Chicago White Sox

Why Derek Holland is no longer with the White Sox

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USA TODAY

Why Derek Holland is no longer with the White Sox

If you were surprised to see Derek Holland and the White Sox part ways on Tuesday, you weren’t alone.

But the reason comes down to one word: rebuild.

It was somewhat odd to see a veteran pitcher, who considering his pending free agency was in the process of pitching for a job next season, leave a team in early September. But Holland was recently moved to the bullpen after continuously failing to produce the kinds of results he was hoping for as a starter. He was then informed that his usage would decrease as the rebuilding White Sox want to get late-season looks at some of their younger arms.

“It was a difficult thing to do,” manager Rick Renteria explained Tuesday. “One of the things we discussed was how he impacted us as a good teammate. A gentleman, a nice man to have around, knew the game, impacted the other guys well. But it got to the point where he wasn’t going to get the opportunities.

“You want them to have success, to be able who they have always been. It had been a struggle the last few outings. We hoped we could get some usage in the bullpen, basically mix it in, it just wasn’t showing what we needed. With young men coming in who will be slotted into those roles. We wish him well.”

Holland was one of a couple veteran pitchers who didn’t pan out as sign-and-flip guys for the White Sox. In a season where Rick Hahn was able to deal away David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings and Miguel Gonzalez, Holland and fellow vet Mike Pelfrey weren’t able to produce in a way that would have made them attractive trade chips.

Holland had a bulging 6.20 ERA and 14 losses on the season. After a solid start to the campaign, he was abysmal from the beginning of June on, turning in a 9.32 ERA over his final 19 appearances, 16 of which were starts.

But upon his release, the White Sox did praise Holland, known around baseball for his big personality, as a quality teammate.

“Derek was a great teammate,” fellow starter James Shields said. “All of the guys liked him around here. He went out there every five days and pitched with his heart. The guy cared about baseball and is a tremendous human being. It’s always tough to lose a guy like that.”

White Sox draft guru Nick Hostetler willing to sacrifice position for player development

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White Sox draft guru Nick Hostetler willing to sacrifice position for player development

HOUSTON — As much as he longs to pick first next June, Nick Hostetler has learned to cope in the name of player development.

The White Sox amateur scouting director sees a deep draft class full of high school and college players awaiting. He’d love if the White Sox didn’t have to sweat out other teams’ decisions in what will be another critical moment in the team’s accumulation process.

But Hostetler said Tuesday he’s learned not to let his own feelings get in the way of what’s best for the franchise. Even if the White Sox end up picking third or fourth next June, Hostetler appreciates that the worse draft position is the result of a hot streak by any number of young players.

“It’s really exciting to see some of these young kids have success,” Hostetler said. “I really do like seeing Tim Anderson hit .400 and Lucas Giolito doing what he’s doing. All of these things are so great for the ultimate plan, which is us winning at the big-league level. I don’t ever want to get so selfish where I’m worrying about one pick or whether we’re three or whether we’re four or whatever it is and to use that than to take away from the greater good.”

There’s no question one pick can make all the difference. Colorado has received good production out of the third overall selection of the 2013 draft, Jon Gray, who has thus far given them 7.1 f-Wins Above Replacement in his brief career. But that pales in comparison to the 21.0 WAR produced by second pick Kris Bryant.

Entering Tuesday, the White Sox boasted the third-worst record in the majors. But their lead over the flailing Detroit Tigers, who are fourth, has slipped down to 1 1/2 games.

While a 100-loss season still appears to be in play for the White Sox, it seems far-fetched they would catch Philadelphia or San Francisco to finish with a top-two selection next June.

No matter where the White Sox pick, Hostetler is excited about the prospects of the class, which has a nice blend of hitters and pitchers from high school and college. Hostetler said earlier this month it’s the best class he can remember since 2010.

Still, Hostetler jokes that he’s conflicted when it comes to September scoreboard watching.

“It’s hard not to sit there and look but I’ve done a really good job,” Hostetler said with a laugh. “I’m proud of myself for this. I’ve kind of removed myself from this point. I root for our guys to succeed and to win, but at the same time knowing ultimately come June and three or four years after we’ll really know if picking third or fourth actually mattered.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bill Melton tells all about his life in baseball

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Bill Melton tells all about his life in baseball

Bill Melton's baseball career is the stuff of legend — some for what happened on the field, but also for what happened off of it.

On the latest White Sox Talk Podcast, the former White Sox slugger speaks with Chuck Garfien about winning the 1971 home run crown on the final day of the regular season after partying on Rush Street into the wee hours the night before. Melton also describes his huge public battle with then White Sox play-by-play announcer Harry Caray, partying at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club, hanging out with Frank Sinatra, fighting with former Angels manager Dick Williams.

Melton tells these stories and many more about the wild days of playing major league baseball in the 1970s. Plus, you'll hear a lost interview from 1971 when Brent Musburger interviewed Melton right after he became the home run king.

Listen to the latest episode below: