With Carlos Quentin to dangle, White Sox scout Braves pitching

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The White Sox sent assistant general manager Dave Yokum to watch Braves pitchers last week, leading to speculation that GM Ken Williams might be interested in dealing for some of Atlanta’s excess pitching.

According to CSNChicago.com, one of the pitchers the White Sox were eyeing was Brandon Beachy, though the 24-year-old looks far from expendable given his 3.23 ERA and 72/15 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings as a rookie this season.

The Braves, though, could certainly use a bat, and the White Sox might be willing to trade Carlos Quentin if they can get a long-term starting pitcher in return.  Quentin has bounced back to hit .253/.351/.512 with 17 homers and 49 RBI this season, and he was named to the All-Star team Sunday.  The White Sox would lose quite a bit by taking him out of the lineup, but they do have Dayan Viciedo ready for an opportunity in a corner-outfield slot.

It is hard to imagine the Braves signing off on a Beachy-for-Quentin swap, but Mike Minor for Quentin could work for both sides.  Minor, the seventh overall selection in the 2009 draft, wouldn’t crack the White Sox rotation right away, but he would be a fine choice to step in next year with both Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson potentially departing through free agency.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.