BBQ: Beckham on the block?

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BBQ: Beckham on the block?

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
4:16 PM

By Brett Ballantini
CSNChicago.com

With rumors, whispers, and team sources ever swirling through the offseason, turn to the BBQ to provide a bit of a reality check. Hey, have you heard the one where Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams will consider putting second sacker Gordon Beckham on the trading block? Yeah, its a good one. Lets cut through the fat:

So let me get this straight, Williams wouldnt consider dealing Beckham at last years deadline for Adam Dunn, but now hes hanging a sign around the kids neck, inviting all interested to kick the tires?

Yeah at least according to Yahoos Tim Brown, who wrote that opposing clubs expect the White Sox to take offers for second baseman Gordon Beckham in his hot stove piece on Wednesday.
Who are these opposing teams, and what is wrong with their brains?

Thats an excellent question. But on an obviously slow hot stove day, MLB Trade Rumors listed 19 teams who would have interest in Beckham including, fatuously, the intradivisional Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and the crosstown Chicago Cubs. So, in other words, Williams is not only expected to proffer up the position player with the most upside on his team, but to division and crosstown rivals to boot.

That would seem to completely contradict everything hes ever said about the importance of Beckham, right?

In addition to being a remarkably efficient unit, the White Sox brain trust shoots straight. Williams has made no bones about Beckham being an untouchable on his team he was direct on that at the 2010 trading deadline and is direct about that today. Natch, that always comes with a disclaimer that says that every player on the White Sox roster is available in the right trade. But Hawk Harrelson would sooner take over as GM than Williams would trade Beckham.

Didnt Bacon have a pretty rough sophomore season?

Absolutely. Changing positions again (from third base to second) and getting banged up at seasons end didnt help, but Beckham would be the first to tell you those arent excuses for his subpar play. Defensively at second he was adequate and showed great development on turning double plays as the season went on. Offensively, Beckham lost his gap power stroke (68 percent of his 2010 hits were singles compared to 58 percent in 2009, while his slugging percentage dropped 82 points to .378 in 2010) and failed to get on base sufficiently (an on-base percentage drop of 30 points, to .317), with an overall tumble in walks-per-strikeout (.63 in 2009 down to .40).

Yeesh, is Beckham still a good fit for the White Sox?

Certainly Beckhams third major league season will be huge. His step forward into at least minor stardom must happen in 2011. In the rarest of Chisox circumstances, the teams position player strength is up the middle Alex Rios in center field, Alexei Ramirez at short, and Beckham at second. Williams is well aware that Ramirez-Beckham could be a keystone combination fiercer than any the White Sox have fielded for 50 years, since the Luis Aparicio-Nellie Fox days.
So, no chance Beckham leaves town?

The only way Williams will involve Beckham in trade talks is in order to set up another prank on White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, his staff and Beckham, as he did at the trading deadline.

Yeah, that was hilarious really now, Beckham is in the Opening Day lineup for the White Sox?

Undoubtedly. Beckham is a foundation piece of the White Sox. Even with his atrocious season offensively, he ranked No. 7 on my list of most essential White Sox (and third among position players). He comes at a bargain-basement price and is among the teams hardest workers, the latter making him a consummate grinder, adored by Williams and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

So you predict a big bounce-back season from Bacon?

Sure do. But dont take my word for it how about the 2011 projections by Bill James, an analyst immutably sharper than me, and a bearded one to boot. James foresees an offensive eruption from Beckham in his third year: career highs in doubles (41), homers (15), runs (81) and RBI (77). For perspective, those projections are generally superior to the numbers Ramirez put up in his 2010 Silver Slugger season.

BBQ Verdict: Blech

Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.com's White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute White Sox information.

Confident Jose Quintana gets 'back to who he's always been'

Confident Jose Quintana gets 'back to who he's always been'

The White Sox said all along they were confident Jose Quintana would rebound and now that he has no seems the least bit surprised.

Quintana provided yet another round of proof that he’s far removed from those May woes when he silenced the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. While the left-hander earned a no decision, he was rewarded when the White Sox rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field. Quintana finished June with a 1.78 ERA.

“We have a very good relationship, very good communication,” teammate Jose Abreu said through an interpreter. “When (Quintana) was passing through that, the first two months, I let him know, just keep your confidence, don’t hesitate, do your job, keep working hard because we have confidence in you. Now he’s just showing us what he’s capable of doing and doing what he’s been doing his whole career. We’re glad he’s the same Jose Quintana he’s been the last couple of years.”

