White Sox rumors: Be skeptical of more DHsEdwin Encarnacion, like this rumor, shown failing to connect. (Erik Drost / Flickr)

White Sox rumors: Be skeptical of more DHs

Jon Morosi, whose work appears on Fox Sports and MLB’s digital properties, is a credible reporter, and one who has been the most active one when it comes to tying the White Sox to players nobody else has yet connected.

As a White Sox blog proprietor slingin’ offseason ‘tent, I’m all for it. Several posts this winter have featured a hot Morosi rumor outside of the Manny Machado/Bryce Harper circles:

But so far, none of these has connected. Ottavino, whom Morosi has thrice tied to the Sox, hasn’t yet signed, but Familia (Mets), Cruz (Twins), Corbin (Nationals) and Happ (Yankees) have all found different homes. Back at the start of the winter, I guessed that the White Sox would be a popular team to float due to their combination of needs and available funds, and this low conversion rate is what I was getting at.

This is good to keep in mind when watching Morosi’s appearance on Hot Stove on Friday:

… because he has the White Sox on two more first base/DH types — Edwin Encaricion and Jose Martinez. The direct quote pertained primarily for Encarnacion …

“The teams that were involved in the Cruz pursuit are now shifting their focus to Encarnacion, specifically, the Rays, the White Sox and the Astros.”

… and Martinez, who was effectively replaced by Paul Goldschmidt, was stapled on as a like player on the market, potentially of interest to those same shoppers.

Morosi’s reputable enough to warrant a post on MLB Trade Rumors about this appearance, but neither Morosi nor MLBTR mention the Yonder Alonso trade. That deal and Jose Abreu’s presence seem to wall off most of the plate appearances at first base and DH. Maybe the White Sox intend to move Abreu, but until that becomes its own story, I’m guessing this is old information incorrectly extrapolated due to an oversight.

* * *   * * *   * * *

Regarding Cruz, Encarnacion and other power hitters of their ilk, Jonah Keri wrote a post that tries to get to the bottom of their limited appeal. It’s a tough market for the archetypal slugger, even accomplished ones, as teams turn their attention and dollars toward players who can contribute in more ways than one.

Perusing the 2018 leaderboards, we find 27 players who hit 30 or more home runs last season, and also 27 batting title-qualified hitters who fared 30 percent better than league average (or more) by the park-adjusted stat wRC+. Comparing the top 27 of each list, exactly one-third of the players on the wRC+ leaderboard did not appear on the home run leaderboard, meaning they didn’t need massive homer totals to be top-shelf hitters.

That said, the Twins are taking the other road with the start to their offseason, which includes Cruz and C.J. Cron. They have their reasons — they were 23rd in homers last season, and seem to have addressed that issue with reasonable one-year contracts. Homers still have importance, even if teams are afraid to commit to that tool:

In the copycat world that is Major League Baseball, keep an eye on the Twins. If they storm back to the playoffs on a raft of Cruz and Cron walkoffs, maybe all those miserly contracts for sluggers can finally rebound. Maybe power hitters can rise up, and return from the dead.

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ChunkySlugger72
Member

I’m torn on acquiring Jose Martinez, The last thing we need is another 1B/DH type player, But the entire time I have been a White Sox fan I have been waiting forever for a player to join our team with my last name so I can get his jersey cheaper (More so if the player gets traded or becomes a free agent) without having to pony up the extra cash to get one custom made, You would think it would have happen by now seeing how Martinez is a common hispanic last name, But I’m still waiting for that day.

Eagle Bones
Member

Yeah I didnt really understand the logic behind these. I saw some peddling the Abreu trade idea, but given his currently limited value and the fact that moving him probably hurts their chances of enticing Machado and harper, I dont see the logic there. Only plausible scenario would seem to be pivoting back to these DHs after those guys have signed elsewhere and moving Alonso to make a spot (which I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to for martinez).

roke1960
Member

As much as I like Abreu, I think the Sox would be better served by trading him and getting Jose Martinez. They save $15 million in the process and retain similar production. Then Alonso can play first and Martinez can DH, and that $15 million can be used on a good free agent out there. I know two that come to mind…

Trooper Galactus
Member

I don’t think it would be worth losing Abreu to make maybe a one or two win improvement in 2019. If the team were on the cusp maybe, but as-is Abreu is the respected veteran with south side tenure, and he’s worth more than the likes of this sort of sidelong maneuver.

asinwreck
Member

Familia returned to the Mets on a three-year contract. Speaking of relievers, having 7-8 of them at a time limits space for one-dimensional sluggers on rosters. Maybe this time next year, the Angels will overcome that by bringing Matt Davidson, Daniel Descalso, & Chris Gimenez in to supplement Ohtani. Or they could convert Pujols to long relief for the remainder of his contract.

