Tag: Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu, White Sox Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Chicago White Sox and first baseman Jose Abreu reached an agreement Saturday on a one-year contract extension to avoid arbitration.

Chicago announced the new deal on its official Twitter account. Scott Merkin of MLB.com reported the power-hitting infielder will earn $10.825 million in 2017.

Abreu has made a massive impact across his first three years in the majors. He’s cranked 91 home runs to go along with a .299 batting average and a .360 on-base percentage. In addition, he’s also tallied at least 100 runs batted in every year.

The Cuba native’s success quickly eliminated any concerns about his transition as a 27-year-old rookie after a successful career in the Cuban National Series. He’s proved himself as one of the most impactful offensive contributors in the American League.

In September, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times noted the first baseman lamented the fact that his individual numbers haven’t translated into team success, stating, “In this sport nobody likes to lose.”

He expressed an interest in sticking with the organization for the long haul, though:

I’m going to forever be grateful to this organization because of everything they’ve done for me. I would like to play my whole career in the U.S., with this team, because it’s like my family. They were the ones who gave me the opportunity, they were the ones who helped me through the whole process to come here and to become a U.S. resident. They have been very supportive of me, and my family, too. I want to be with this team, to be an important part of this team and to win a championship with this team.

The latest contract is a small step toward that goal. It also represents a minor pay raise after he made $10 million in 2016 before exercising an opt-out clause in his prior deal, per Spotrac.

He’s been the subject of some trade rumors this offseason as well. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported in early December the White Sox and Colorado Rockies engaged in “preliminary talks” about a potential deal. It’s unclear whether those discussions ever advanced beyond the exploratory stage.

For now, he’s slated to hit in the middle of the Chicago order. It’s a lineup featuring some strength from the No. 2 through No. 5 spots with Abreu, Tim Anderson, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera. But the rest is patchwork as the club enters a rebuilding phase.

Ultimately, the White Sox’s decision to revamp the system could lead to an Abreu trade. It will be difficult to find another player or prospect capable of replacing his pop, though.


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Derek Holland to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Derek Holland will get a much-needed fresh start in 2017, as he signed a one-year deal with the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

The White Sox announced the signing after MLB.com’s TR Sullivan was the first to report Holland’s decision, and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News shared the length of the contract. 

Grant also reported the deal could be worth up to $8 million and provided some further context to the move:

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported slightly different terms, tweeting that the contract is worth a base of $6 million with as much as $1 million in incentives.

The Texas Rangers declined their $11 million contract option on Holland in November, which made him a free agent and freed him up to sign with any team.

It wasn’t a surprise to see the Rangers move on from Holland after his struggles over the previous two seasons and inability to stay on the field since 2013. 

Holland has appeared in just 38 games over the previous three seasons, and his performance on the mound has been less than stellar with a 4.30 ERA in just 203 innings during that span. 

Grant wrote about some of the other issues that have plagued Holland during his injury-riddled run since 2014:

His average fastball velocity dropped to 91.7 mph in 2016 from 93.6 in 2013. The difference in speed between his secondary pitches is now just 5 mph where it once was 7.5 mph. It adds up to a recipe for guys being better able to identify pitches and being able to wait for mistakes with more assurance they will come. The Rangers wanted him to throw his changeup more in 2016 and the usage did grow, but at a microscopic level: Less than one percent.

Holland completed just 107.1 innings in 2016, going 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.41 WHIP.

At just 30 years old, Holland will have a chance to reinvent himself as a member of the White Sox. His career ERA of 4.35 ERA leaves something to be desired, but the veteran southpaw did manage to go 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 2013.

Given how much of a struggle it has been for Holland to take the mound every fifth day, he has a lot to prove next season if he hopes to continue his MLB career as a starting pitcher. He does get a clean slate and will have ample opportunity to prove there is more in the tank than he’s been able to show lately. 

Holland could provide great value as part of a weak free-agent class, and he will have a chance to become an important part of Chicago’s rotation after the team dealt Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox.

Although Holland figures to slot behind the likes of Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and James Shields, he gives the White Sox a veteran presence and depth at the back end of their pitching staff until youngsters Lucas Giolito (22) and Reynaldo Lopez (22) are ready to step up.

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Jose Quintana Is Most Underappreciated Star on MLB Offseason Market

It’s hyperbole to call Jose Quintana the offseason’s invisible ace.

At the very least, however, rumormongers and prospective suitors are treating Quintana as if he’s blurry around the edges.

