Sox Drawer: A Winter Meetings Preview

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Sox Drawer: A Winter Meetings Preview

Friday, December 4th

Its three days before baseballs winter meetings in Indianapolis. What is Kenny Williams thinking? Judging by his opening comments on a Friday conference call with the media, he certainly isnt going to tell us.

Kenny Williams here, he began. Ready to not answer any questions that you might have.

Okay

But in the 20-minute session, the Sox GM did provide some glimpses into their current mind-set, and what might happen between now and Opening Day.

The 2010 team:

Were going to pitch, and were going to play defense, and were going to scrap like hell to score runs, Williams said. Sounds like the blueprint from 2005. But will he have enough cement and bricks to build a winner?

The rotation is already one of the best in the majors. The defense is in the process of getting an upgrade. Adding Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones, along with re-signing Mark Kotsay also gives the Sox one of the best benches in the majors.

And speaking of the bench, if another person makes a crack at how old those three guys are, Im going to send your antiquated thinking straight to a local nursing home where you will have nothing but a television and rabbit ears for White Sox information.

Sorry about that. Gotta vent here.

When it comes to a bench, you have to ask yourself one question, are the players major league competent? Seriously, thats all you want and all you need from your bench. Wilson Betemit, Brian Anderson (minus his glove), Brent Lillibridge, and DeWayne Wise (minus the Buehrle perfect game and 2008 playoff HR) = not competent.

Even if Jones shows up in Glendale weighing 250 pounds with McDonalds wrappers trailing his Rolls Royce on the freeway, if he can find his way to hit 15 homers for the Sox next season (which is completely attainable because he will run through a wall for his good friend Ozzie Guillen), you should take it.

Kenny added that Jones has accepted his role as a back-up, but wants to have the opportunity in spring training to compete for a starting job. Sounds like a guy preparing for career redemption. I like it.

And did you notice that Vizquel did not make a single error last season playing second, shortstop, and third? Again, take it.

Williams also gave a hint about his possible outfield, saying that Jones and Kotsay are insurance in case they decide to carry a youngster in the outfield. Jordan Danks, please pick up the white courtesy phone.

As for the rest of the squad..

The Sox leadoff situation:

There are two questions Kenny Williams never wants to hear ever again. One is Are you trading Bobby Jenks? And two, Who is going to bat leadoff? When the latter question was asked, I think another gray hair shot out of Kennys noggin, into his phone, and pierced every media member on the line.

Replied a sarcastic Williams, We wont forfeit that spot in the order. There will be someone there.

As for exactly who (forget about the Chone Figgins pipe dream. Hes likely headed for Seattle), dont get your hopes up. Williams pointed to the fact that as much as 90 percent of teams in the league dont have the ideal leadoff hitter.

So unless hes able to open up the Jerry Reinsdorf vault (Were always trying to find some wiggle room. It probably annoys Jerry to no end), or someone falls into their laps, or Scott Podsednik asks for less yearsmoney, or Rudy Law drinks from the fountain of youth and plays for 1983 money, the Sox will likely have to settle for an experiment in the leadoff spot. Sorry to break the news, but hope is not lost. As Williams put it, Just like we had Orlando Cabrera a couple years ago. It wasn't the ideal situation, but we won a division title with it.

Alex Rios, anyone? He is a career .282 hitter in the 1-spot. Just saying. Hopefully he shortens that swing. Greg Walker, do your magic. Maybe Frank Thomas can talk to him.

Theres always Jerry Owens. Oh wait. There isnt.

Bobby Jenks:

There have been so many rumors about Bobby Jenks, he could probably have his own special section on TMZ.

If the Sox want to upgrade somewhere on their roster without taking on more salary, their large closer (Im not going to call him overweight for fear that he might sit on me at spring training) remains one of their biggest (and by that I do not mean heavy) bargaining chips.

