White Sox’ general manager Rick Hahn has made no secret of his desire to restructure the team’s roster this offseason, as Craig noted earlier this month. Per a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Hahn is open to trade offers for any rostered player with three or fewer years of control left on their contract.
A full-scale rebuild may or may not be in the cards for the club after their 78-84 finish in 2016, but it’s an idea that Hahn has been playing around with, at the very least. A report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe provided some insight into the general manager’s offseason strategy in early November, revealing that “more than one GM has said that White Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business on just about his entire roster.”
The list of players with less than four years of control on their contracts is a lengthy one that includes left-handers Chris Sale and Dan Jennings, right-handers James Shields, Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, David Robertson and Miguel Gonzalez, outfielders Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia, and infielders Todd Frazier, Jose Abreu and Brett Lawrie.
Chris Sale and fellow left-hander Jose Quintana have drawn the most interest from teams around the league, with talks reportedly initiated by the Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, and Braves. Last week, Williams declined to comment on any potential trade negotiations for Sale, though Cafardo noted that the ace’s name has still surfaced in conversations with other GMs.
Quintana’s name, on the other hand, has not. Whether the White Sox are waiting on the right trade offer for the lefty or whether they’re intending to retain some of their core players during the rebuild remains to be seen.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.