Tag: Zach Duke

Robin Ventura

Robin Ventura gets a vote of confidence


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.


Jose Abreu sticks up for manager Robin Ventura

Robin Ventura

The White Sox lost their fifth game in a row on Sunday, falling 13-3 to the Twins. They’re now 8-14 in last place in the AL Central, a far cry from where prognosticators thought they’d be after an offseason in which they added Jeff Samardzija, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, David Robertson, and Zach Duke.

As a result of the failures of the White Sox, manager Robin Ventura has started to take some heat. First baseman Jose Abreu stuck up for his manager, though, urging people to blame the players, not the manager. Via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune:

“We cannot blame Robin for the situation of the team,” Abreu said through a team interpreter Sunday morning. “It’s our fault because we are the ones who are playing. We are the people who are in the field.

“If the people want someone to blame, it’s the players, not Robin. He’s doing what he can do, but the results aren’t there.”

Among lineup regulars, Abreu and Avisail Garcia are the only ones with an above-average adjusted OPS (a.k.a. OPS+) at 139 and 119, respectively. The starting rotation has been a disaster as the 5.40 collective ERA is third-worst in the American League. It’s tough to see a way in which Ventura could have managed his team, with those results, to a better record than 8-14.

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, Jeff Samardzija agree on $9.8 million salary, avoiding arbitration

Jeff Samardzija
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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the White Sox and starter Jeff Samardzija have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $9.8 million salary for the 2015 season. Samardzija was entering his final year of arbitration eligibility.

The White Sox acquired Samardzija along with minor leaguer Michael Ynoa in a trade with the Athletics in December. They sent Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley, Chris Bassitt, and Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in return.

Samardzija, 30 on January 29, finished the 2014 season with a combined 2.99 ERA between the Cubs and Athletics along with a 202/43 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings. The right-hander is one of several big off-season additions by the White Sox, joining outfielder Melky Cabrera, closer David Robertson and reliever Zach Duke, and DH Adam LaRoche.

2015 Free Agent Tracker

Hanley Ramirez

Here’s our annual free agent tracker, which will be updated regularly throughout the offseason. The rankings are based on the Top 150 Free Agents column. Players who didn’t make it into the top 150 are included at the end.

Re-signings are in red. Players signing with new clubs are in blue. The 12 players to turn down qualifying offers (and thus require draft pick compensation) are listed with asterisks.

All ages are as of April 1, 2015.

