There are other hitters besides Yoan Moncada at the White Sox’ mini-camp in Glendale, Ariz., but you might not know it from the headlines.
Moncada’s arrival was the story of the first day. His batting practice session and discussions with the Chicago media took precedent on the second day.
It only wound up as a Tuesday batting practice session, but even this workout looked impressive for the 21-year-old switch-hitter from Cuba built like an NFL defensive back. Hitting left-handed, Moncada laced a couple of pitches into left field. He followed with a blast over the center-field fence on a back field at the team's complex, which will host Spring Training in a little over five weeks.
"I would describe myself as a power hitter because I have more power now," Moncada told MLB.com through translator Billy Russo after Tuesday's workout. "I really like to hit the ball to the whole field."
"I also have expectations about myself because of the trade," Moncada said through an interpreter. "This team gave up a lot to get me. I feel very humbled for this opportunity. I expect to be a big part of this team in the future and to help this team to win so many games and to win a World Series. That's my goal and that's the mindset that every one of us have to have."
Hayes’ story also paints a picture of a fit that will more easily enable him to meet said expectations. He’ll have a Spanish-speaking manager in Rick Renteria, which opens up a direct line of communication. He’ll also have his preferred position available to him for the long term, even if Brett Lawrie might have to be managed at some point during 2017.
"I prefer to play second base," Moncada said. "That's my favorite position, my natural position. Last year I played 10 games at third base because Boston asked me to do it and I said yes. But yes, my favorite position is second base. But I don't have any trouble if the team asks me to play any other position. I'm here to help the team win games and that's it. But I prefer to play second base."
That seems pretty clear. But if you’re interested in how other young Sox hitters are approaching the upcoming season, well, Zack Collins is doing Pilates.
The Jose Quintana rumor mill is still operating at a low roar, although you might have to change out one of the parts. YES reporter Jack Curry tweeted that Brian Cashman said he’s “99.9 percent sure the Yankees are set,” and that the Quintana price remains too rich for his blood:
On Yankees Hot Stove, Cashman said sticker price for Quintana is beyond what he'd pay. Hearing White Sox wanted at least 3 elite prospects— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) January 10, 2017
But if you’re looking for a new third team, MLB.com reporter Mark Bowman said the Atlanta Braves could still use that cost-controlled upper-echelon starter they entertained during the Chris Sale sweepstakes.
Braves general manager John Coppolella couldn't quite make his end-of-the-year wish come true -- to acquire Chris Archer as a Christmas present. But that doesn't mean he won't continue weighing the possibility of trading for either Archer or Jose Quintana before the upcoming season begins.
The Braves have already significantly altered their rotation, and they are not comfortable with the Rays' current asking price for Archer or what the White Sox are seeking for Quintana. So it might be easy to assume neither of these pitchers will be in Atlanta's rotation at the start of the season. But in order to do so, you must also ignore the reality that it has never been wise to make assumptions about what the always aggressive Coppolella might do.
But the Brian Dozier saga shows what it looks like when neither side blinks.
The Twins have a 40-homer second baseman and need young pitching. The Dodgers need a second baseman and have young pitching to trade. It seems like a deal should’ve been consummated a long time ago, but Ken Rosenthal says the discussions are at an “impasse,” since the Twins don’t care to keep Dozier twisting in the wind for much longer.
The Dodgers are circling back to other options at second, including Tampa Bay’s Logan Forsythe and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler, who would require a contract extension to keep him from exercising his no-trade clause. Both players are a clear cut above Lawrie, but if right-handedness is important, then Lawrie seems like he’d fit better than the second wave of options Rosenthal presented (Luis Valbuena, Steven Drew, Dustin Ackley).
Going back to the Twins, could this same situation could arise with Quintana? Maybe, although I suppose it depends on the kind of expectations the Sox have set with him. He’s pitching for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, so he’ll already have an irregular spring training regardless of a trade.