Bell can see gains in White Sox international program

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Bell can see gains in White Sox international program

Venezuelan prospect Carlos Sanchez is a step away from the majors and Buddy Bell believes more international talent is on the way.

Bell, the White Sox assistant general manager, returned from a trip to the teams academy in the Dominican Republic last week and said he can already see progress a little more than a year after Marco Paddy was hired.

Paddy, who joined the team near the end of the 2011 season, has been asked to turn around an international program that has produced few players over the past 15 seasons. Bell is impressed with the programs early gains.

You need scouts to find the talent and Marco has done a very good job since his hire last year, Bell said in an email. Our players at our Dominican academy look a lot different. This is the first time I can say we have some guys that have a chance to be impactful major leaguers. Very athletic looking kids.

Eduardo Escobar, who was traded to the Minnesota Twins in July for Francisco Liriano, and Sanchez, who earlier this month was rated the teams No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, are the programs only recent graduates.

The combination of the clubs poor track record and new rules in the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement that effectively level the playing field by limiting the amount teams can spend have led to the White Sox adding resources to their international program.

Not only has the team spent more on international signings, Paddy is also in the process of hiring five new scouts to help the White Sox cover more ground in the international game.

Unfortunately, it's going to take some time but we have to start somewhere, Bell said. Because of what happened a few years back you become a little paranoid about the system. We are all in now.

Cubs make business decision to look beyond Aroldis Chapman’s domestic violence suspension

Cubs make business decision to look beyond Aroldis Chapman’s domestic violence suspension

Within three minutes of the press release officially announcing the Aroldis Chapman trade with the New York Yankees on Monday afternoon, the Cubs sent another e-mail to their media distribution list, issuing statements from the superstar closer and chairman Tom Ricketts that didn’t really say much about the business decision to look beyond a domestic violence suspension.

But the Chapman rollout had to address an ugly incident from his personal history, how the Yankees acquired him over the winter from the Cincinnati Reds at such a discount, but didn’t deploy him in a real game until May 9.

That’s why president of baseball operations Theo Epstein answered questions for more than 33 minutes, sitting in U.S. Cellular Field’s visiting dugout before a crosstown game against the White Sox, trying to explain the due diligence, moral calculus and win-now mentality.

“I don’t feel like we compromised integrity in making this move,” Epstein said. “We approached it as thoroughly as we did – and gave it as much careful consideration as we did and had a genuine debate about it for weeks – because we wanted to make sure we preserve our integrity as an organization.”

Chapman released statements in English and Spanish, thanking the Yankees for “trusting and supporting me” and acknowledging the 30-game punishment he served this season after a domestic dispute inside his South Florida home on Oct. 30, 2015, becoming a test case for Major League Baseball’s new policy.

Chapman was accused of choking his girlfriend and reportedly fired eight gunshots inside his garage, though the Broward County State Attorney’s Office ultimately decided to not file criminal charges.

“I regret that I did not exercise better judgment,” Chapman said, “and for that I am truly sorry. Looking back, I feel I have learned from this matter and have grown as a person. My girlfriend and I have worked hard to strengthen our relationship, to raise our daughter together and would appreciate the opportunity to move forward without revisiting an event we consider part of our past.

“Out of respect for my family, I will not comment any further on this matter.”

[MORE: Cubs send win-now message with blockbuster trade for Aroldis Chapman]

Chapman is expected to join the team on Tuesday and face the media on the South Side. MLB allowed Epstein and Ricketts – who had already consulted with commissioner Rob Manfred – to speak with Chapman over the phone on Monday before the Cubs and Yankees formalized the trade.

“I shared with him the high expectations we set for our players and staff both on and off the field,” Ricketts said. “Aroldis indicated he is comfortable with meeting those expectations.”

Of course, Chapman would be on his best behavior in a contract year – and will be highly motivated in his final months before cashing in as a free agent – but he impressed people around the Yankees with his demeanor, dominant performances and ability to handle New York.

“We’re going to welcome him in here with open arms,” said catcher David Ross, who got a glowing scouting report on Chapman from Yankee leader/good friend Brian McCann. “I don’t like to prejudge guys on their past.

“We’re excited to get him and give him a clean slate. Hopefully, he has a phenomenal time here in Chicago.”