1. Max Scherzer (RHP Tigers, 30)*: Nationals – seven years, $210 million
2. Jon Lester (LHP Athletics, 31): Cubs – six years, $155 million + vesting option
3. Yasmany Tomas (OF Cuba, 24): Diamondbacks – six years, $68.5 million
4. Hanley Ramirez (SS Dodgers, 31)*: Red Sox – four years, $88 million + $22 million vesting option
5. James Shields (RHP Royals, 33)*: Padres – four years, $75 million + $16 million option
6. Pablo Sandoval (3B Giants, 28)*: Red Sox – five years, $95 million + option
7. Russell Martin (C Pirates, 32)*: Blue Jays – five years, $82 million
8. Victor Martinez (1B-DH Tigers, 36)*: Tigers – four years, $68 million
9. Nelson Cruz (OF-DH Orioles, 34)*: Mariners – four years, $58 million
10. Chase Headley (3B Yankees, 30): Yankees – four years, $52 million
11. Ervin Santana (RHP Braves, 32)*: Twins – four years, $55 million + option
12. Francisco Liriano (LHP Pirates, 32)*: Pirates – three years, $39 million
13. Melky Cabrera (OF Blue Jays, 30)*: White Sox – three years, $42 million
14. Adam LaRoche (1B Nationals, 35): White Sox – two years, $25 million
15. David Robertson (RHP Yankees, 29)*: White Sox – four years, $46 million
16. Brandon McCarthy (RHP Yankees, 31): Dodgers – four years, $48 million
17. Jake Peavy (RHP Giants, 33): Giants – two years, $24 million
18. Andrew Miller (LHP Orioles, 29): Yankees – four years, $36 million
19. Jose Fernandez (2B Cuba, 26): Still in Cuba / unlikely to sign
20. Aramis Ramirez (3B Brewers, 36): Brewers – $14 million mutual option exercised
21. Alex Rios (OF Rangers, 34): Royals – one year, $11 million
22. Jung-Ho Kang (SS Korea, 27): Pirates – four years, $11 million ($5 million posting fee)
23. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP Yankees, 40): Japan
24. Colby Rasmus (OF Blue Jays, 28): Astros – one year, $8 million
25. Jason Hammel (RHP Athletics, 32): Cubs – two years, $20 million + option
26. Nick Markakis (OF Orioles, 31): Braves – four years, $44 million
27. Michael Cuddyer (OF-1B Rockies, 36)*: Mets – two years, $21 million
28. Jed Lowrie (SS Athletics, 30): Astros – three years, $23 million
29. Edinson Volquez (RHP Pirates, 31): Royals – two years, $20 million
30. Torii Hunter (OF Tigers, 39): Twins – one year, $10.5 million
31. Asdrubal Cabrera (2B-SS Nationals, 29): Rays – one year, $7.5 million
32. Kwang-Hyun Kim (RHP Korea, 26): Remaining in Korea
33. Norichika Aoki (OF Royals, 33): Giants – one year, $4.7 million + option
34. Mike Morse (OF Giants, 33): Marlins – two years, $16 million
35. Luke Gregerson (RHP Athletics, 30): Astros – three years, $18.5 million
36. Francisco Rodriguez (RHP Brewers, 33):
37. Sergio Romo (RHP Giants, 32): Giants – two years, $15 million
38. Hector Olivera (2B Cuba, 29):
39. Adam Lind (1B-DH Blue Jays, 31): Blue Jays – $7.5 million option exercised (traded to Brewers)
40. Joakim Soria (RHP Tigers, 30): Tigers – $7 million option exercised
41. Justin Masterson (RHP Cardinals, 30): Red Sox – one year, $9.5 million
42. A.J. Burnett (RHP Phillies, 38): Pirates – one year, $8.5 million
43. Rafael Soriano (RHP Nationals, 35):
44. Zach Duke (LHP Brewers, 31): White Sox – three years, $15 million
45. Jason Grilli (RHP Angels, 38): Braves – two years, $8 million
46. Casey Janssen (RHP Blue Jays, 33): Nationals – one year, $5 million + option
47. J.A. Happ (LHP Blue Jays, 32): Blue Jays – $6.7 million option exercised (traded to Mariners)
48. Aaron Harang (RHP Braves, 36): Phillies – one year, $5 million
49. Billy Butler (DH-1B Royals, 28): Athletics – three years, $30 million
50. Stephen Drew (SS Yankees, 32): Yankees – one year, $5 million
51. Kendrys Morales (1B-DH Mariners, 31): Royals – two years, $17 million
52. Carlos Villanueva (RHP Cubs, 31): Cardinals – minor league deal ($2 million)
53. Pat Neshek (RHP Cardinals, 34): Astros – two years, $12.5 million + option
54. Rickie Weeks (2B Brewers, 32): Mariners – one year, $2 million
55. Ryan Vogelsong (RHP Giants, 37): Giants – one year, $4 million
56. Brett Anderson (LHP Rockies, 27): Dodgers – one year, $10 million ($4 million in incentives)
57. Burke Badenhop (RHP Red Sox, 32): Reds – one year, $2.5 million + mutual option
58. Chris Young (RHP Mariners, 35):
59. Kyle Kendrick (RHP Phillies, 30): Rockies – one year, $5.5 million
60. Joba Chamberlain (RHP Tigers, 29):
61. Chris Denorfia (OF Mariners, 34): Cubs – one year, $2.6 million
NT. Everth Cabrera (SS Padres, 28):
62. Nick Hundley (C Orioles, 31): Rockies – two years, $6.25 million
63. Brandon Morrow (RHP Blue Jays, 30): Padres – one year, $2.5 million ($5 million in incentives)
64. Gavin Floyd (RHP Braves, 32): Indians – one year, $4 million ($6 million in incentives)
65. Geovany Soto (C Athletics, 32): White Sox – minor league contract
66. Luke Hochevar (RHP Royals, 31): Royals – two years, $10 million
NT. Kris Medlen (RHP Braves, 29): Royals – two years, $8.5 million ($10 million in incentives)
67. Chris Young (OF Yankees, 31): Yankees – one year, $2.5 million ($3.825 million in incentives)
68. Tim Stauffer (RHP Padres, 32): Twins – one year, $2.2 million
69. Misael Siverio (LHP Cuba, 25): Mariners – minor league contract
70. Ichiro Suzuki (OF Yankees, 41): Marlins – one year, $2 million
71. Jonny Gomes (OF Athletics, 34): Braves – one year, $4 million
72. Josh Johnson (RHP Padres, 31): Padres – one year, $1 million ($6.25 million in incentives)
73. Mike Aviles (INF Indians, 33): Indians – $3.5 million option exercised
74. Tsuyoshi Wada (LHP Cubs, 34): Cubs – one year, $4 million ($2 million in incentives)
75. Chad Billingsley (RHP Dodgers, 30): Phillies – one year, $1.5 million ($6.5 million in incentives)
