Sox begin rebuilding process with Santos trade

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Sox begin rebuilding process with Santos trade

DALLAS -- Of all the players who were on the White Sox trading block, Sergio Santos was down near the bottom of the list. But Tuesday, Kenny Williams surprised everyone by trading his closer to the Blue Jays for minor league pitching prospect Nestor Molina.

That was followed by a word used by Williams that many White Sox fans have been fearing for the last several weeks:

Rebuild.

The White Sox have begun the process, but its not a complete tear-down.

It is the start of a rebuilding and you guys know that Ive not used that word in 12 years, but it is the start of rebuilding now, Williams told reporters. Is it the start of a falling domino-type of rebuilding? No, absolutely not, because as we currently sit here I do not like whats currently being offered for our valuable pieces. So Im of the mindset that while we may do a couple more things, as we sit here right now well probably keep the rest of the pitching intact.

That means John Danks and Gavin Floyd are safe...for now.

"It's going to be interesting what rebuilding means to Kenny," Santos told Chicago Tribune Live Tuesday. "It could be something completely different for him than it does everybody else. I'm sure they're going to have a competitive team they're going to put out there in 2012 and give Detroit and everybody else in that league a run for their money."

Santos, the converted reliever who saved 30 games for the White Sox last season, was on the golf course when he got the news that he had been dealt.

Sergio was caught off guard, Williams said. Its always a difficult conversation because he gained his success with us and a new life with baseball with us. But he took it very professionally and hes looking forward to the opportunity to continue pitching in the major leagues. The team wanted him so badly to give up such a prospect.

That prospect, Molina, put up lights-out numbers last season in the minors, going 12-3 with a 2.21 ERA, 148 strikeouts and just 18 walks in 130 innings at both Class A Dunedin and Class AA New Hampshire.

But is he ready for the big leagues?

I would hope that we give him a little bit more seasoning, but hes got the kind of ability that, there are certain guys that will force his way onto major league rosters. When you look at a young pitcher, you look at what kind of stuff he has, what kind of composure he has, and his ability to command the strike zone, and this guy does it in a way that very few do so. Im not going to say that he cant, and he wont.

The White Sox clearly think highly of Molina. So do the Blue Jays, who were divided internally about letting him go.

We had to pay a very steep price and it was not easy to do, said Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. Obviously, hes one of our better prospects, definitely a tough one (to trade), but at the same time we think were getting a guy who has a chance of being an elite closer in the American League.

So who will be the White Sox next closer? There are several candidates: Matt Thornton, Addison Reed, and Jesse Crain are the obvious ones. And if youre wondering how Robin Ventura will be managing behind the scenes in regards to the players on his roster, Williams gave us a little glimpse.

Robin was in the meeting, and the Blue Jays guys asked who was going to close, Williams said. I started rattling off some names, I looked over at Robin and he had a quizzable look on his face and said Ill decide that.

Meanwhile, the Mark Buehrle train continues to leave the station in Chicago.

I hear hes a very popular man, and hes going to be even richer than he is, Williams said.

Asked if he anticipates having another conversation before Buehrle makes a final decision, Williams said "it's possible" explained their current position quite matter-of-factly.

Hell be missed unless something happens that is unforeseen right now.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Hawk rips Lackey, Swarzak traded, Coop misses Q

After a wild day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Chuck Garfien and Dan Hayes discuss John Lackey hitting four White Sox batters and also play Hawk Harrelson's epic on-air rant directed at the Cubs pitcher.

"Jeff the Sox Fan" appears on the podcast and suggests what he thinks Jose Abreu should have done to Lackey when he was hit for a second time.

While they taped the podcast, Anthony Swarzak was traded to the Brewers. What kind of return did the White Sox get? Garfien also interviews White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper about losing Quintana to the Cubs, why he can't watch Quintana and Chris Sale pitch in different uniform, when some minor leaguers like Reynaldo Lopez will be called up and more.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

How White Sox aggressive deadline strategy paid off in Anthony Swarzak trade

The White Sox jumped out ahead of a crowded reliever market once again and traded Anthony Swarzak to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.

The White Sox acquired 25-year-old outfielder Ryan Cordell from the Brewers in exchange for the veteran reliever, a baseball source confirmed. The No. 17 prospect in the Brewers farm system, Cordell was hitting .284/.349/.506 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season.

A nonroster invitee to big league camp this spring, Swarzak was 4-3 with a 2.23 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season. He’s the third reliever the White Sox have traded since the second half began as they also dealt David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees with Todd Frazier on July 18.

TA free agent after the season, Swarzak has fared extremely well in high-leverage situations, stranding 26 of the 35 runners he had inherited. He pitched in two high-leverage spots in the team’s previous two games, earning his first career save Monday. Swarzak, whose 9.68 strikeouts per nine is a career high, also earned a hold on Sunday in Kansas City.

“I’ve been waiting for that opportunity for a long time,” Swarzak said of Monday’s save. “It’s nice that I went in there and got it done. You think about that moment for years and then it finally happens. You just are trying to take a step back and reflect on what just happened, and I’ll be able to come in tomorrow and be ready to go.”

Two American League scouts said Monday that Swarzak still had good trade value even though he’s viewed as a rental. While he wouldn’t likely net the White Sox a top-150 prospect, they could wrangle a “good” minor-leaguer in a deal. One element that could have potentially derailed the White Sox was an abundance of strong relief options in the market, perhaps as many as 20 pitchers.

[MORE: Carlos Rodon frustrated again after a weird start

After the White Sox traded Robertson and Kahnle, general manager Rick Hahn indicated they moved the pair early in anticipation of a competitive marketplace when they acquired Blake Rutherford and others from the New York Yankees. The Baltimore Orioles are a team that could have wreaked havoc on the relief market if they decide to sell -- something one AL source said they’ve gone back and forth on every day -- because they could flood it with Zach Britton and others.

The move is the third made by the White Sox in a span of two weeks, including the trade of Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July 13. The White Sox still have several veterans on the roster who could draw trade interest, including starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez.

“We are still open for business,” Hahn said last week.

Today’s Knuckleball’s Jon Heyman first reported the deal that sent Swarzak to the Brewers. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal initially reported the teams’ were discussing a trade for Swarzak.