Tag: Emilio Bonifacio

Emilio Bonifacio

Cubs sign Emilio Bonifacio to minor league contract


From beat writer Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com

Bonifacio was pushed off the 40-man roster of the crosstown White Sox on August 16 after batting just .167/.198/.192 with one stolen base in 47 games. He stole 26 bases in 110 games last season between the Cubs and Braves. Look for the Northsiders to use him in a utility and pinch-running role in September.

The 30-year-old Bonifacio will report to the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa for now.

Robin Ventura gets a vote of confidence

Robin Ventura

Votes of confidence from team brass are superficially nice I suppose, but they often are the harbingers of a manager hitting the unemployment line. It’s probably a correlation/causation issue as you don’t get them unless your team stinks anyway. There is a reason why votes of confidence are often prefaced with “dreaded.” You really don’t want to be in the position to get one in the first place.

That’s what happened with Robin Ventura on Friday night, however, with Kenny Williams doing the voting. From Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com:

On Friday, Williams, the White Sox executive vice president, said he doesn’t believe the White Sox manager or his staff is to blame for the team’s struggles. Ventura had said earlier Friday he feels he has strong support from Williams, general manager Rick Hahn and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, all of who he’s in constant contact with. Ventura joked that Williams’ approval could be seen as a “kiss of death” before noting his appreciation.

Guess we’ll see. The White Sox loaded up on talent in the offseason, trading for Jeff Samardzija and signing David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, Emilio Bonifacio and Geovany Soto. Despite that they stand at 32-41 which is good for last place in the AL Central.


White Sox demote starting second baseman Micah Johnson to Triple-A

Collin Cowgill, Micah Johnson

Micah Johnson has been the White Sox’s starting second baseman all season after winning the job out of spring training as a 24-year-old rookie, but now they’ve demoted him back to Triple-A.

Johnson showed little power and struggled at times defensively, but he also hit .270 with a .333 on-base percentage. And really the White Sox shouldn’t have expected a whole lot of production considering that Johnson posted a measly .684 OPS at Triple-A last season.

Veteran utility man Emilio Bonifacio seems like the best bet to replace Johnson as the primary second baseman and the White Sox are also expected to call up Carlos Sanchez from Triple-A.

2015 Preview: Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Chicago White Sox.

The Big Question: Should we be taking the rebuilt White Sox seriously as contenders?

It got largely overshadowed by the non-stop wheeling and dealing in San Diego, but the White Sox also had an extremely busy offseason as general manager Rick Hahn attempted to turn an 89-loss team into a potential contender in one winter.

Hahn beefed up the rotation behind ace Chris Sale by trading for impending free agent Jeff Samardzija, remade the bullpen by signing closer David Robertson and setup man Zach Duke, added a pair of good bats to the lineup in first baseman Adam LaRoche and outfielder Melky Cabrera, and even gave manager Robin Ventura a bit more bench versatility in utility man Emilio Bonifacio.

Hahn had a busy, productive, high-impact offseason, but will it be enough to pull the White Sox up from 73 wins to the 85-plus typically required to be a factor deep into September? Fortunately for the White Sox they were starting with two hugely valuable, young building blocks in Sale, who finished third in the Cy Young balloting at age 25, and first baseman Jose Abreu, who won the Rookie of the Year award and finished fourth in the MVP balloting at age 27. Not many 73-win teams have two elite players around which to build.

Sale won’t be ready for Opening Day after breaking his foot in late February, but assuming he’s back in the rotation by mid-April the White Sox top three of Sale, Samardzija, and Jose Quintana is one of the best in baseball. Their bullpen, which was a major weakness last year, now has a shutdown closer in Robertson, allowing guys like Duke, Jake Petricka, and and Zach Putnam to settle into setup roles. And within a couple months last year’s No. 3 overall pick, stud left-hander Carlos Rodon, should be ready for his call-up.

The turnaround offensively won’t be as dramatic, but it doesn’t need to be. Chicago ranked in the middle of the AL pack in run scoring and is essentially replacing the corner outfield/designated hitter trio of Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo, and Alejandro De Aza with LaRoche, Cabrera, and Avisail Garcia, who returned from injury to play 46 games down the stretch. Toss in center fielder Adam Eaton’s on-base skills atop the batting order, plus Alexei Ramirez having more pop than the average shortstop, and even with second base and catcher being question marks this has a chance to be a much deeper, more dangerous lineup surrounding Abreu.

Going from 73 wins to 85-plus wins in one offseason is extremely difficult, but the White Sox absolutely look like a team that should have a winning record and contending in a relatively mediocre AL Central division is entirely doable.

What else is going on?

  • For a long time Carlos Rodon was the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, but then his stock dipped a bit and both the Astros and Marlins passed on the North Carolina State ace. Six months later it’s probably safe to assume both teams would do things differently, because Rodon struck out 38 batters in his 24-inning debut, ranked as a top-20 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com this offseason, and then impressed this spring with a 19/3 K/BB ratio in 12 innings. He looks just about ready and has top-of-the-rotation upside.
  • Because he was 27 years old and a superstar in Cuba it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to put Abreu’s numbers up against other “rookies” … but why not. He had a 169 OPS+ last season. Here’s a list of all the other first basemen in MLB history to top a 150 OPS+ as a rookie: Mark McGwire, 164 in 1987. That’s it. That’s the entire list. Even setting aside the whole rookie thing, the last 27-year-old first basemen with a higher OPS+ than Abreu were Miguel Cabrera in 2010 and Frank Thomas in 1995. And then no one else since 1962.
  • Adam Eaton played so well in his first season with the White Sox–hitting .300 with a .362 on-base percentage and solid defense in center field–that Hahn signed him to a long-term contract extension that keeps him under team control through 2021. Eaton lacks power, but his on-base skills and speed are top notch and are an ideal fit atop the lineup and in front of Abreu. Eaton hit .348 in the minors, including .364 with 40 steals in 133 games at Triple-A.

Prediction: One of the biggest improvements of any team in baseball, going from 73-89 to at least .500 in a division where four of the five teams figure to win 80-something games. But just short of the playoffs.

White Sox sign Gordon Beckham, designate Dayan Viciedo for assignment

gordon beckham getty

Well, here’s an interesting pair of moves.

Gordon Beckham, who played the first five-and-a-half years of his career for the White Sox before being traded to the Angels in August, has re-signed with Chicago on a one-year, $2 million deal.

And to make room for Beckham’s return to the roster the White Sox designated for assignment outfielder Dayan Viciedo, whom they signed to a one-year, $4.4 million deal to avoid arbitration just two weeks ago.

Presumably the White Sox are close to trading Viciedo, because it’s hard to imagine them eating money to cut him loose when they could have done so for free a couple months ago.

Beckham figures to compete with Emilio Bonifacio for playing time at second base (or maybe third base). He showed a lot of promise as a 22-year-old rookie in 2009, but since then Beckham has hit just .241 with a .660 OPS in 662 games.