Chicago White Sox

Why Todd Frazier is 'best option' for the Red Sox

Why Todd Frazier is 'best option' for the Red Sox

More trades are coming. White Sox players know it. Todd Frazier could be next.

Eager to begin the second half on Friday, White Sox players paid their respects to now former teammate Jose Quintana ahead of an afternoon workout. White Sox players described the difficulty in moving on from Quintana, one of the most popular players in the clubhouse because of his easygoing persona off the field and dogged nature on it.

They also know another popular teammate (Frazier) could be gone soon. Frazier’s stock has risen the past six weeks with improved production and a field of options thinned out by parity. Perhaps his strongest suitor is the Boston Red Sox, who are moving on from Pablo Sandoval. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Friday morning that Sandoval had been designated for assignment. One baseball source said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Boston move quickly to fill its void at third.

“In some ways, Frazier is the best option out there,” the source said, noting “the combination of limited financial commitment and productivity.”

“Knowing Dave, it will be sooner than later.”

White Sox players expect that Quintana’s deal is only the tip of the iceberg as a number of talented individual pieces remain. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has the same feeling about some of his current teammates as the club’s rebuild has reached a cruising altitude of 32,000 feet. What began in earnest with the December trades of Chris Sale and Adam Eaton has only gained more elevation over the past two months. The White Sox made a bold move in May when they spent $52 million to sign 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Luis Robert. Thursday’s blockbuster with the Cubs saw the White Sox rid themselves of their last enormous chip when they dealt Quintana.

“I won’t be surprised if there are a few more moves,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “We are buying into this process and you know that’s going to be a few situations in there. But this is a process.”

It’s a process general manager Rick Hahn is eager to continue. Hahn addressed the media again on Friday and noted his club is still in the first stage of its rebuild and wants to continue accumulating talent.

“We are very much open for business,” Hahn said.

Where that leaves Frazier, David Robertson and a series of other players is in a state of limbo. Quintana told Hahn on Thursday he had been bothered by the constant trade rumors that involved him since last December. Try as they may, White Sox players will have to continue to focus on anything but the constant chatter that will surround many of them until at least July 31 and perhaps the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline.

From his own experience in Cincinnati, Frazier said on Saturday that he suspected things could be a little weird in the White Sox clubhouse when assets started to get traded. He also noted that he recently had improved at deflecting those distractions — thinking about trades or his impending free agency — and thought it helped him overall.

Since June 1, Frazier has a .923 OPS in 142 plate appearances with nine homers and 21 RBIs. The market for available third baseman has also been reduced by the recent hot play of the Kansas City Royals, who appear to no longer have interest in moving All-Star Mike Moustakas.

The Red Sox are in serious need of someone to man the hot corner with Sandoval DFA’d. Boston has a future third baseman in top-10 prospect Rafael Devers. But, Devers hasn’t yet played above Double-A and the Red Sox don’t sound as if they’re intent upon rushing him to the majors as they did last season with Yoan Moncada.

Those factors could make Frazier, who’s owed a little less than $6 million the rest of the season, extremely attractive to first-place Boston. Frazier, who told a trade knock-knock joke in his media session to “keep things light”, said he hasn’t recently spoken with Hahn about his situation.

“Now I’m like, control what you can control,” Frazier said last week. “Same thing about being traded, too. There’s nothing you can do about it until that time comes around. So just keep on working hard, keep understanding what you’re good at and keep working on the things you’re not good at even harder.

“Goodbyes are tough, but you understand it’s a business.”

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

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USA TODAY

Why Yoan Moncada's hot streak is important for the White Sox confidence and his

HOUSTON -- Don’t think the White Sox front office isn’t enjoying every second of Yoan Moncada’s tear.

