White Sox manager Robin Ventura confirmed what everyone had already assumed Wednesday, naming ace lefty Chris Sale the club’s Opening Day starter according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
Sale, the obvious choice for Ventura, boasts a spectacular 2.97 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.5 K/9 in 500 2/3 career major league innings. He tossed a career-high 214 1/3 frames in 2013 and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
Sale will probably be followed in the White Sox starting rotation by Jose Quintana, John Danks, Erik Johnson, and then Felipe Paulino. In HardballTalk’s 2014 season preview for the Pale Hose, Aaron Gleeman predicted a fifth-place (dead last) finish in the American League Central standings.
Chicago opens its regular-season schedule March 31 against the Twins.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.
Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.
Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.
Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.