Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason

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Hahn faces important decision-making this offseason

The White Sox dont have enough payroll available to make a significant move, but there appears to be wiggle room to solve most of their issues.
General manager Rick Hahn said as much on a conference call on Thursday afternoon, several days before he and his front office head to Nashville, Tenn. for the winter meetings.
Earlier this month, the White Sox newly promoted general manager indicated the clubs 2013 payroll would roughly be the same as last season. The teams opening day payroll in 2012 was nearly 98 million.
With 10 players under contract for almost 90 million, possibly 7-8 million due in deals for Alejandro De Aza, Gordon Beckham and Dayan Viciedo, and another 12 players to sign, the White Sox would currently require at least 103-104 million for next season before they could address their third base opening externally.
But Hahn said Thursday the team has some flexibility and wouldnt have to offload salary in order to complete its 25-man roster --- for the most part.
We dont have to move salary to make some of the moves that are on our list, Hahn said. To make a large move, where we take on a great deal of money, then yes, wed likely have to make a move elsewhere to free up some cash to make a major, major acquisition. But right now there is room within the payroll to maneuver and address some of our needs.
The White Sox say they would love to bring back free agents A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Kevin Youkilis. But the catcher should receive a raise from last season, when he earned 6 million and hit a career-high 27 home runs and Youkilis is the top third baseman available this offseason. Both would likely fall under the large move category defined by Hahn, which would require another move to offset salary.
So where would that move come from? Most likely the teams pitching, which Hahn said continues to draw significant trade interest. With Jake Peavy, John Danks and Gavin Floyd already signed and Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago under team control, the White Sox have depth in the starting rotation. They also have a decent stable of relief pitchers with Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton signed and Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Brian Omogrosso and Co. under team control.
An above-.500 pitcher who is due to earn 9.9 million next season, the final year before he become a free agent, Floyd is clearly one of Hahns most attractive trade pieces. Crain or Thornton also might attract offers and would bring some relief.
I think other clubs see us as having some depth and obviously some young guys who have some success and in a position of perhaps having excess, Hahn said. Were not inclined to go out there and trim away at that depth. We have some pride and comfort in that depth. But those tend to be the focal points of at least the majority of those calls and if something were to happen via trade that would likely be the area that we wound up dealing from.
But Hahn said theres no rush to make any moves, either via free agency or through trade. He emphasized the White Sox will continue to monitor the markets for Youkilis and Pierzynski and determine whether or not their internal options are more cost efficient than signing one of the veterans.
You dont get added points for getting a deal done at the winter meetings, Hahn said. Our goal is to have the best roster we can have come opening day. If that means we acquired a player in the final days of November or the final days of January, that doesnt matter to us come April.

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

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USA TODAY

Is it time for the White Sox to call up Reynaldo Lopez?

With Yoan Moncada now with the White Sox and making an early impact, White Sox fans may be wondering which highly-touted prospect is next to join the big league roster.

Reynaldo Lopez is certainly making a strong case for himself in Triple-A Charlotte. Lopez, one of the pitchers the Sox received from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade, gave up one run in six innings for the Knights on Friday night. That was the latest in a string of five strong starts for the 23-year-old.

In Friday's 2-1 loss against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Lopez struck out six and allowed just two hits and one walk. That's five straight starts for Lopez in which he has allowed two or fewer runs while pitching six or more innings.

Here's his last five starts:

June 29 vs. Columbus: 6 2/3 innings, 1 run, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 6 hits

July 4 at Durham: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 5 hits

July 9 at Louisville: 6 innings, 2 runs, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits

July 16 vs. Gwinnett: 7 innings, 1 run, 12 strikeouts, 2 walks, 2 hist

Tonight at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: 6 innings, 1 run, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 hits

Loepz has a 3.65 ERA on the season with 107 strikeouts in 106 innings against 40 walks and 90 hits. In a short stint in the majors last season, Lopez had a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings in six starts and five relief appearances for the Nationals.

Does Guaranteed Rate Field await the Dominican right-hander?