However, Kennys fuel gauge in regards to the Jenks trade question currently has a flashing yellow light. Hes about done with it. Or at least, thats what hes telling us, which is what keeps the Jenks trade rumors going. Is this a Kenny smokescreen or is he legitimately going to keep him here next season? Once a players name gets on the hamster wheel, its tough to make it stop.

Williams referred to the Jenks speculation as the media running with something, and added, I havent had any conversations with anyone about trading Bobby Jenks. Im really surprised that this has continued on. I think what keeps the Jenks rumor alive was Williams next sentence: This is the same stance Ive taken since Day One sitting in this chair. If the right opportunity presents itself, well travel down that road.

And the hamster wheel just took another violent spin.

Williams predicted that the Sox will be busier after the Winter Meetings than during it. So with that line of thinking...expect an interesting week in Indy. Always is, even if nothing happens.

CSN to provide alternative Spanish-language telecasts for upcoming White Sox & Cubs games on CSN+

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CSN to provide alternative Spanish-language telecasts for upcoming White Sox & Cubs games on CSN+

MONDAY, JULY 31 at 7:00 PM CT (White Sox vs. Toronto) – featuring game analyst OZZIE GUILLEN

TUESDAY, AUGUST 1 at 7:00 PM CT (Cubs vs. Arizona) – featuring game analyst CARLOS ZAMBRANO

Chicago, IL (July 25, 2017) For the first time in network history, CSN Chicago (CSN), the home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, will be providing an alternative Spanish-language telecast for each team that will air exclusively on CSN+ (also streaming live on CSNChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app).  CSN’s upcoming pair of alternative Spanish-language telecasts will also feature game analysis provided by two Chicago baseball icons: 2005 White Sox World Series manager Ozzie Guillen (on Monday, July 31) and three-time Cubs All-Star starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano (on Tuesday, August 1).

On Monday, July 31, CSN will carry the first of its two Spanish-language telecasts as the White Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:00 PM CT (White Sox Pregame Live presented by The Kowalis Family of Dealerships begins at 6:30 PM).  Calling the game on CSN+ will be Noticiero Telemundo Chicago’s lead sports anchor/veteran play-by-play announcer Rodrigo Arana, who will be joined in the booth by the always-candid and entertaining Ozzie Guillen, who led the White Sox to their first World Series title in 88 years, earning the 2005 American League “Manager of the Year” honor.  CSN’s primary White Sox announcing team of Jason Benetti and Steve Stone will provide the call of the game on the main CSN channel location. 

Then, on Tuesday, August 1, CSN will head to the north side of town for its second alternative Spanish-language telecast when the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks at 7:00 PM CT (Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group gets underway at 6:30 PM).  Arana will once again handle play-by-play duties on CSN+, but will be joined in the booth this time by former Cubs standout pitcher (and hitter) Carlos Zambrano. In his 11 seasons with the Cubs, Zambrano made the National League All-Star team three times, earned three Silver Slugger awards, and finished in the NL’s top ten in ERA four-straight years (2003-06).  The primary call of the game on the main CSN channel location will be handled by CSN’s Cubs announcing duo of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies

“With a diverse and dedicated Chicago baseball fan base throughout the entire Chicago market, we are excited to provide these Spanish-language White Sox and Cubs telecasts, showcasing the standout play-by-play call from Rodrigo and the in-depth and entertaining analysis from both Ozzie and Carlos,” said Greg Bowman, VP of Programming for CSN Chicago.

The alternative Spanish-language White Sox & Cubs telecasts will be televised exclusively on CSN+, which is available in high-definition on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area/South Bend, IN & on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 285 in the Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets, along with being made available in DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, RCN, and WOW! homes among others; viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s CHANNEL FINDER for complete channel location details. 

