Chicago beat reporter ready to bury White Sox

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Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on the White Sox and is one of the more, let’s say, outspoken MLB beat writers. He typically injects far more humor and opinion into his articles than the average beat writer, and in some cases far more criticism.
With the White Sox off to an ugly 5-11 start, Cowley began today’s article like this:

Obituaries are supposed to be saved for the dead. In this case, call it working ahead. On the South Side, you can start picking out the coffin, the plot and the pallbearers.

The bulk of the piece isn’t that gloomy, as Cowley admits “the White Sox are far from flat-lined” and adds “writing off a team three weeks into the regular season is a moronic practice.” However, the heavy focus on how bad Chicago is and how great Minnesota is might get my dander up if I was a White Sox fan (thankfully I’m a Twins fan, and so Cowley’s article does nothing but amuse me).
And here’s how it concludes:

So how does this play out if the product remains subpar? By May, expect a coach to be sacrificed. By June, a few players. Why would Reinsdorf want to pay for a Pierzynski on a fifth-place team when he can have a cheaper Tyler Flowers? Why does he need a Paul Konerko when he can slide Mark Kotsay there? But all eyes will be on the relationship between Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen. Can they live with each other in a purge or will fingers be pointed as the marriage has soured?



Either way, this slow start has a certain amount of doom and gloom about it, and the ending won’t be a pretty one. Maybe the Sox start playing to their potential. Maybe they even win 90 games and have us all laughing about the early-season stumble. What a story that would be. Unfortunately, the Twins aren’t much into fairy tales. They are a reality, focused on winning. Focused on planning funerals.

I’ll bring flowers.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.