Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are in full rebuild mode, and to an outside observer it looks like the blueprints are flawed. They say we all learn from failure and experience is the best teacher, so maybe this will turn out to be a good eduction for the South Siders, but for now this team doesn't seem to know what to do. It's unclear if shortstop Tim Anderson and second baseman Yoan Moncada will even remain in their positions going forward (they have combined for nearly 30 errors thus far), the young starting pitchers are developing slowly, and the prospects-in-waiting aren't exactly setting Triple-A on fire. Starting pitcher Michael Kopech is striking out plenty of International League batters, but his 4.48 ERA for the Sox' Charlotte affiliate isn't saying much to prove his readiness for The Show; outfielder Eloy Jiménez is perhaps closer to being ready for prime time, but is only 21 and was promoted to Charlotte just a month ago. They still have a couple of veterans to swap for more prospects in the next couple of weeks, so the outlook may change if James Shields, Joakim Soria, and/or José Abreu are exchanged for new hopes. But right now it doesn't look too promising for the near future if you're a Sox fan.
For the Mariners, the White Sox are a welcome opponent to start the unofficial second half against after they completed the first looking worn down and battered in a 1-5 road trip through Orange County and Denver. It's an opportunity to take the field rested and rejuvenated after the All-Star break and build some confidence while providing the young Sox with valuable life lessons.
Players to Watch
Yolmer Sánchez: Formerly known as Carlos, Yolmer is, according to manager Rick Renteria, the Sox's best defensive infielder. Now the regular third baseman, Sánchez has also played second and short and has even logged a few innings in the outfield. At the plate he's still something of an unknown; a career .244 hitter, he began 2018 well above that mark before slipping down into the .250s. One thing he will do is strike out—nearly a quarter of his career at-bats have ended with a K.
Tim Anderson: A promising rookie in 2016, Anderson has yet to live up to his hype. The one thing he does consistently well is run—the speedy shortstop hit six triples and stole 21 bases in the first half—but has thus far compiled a career batting line of just .262/.292/.414 and is second this year in errors by a shortstop with 13 after leading the league in that dubious category in 2017 with 28.
Lucas Giolito: Viewed as Chicago's "ace-in-waiting," Giolito had a fine Sox debut in a late-season callup last year, posting a 2.38 ERA in seven starts. This year, he's had a rougher go of it, pitching to a 6+ ERA, hitting 11 batters, and uncorking eight wild pitches before the All-Star break. In this developmental year for the Sox, Giolito will be called upon to hone his skills more than rack up wins, but the low-pressure campaign will, if nothing else, give him valuable big-league experience to draw on.
Rick Renteria: In his second year managing the White Sox, the former Mariner infielder isn't expected to win many games; instead, Renteria's charge is to mold his young team into a cohesive unit that can win in future years. It's a rebuilding scenario that worked well for the Astros, who were god-awful in their first season in the American League in 2013 and quickly gelled into a playoff team and then World Champs. South Siders hope the Sox's effort can follow that formula, but it may take longer than Houston's rise to power.
As a player, Renteria spent 43 games of his brief big-league career as a Mariner in 1987-'88. He performed as you might expect a reserve on the '80s M's to do, posting a .194/.218/.296 line.
Danny Farquhar: Farquhar suffered a terrifying injury on April 20th, collapsing in the dugout having had a brain aneurysm. He had just pitched to four Houston Astros, walked off the mound and into the dugout, then shortly thereafter collapsed. He was taken to Rush University Medical Center and treated with a pair of surgeries. Sox players have taken to wearing Farquhar's number 43 on their caps or elsewhere on their uniforms to show support for their teammate.
Farquhar acknowledges that he was fortunate that the hemorrhage happened during a game. "If this would have happened when I’m in a hotel room by myself,” he said, “I'd be part of the 40 percent" that don't survive such an aneurysm. He is recovering well and should be able to resume a normal lifestyle, but perhaps not normal for a professional athlete. Brain surgery is a big deal, and for the short and medium terms, Farquhar will have to be very careful with his blood pressure and stress levels. He continues to have memory issues as well, though this is thought to be temporary. Realistically, it's unlikely to think he will pitch again, but don't count him out. "I think I'll be back there one day," he said.
Farquhar pitched for Seattle from 2013-2015 before being traded to Tampa Bay as part of a six-player swap. He was 4-12 with a 3.85 ERA and 18 saves in 155 appearances for the Mariners.
|Chicago White Sox||(1901 - present)|
|World Champions:||1906, 1917, 2005|
|League Champions:||1919, 1959|
|Division Titles:||1983, 1993, 2000, 2008|
Lucas Giolito: Giolito's uncle is television writer Mark Frost, co-creator of the cult favorite Twin Peaks.
Welington Castillo: One of the weirdest player acquisitions of the Jack Zduriencik era was Castillo. The Mariners traded for him to shore up the catcher position in May of 2015, then two weeks later he was traded again to Arizona with Dominic Leone and a couple of minor leaguers. He went on to hit 17 homers for the Diamondbacks that year. Castillo is currently serving an 80-game suspension for PED use.