In addition, the English and Spanish versions of the White Sox game on July 31 and the Cubs game on August 1 will BOTH be accessible live via CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated CSN Chicago subscribers.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of White Sox games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: http://www.csnchicago.com/live-faq .  The live stream of CSN’s White Sox & Cubs telecasts is presented by State Farm

Throughout the season, fans are also urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s “WhiteSoxTalk” (CSNChicago.com/white-sox) and “CubsTalk” (CSNChicago.com/cubs) sections for complete game previews/recaps, the latest news & rumors, feature reports, videos, and much more.  Fans can also follow the network’s dedicated team-specific Twitter handles (@CSNWhiteSox and @CSNCubs) for the latest news and up-to-the-minute team/player reports 24/7.  In addition, fans can look forward to new editions of CSN’s popular White Sox & Cubs PODCASTS (presented by Wintrust) featuring the network’s roster of baseball experts, along with numerous special guests.  All of CSN’s podcasts can be downloaded at CSNChicago.com/podcasts and by simply subscribing to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

Jose Quintana: 'It would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox'

Jose Quintana: 'It would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox'

Jose Quintana sounds relieved he won’t have to face his former White Sox teammates this week.

The pitcher said Tuesday morning that he’s ecstatic for his new opportunity with the Cubs, who have made him feel very comfortable these first two weeks. After he earned his second win for the Cubs on Sunday night, Quintana spent part of pregame Monday with his former White Sox teammates in visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field. They caught up on small talk and Quintana said they spent as much time together as they could. That’s a luxury he wouldn’t have been afforded had he been preparing to face them on Monday instead. The Cubs decided last Friday that Quintana would pitch Sunday night against the St. Louis Cardinals and not again until this Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Though he wants to face them in the future and knows it will happen one day, Quintana doesn’t sound as if he objected to the decision made by the Cubs coaching staff.

“One day I’ll pitch against them, but that’s the decision of the pitching coach and the manager,” Quintana said. “They wanted me to face the Brewers the first game. But it would have been a little hard for me to face the White Sox, too, my old teammates. But one day for sure I want to face them.”

Quintana has already experienced a similar scenario earlier this season when he pitched against former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale at Guaranteed Rate Field on May 30. Facing Sale in his return with the Boston Red Sox wasn’t easy, Quintana said. Both pitchers struggled and instead of a pitching duel, the Red Sox outslugged the White Sox 13-7. Afterward, Quintana said he was embarrassed by his performance.

“It would be similar because when I faced Sailor it was a little weird, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Quintana said. “You know, facing my old teammates, the lineup, would be a little weird.”

Third baseman Matt Davidson acknowledged how surreal the situations seems to see Quintana in a Cubs uniform. Though they only played together a little in the majors, Davidson has been around the veteran pitcher for several years every spring. To see him as part of the exodus of major league talent from the White Sox roster isn’t surprising, but it isn’t easy, either, Davidson said.

“He’s wearing blue now but that’s kind of part of the game you’re used to,” Davidson said. “It definitely kind of hurt a little bit to lose a guy who’s a cornerstone of the organization like that, him leaving. But it’s to be expected with the rebuild going on and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Jose Abreu agrees that seeing Quintana on the Cubs is different. But as awkward as the situation may be, Abreu would have loved to face Quintana. That should come as no surprise as Abreu was up for the challenge of facing Sale, producing a two-run, bases-loaded single against him in May.

“He was here with us a week ago, and now he’s gone,” Abreu said through an interpreter on Friday. “But those are the kind of things you like, to face the best in baseball. I wish him the best, but I would like to face him.”

Quintana said he wasn’t surprised by the news when manager Rick Renteria called July 13 to inform him he’d been traded. The landing spot may have come as a surprise, but Quintana heard the rumors and acknowledged to Rick Hahn they bothered him early in the season.

So far, Quintana has enjoyed the transition. He said Joe Maddon’s staff has made him feel very much at home.

As for facing his old ‘mates, Quintana looks forward to that opportunity, too.

“They’ve made it easy to be here, the coaches,” Quintana said. “I appreciate this organization for giving me the opportunity to be here. I enjoy it and I’m happy and excited to be here. I have a really good opportunity to make the playoffs.

“(Facing the White Sox) is part of being here so one day I’ll go face them.”