Quintana has gone from a period where many of his mistakes got hit to a spot where he’s been borderline untouchable. He limited the second-best offense in the American League to two hits and four walks in 6 1/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday. With good fastball command and a sharp curve, Quintana had New York hitters out of whack.

This is a much different pitcher than the one who was tagged by the Boston Red Sox on May 30, an outing after which he said he was embarrassed. Since losing to Boston, Quintana has lowered his ERA from 5.30 to 4.37. In that span, Quintana has allowed 21 hits and six earned runs with 12 walks and 30 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.

“Sometime bad games are going to happen,” Quintana said. “But when it happens, I go check the video to see if I’m doing something wrong and try to make adjustments. But I feel pretty good and I have my confidence high and for me I turn the page and focus on the next one.”

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The 2016 All-Star thrived in the few instances when he got into trouble on Tuesday.

He struck out Tyler Austin with two men in scoring position to end the fourth inning and erased a leadoff walk in the fifth with an Austin Romine double play. After Quintana surrendered a two-out double to Judge in the sixth inning, he got Sanchez to pop out to strand the tying run.

Quintana only threw strikes on 55 of 101 pitches on Tuesday. But, of those 55, 10 were swings and misses.

“It's just been him commanding the zone, attacking,” manager Rick Renteria said. “A lot more strikes. He still had some at-bats today where he got to 3-2, but then he'd execute, he'd finish and make a pitch that induced a very weak fly ball or groundballs. That's who he is, I mean you all have seen him like this before. For us it's just seeing him get back to who he's always been.”

White Sox come back to beat Yankees on walk-off single by Jose Abreu

White Sox come back to beat Yankees on walk-off single by Jose Abreu

Jose Abreu was able to shake off an earlier disappointment once he got a second chance on Tuesday night.

Batting with the bases loaded for the second straight inning, Abreu took advantage of the moment and lifted the White Sox to a much-needed victory with a walk-off single. Abreu’s two-out, two-run single off Dellin Betances helped the White Sox snap a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 win in front of 18,023 at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox also loaded the bases in the eighth inning but only scored once and were down to their final out before Abreu’s heroics brought them back.

“If you just focus on the bad things that happen then you’re just missing opportunities,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “In the inning after that at-bat that I struck out I was just thinking, ‘God, just give me one more opportunity. Give me one more opportunity to do my job’ and I was glad that I got it because I was able to win that game.”

“It was a very special moment. We needed it. We needed this game. We needed the celebration.”

It all came a little too late for Jose Quintana, who earned a no decision in spite of 6 1/3 scoreless innings. But given they had the winning run on board in a one-run loss on Monday and only scored once despite loading the bases with no outs in the eighth, the White Sox will take it.

Abreu, who struck out against Tyler Clippard in the eighth with no outs after three straight walks, got ahead of Betances 2-1 in the count before he singled through the left side to score the tying and go-ahead runs. Alen Hanson, who entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, scored the winning run. Hanson followed a one-out walk of Kevan Smith (the first of his career) with his second free pass in as many trips. Betances hit Yolmer Sanchez to load the bases with one out before he induced a Melky Cabrera short fly out. Abreu finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and has driven in 51 this season.

“Today I can gladly say we didn’t fall short,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I can gladly say they finished out the game coming back, putting the final run on the board to put them over the top. They should experience that, enjoy it and use it to their advantage in terms of understanding what we are capable of doing.”

The White Sox were 0-40 this season when trailing after eight innings before Tuesday's rally.

Quintana earned the 63rd no decision of his career when the Yankees broke through in the eighth inning against Tommy Kahnle, who had a rare poor performance. Kahnle gave up a game-tying, two-out single to Aaron Judge and a two-run double to Gary Sanchez as the White Sox went from up a run to trailing 3-1.

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The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the eighth on all walks, but only scored once. Abreu struck out, Avisail Garcia flew out and Matt Davidson also whiffed to leave the bases loaded. The White Sox lone run came on a two-out walk by Todd Frazier.

The same offensive woes kept them from breaking out with Quintana on the hill. While they provided lavish run support in his previous two starts, the White Sox were back to their old ways with Quintana on Tuesday. They did give him a 1-0 lead when Abreu cued a two-out RBI double off Luis Severino in the third inning.

But Severino was otherwise a machine as he struck out 12 batters and walked none.

Quintana was even better, limiting the Yankees to nothing. He allowed two hits, walked four and struck out six. Though he didn’t earn the victory individually, Quintana was more than pleased to see his teammates pile onto Abreu in between first and second base after the walk-off single.

“That was what we want every time,” Quintana said. “We try to do the best on the mound and keep the games close and something good happens.”