Jon Heyman’s Inside Baseball column is pretty impressive for its breadth, although you’ll notice that a lot of the facts/rumors are repackaged. For instance, his lengthy paragraph on the White Sox in his latest column contains plenty of corned beef rehash.
- The White Sox will resume exploring trades for Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
- Jerry Reinsdorf is four scores old and probably would rather keep trying to win now.
- Robin Ventura is likely gone.
Which is fine. You wouldn’t expect everybody to read every fact about every team every week, so each one of these is new to somebody. But it can obscure new items, like this one:
Todd Frazier was taken on waivers, and no deal was reached. And Melky Cabrera made it through waivers. That’s no surprise as Frazier is underpaid, and Cabrera, who was signed as a free agent, is overpaid.
I’d argue that Cabrera is paid appropriately, as he’s giving the White Sox the kind of year they paid for on the open market (.296/.348/.444 with not-liability defense in left), but since he made it through waivers unclaimed with just one year and $15 million remaining, it’s difficult to argue that he’s cost-effective. Frazier’s last arbitration year will probably check in about $5 million less or so (corrected), which is probably what teams have in mind for players with considerable gaps in their games.
At any rate, this reiterates the difficulty that lies ahead for the White Sox in reshaping their roster without trading Sale and/or Quintana. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but the White Sox front office lacks the benefit of the doubt. More than that, this season tells us that we’re going to have to wait at least 50 games to start getting excited, because 33 just wasn’t enough to understand whether this team was a real threat.
Tim Anderson still doesn’t walk much, but he started drawing them -- and seeing more two- and three-ball counts, which counts toward the same goal of hitting better pitches — once he spent a handful of weeks in the league and starting seeing opponents for a second time.
That kind of repetition is having the same effect on his defense, where he’s made faster strides toward converting every critic. Besides getting more reps, working with coaches and the confidence that comes from both, Robin Ventura and Anderson both cited improved positioning behind his increasing ability to make plays.
Anderson agrees that the familiarity with opposing hitters has helped. But he also freely admits that the drive to answer his critics has fueled him, too. As long as the questions exist, Anderson plans to answer them.
"I kind of know where to play them," Anderson said. "I kind of know their swings just like J.D. [Martinez], that ball yesterday, he kind of goes over the head of the third baseman a lot or in that hole.
"I’ve been very comfortable out there doing work and working hard at it. Once again, the word has been that I couldn’t play shortstop. So it’s still working and trying to prove them wrong."
Deep down in this article about Ventura's staff riding out the string, I saw this:
Hahn did offer a vote of confidence to the amateur scouting department, noting that while things "are dour," the club is happy with its most recent draft. But if there are changes, Hahn also suggested they might not just happen in Chicago.
"The most exposure is at the big league level, that's where you see the most critique, the most analysis," Hahn said. "Obviously, we're all structured in a way that the results in Chicago are the most important thing, so when things don't work out in Chicago you have to look at sort of behind the scenes or behind the curtain about what else may not be going well, whether it's from an advanced scouting standpoint or it's from a major league scouting standpoint. But it really does go all the way down to our operations on the amateur level and player development."
At one point, Danny Duffy tells David Laurila, "I know I probably sound extremely boring." That's not the case. He may not know pitches by percentage or other advanced numbers, but he's a guy who has grappled with immaturity and has lived to tell about it.
- The age of the Predator Royals has arrived - The Ringer
- Ned Yost’s reliance on Joakim Soria is hindering the Royals | The Kansas City Star
Speaking of the Royals, they could really use a series win against the White Sox, as they're four games behind the second wild card spot with three teams in between. With the screws tightening, Ned Yost is starting to get hammered for relying on Joakim Soria, whose diminishing success in high-leverage situations is starting to wear on everybody's nerves.
- Stephen Strasburg has strained flexor mass; UCL intact according to Nationals’ trainer - Federal Baseball
- Nationals are thrilled to hear those four magic words: The ligament is good - The Washington Post
Stephen Strasburg was supposed to be a free agent this offseason, but signed a seven-year, $175 million contract extension. When his second trip to the DL this year causes Second Tommy John Panic, you can see why he did it.
This video by Jon Bois isn't an episode of Pretty Good, but it's still pretty good.