Suck: The baseball gods will not let John Jaso’s hair go unpunished.


Bold Prediction: Mark Melancon is traded at the deadline. I’m thinking … Dodgers.

St. Louis Cardinals
Why They’ll Suck: The Cardinals will never suck. The only thing they suck at is sucking. Their ace made four starts and their highest paid position player hit four home runs last season, and they still won 100 games. The Cardinals, man.
Bold Prediction: Three years after learning to play second base and one year after learning to hit for power, Matt Carpenter picks up pitching and saves 46 games.

San Diego Padres
Why They’ll Suck: I’m not entirely convinced the Padres exist at this point. Are we sure MLB still lets them into the league? What an amazingly nondescript franchise.
Bold Prediction: Someone throws the first no-hitter in franchise history. I’ll go with Colin Rea, who is a real player and definitely not someone I just made up.

San Francisco Giants
Why They’ll Suck: They buy into the “even year trend” a little too much and give Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner weeks off at a time this summer.
Bold Prediction: Bumgarner out-slugs the starting outfield.

Seattle Mariners
Why They’ll Suck: I don’t know how it will happen exactly, but they’ll suck. The Mariners are the Wile E. Coyote of MLB. Every time they looked poised for success, they crash into the mountain with a tunnel painted on the side of it.
Bold Prediction: Bob Cano mashes 30 taters and finishes in the top three of the MVP voting. I’m expecting a big year from Robbie.

Texas Rangers
Why They’ll Suck: They won’t suck. They’ll be just good enough to get thisclose to winning something meaningful before having it ripped away again. Think Game Six of the 2011 World Series, or the seventh inning of Game Five of last year’s ALDS. That’s how the Rangers roll.
Bold Prediction: Josh Hamilton leads the team in home runs.

Washington Nationals
Why They’ll Suck: They’re the NL version of the Red Sox. They have talent and everyone buys the hype. It should work! But it doesn’t.

Homer Simpson

Bold Prediction: Bryce Harper is even better this year.