Moves give White Sox prospect chance to mature

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Moves give White Sox prospect chance to mature

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The White Sox made a pair of moves this week that keeps them from making another they feel might be premature at this juncture.

With the addition of infielder Angel Sanchez at Thursdays Rule 5 draft and Wednesdays signing of free agent Jeff Keppinger, the White Sox hope they have fulfilled two big needs without having to rush minor-leaguer Carlos Sanchez to the majors.

Carlos Sanchez, 20, advanced from Single-A to Triple-A in the span of last season and heads into 2013 as the organizations No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America. He posted a .323.378.403 slash line with a homer and 56 RBIs at three stops and followed it up with a strong performance at the Arizona Fall League.

A combination second basemanshortstop, Carlos Sanchez was one of the most talked about players at the teams organizational meetings last month, enough that the White Sox considered him as a possibility at third base even with limited experience.

But the club will officially announce it filled its hole at third base with Keppinger next week and has covered its utility job with the drafting of Angel Sanchez.

I know we are really hesitant about starting Carlos in the major leagues in April, assistant general manager Buddy Bell said. I think thats a good thing. He hasnt had many at-bats above A-Ball. We sent him to Birmingham and the end of the year in Charlotte because of the playoffs. Theres still some at-bats he needs to get. I think hes proven to all of us that I dont think its out of the question he could be in the big leagues next year at some point.

General manager Rick Hahn noted in November the White Sox have a history of taking the best players with them to Chicago when the team breaks camp. Though Carlos Sanchez hasnt officially received an invite to big league camp in February, the writing is on the wall and he could at least have a shot at the backup infielder job along with Steve Tolleson and Angel Sanchez.

But the team also wants to exercise caution.

Carlos Sanchez has 172 plate appearances above Single-A, including only 39 at Triple-A Charlotte. While his glove has always been a selling point, Carlos Sanchez made significant strides at the plate last season as his OPS jumped up 95 points from the season before. His track has similarities to those of Gordon Beckham and Daniel Hudson -- who breezed through the minors -- but the White Sox ideally would love to give Carlos Sanchez more time to mature. And then theres the fact that a delayed arrival, perhaps in the middle of the summer, also limits the chance of Carlos Sanchez reaching early arbitration.

Wed have to talk about that come Glendale, and were way ahead of ourselves with that one, Hahn said of the potential for a backup infielder job out of camp. Probably the best thing for this kids development is to get more ABs at Triple-A.

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.