Everyone can breathe a little easier knowing there are fewer questions for baseball’s top prospect to answer headed into 2018. Pleased as they’d been with Moncada’s patient plate approach, the club desired a breakthrough before Oct. 2 for the confidence boost it would provide him alone. Moncada continued a torrid run on Wednesday night that should have him bristling with poise when he arrives in Glendale, Ariz. next February. He homered as the White Sox fell 4-3 to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“We’ve been looking for him to continue to try and make adjustments,” manager Rick Renteria said. “There was probably a point there where people were a little concerned. Truthfully, when you see some of the talent these kids have, you recognize that their skillset is going to play up, it’s just a matter of getting the repetition.”

The White Sox have been impressed with Moncada’s improved awareness as he gains more experience.

One area in which Moncada has made the most gains is pitch recognition. The book has been that second baseman has had trouble with offspeed since he arrived in 2016, hitting .154 against sliders and .238 against curveballs entering Wednesday, according to Brooksbaseball.net.

But Moncada is trending upward. The first-pitch slider from Astros starter Brad Peacock that Moncada ripped for a go-ahead, two-run homer in the fourth inning was his fifth hit of the trip on a slider or curveball in 11 at-bats. On the trip, Moncada -- who has 189 plate appearances this season -- is hitting .415/.477/.683 with three homers, eight RBIs and 12 runs in 41 plate appearances.

[MORE: Jose Abreu's gift to Yoan Moncada just keeps on giving

Given Moncada’s struggles in a brief 2016 tryout with the Boston Red Sox, having success is certainly helpful as he won’t head into another offseason wondering when it might happen for him. Moncada doesn’t compare the two situations because of playing time -- he was limited to 20 plate appearances over a month in 2016. But he agrees his recent play is good for the psyche.

“It’s important for my confidence, especially thinking about next year,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “With this run, I have been able to have more confidence and believe in myself and my talent, and I think that’s something I can carry into next season.”

“This offseason is going to be different because I’ve been able to play almost every day. I have more confidence in myself. I know the game better. Last season I had an opportunity to be at this level a little bit, but it wasn’t the same. This year is the opposite because I’ve been playing a lot and have been able to handle good and bad stretches at this level.”

While a reduction in strikeout-rate is still needed to be more effective, Moncada has begun to establish himself as a major league hitter. It’s exactly how teammate and mentor Jose Abreu hoped Moncada would spend his time this season.

“He has to get to know a lot of things at this level,” Abreu said through an interpreter. “The game, the pitchers, the culture here -- there’s a lot of little things he has to get to know here. The way you can work through it is give your best every day and try to learn as much as you can and try to use all your knowledge and to pool your knowledge on each play in the game. That’s the only way you can get results and you can build on those results and this experience for the future. I think he’s finally doing it and that’s important for him and for us thinking of the next season and beyond.”

Renteria not only likes the pitch recognition but the way that Moncada has tried to hit through the shift several times against Houston. Though the White Sox never wavered, they’re certainly happy to see Moncada produce the way they thought he eventually would.

“He’s starting to slow it down a little more,” Renteria said. “He’s starting to see more of the landscape and making adjustments in general. It’s been a good run for him. We thought he would show signs of growth at the end of the season and he’s doing that.”

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

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USA TODAY

Look away, White Sox fans: Chris Sale makes history

This one may sting a bit, White Sox fans.  

On Wednesday evening, former White Sox ace Chris Sale accomplished a feat that no other American League pitcher has since 1999. The current Red Sox left-hander whiffed his 300th batter of the season, becoming the first A.L. hurler since Pedro Martinez to do so. 

Sale reached the impressive milestone in a dominant eight-inning, 13-strikeout gem. Vintage. 

Overall on the season, he's posted a 2.75 ERA with opponents hitting a mere .203 against him. Before his postseason debut in October, Sale has a shot at leading two franchises in season strikeout totals: 

The consolation on the South Side is that the prized prospect acquired in the Sale blockbuster had a pretty nice night himself. Yoan Moncada drilled a two-run blast in Houston, his seventh since being called up from Triple-A Charlotte on July 19. 

The great trade debate wages on.