Another One Bites The Dust

The White Sox outfield is now down two starters after Luis Robert suffered a complete tear of his right hip flexor during Sunday’s game, general manager Rick Hahn said yesterday.  He won’t resume baseball activities for 12 to 16 weeks, whether he and the team opt for surgery or rest.  Robert, in his second season with the White Sox, was hitting .316 this season, with a homer and 11 runs scored.

Robert joins Eloy Jimenez on the injured list, after Jimenez tore his pectoral muscle during the last week of spring training and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the season.  Hahn says the team will rely on internal options to take Robert’s place, but will also explore external options.  Either way, this is a big blow for a team expected to compete for the post-season.

By The Numbers – 62

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #62.  19 players have donned #62 while playing in Chicago, 12 for the White Sox and 7 for the Cubs.

Jose Quintana becomes the next player we’ve come across to wear the same number for both the White Sox and the Cubs.  He originally signed with the White Sox as a minor league free agent on after the 2011 season and made his major league debut on May 7, 2012.  He quickly moved in to the rotation and became a steady, if unlucky, presence on the mound.  As a member of the White Sox, he had a career mark of 50-54 with an unbelievable 65 no decisions.  In his last full season with the team, he made his first All Star team and finished 10th in Cy Young Award voting.

In July of 2017, with the Cubs looking to defend their World Series title and the White Sox looking to rebuild, the two teams pulled off a trade, sending Quintana to the Cubs and Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease amongst the haul for the White Sox.  In 3+ seasons with the Cubs, he improved his career winning percentage, but wasn’t the difference maker the team thought they were getting.  He became a free agent following the 2020 season.

Another #62 to appear for both teams was Bob Howry, who pitched for the White Sox from 1998 through 2002 and for the Cubs 2006 through 2008 and again in 2010.  Howry’s most infamous moment came wearing a different number, when, in 2000, he was in the middle of the brawl between the White Sox and the Tigers.

By The Numbers – 74

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #74.  Once again, a single player has donned #74 while playing in Chicago, debuting in 2019 for the White Sox.

Acquired from the Cubs, along with Dylan Cease, in the 2017 Jose Quintana trade, Eloy Jimenez made his major league debut for the White Sox on Opening Day 2019.  In just 2 short years, he has made a name for himself, finishing 4th in Rookie of the Year voting in 2019 and earning the Silver Slugger award for the corona virus shortened 2020 season.

By The Numbers – 84

In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees.  By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues.  Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.

Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #84.  Once again, a single player has donned #84 while playing in Chicago, for the debuting in 2019 for the White Sox.

Dylan Cease was acquired by the White Sox, along with Eloy Jimenez, in a 2017 trade that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs.  He made his major league debut on July 3, 2019, picking up the victory in the first game of a double header against the Tigers.  Cease claims to have selected #84 for its meaning in yoga.

Everything Old Is New Again

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, Rick Hahn described the ideal candidate to become the next manager of the White Sox: recent post-season experience with a championship organization.  Depending on your definition of recent, the White Sox found their man today, announcing that Tony LaRussa, who retired from the dugout after leading the Cardinals to a championship in 2011, would once again take the reins on the south side of Chicago.

LaRussa, who is third all-time with 2,728 wins, first became manager of the White Sox in 1979, under owner Bill Veeck.  After leading the team to the AL Western Division title in 1983, LaRussa was fired in June of 1986 by Ken Harrelson.  This has long been cited as the biggest sports-related regret for owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

 

LaRussa caught on with the A’s less than a month after leaving the White Sox, staying there for 10 years, winning 3 AL pennants and one World Series championship.  He then spent 16 years on the bench for the Cardinals, winning 3 NL pennants and 2 World Series championships, retiring after the final one in 2011.  Since then, he has spent time working for MLB and in the front office for the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Angels.

LaRussa, who will be 76 on opening day 2021, becomes the oldest manager in the major leagues and the oldest to take over a team since Jack McKeon in 2011.

The two biggest concerns, to my mind, are 1) has the move toward analytics changed the game enough in the last 9 years that he’s been left behind and 2) will the exuberant players on the White Sox roster, namely Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, and Eloy Jimenez, chafe under an older school manager who may not appreciate the bat flips and political outspokenness.  This will either end very well, with post-season success, or will bomb spectacularly.  There really will not be a middle ground.

Homer History

The White Sox have been on a historic home run streak over the past few days.  Sunday, versus the Cardinals, they notched the 10th occurrence in MLB history of 4 consecutive home runs when Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, Jose Abreu, and Eloy Jimenez went deep back to back to back to back in the 5th inning.  The first three home runs also became the first time a team had 3 Cuban-born players go back to back to back.