76. Neal Cotts (LHP Rangers, 35): Brewers – one year, $3 million
77. Jason Motte (RHP Cardinals, 32): Cubs – one year, $4.5 million
78. Emilio Bonifacio (2B-OF Braves, 29): White Sox – one year, $4 million
79. Tom Gorzelanny (LHP Brewers, 32): Tigers – one year, $1 million
80. Josh Willingham (OF-DH Royals, 36): Retired
81. Joe Beimel (LHP Mariners, 37):
NT. Gordon Beckham (2B-3B Angels, 28): White Sox – one year, $2 million
82. A.J. Pierzynski (C Cardinals, 38): Braves – one year, $2 million
83. Joel Peralta (RHP Rays, 39): Rays – $2.5 million option exercised (traded to Dodgers)
84. Kelly Johnson (2B-3B Orioles, 33): Braves – minor league contract
85. Alberto Callaspo (2B-3B Athletics, 31): Braves – one year, $3 million ($1 million in incentives)
86. Joel Hanrahan (RHP Tigers, 33): Tigers – one year, $1 million ($2.5 million in incentives)
**. Roberto Hernandez (RHP Dodgers, 34):
87. Clint Barmes (INF Pirates, 36): Padres – one year, $1.5 million + option
88. Mark Reynolds (1B-3B Brewers, 31): Cardinals – one year, $2 million ($800,000 in incentives)
89. Colby Lewis (RHP Rangers, 35): Rangers – one year, $4 million
90. David Ross (C Red Sox, 38): Cubs – two years, $5 million
91. Jared Burton (RHP Twins, 33):
92. Delmon Young (OF-DH Orioles, 29): Orioles – one year, $2.25 million
93. LaTroy Hawkins (RHP Rockies, 42): Rockies – $2.25 million option exercised
94. Alfonso Soriano (OF FA, 39): Retired
95. Jose Veras (RHP Astros, 34): Braves – minor league contract
NT. Justin Smoak (1B Blue Jays, 28): Blue Jays – one year, $1 million
96. Corey Hart (1B-DH Mariners, 33): Pirates – one year, $2.5 million ($2.5 million in incentives)
97. John Axford (RHP Pirates, 32): Rockies – minor league contract ($2.6 million)
98. Chris Capuano (LHP Yankees, 36): Yankees – one year, $5 million
NT. Andy Dirks (OF Blue Jays, 29): Blue Jays – minor league contract
99. Jim Johnson (RHP Tigers, 31): Braves – one year, $1.6 million ($900,000 in incentives)
NT. Daniel Descalso (INF Cardinals, 28): Rockies – two years, $3.6 million
NT. Alexi Ogando (RHP Rangers, 31): Red Sox – one year, $1.5 million ($1.5 million in incentives)
100. Jason Frasor (RHP Royals, 37): Royals – one year, $1.8 million + option
101. Matt Belisle (RHP Rockies, 34): Cardinals – one year, $3.5 million
102. Andrew Bailey (RHP Yankees, 30): Yankees – minor league contract
103. Jeanmar Gomez (RHP Pirates, 27): Phillies – minor league contract
NT: Wesley Wright (LHP Cubs, 30): Orioles – one year, $1.7 million
104. Kevin Correia (RHP Dodgers, 34):
105. Mike Adams (RHP Phillies, 36):
NT. Gaby Sanchez (1B Pirates, 31): Japan
NT. Juan Francisco (1B-3B Red Sox, 27): Rays – minor league contract
106. Phil Coke (LHP Tigers, 32):
107. Dustin McGowan (RHP Blue Jays, 33):
108. Ernesto Frieri (RHP FA, 29): Rays – one year, $800,000 ($2.35 million in incentives)
109. Nate Schierholtz (OF Nationals, 31): Rangers – minor league contract ($1.75 million)
NT. Brandon Beachy (RHP Braves, 28):
110. Ramon Santiago (INF Reds, 35): Blue Jays – minor league contract ($1.1 million)
111. Craig Breslow (LHP Red Sox, 34): Red Sox – one year, $2 million
NT. Kyle Blanks (1B-OF Athletics, 28): Rangers – minor league contract ($1 million)
112. Matt Lindstrom (RHP White Sox, 35):
113. Kyuji Fujikawa (RHP Cubs, 34): Rangers – one year, $1 million plus incentives
114. Wily Mo Pena (OF Japan, 33):
115. Mark Ellis (2B Cardinals, 37):
116. Bruce Chen (LHP FA, 37):
117. Jesse Crain (RHP Astros, 33): White Sox – minor league contract
118. Daisuke Matsuzaka (RHP Mets, 34): Japan
119. Endy Chavez (OF Mariners, 37): Mariners – minor league contract
120. Rafael Betancourt (RHP Rockies, 39): Rockies – minor league contract
NT. John Mayberry Jr. (OF Blue Jays, 31): Mets – one year, $1.45 million
121. Ryan Ludwick (OF Reds, 36): Rangers – minor league contract ($1.75 million)
122. Paul Maholm (LHP Dodgers, 32): Reds – minor league contract
123. Scott Hairston (OF Nationals, 34):
124. Chris Perez (RHP Dodgers, 29): Brewers – minor league contract ($1.5 million)
NT. Eric Young Jr. (OF Mets, 29):
125. Matt Albers (RHP Astros, 32):
126. Munenori Kawasaki (INF Blue Jays, 33): Blue Jays – minor league contract
127. Yozzen Cuesta (1B Cuba, 26?):
128. Sergio Santos (RHP Blue Jays, 31): Dodgers – minor league contract
129. Franklin Morales (LHP Rockies, 29):
130. Mike Carp (1B FA, 28): Nationals – minor league contract
131. Juan Carlos Oviedo (RHP FA, 33): Rangers – minor league contract
132. Ryan Doumit (C-DH Braves, 33):
133. J.J. Putz (RHP FA, 38): Retired
134. Joe Thatcher (LHP Angels, 33):
135. Gerald Laird (C Braves, 35): Diamondbacks – minor league contract
NT. Logan Ondrusek (RHP Reds, 30): Japan
136. Felipe Paulino (RHP White Sox, 31): Red Sox – minor league contract
137. Jamey Wright (RHP Dodgers, 40):
138. Reed Johnson (OF Marlins, 38):
139. Wandy Rodriguez (LHP FA, 36): Braves – minor league contract
140. Franklin Gutierrez (OF FA, 32): Mariners – minor league contract
NT. David Huff (LHP Yankees, 30): Dodgers – minor league contract
141. Jason Marquis (RHP FA, 36): Reds – minor league contract
142. Dan Uggla (2B FA, 35): Nationals – minor league contract
143. Kevin Kouzmanoff (1B-3B Rangers, 33):
144. Nolan Reimold (OF Diamondbacks, 31): Orioles – minor league contract
145. Sean Burnett (LHP Angels, 32):
146. Rafael Furcal (2B-SS Marlins, 37):
147. Josh Outman (LHP FA, 30): Braves – one year, $925,000
148. Scott Baker (RHP Rangers, 33): Yankees – minor league contract
149. Scott Downs (LHP Royals, 39): Indians – minor league contract
150. J.P. Arencibia (C Rangers, 29): Orioles – minor league contract