Recall the fanfare that surrounded Quintana’s former Chicago White Sox teammate and fellow left-hander Chris Sale. More to the point, recall the glistening package of prospects the Boston Red Sox sent to Chicago to secure Sale’s services.

Sale was worth it. He’s 27 years old, has elite numbers and is locked into an eminently affordable contract.

All of those things can be said—accuratelyabout Quintana, yet he isn’t generating as much buzz.

Oh, there have been rumblings, as we’ll get to shortly. Quintana, though, is the type of player who should consistently reside in the hot-stove headlines, especially with such a weak free-agent pitching class and other options falling off the board.

Here’s a stat to chew on: Between 2013 and 2016, Quintana’s 18.1 WAR ranked seventh among pitchers by FanGraphs’ measure. He’s sandwiched between Jon Lester (18.4) and Madison Bumgarner (18.0), a couple of southpaws you may have heard of.

Quintana has eclipsed 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. Last season, he posted a career-low 3.20 ERA and finished 10th in American League Cy Young Award balloting.

As for his contract, it’s a budget-conscious general manager’s fantasy: He’ll make $7 million in 2017 and $8.85 million in 2018, followed by $10.5 million team options in 2019 and 2020.

A club that acquired Quintana this winter could have him for four years and $36.85 million. Next season alone, the Arizona Diamondbacks will pay Zack Greinke $34 million. Pause a moment and let that sink in.

Quintana comes with huge upside and little financial risk. The only cost will be in talent, and it will be steep.

The Houston Astros are interested, but they balked at the White Sox’s asking price of Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove, per baseball reporter Peter Gammons

Martes and Tucker are the Astros’ top two prospects, per MLB.com, and Musgrove is a 24-year-old right-hander who showed solid flashes in 62 big league innings last season.

Two blue-chip minor leaguers and an MLB-ready arm is a lot to ask. Quintana, however, is a lot to get.

To land Sale, the Red Sox surrendered Yoan Moncada, the game’s No. 1 prospect, per MLB.com. They tossed in right-hander Michael Kopech (MLB.com’s No. 30 prospect), outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe (now the White Sox’s No. 9 prospect) and 22-year-old right-hander Victor Diaz, who averaged 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings last season at Single-A.

In that light, the cost for Quintana doesn’t seem so unreasonable.

In addition to the Astros, ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield lists the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs as prospective suitors. 

That’s a third of the league. Some, like the Cubs, almost certainly aren’t happening. The point, though, is there are many squads with a need in the rotation and a handful with the ability to at least theoretically meet the White Sox’s sky-high demands. 

“It comes down to needs and wants,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said of a possible Quintana pursuit, per David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We don’t have needs in starting pitching. Do we want a No. 1 starter, is Chris Sale a No. 1 starter? Yes. Do we want Jose Quintana? I don’t think Jose Quintana is Chris Sale.”

So we get back to the blurry around the edges. The underrating and underappreciating. 

Quintana isn’t Sale by definition. He doesn’t boast his ex-rotation mate’s gaudy strikeout totals and has played the Robin to Sale’s Batman. That doesn’t diminish Quintana’s worth, as FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards spelled out:

Quintana might have been playing second fiddle to Sale the past few years, but the team trading for Quintana isn’t getting just a run-of-the-mill good starter. Jose Quintana is excellent, and there are plenty of reasons to think he’s going to keep pitching well for a while.

The price for Sale was always going to be higher than the price for Quintana. That said, there’s a credible argument that Quintana and his bargain contract should be nearly as attractive to teams looking for high-end pitching as Sale was.

Here’s the bottom line: Quintana is a durable ace entering his prime who is signed for way under market rate for the next four seasons.

Hyperbole aside, those don’t come around every day.


All statistics and contract information courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Todd Frazier Trade Rumors: Latest News, Speculation Surrounding White Sox 3B

The Chicago White Sox are reportedly listening to trade inquiries for third baseman Todd Frazier as part of what could be a busy offseason for the organization.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Frazier’s Trade Availability

Thursday, Nov. 10

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Wednesday that Frazier is among a high-profile group of potential White Sox trade assets this winter that also includes Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson.

“I think they’re in the exact same place they were in during the summer,” a rival executive told Rosenthal. “They’ll listen on everyone, but I think they’ll focus on trying to move the short-term guys first and then listen on the big guys—and ultimately not move the big guys.”

