Yesterday the White Sox chose Ozzie Guillen’s son, 18-year-old Ozney Guillen, in the 22nd round of the draft and the manager isn’t happy about the high school outfielder dropping that far:
Obviously, it’s a disappointment. Twenty-second round? Anybody can go 22nd round. There are a few players out there that weren’t [high] picks and made it to the big leagues, but I think the 22nd round in high school doesn’t mean anything. I respect the scouts’ opinion with all my heart. I hope the 20 guys they pick before him help us or help the White Sox, but I’m a baseball man.
I saw him play, and I saw him compete against a lot of people out there. It surprised me that he [fell] that far before getting picked. I know baseball a little bit. This kid has a good future as long as he doesn’t get hurt. You can say, “The hell with this thing” and do something else, or get better and prepare yourself for what is coming. Knowing my kid, he will prepare himself better and show people they were wrong or right. That’s all you can do.
In the meanwhile, it’s kind of hard. His expectations, not mine, his expectations were a little higher. He thought he was a little better player than what other people think. The hardest thing for us is to talk to him about it. He feels embarrassed, he feels like he let himself down. He thinks he’s better than a few players picked by teams before him. But I said, “Listen, that’s part of life. You learn from that, you get yourself stronger mentally and you prove people wrong. That’s all you can do.”
Of course, according to Scott Merkin of MLB.com “Guillen admitted that he did not talk to scouts or anyone involved with the draft to see where their projections had Ozney slotted.” I spoke to one of the guys from Baseball America, who said Ozney is “not really” a legitimate prospect, but likely would have been drafted at some point if the White Sox didn’t take him in the 22nd round.
Whatever the case, Ozney Guillen presumably won’t sign with the White Sox and will instead play college ball at South Florida, where he’ll try to take his dad’s advice to heart and show everyone they were wrong. Oh, and if you’re curious: Ozzie Guillen wasn’t drafted (or eligible to be drafted). He signed with the Padres as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela and was traded to the White Sox a few years later.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.
Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.
Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.
It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.
Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.
After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.
Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.
Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.
O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.
It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.