Here’s your Morning Mandatory Manny Machado Mupdate:
The #Orioles would love to trade Manny Machado within next 24 to 36 hours, team execs say, but could take longer process to assure there is no back channel to the Bronx. All teams making offers are under premise that it could be one-and-done deal. https://t.co/kflmcxn6YS— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 15, 2017
Michael Kopech isn’t involved, which was a relief to him:
We were with @MichaelKopech5 when trade rumors began swirling with his name included. Here's what the #WhiteSox top pitching prospect had to say. pic.twitter.com/LI60bVr4uL— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) December 15, 2017
If you’ve exhausted your capacity to care about a longshot rental, here are a few other items.
The Cardinals tried their damndest to land Giancarlo Stanton, and when Stanton instead made a Yankees trade happen, St. Louis put the outfielder market in motion by acquiring Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. Then, to alleviate their sudden glut, the Cardinals traded Stephen Piscotty to Oakland (for a very worthy reason).
St. Louis has been the epicenter of outfield activity, and the rest of the league has been slow to catch up. As the winter meetings came to a close, Avisail Garcia’s name finally made its way into the ring.
The #SFGiants and #Bluejays have talked to the #Whitesox about acquiring outfielder Avisail Garcia, but nothing close— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2017
The Giants have been fumbling for outfielders, and the Blue Jays are caught in between tearing it down and giving it one more shot with Josh Donaldson, so it’s hard to tell just how committed either would be to investing a whole lot in a guy with one good season to his name. From the Giants’ end, Grant Brisbee called the trade “probably a bad idea.”
Rule 5 draft
The White Sox made a selection with the fourth overall pick by selecting Philadelphia outfielder prospect Carlos Tocci, but they traded him to the Rangers for cash considerations. Apparently, Rick Hahn had two players in mind, but...
Hahn said Sox had two Rule 5 targets. One got taken before their slot, second one needed surgery— James Fegan (@JRFegan) December 14, 2017
I’m guessing the former was Nick Burdi, who was taken by the Phillies at No. 3 and traded to the Pirates for international pool money. We were so close to having dangerous levels of Downers Grove in the White Sox (or Charlotte) bullpen, even if both Burdi Bros are rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery.
The Sox did select Yermin Mercedes in the minor-league round. The 24-year-old catcher hit .276/.340/.455 over 110 games in 2017, the last 12 his first at Double-A. He’s also had a nice 24 games in the Dominican Winter League. The report from Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper:
White Sox take C Yermin Mercedes. Man can hit. Had a breakout year in 2016 but questions about his glove.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) December 14, 2017
The big news is that the White Sox didn’t lose anybody in the draft. Guys like Jordan Guerrero and Jake Peter looked like realistic poachees, and Hahn said he anticipated losing somebody, but he had reasons for leaving players unprotected. After considerable sturm and drang, all depth is still on hand.
While in Orlando for the winter meetings, Chuck Garfien made a trip to A.J. Pierzynski’s house, where he talked to the newest ambassador and one of the team’s oldest, Hawk Harrelson. The latter shared a story from 2006, saying he wanted to went down to the clubhouse in an attempt to confront Vicente Padilla after Pierzynski was drilled twice.
How close are Hawk Harrelson and A.J. Pierzynski? When Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla beaned Pierzynski twice in a game in 2006, Hawk almost left the booth to fight him. pic.twitter.com/1JGy4sehXH— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) December 15, 2017
This is a funny story on its surface, but it’s also kind of an unhealthy one, given how much Harrelson’s internalization of the game has been to the viewers’ detriment. And I still think the Sean Tracey Game had a chilling effect on Ozzie Guillen and his pitching staff over the next several years.
The White Sox seemed intent on waiting to announce the newest rank of team ambassadors until after the winter meetings, but Pierzynski broke his own news, and Hahn spoiled the addition of Jose Contreras.
The Sox did save one from themselves. Today, they’re hosting a conference call with Contreras and the other newest ambassador, Tim Raines.
Hey, it’s your last chance to get a “2005 Happened” t-shirt before the holidays. They’re 15 percent off at Breaking T with the code MLBPA15, there’s free shipping on all orders, and the company is guaranteeing all orders arriving by Dec. 23.