Sox Drawer: Free Agents, Anyone?

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Sox Drawer: Free Agents, Anyone?

Friday, November 20

Baseballs free-agent market opened for business at 11 p.m. on Thursday night. All of the free agents you want (and can afford) are there on the shelves. Jason Bay, John Lackey, Matt Holliday, Chone Figgins, Jermaine Dye, etc.

But as I write this 12 hours later, it hasnt exactly been a Black Friday Thanksgiving stampede of general managers ramming themselves through the front door of the Baseball Free Agent Store, shelling out wads of cash for John Q. Overpriced Center Fielder or the Scott Boras Overhyped Client of the Week.

At least not yet.

Maybe its a sign of the times. Maybe teams (other than the Yankees and Red Sox) are choosing to sit on the sidelines with the hopebelief that many of these players will be left unsold after the holidays, and they can hunt for bargains when the players end up at the Lighthouse Outlet mall in Michigan City, Ind., come January.

As for the White Sox, they are gradually plotting their course for next season, and putting a priority on defense.

Thank goodness.

Ken Rosenthal reported Friday morning that the Sox are close to signing a one-year deal with 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel to be a three-tentacle utility infielder, playing shortstop, second base and third base. Yes, Omar is old. Hell turn 43 in April.

But he is still in great shape. He didnt make a single error in 62 games last year with the Rangers. Think Juan Uribe without the strikeouts and large booty.

What do Sox fans think about Vizquel? Heres what some of you sent back to me on Twitter:

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: I like the defense and versatility it provides, and its hard to be as bad as Lillibridge was with the bat. So yeah, thumbs up

Kaufmak@ChuckGarfien: Vizquel is getting long in the tooth, but still plays a solid SS and I'm guessing BA is in the high 200s. Me likey.

Lawry29@ChuckGarfien: Love it ... amazing defense

discodan42@ChuckGarfien: No. Isn't he collecting social security?

mukite@ChuckGarfien: Can Omar play manager instead and have Ozzie be shortstop when needed?

Good stuff. And for the record, Vizquel batted .266 last season with a .316 on-base percentage. He even hit a home run. His last Gold Glove came in 2006.

In other news, the White Sox are still looking for someone to play right field. They bought out Jermaine Dyes contract two weeks ago. The Sox could bring him back at a lesser price. Thoughts?

ChiSoxExaminer@ChuckGarfien: as a DH maybe, as a RF no. But JD says he only wants to play RF ... so no.

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: Thanks for the memories Jermaine, but your .184 second half bought you a one-way ticket out of Chicago.

pirate_prentice@ChuckGarfien: Time to move on. I love Jermaine, but I don't think he fits into what the Sox need to do.

Not much love for Jermaine.

Yesterday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Yankees are quietly shopping former Sox outfielder Nick Swisher. So soon? A Yankees official said today that the report is untrue, but before he did, I got this reaction via Twitter:

bengarmoe@ChuckGarfien: I only want Swisher if we can get Erstad, Anderson and Mackowiak for an an outfield all-decade bust team.

EversoleJ@ChuckGarfien: How could someone not like his childish behavor? Oh yes, this is professional sports, not the Alpha Beta Phi House.

ryanwallace@ChuckGarfien: Surprise, surprise! Tell them they can have Jeff Marquez, but Jhonny Nunez is untouchable.

joelshoe@ChuckGarfien: We should try to get Wilson Betemit back, and re-acquire Swisher for Betemit. Joking, but he would fit well at DH, I think.

KimmyisAwesome@ChuckGarfien: to quote Journey, I would welcome @NickSwisher with "Open Arms.

I dont think Ozzie would.

And finally, fill in the blank: On Opening Day, the White Sox leadoff hitter will be________

TiffanyHeyy@chuckgarfien: SCOTT PODSEDNIK

Princesss919@ChuckGarfien: Scotty Pods (I hope)

OneOfTheMikes@ChuckGarfien: Johnny Damon

SoxMachine@ChuckGarfien: Lousy.

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

Rule 5 pick Dylan Covey takes advantage of showcase as White Sox down Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — If Carlos Rodon starts on the disabled list as expected, the White Sox won't turn to any of their vaunted top prospects in the interim.

The news on Rodon has been encouraging so far as no structural damage has been discovered. Still, the White Sox won't clear Rodon until after he receives a second opinion on Monday. While the length of Rodon's absence won't be determined for several days, the White Sox are certain of one route they won't take — they don't want to disrupt the development of their young starting pitchers. Were a DL trip for Rodon necessary, the White Sox would likely select either Saturday's starter, Dylan Covey, or minor leaguer David Holmberg over their top prospects. Covey made a strong impression on Saturday afternoon with 3 2/3 scoreless innings pitched and the White Sox rallied for a 10-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark.