As Cirensica
Member

I believe Abreu has no trade value or it is very small. Abreu’s salary and production may augur an under water contract. Of course, Abreu can rebound, but he is 32 and those 4-5 WAR seasons are probably not coming back.

Jose Martinez is the son of Carlos “Cafe” Martinez who played for the White Sox in the late 80s. Martinez finished his brief MLB career with the Indians and Angels. he, unfortunately passed away in 2006 (cancer) at the age of 40.

Carlos “Cafe” Martinez is famously remembered by this Canseco head-aided homer:

https://youtu.be/QixQMUu4CKI

knoxfire30
Member

Sox seem to be throwing a lot of poop on the wall but nothing is really sticking. Could they just be “in” on all these trade talks to get back some free external info on how other teams feel about their prospects?

Trooper Galactus
Member

More like throwing everything at the wall and all that’s sticking is the poop.

HallofFrank
Member

The idea of trading Abreu now is perplexing to me. They didn’t trade him last offseason fresh off of a 4.7 WAR season and when he had 2 years of affordable control left. This prior to a season when the White Sox had zero expectations for on-field production. 

This offseason, he’s coming off his worst season, a year older with only 1 year of control, and in a season when there are expectations that the Sox will take a step forward on the field.

It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the return for him includes a legit prospect, especially given the saturated 1B/DH market. And the Sox seem to have no interest in a salary dump, or they would have done it last year when it would have returned prospects of note and dumped 2 years of salary.

Hit4cycle
Member

Abreu’s value as a positive influence on the youngsters extends well beyond that of his formidable lumber capabilities. That influence is worth more to CWS at this point in the rebuild than almost any package of prospects we would get in return.

Greg Nix
Editor

Martinez can theoretically play outfield and doesn’t strike out a ton. I’d say he’s a moderate upgrade on Palka/Delmonico. 

Smclean09
Member

Very theoretically

dongutteridge
Member

It really appears as though the Sox have decided to punt 2019 as their window for the start of contention is now 2021. 

With the setbacks by Kopech, Dunning, Burger and Hansen etc. and the disappointing development of Collins, Fulmer, Giolito and Moncada etc they need another year in the rebuild. 

They still can’t develop position players and hopefully they won’t screw up Jimenez. The pitchers are not ready. 

It looks like they just threw some shit against the wall when it comes to Machado and Harper. 

Based on what they’ve actually done I would only expect any more additions to be as pedestrian as McCann, Nova and Alonso. 

roke1960
Member

Wow. You have now proclaimed the opening of the window of contention is 2021. The last I checked, they were still right in the running for Machado and Harper, unless you believe some yo-yo who says one of Machado’s friends told him he was signing with The Yankees. No other baseball insider has backed up this story. And most writers don’t think the Dodgers are necessarily all in on Harper. Now, I would still not give the Sox great odds of signing either, but they are still right in the mix for both. And how have they now also given up on 2020? That’s just ludicrous.

dongutteridge
Member

Okay. I don’t want to spoil your fantasy. Enjoy this bountiful feast of talent that’s no better than last year’s 100 loss team. What are you gonna say a month from now when no substantial additions have been made? 

HallofFrank
Member

Probably that rebuilds take longer than 2 years to complete, and that 90% of the prospects the Sox acquired during the rebuild are still matriculating through the minor leagues. 

Trooper Galactus
Member

It would be perfectly reasonable to sign Harper and/or Machado knowing it’s still year 3 of the rebuild. They’re past the point where they should be throwing in the towel on purpose.

roke1960
Member

If they make no other additions, then this year will be a long season. But a healthy season from Rodon, an almost full season from Eloy, improvement from Moncada will make this team better than last year. If they don’t add anyone else, I would not want to be Rick Hahn at Soxfest. There WILL be some significant additions over the rest of the winter.

yolmers gatorade
Member

I figured they’d trade Alonso to Seattle for Encarnacion.

ParisSox
Member

Pending Machado decision of course 

karkovice squad
Member

That’d be an impressive string of trades for Seattle. Like flipping a house for a paperclip.

yolmers gatorade
Member

The Sox could throw in a lottery ticket prospect. They might not even have to though as it would save Seattle about $16 million.

karkovice squad
Member

That was kind of my point. Trading a paperclip for a house obviously get you a house. It also gets you insurance premiums, maintenance, and property taxes. Doing the reverse sheds a bunch of liabilities along with the value.

Trooper Galactus
Member

“Yeah, we’re homeless honey, but check out this AWESOME paperclip!”

asinwreck
Member

The spending spree that began with James McCann continues. The Sox have re-signed old friend Donn Roach, who had good results with Charlotte for the first half last year before going to Japan (where his ERA was over 5).

Trooper Galactus
Member

Our depth of talent is astonishing.

yinkadoubledare
Member

Do we call brief highlights from him “Roach clips”?

ericnewb
Member

I do not want to hear D.J. pronounce Encarnacion’s name like “En-car-nay-shee-own” all year so I really hope they pass….

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