Carlos Rodon

Rick Hahn positive on Scott Boras client Carlos Rodon signing with White Sox


While some outsiders have concerns about Carlos Rodon’s signability given he’s represented by Scott Boras, the White Sox don’t sound too worried.

Echoing amateur scouting director Doug Laumann’s confidence the White Sox will sign Rodon, the team’s first top-5 draft pick since 1990, general manager Rick Hahn said Monday he is upbeat about the situation.

Saying they wanted the best player on the board no matter what, the White Sox drafted the top collegiate pitcher with the No. 3 overall pick on Thursday despite the presence of Boras. Even though Boras has gained a reputation for driving a hard bargain on his clients’ behalf, Hahn said Monday — in his first public statement since Rodon was drafted — he’s keeping positive thoughts.

“I tend to be an optimistic guy,” Hahn said. “I never anticipate problems. Look, in reality, we have a history with Scott, a positive history with Scott. He had Joe Crede, he’s got (Dayan) Viciedo. We had Andruw Jones here. A fair amount of this concern, or discussion on how this could be difficult, I think is unnecessary and really not significant to us determining what’s going to happen here.”

[MORE: Konerko believes the Tigers are the team to beat]

There’s some thought among baseball analysts that Rodon would ask for a signing bonus similar to what the No. 1 pick is expected to receive. Though top pick Brady Aiken signed with the Houston Astros for $6.5 million, the suggested slot for the No. 1 was roughly $7.9 million.

The suggested slot amount for the third pick is $5.72 million and Rodon could try and command somewhere in between those two amounts. That might hurt the White Sox chances of signing other players as, even though they have a franchise-record $9.5 million bonus pool, Rodon could eat a significant chunk of that money.

One way the White Sox can offset a larger bonus for Rodon, and how they have operated in the past, is to pick players in earlier rounds than they may have been projected to be selected in exchange for below-slot deals.

Last year, the White Sox drafted senior pitchers Nick Blount and Brad Goldberg in the ninth and 10 th rounds and signed them for $10,000 each, far below their slotted values.

This year, the White Sox drafted similar-type players in the sixth (OF Louie Lechich) and eighth (SS John Ziznewski) rounds. While neither has officially signed, their slotted signing bonuses are $272,000 and $162,000.

[WATCH: Hahn discusses three top picks, draft]

“We’re gonna make sure we put ourselves in position to sign as many players as we’re capable of signing,” Hahn said. “We did not take any of these players without the intent of being able to sign them.

“The way the pool works, what you pay one player does influence what you can pay another. We knew going in what our plan was. We hope it plays out.”

One addition the White Sox can include in their package to Rodon — though it’s not a guarantee — is potentially a faster path to the majors. The White Sox could hypothetically tell Rodon, who is perceived to be nearly major league ready, they would bring him to Chicago this season if he signs.

The White Sox did that with Chris Sale after they took him No. 13 in 2010. They don’t want to pressure Rodon and put Sale’s meteoric timeline on him but they won’t rule out the path, either.

“As we enter into this we intend to be aggressive, be fair and make an offer that, hopefully, convinces him it’s time to begin his professional career,” Hahn said.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
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ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.