"When you have an opportunity to stabilize action or movement for players it serves them better," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "They get a little more comfortable where they're at. They get comfortable with the staffs they're working with and the information they're gathering, being in a routine. It is a little disruptive going from team to team to team. It happens, but it's not the most conducive (to learning)."

The White Sox are all about development this season. Therefore, they have no plans to call upon Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer or Michael Kopech unless they're A) ready and B) throwing every fifth day in Chicago. Renteria's comments Saturday reiterated Rick Hahn's earlier message, saying the club doesn't want to disrupt the development path.

That puts Covey, a Rule 5 draft pick in December, with a decent opportunity to make the club out of camp. Covey commanded the strike zone on Saturday only hours after Renteria said he hoped to see the young right-hander replicate an Arizona Fall League performance that initially warmed the White Sox up to him.

Aside from a two-out walk in his final inning, Covey was sharp the whole way. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

"My last couple of outings I was definitely feeling the stress," Covey said. "I was kind of pitching a little passive, pitching to not make a mistake instead of just going right after guys. So today and yesterday I just thought I'm just going to throw every pitch with conviction and see what happens. I got a lot of weak contact today and some swings and misses, so I felt good."

Covey threw 44 pitches, 27 for strikes. He potentially could stay in Arizona on Thursday and make an additional minor league start to build arm strength, which would get him to roughly 60 pitches before the regular seasons started.

The White Sox don't officially need a fifth starter until April 9 and they're off the following day. That break could allow the White Sox to start Covey as part of a bullpen day. Covey said he recently changed his mindset after lackluster results in relief this spring. The right-hander has a 6.94 ERA this spring in 11 2/3 innings.

"Obviously my last two outings out of the pen I wasn't getting crushed, but I just wasn't commanding the ball or commanding the count as much as I would like to be," Covey said. "The mistakes get hit a little harder when you're falling behind in the count. Today I wanted to have the mindset of attacking hitters, throwing everything down in the zone and going right after them, and it worked out."

The White Sox blasted six home runs in the contest, including a majestic, go-ahead grand slam by first baseman Danny Hayes in the top of the ninth inning. Hayes is hitting .351/.400/.595 with two homers and is tied for the team lead with 13 RBIs this spring. Jose Abreu, Nick Delmonico, Cody Asche, Everth Cabrera and Jacob May also homered for the White Sox. 

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

White Sox: Carlos Rodon feels reassured after clean MRI

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While he still has a second opinion ahead and is likely to start 2017 on the disabled list, a clean MRI has Carlos Rodon feeling relieved after a bizarre Thursday.

The White Sox pitcher described Saturday the strange experience he’s had the past few days dealing with soreness in his left bicep.

In the span of 48 hours, Rodon -- who will receive a second opinion on Monday -- went from feeling good enough after a midweek bullpen session to request that his first start be moved up to likely landing on the DL. As he prepares to navigate the rehab process, Rodon is more at ease after an MRI on Friday showed no structural damage.

“(Thursday) was a weird day for me,” Rodon said. “I wasn’t very happy with it. I got that checked out, trying to figure it out.

“I feel better. It’s reassuring.”

“(Your arm is) your tool. It’s concerning. But that’s why you go get those things checked out and make sure everything is ok. That’s what we did.”

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Rodon, who went 9-10 with a 4.04 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 165 innings in 2016, has one more checkup before he’s all clear. He travels to Los Angeles on Monday for an appointment with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. General manager Rick Hahn said Friday that a second opinion is “protocol.”

Though he has already been reassured -- the club’s diagnosis was he had no structural issues after a physical exam and then the clean MRI -- Rodon wouldn’t mind more confirmation. The left-hander said he hadn’t experienced the kind of tightness he suddenly felt in his biceps tendon before Thursday. He could lift his arm above his head, but Rodon said his stuff wasn’t the same. After he informed them, the White Sox determined to be cautious.

“It’s pretty tight up there,” Rodon said. “I’ve never really been that tight. I couldn’t really step on some balls I wanted to throw to get that arm going. So, I had to get it checked out. It didn’t feel too good.”

The White Sox already had Rodon on a delayed schedule where he needed to hit every mark to be ready for the regular season. They did so in hopes of helping him avoid the fatigue he experienced last summer and also reaching the 200-inning mark this season. Now it appears Rodon will begin the season on the DL, according to Hahn.

Though he’d like to start the season on schedule, Rodon wants to make sure he’s physically good to go.

“Just trying to be healthy man,” Rodon said. “You don’t want to go the start of the season and be behind the best guys. You are a tick down from the best guys in the world. It’s not fun pitching when you are not feeling too good. I want to be 100 percent when I’m out there. That gives our team the best chance of winning.”