Hahn doesn't foresee lineup upgrade on the horizon

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Hahn doesn't foresee lineup upgrade on the horizon

After finalizing the signing of reliever Matt Lindstrom on Friday, the White Sox may be done making significant moves for the offseason.

That doesn't mean the team isn't looking to make another move. Instead, it means they may not be anticipating one.

RELATED: White Sox think Lindstrom is a perfect fit

Adding a left-handed bat to the middle of the team's lineup has been cast as a "need" since A.J. Pierzynski officially signed elsewhere, but it's a move general manager Rick Hahn won't make just for the sake of adding a left-handed bat.

"We are still actively looking for something that provides us with an upgrade," Hahn explained. "But we are not going to make the move for a left-handed bat simply because its a left-handed bat."

One name that's been connected with the White Sox in offseason trade rumors has been Arizona's Jason Kubel. The free agent cupboard is fairly bare at this point in late January, with none of the available options -- for instance, ex-Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner -- looking like a fit.

Only 10 free agent outfielders remain on the market, and of those, six bat left-handed. But Michael Bourn is likely too expensive, both from a draft pick and money standpoint, and wouldn't fit a middle-of-the-order need anyways. The same goes for Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon, the latter of whom may be on his way to retirement anyways. Former Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore won't be healthy until the middle of the season, when he reportedly plans on signing with a team.

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That leaves ex-Sox Scott Podsednik and Ryan Sweeney on the market, neither of whom fit the bill, either.

"Based on the pool that is available right now, we dont see that upgrade there," Hahn said. "You look at whats happening thus far this offseason and you have not seen a lot of premium left-handed bats, perhaps with the exception of Josh Hamilton, change teams. We certainly had a number of conversations about it. But again we are not going to force the fit just to make the move."

Still, with Detroit featuring a menacing rotation stocked with right-handers, plenty have warmed up to the idea of adding a left-hander. Hahn, though, was quick to offer a reminder that the White Sox don't actually play the Tigers until July, when the need for a left-handed bat may be more clear.

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"For me, the season needs to start, then we'll go and see what happens," manager Robin Ventura added.

The White Sox expect Dayan Viciedo to hit better than he did in 2012, in which he hit .255.300.444 with 25 home runs. But Viciedo had just a .650 OPS against right-handers and struck out 103 times in 410 plate appearances -- if that production remains stagnant, left field may be where the White Sox look to improve.

Those improvements could come internally, though, with Dewayne Wise or Jordan Danks siphoning off some playing time. For now, though, Hahn says talks remain "preliminary" about adding a left-handed bat, and Ventura didn't sound too concerned with the righty-heavy state of his lineup.

"It's nice," Ventura said of potentially adding a lefty. "But it's not mandatory by any means."

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez’s teammates gave him a beer shower after he blasted the first home run of his career on Friday night.

But the rookie catcher said it wasn’t the best gift he gave or received in a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Narvaez’s father, Omar, was in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and celebrating his birthday when he son blasted a 377-foot drive to right field.

“It was great, especially because it was my dad’s birthday today,” Narvaez said. “It’s a very special gift for my dad. That’s what I was thinking as I was running the bases. It’s the best thing I could do this day.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Narvaez, who hails from Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela, said his family has been in town all week to see him play. His fourth-inning homer off Twins pitcher Pat Dean put the White Sox ahead 6-0. Narvaez -- who has seven minor-league homers, including two at Triple-A Charlotte this season -- homered in his 111th plate appearance in the big leagues.

“That was awesome,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I’ve been waiting a while because I know he’s got that pop. Took him a little bit, but I was happy for him.”

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

The word electric was used multiple times to describe several young White Sox players on Friday night and it wasn’t hyperbole.

Carlos Rodon tied an American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field and Tim Anderson was an all-around force. Anderson turned several double plays and finished a double shy of the cycle and Rodon, who was coming off the best start of his career, struck out 10 to close out a stellar second half. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez also blasted the first home run of his big league career in the victory.

“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say the first seven hitters were better than (Sunday’s start). He just, it looked like his confidence and end of the year, letting it out. It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change. I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”

Where Rodon is now compared with 2 1/ 2 months ago is vastly different. Frustrated by a 2-7 start and a sprained wrist sustained when he fell in the dugout, Rodon was about as low as he’s been in his two seasons in the majors. But the North Carolina State-product vowed to treat the second half like an entirely different season when he returned from his injury and he has done just that.

Featuring a fastball that topped 99-mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, and with his wipeout slider in tow, Rodon quickly looked in control against the Twins. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Only two of his first seven strikeouts came via called third strikes.

Rodon’s third-inning whiff of John Ryan Murphy moved him into a tie for the team and AL record with ex-White Sox hurler Joe Cowley, who struck out the first seven he faced in a May 28, 1986 loss at the Texas Rangers. Coupled with the three strikeouts to end Sunday’s start in Cleveland (part of 11 overall), Rodon’s 10 straight strikeouts between the two games matched the most by a major league pitcher since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne did it in 2003.

“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Narvaez said. “The slider was perfect today. He was at his best today.”

Rodon was only slowed down by a 31-pitch sixth inning as he allowed three runs (two earned). He yielded three hits, walked three and struck out 10 to improve to 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander struck out 77 batters in 73 innings from July 31st through the end of the season.

“It’s easy to play behind him because it makes my job a lot easier when he’s striking out people,” Anderson said.

Rodon feels the same about the way Anderson has played since he arrived in the majors in June. The rookie shortstop continues to excel even though he has never played more in a season than he in 2016.  

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Anderson headed into the eighth inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Needing only a double after he tripled and homered in his first two at-bats, Anderson grounded out and finished 3-for-5.

He turned on his speed when he tripled off the glove of Byron Buxton in the first inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double. Anderson flashed his power when he blasted his ninth home run in the third, a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. And used his glove and arm to turn several nice plays in the field.

“He’s electric,” Rodon said. “Just watching him develop over this few months here, it’s been incredible. Making those plays in the hole and just swinging the bat great. That’s a guy our team can feed off of when he’s in the lineup.”