Sox Drawer: With Floyd, Cooper insists 'it's not about stuff'


Sox Drawer: With Floyd, Cooper insists 'it's not about stuff'

Gavin Floyd has great stuff.

We hear it all the time and so does Don Cooper. He's seen it and it's Cooper's job to make sure that the White Sox get the most out of it. But after watching Floyd struggle again on Thursday night, when he gave up five runs with four walks in 4 23 innings, the White Sox pitching coach didn't want to talk about Gavin's "stuff."


"It's not about stuff. Everyone in the league has stuff," Cooper said by phone from Los Angeles where the White Sox play the Dodgers Friday night on Comcast SportsNet. "You've got to command it more. You've got to pitch, and he's not commanding at the level he needs to command to put himself in a better position to win the game. That's what it comes down to."

In his last six starts, Floyd is 1-4 with a 10.38 ERA. The White Sox keep waiting for the 6-foot-6 righty to snap out of his slump, but it hasn't happened yet.

During spring training Floyd told Comcast SportsNet, "I believe that I can win 20 ballgames." Now at 4-7, that's probably a long shot.

He definitely has the stuff to win 20, Cooper said during spring training.

There's that word again: stuff. It keeps sneaking into our Gavin Floyd vocabulary. But until he consistently harnesses that stuff, he will continue to run into problems like Thursday when the White Sox lost their first road interleague series since 2008.

"He's got enough fastball. He's got enough curve ball. He's got a major league slider, a major league changeup," Cooper said of Floyd. "When the guy is having difficulty or in a slump so to speak, he's not commanding that stuff. He's making mistakes with it. Last night, the mistake to David Freese, it was a fastball that was supposed to be in. It was in the middle and he hit a homer. Gavin is paying for every mistake he makes."

After collecting a season-high nine strikeouts in a loss to the Astros on June 8, Floyd seemed to be on the right path. But in St. Louis, he drove off-course. He was in trouble most of the night and was pulled in the fifth inning.

So what now? Is he still... close?

"Yeah, he's close," Cooper said. "We've seen Gavin go 8-10 good starts in a row. We've got to stick with him. We've got to keep working. We've got to keep being positive. It's easy to do all those things I mentioned when everything is rolling your way. The challenge is, can you do it when it's not? And that's the challenge that we've got."

When John Danks returns from the disabled list, rookie Jose Quintana seems like a sure bet to remain in the rotation. That would mean that Floyd or Philip Humber, who's also struggling, will head to the bullpen.

Is it safe to say that Floyd and Humber are officially on watch?

"Everybody is on watch. Everybody's watching. We want guys to be out there and give us a chance to win the game. Gavin is in a slump and Philip is not clickiing the way we'd want him to click. It's not like, 'Jeez we got to dump this guy.' That's not our first thought. Our thoughts are, 'What can we do?' That's our job."

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 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