Signed pre-rankings:
Orioles re-signed SS J.J. Hardy to a three-year, $40 million contract ($14 million option for 2018)
Red Sox re-signed RHP Koji Uehara to a two-year, $18 million contract
Phillies re-signed RHP Jerome Williams to a one-year, $2.5 million contract
Phillies re-signed OF Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $2.5 million contract

Other signings:
Diamondbacks signed RHP Yoan Lopez for an $8.27 million bonus (minor league deal)
Braves signed OF Dian Toscano to a four-year, $6 million contract.
Cardinals signed INF Dean Anna to a one-year contract
Braves signed OF Zoilo Almonte to a one-year contract
Braves signed RHP Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract
Blue Jays signed LHP Jeff Francis to a minor league contract
Phillies signed OF Jeff Francoeur to a minor league contract
Royals signed INF Ryan Roberts to a minor league contract
Reds signed OF Brennan Boesch to a minor league contract
Indians re-signed RHP Shaun Marcum to a minor league contract
Pirates signed RHP Brad Lincoln to a minor league contract
Rockies signed LHP John Lannan to a minor league contract
Mariners signed RHP Mark Lowe to a minor league contract.
White Sox signed C George Kottaras to a minor league contract.
White Sox signed RHP Brad Penny to a minor league contract.
Blue Jays signed 1B Daric Barton to a minor league contract.
Rockies signed OF Roger Bernadina to a minor league contract.
Reds signed LHP Jose Mijares to a minor league contract.
Reds signed RHP Michael Bowden to a minor league contract.
Blue Jays signed LHP Andrew Albers to a minor league contract.
Diamondbacks re-signed INF Jordan Pacheco to a minor league contract.
Giants re-signed RHP J.C. Gutierrez to a minor league contract.
Nationals signed RHP Heath Bell to a minor league contract.