Frazier would fall into the category of “short-term guys.” He’s under team control for only one more season and can hit free agency after the 2017 campaign, according to Spotrac.

The 30-year-old infielder slugged a career-high 40 home runs during his first season with the White Sox after spending his first five years with the Cincinnati Reds. His batting average fell to a career-low .225, and his .302 OBP was the lowest since his rookie season.

While the latter numbers are concerning, finding the type of power he possesses isn’t easy, which equates to value on the trade market. And it’s no surprise the White Sox may be looking to shake things up after going 78-84 to miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

That said, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune noted Frazier expressed interest in sticking with the White Sox in August after building a straightforward relationship with general manager Rick Hahn:

I would rather they build around this, to be honest with you. I like it in Chicago. I like the atmosphere. I like the people there. I think they’re all genuine. … When Rick comes and talks to me about things, I haven’t had any bad (feelings) about it. He goes about his business the right way. He says, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and eventually it happens. You can be happy with that. Good, bad or ugly, he tells the truth.

Several teams make sense as trade partners on paper if Chicago does opt to move him. The San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees are among the clubs that could use both more power and an upgrade at third base.

Ultimately, Frazier doesn’t get on base enough to serve as the main piece of an offense despite his pop. But he’s a perfect fit as a No. 5 or No. 6 hitter who can deliver a lot of runs for a team with a strong top of the order.


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Rick Renteria Named White Sox Manager After Robin Ventura’s Departure

For the second time in his career, Rick Renteria will try his hand at managing in Chicago. The White Sox announced the 54-year-old as their next manager Monday, a day after Robin Ventura said he would not return for a sixth season.

Renteria served as Ventura’s bench coach in 2016. He previously managed the Chicago Cubs to a 73-89 record in 2014 before being fired in favor of Joe Maddon.

The hire had become one of baseball’s worst-kept secrets in recent days. Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday that a replacement plan was already in place, though Ventura and Renteria refused to comment on the matter before the regular season ended.

Ventura, whose contract expired after 2016, went 375-435 in his five seasons with the franchise. The White Sox have not made the playoffs since 2008 but were expected to compete near the top of the AL Central this season. Instead, they went 78-84 to record their fourth straight losing campaign.

“We came up short, and I feel like that falls on me,” Ventura said while noting the organization needed a new voice, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. “You just do what you can do and [control] how you conduct yourself. It’s not like they’re going to be putting a statue out on the concourse [of me]. You do what you can, and that’s all you can really do.”

A baseball lifer who spent his playing and managerial careers scraping his way through and hoping for a big league shot, Renteria’s lone chance at MLB management was a bit of a fiasco. He was a placeholder on the 2014 Cubs, a roster laden with pieces that weren’t yet ready to be put into a puzzle.

The Cubs enacted their sweeping plan to be contenders after firing Renteria that winter, hiring Maddon in his place, signing big-ticket free agents and calling up a swath of elite young talent. In a statement announcing Renteria’s firing, Cubs president Theo Epstein said the manager “deserved to come back for another season.” Maddon’s sudden departure from Tampa Bay simply proved too tempting.

Renteria should get a more legitimate shot next season, although it’s an interesting call to promote from within. It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see the White Sox completely clean house after starting 23-10 and then falling apart.

Instead, they’ll roll the dice on Renteria and hope the managerial instincts he showed in 2014 carry over. 


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Robin Ventura Resigns as White Sox Manager: Latest Comments and Reaction

Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura told reporters he is stepping down from his position after a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on the final day of the regular season, saying his exit was a “personal decision” and that the team “needed a new voice.”

Ventura took over as the team’s manager in 2012, leading the White Sox to an 85-77 record in his debut season. That was his only winning season as a manager, however, and the White Sox have stumbled to a 78-84 record this season despite optimism that they could compete for a playoff spot. 

Ventura finished with an overall record of 376-434 with the White Sox. The team never reached the postseason during his tenure.

The 49-year-old former MLB star—he hit .267 in his 16-year playing career with 294 home runs, 1,182 RBI, six Gold Gloves and two All-Star appearances—will likely attract some attention from teams looking to fill their manager positions this offseason. 

While Ventura may have been the scapegoat for a roster that likely isn’t equipped to compete in the postseason just yet, there are pieces to build around in Chicago for Rick Renteria, whom Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday would be named as Ventura’s successor.

