White Sox seek pitcher replacements in case of trade

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White Sox seek pitcher replacements in case of trade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The White Sox arent likely to deal one of their pitchers without a replacement handy, general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday.

Hahn essentially confirmed a recent report written that the White Sox were aggressive in their pursuit of an affordable starting pitcher so they could turn around and deal starter Gavin Floyd, whose name has been prominent in rumors this week at the winter meetings.

Not only is Floyd dependable, he has made at least 29 starts over the last six seasons, and an above-.500 pitcher, hes also a bargain at 9.5 million next season. Based on reports, Floyd, who is eligible for free agency in 2014, is perhaps the most sought-after pitcher on the trade market this offseason. But the White Sox prefer not to mess with their pitching depth in the rotation or bullpen.

Its conceivable that if we had a deal lined up that we liked for one of our starters or relievers, that we would want to have that replacement in place from the free agent market, Hahn said. It would certainly make you more comfortable dealing from depth knowing you had that alternative in place. Well see if we head down that path. Weve been popular due to our pitching depth. That has been a target for some clubs and certainly when we talk about taking a guy off that board, we then explore what are we going to do to replace him do we lose something. If we are not comfortable with the alternatives we have in house, which we are in some cases, then we have to talk about we have available elsewhere.

On Monday, the White Sox were one of several teams reported to have interest in free agent Brandon McCarthy. But Hahn has stayed away from names this offseason and will only divulge the club has spoken with a number of agents.

We dont want to rob Peter to pay Paul so to speak, Hahn said. It will be important to us should we deal from a position of strength to feel comfortable with that alternative, whether its in house or from the outside.

Chris Sale: Trade from White Sox 'bittersweet,' ready to move on with Red Sox

Chris Sale: Trade from White Sox 'bittersweet,' ready to move on with Red Sox

There’s no question he’s excited about the chance to pitch for a perennial playoff team in front of Fenway Park crowds deep into October.

But Chris Sale described the trade that sent him from the White Sox to the Boston Red Sox as bittersweet on Wednesday morning. On his way out of town, Sale, who was traded Tuesday for four minor leaguers, including two elite prospects, credited the White Sox for their support and belief in him from the outset of his career. But while he wishes he could have won a title on the South Side, Sale also said he’s ready to move on.

“It’s exciting for all the reasons I already said,” Sale said. “It’s tough. You build a relationship with these guys and they are like family. Everybody over there is being in your family. You are around these guys probably even more during the year than you are around your family. It’s tough. But knowing what lies ahead makes it a little bit easier for that transition.

“It didn’t work out. I really wish it did. I have nothing but really good things to take from that and I appreciate my time with the White Sox. But I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”

After several years of hearing trade speculation, the five-time All-Star said he started to sense the possibility was real a few weeks ago after a conversation with his agent. The chatter began to increase with the start of the Winter Meetings this week and Sale said he was inundated with texts from friends and family in anticipation of where he could be headed. When he learned it was the Red Sox, Sale said was ecstatic to learn he’d be playing for one of the “greatest baseball franchises ever.”

“It’s kind of like being monkey in the middle, you’re just glad when you finally get the ball,” Sale said. “It’s hectic. There’s a lot of speculation. There’s story after story and obviously getting flood with text messages from family and friends. Just to have the whole process out the way and to get back to normalcy will be nice.”

[Complete coverage of the White Sox-Red Sox Chris Sale blockbuster trade]

Many of those messages came from former White Sox teammates. Sale said he and his wife, who is soon due with their second child, spent much of Tuesday looking at old pictures and nostalgia from his White Sox tenure. Though he’s disappointed by the lack of team success with the White Sox, Sale said the team’s support was a critical element to his success.

The White Sox drafted Sale with the 13th overall pick in 2010 and he reached the majors later that season. Though he spent the first two seasons in the bullpen, the team’s plan all along was to make Sale a starting pitcher, something others weren’t certain he could handle. Sale has been an All-Star and also finished in the top six in the Cy Young Award vote in each of the five seasons since he became a starter.

“It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to in Chicago, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of great moments,” Sale said. “I had a very good conversation with Rick (Hahn) yesterday.

“I was in a situation in 2010, how many teams would have done what they did? It’s hard to say now, but probably not very many. They drafted me in the first round when people had questions. They brought me up to the big leagues really fast and people probably had questions. They threw in the rotation and people clearly had questions.

“They were really, they had my back a lot and they gave me opportunities that not a lot of other people would have given me. I’m very thankful for that.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Chris Sale trade

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Breaking down the Chris Sale trade

On the latest episode of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes break down the White Sox trade of Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.

Plus, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provides some insight on what exactly the White Sox got in return for their former ace.

And Rick Hahn talks about just how difficult it was to pull the trigger and trade elite, homegrown talent.

Listen to the latest episode below: