White Sox tempted to promote prospect Sanchez

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White Sox tempted to promote prospect Sanchez

With a vacancy at third base and no easy solution, theres no doubt the budget-conscious White Sox are tempted to promote prospect Carlos Sanchez to the majors.

The Venezuelan-born middle infielder is the franchises most buzzworthy prospect after he sped through the farm system last season. Sanchez, 20, followed it with a stellar Arizona Fall League performance.

How strong was his showing? Enough for the White Sox -- who are already near or past their 97-100 million budgeted payroll for 2013 -- to at least consider the second basemanshortstop as an option at third if they cant sign free agent Kevin Youkilis or someone else even though Sanchez has only 158 at-bats above Single-A.

But for now the White Sox plan to ward off those temptations, discover a different solution and leave the 20-year-old alone.

Hes the kind of kid who can deal with any kind of adversity, assistant general manager Buddy Bell said by phone Wednesday. The track he was on is very quick. He has tremendous makeup. He knows how to play and how to survive.

But I dont think theres any question about (delaying his arrival).

But boy is a promotion tempting.

With only 10 players under contract, the White Sox have already spent 89.95 million for 2013. That leaves general manager Rick Hahn with very little wiggle room as he expects payroll to be similar to last season, when the White Sox boasted an opening day figure of 97.7 million.

The top free agent at third, Youkilis might be difficult to fit into the budget.

Sanchez -- who was 17 when the White Sox signed him in May 2009 -- has done just about everything to put himself squarely in the conversation. Bell admits freely the White Sox have discussed the possibility of a move to third for Sanchez.

When youre as talented as this kid you would have to consider it, Bell said.

But the team likely prefers to keep Sanchez up the middle.

In a recent Baseball America write up, Single-A Kannapolis manager Tommy Thompson is quoted as calling Sanchez one of the best defensive players he has ever seen.

After he hit a combined .281 in 2011, Sanchezs bat improved significantly in 2012. He hit a combined .323.378.403 with a homer, 56 RBIs and 26 steals in a season that started at Single-A Winston-Salem, included a stop at Double-A Birmingham and ended at Triple-A Charlotte.

As if that werent enough, Sanchez has White Sox decision-makers drooling after he hit .299 in the Fall League and finished with 12 runs, 16 RBIs and 11 steals in 22 games.

Hes a good little player, Hahn recently said. Hes (on the radar) for good reason. Were very enthusiastic about his future, but at the same time we have to resist the temptation to rush him. He has been swinging it real well. Hes a solid contact hitter with good plate awareness and can drive the ball, good line-drive stroke. The glove is pretty good. The first go-around (Kannapolis) was defensively, but all he has done since then is hit. Hes a very well-rounded player.

Baseball America has Sanchez rated as the No. 3 prospect in the organization, a noteworthy jump from 2011 when the publication didnt have him listed among the White Sox top 30 minor-leaguers.

He kind of came from out of nowhere, Bell said.

Though Sanchez isnt on the 40-man roster -- he doesnt have to be protected until next November -- an invite to big league camp sounds like a strong possibility. At the GM meetings in California earlier this month, Hahn noted the White Sox have a history of bringing the best players with them to Chicago when they leave spring training.

At the same time, the White Sox must continue to remind themselves Sanchez has only 1,151 plate appearances in four professional seasons.

I dont think were at the point of talking big leagues yet, Bell said.

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

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Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right

That Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada have reunited is a nice story, but it won't dramatically change the mindset of the rebuilding White Sox, who earlier this week demonstrated they aren't messing around.

Abreu said in a statement issued by the White Sox on Friday that he's "very happy" about the prospect of again playing alongside Moncada, who played 12 games with the star slugger in 2012 for Cienfuegos in the Cuban National Series. Moncada, 21, is the centerpiece of a four-player package acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale on Tuesday, a toolsy infielder who MLB.com has rated as the No. 1 prospect in baseball.

While the concept of Abreu mentoring Moncada has plenty of merit — the first baseman's work ethic is outstanding, and he's beloved by coaches and teammates — don't think the White Sox would hesitate to trade him if someone paid the right price. White Sox general manager Rick Hahn just spent four days at the Winter Meetings discussing how a team that just traded away its best pitcher and position player remains open to listening to all offers and is prepared to do what is must to get the franchise healthy again. 

"We're extremely open-minded on ways to continue the process that we started," Hahn said earlier this week, adding that the White Sox "have to make some painful decisions."

The White Sox have grown tired of never having all the pieces — or even more than a few — to fill the holes created by injury, poor performance, etc. They want to be flush with young talent and essentially have said anything that isn't nailed down at Guaranteed Rate Field is available with the exceptions of Tim Anderson and Carlos Rodon.

The team wants to cash in on the chips it possesses.

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While they don't have a ton, the few the White Sox have could help expedite a rebuild process as the Sale and Eaton trades have shown. Those deals brought back seven players, including three who played at the big league level last season (Moncada, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez). Some of those players potentially would start 2017 in the big leagues, and that possibility increases the internal value of Abreu and starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who is equally revered among teammates and coaches for his dedication and team-first mentality. 

Having those young players see firsthand what it takes to excel in the majors from veteran teammates is invaluable. Abreu, who arrived in the United States from Cuba in late 2013, addressed that point in his statement about Moncada, who signed with Boston in 2015.

"Moncada is a five-tool player," Abreu said. "He really has everything needed to succeed, and I know that with the proper guidance of veteran players and coaches with experience he can become an All-Star caliber player."

"He is going to make a huge impact in the White Sox organization, and both the fans and the team will be thankful.

"I already spoke with him to welcome him to the team. I told him that I'm going to be there for him for everything that he needs on and off the field."

In a conference call Wednesday, Moncada said he's "thrilled" to once again play with Abreu. Whether they will hasn't yet been determined.

When asked about Moncada's 2017 starting point earlier in the week, Hahn said the 21-year still needs to develop. Moncada appeared in eight big league games last season for Boston and struggled with contact, striking out 12 times in 20 plate appearances. But that promotion came after a meteoric rise through Boston's farm system, an aggressive path that included only 45 games played above High-A. Nothing has been announced, but it appears Moncada will receive an invite to big league camp next spring and be seated near Abreu in the clubhouse. 

Still, Hahn sounds like he intends for Moncada to spend much of 2017 refining his approach in the minors. He also has demonstrated he is willing to dig deep and make more painful moves if it betters the team in the long run, all of which means the White Sox wouldn't hesitate to trade Abreu or Quintana if they get what they want.