This was the second time the White Sox have accomplished this rare feat, joining the Nationals as the only franchise to do it more than once.  Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramírez, and Juan Uribe did the same on August 14, 2008 against the Royals.

The White Sox followed up on that with a little more history on Monday night.  Last week, in Detroit, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez led off the game against starter Matthew Boyd with back to back home runs.  Boyd was back on the bump against the White Sox Monday night in Chicago, and again served up two home run balls to start the game, to Anderson again and Yoan Moncada.  This made the White Sox the first team to ever lead off a game with back to back home runs against the same pitcher twice.  They also halved the previous record of time between games with back to back home runs to start a game, down to 5.  The Dodgers held the previous record, at 10 games.

Keeping The Core Together

The White Sox announced today that they had signed Yoan Moncada to a 5 year, $70 million extension, with a team option that could keep him on the south side through 2025.  “I wanted to be with this team,” Moncada said through an interpreter.  “With all this happening, I can say I’m going to play alongside (left fielder) Eloy (Jimenez) and (center fielder) Luis Robert for a very long time, and that’s going to be a key for the success of this team.”

Moncada will receive a $4 million signing bonus, $1 million in 2020, $6 million in 2021, $13 million in 2022, $17 million in 2023 and $24 million in 2024. The Sox hold an option for $25 million in 2025, with a $5 million buyout.  If the option gets executed, it will make this the largest contract in White Sox history.

With Moncada locked up, the White Sox have most of the core of their rebuild under team control through the early part of this decade.  Newly acquired right fielder Nomar Mazara and oft-injured pitcher Carlos Rodon are under control through the 2021 season.  First baseman Jose Abreu is signed through 2022.  Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez should be here through 2023.  Tim Anderson and Michael Kopech are locked up through 2024.  Moncada and Dylan Cease are under team control through 2025.  Eloy Jimenez and Aaron Bummer are signed through 2026, and Luis Robert is on board through 2027.  This doesn’t even include Nick Madrigal and Andrew Vaughn, the team’s last two top draft picks, who have yet to make their debut and start their clocks.

After quite a few years of bad baseball, the future looks very bright on the south side of Chicago.  Rick Hahn has put the pieces in place to turn the team into contenders.  It’s time to see if the plan comes together and winning baseball can return to Guaranteed Rate Field.

Ballpark Tour: Indians

As we prepare to close out 2019, we continue our tour of all of the different baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. This week, we head east to the so-called Mistake By The Lake for a look at the Cleveland Indians. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Progressive Field.

 

Stadium Name: Progressive Field

Years in Service: 1994 – Present

Visits: 2

The Indians moved into Jacobs Field for the 1994 season after calling Cleveland Stadium home since 1932.  In 1997, the park became one of the few in MLB history to host both the All Star Game and the World Series in the same season.  2008 saw the naming rights sold to a local insurance company and the stadium was renamed Progressive Field.  Since opening, the park has seen 10 Central Division titles, 5 ALCS appearances, and 3 trips to the World Series.  It hosted its second All Star Game this past summer.

I almost took my first trip to the park in 2016, for Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, but I just couldn’t quite pull the trigger.  A Southwest credit this summer led to me booking a 2-day September trip to Cleveland for $3, so there was no second guessing this time.  I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, in plenty of time for that evening’s tilt between the White Sox and the Indians.  A tremendous catch on a smash by Eloy Jimenez saved the game for the Tribe.  The matinee performance on Thursday afternoon entailed a nice one-hitter by Reynaldo Lopez, giving the White Sox a quick victory before I had to head back to the airport.

2019 Final Batting Leaders

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles DodgersAnother baseball season has come to an end, with the Cubs shocking late season collapse leaving them out of the post-season and without a manager and year three of the rebuild for the White Sox finally showing some signs of life.  Let’s take a look back at the offensive leaders for the 37 games that I attended this season:

Home Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 7
Eloy Jimenez 5
Welington Castillo 4
Kyle Schwarber 4
Tim Anderson 4

Hits

Name Total
Jose Abreu 33
Tim Anderson 33
Yoan Moncada 31
Leury Garcia 26
Eloy Jimenez 23

Runs

Name Total
Tim Anderson 17
Yoan Moncada 14
Continue reading →

2019 All Star Break Batting Leaders

The All Star Game is on tap tonight in Cleveland, with six total representatives from the Cubs and White Sox, let’s take a look at the first half offensive leaders for the 23 games I attended:

Home Runs

Name Total
Jose Abreu 4
Tim Anderson 3
Willson Contreras 3
Leury Garcia 3
Eloy Jimenez 3

Hits

Name Total
Tim Anderson 23
Jose Abreu 21
Leury Garcia 19
Yoan Moncada 16
Eloy Jimenez 13
Kris Bryant 13

Runs

Name Total
Tim Anderson 11
Leury Garcia 11
Continue reading →