[RELATED: How Joe Maddon plans to unleash Chapman on Cubs bullpen]

If the Cubs didn’t acquire Chapman, they feared he might have landed with a contender like the Washington Nationals or San Francisco Giants and blown their hitters away in October with 105-mph fastballs. This became the point in the Wrigleyville rebuild to take the risk – and maybe tone down some of the rhetoric about how the Cubs do things “The Right Way” and are such great neighbors and so family friendly.

“Those of you who have been around us for five years know that character is a major consideration in every transaction we make,” Epstein said. “That’s why we spent so much time investigating and talking to him. In fact, I have never believed more strongly in the character that we have in this clubhouse and at our core as an organization.

“I think that allows us to maybe be that forum for players who’ve been through some things and are looking to grow. He was granted a second chance by Major League Baseball and by the Yankees.

“With our culture – and the guys we have in there – maybe we’re good for him to continue that process. We are not sacrificing our integrity in any way or compromising or completely turning our back on (what we believe). I understand that people are going to see it different ways (and) I respect that.”

This is business, and this transaction will be judged on whether or not the Cubs win the World Series this year.

“I cannot wait to take the mound at Wrigley Field,” Chapman said, “and look forward to helping my teammates deliver a championship to Chicago.”

Tuesday on CSN: Crosstown Cup continues as Cubs battle White Sox

Tuesday on CSN: Crosstown Cup continues as Cubs battle White Sox

The Crosstown Cup continues Tuesday on CSN as the Cubs take on the White Sox, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins with Cubs Pregame Live at 5 p.m. Then catch first pitch with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on Cubs Postgame Live.

Tonight's starting pitching matchup: Kyle Hendricks (9-6, 2.27) vs. James Shields (4-12, 4.99)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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— Channel finder: Make sure you know where to watch.

— Latest on the Cubs: All of the most recent news and notes.

— See what fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Cubs Pulse.

Adam Eaton on clubhouse protests: 'You've got to stick up for yourself'

Adam Eaton on clubhouse protests: 'You've got to stick up for yourself'

Whether you agree with them or not, the White Sox have consistently shown a willingness to fight for their cause all season.

Twice last week, and in March with Adam LaRoche, White Sox players took a stand against management decisions they don’t agree with.

The more recent incident of course occurred Saturday and ultimately led to Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

White Sox players also made headlines when they declined to tip the Seattle Mariners clubhouse attendant as a form of protest to a new team policy instituted that redirects 60 percent of those tips back to a club account to cover expenses such as postgame meals, etc. Traditionally, all money tipped by players has gone directly to clubhouse personnel without team involvement. Eaton said players merely are standing up for their beliefs.

“You’ve got to stick up for yourself,” Eaton said. “As cliché as it might sound, it’s just power to the players. The players have a voice in this game and if you don’t feel like something is par for the course or up to standard, we definitely vocalize it. It’s not that we’re spoiled or anything like that.”

“It’s just the way things have been ran and how things have been, with the instance of Adam LaRoche, the kid coming into the clubhouse -- I thought we got a lot of support with all kinds of guys putting pictures up online of them and their kid being in the clubhouse. With the Seattle thing, the other 29 teams are doing it. Sale’s a little bit off the radar -- I kind of like it.

“We feel strongly about something we’ll do something about it.”

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White Sox players met with Seattle assistant general manager Jeff Kingston during the trip to talk about the policy in a story first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Eaton said Monday that White Sox players have an envelope full of checks ready to hand over to Mariners visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp when the situation is resolved. It’s not that they want to hurt Bopp, but they want the policy changed similar to how the San Francisco Giants quickly amended theirs last year. Eaton said the Cleveland Indians also tried to get around Seattle’s policy. He expects it will be an issue that is discussed in upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.

“More or less we want to give the money to the people that are doing the work in the clubhouse,” Eaton said. “We don’t want the front office taking money from the guy that’s down there working until 1 o’clock in the morning cleaning our uniform and cleaning our spikes. We treat those guys with the utmost respect. They work their butts off. When we made a decision as a team not to pay, it was because we want that clubby to get the money he deserves. The front office, they’re not down there during the day, they’re not doing any work, and they’re receiving the funds. We don’t see that as a productive practice.”