Pierzynski ready for free agency this time

894055.png

Pierzynski ready for free agency this time

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- A.J. Pierzynski sounds as if hes more prepared to handle free agency this time around.

During a Wednesday morning appearance on the Golf Channel, the free agent catcher said his previous stint on the market two offseasons ago has him ready for the drawn-out process ahead. Pierzynski, who spent the past eight seasons with the White Sox, said unlike 2010, when he eventually returned to the South Siders on a two-year, 8 million deal, knows what to expect.

Its a long process, Pierzynski said. Your mom and aunts and uncles and friends call and say, Hey, you going to sign? You dont have a job yet. Mom, it just started a week ago and nobody signed yet. Its a long process and Ive been through it before, which helps me. The first time I went through it was a nightmare because I was expecting everyday, Where am I going to go? Where am I going to go? Ive learned now to just let it play out and youll end up where youre supposed to end up and itll be the right decision in the end.

With a limited amount of resources and a potential everyday replacement in Tyler Flowers, the White Sox will take a wait-and-see approach with Pierzynski. The veteran catcher hit a career-best 27 home runs last season and is one of the top free-agent options along with Mike Napoli at a premium position.

Rick Hahn said the club is in constant contact with all of its free agents and has said hed like all -- third baseman Kevin Youkilis and pitcher Brett Myers are also available -- to return. But Hahn understands Pierzynski and agent Steve Hilliard would like to explore their options.

Its just one of those things you have to let it play out, Pierzynski said. You cant get too wrapped up in it, too nervous. I speak with my agent every day or every couple days about who he has talked to and you just keep the information, get as informed as you can and let him work.

Asked where hed ideally like to land, Pierzynski acknowledge he loves the White Sox. The Florida-native also mentioned the Tampa Bay Rays. But his dream would be to play for the Atlanta Braves, though Pierzynski acknowledged its not a realistic option because the team recently picked up veteran Brian McCanns 2013 option.

In a perfect situation, if there were no other deciding factors (money, another catcher), my ideal situation would be to play for the Braves, Pierzynski said. I grew up a Braves fan. That would be ideal, but with Brian McCann I dont think its going to happen.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get your White Sox gear right here]

Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."