Jose Abreu is a bona fide star at first base, while Todd Frazier provides pop at third base. Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton are nice pieces. Chris Sale is one of the best starters in baseball, and Jose Quintana has established himself as a reliable starter. Carlos Rodon has star potential, while closer David Robertson has provided stability in the ninth inning.

The White Sox, once again, are left with a roster that has obvious flaws and will need key additions. The team hasn’t been able to fill those holes successfully in recent years, and it’s hard to argue that’s not a reason why Ventura lost his job. The team’s next manager will have a big task, then, returning the White Sox to the postseason.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Chris Sale Comments on Suspension, Future with White Sox

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale has dominated MLB headlines in the dog days of summer, both as a potential trade target and someone who reportedly cut up his team’s throwback uniforms instead of wearing one when he was scheduled to pitch Saturday.

Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports broke the news that Sale “cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them,” and the White Sox announced a five-day suspension for the pitcher Sunday.

Sale made his first public comments about the incident Monday, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com:

When I saw that there was something in the way of that 100 percent winning mentality, I had an issue. I tried to bring it up and say, ‘Hey listen, these are my thoughts and concerns,’ and they got pushed away because of the business deal that was set in place. I’ll never understand why we need to do something on the business side on the field that might impede us winning a game.

[The ’76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn’t want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn’t want anything to alter my mechanics. … There’s a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.

Merkin noted Sale was told about the decision to wear the 1976 throwbacks the day before his scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers. Sale reportedly told the clubhouse manager and pitching coach Don Cooper he would rather wear the 1983 jerseys, and he discussed the issue again with Cooper and manager Robin Ventura on Saturday.

Sale then reportedly cut up the jerseys when “he did not get the answer he wanted,” per Merkin. The left-hander issued perhaps his most telling quote Monday when discussing his manager, suggesting Ventura did not seem to have his back, per Merkin:

Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department. If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.

It’s understandable for a player to put winning over the business side of baseball, even if the throwbacks are fan favorites and may encourage more people to come to the ballpark or watch a game.

But Sale has had a few issues with management this season. In spring training, he said executive vice president Ken Williams lied to him and his teammates following Adam LaRoche’s retirement, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. LaRoche elected to retire after Williams told him he had to reduce his son’s time in the clubhouse.

Sale’s relationship with the front office may come into play again before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline if the team deals him with an eye toward the future.

On Saturday, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported it may take up to “five top prospects” to lure Sale from the 49-50 White Sox.

“I don’t think I would be traded,” Sale said, per Merkin. “I don’t know for sure. I don’t know what they are thinking now or what’s going on.”

Sale didn’t sound like someone who wanted to be shipped out of the Windy City, either: “I want to win a championship in Chicago. That’s been my goal from Day 1. It has never changed. I only get more passionate about it because I know that it’s not easy winning a championship.”

If the White Sox were to fulfill that desire and win a World Series, Sale would likely be a major part of it. The southpaw is a five-time All-Star and has finished in the top six in American League Cy Young Award balloting in four consecutive seasons.

He is also only 27 years old and sports a 14-3 record, 3.18 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 133 innings this season. While his dominance on the mound has taken a back seat in terms of storylines, he should have a chance to get back to his winning ways for Chicago when his suspension ends later this week.

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Bizarre Chris Sale Clubhouse Blowup Further Muddies Complex Trade Talks

As if trading Chris Sale wasn’t going to be complicated enough for the Chicago White Sox, then he had to go and carve up some jerseys.

If that second part lost you, boy do you have a story to get caught up on.

After Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Thursday that the White Sox were prepared to sell at the August 1 trade deadline, the talk around Sale earlier on Saturday concerned whether he would be dealt. When the White Sox then scratched their ace left-hander from his start against the Detroit Tigers, MLBTradeRumors.com presumably started having some pretty good traffic.

But then, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement that Sale had actually been sent home due to a “clubhouse incident before the game.” A few vague reports later, Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports provided the gory details:

Yup. This is a thing that actually happened.

And thanks to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, we have a clear-ish picture of why. A source told him Sale’s initial protest was over the jerseys—of which the White Sox had earlier tweeted a picturebeing “uncomfortable.” When the White Sox wouldn’t relent, Sale let his frustration over his perception that “PR and jersey sales were more important than winning” guide his actions.

This is not the first time Sale has lashed out at his superiors. Although Rosenthal says he was not involved in this incident, you’ll recall Sale had an angry exchange with White Sox Vice President Kenny Williams over the Adam LaRoche fiasco that unfolded in spring training.

Sale’s 14-3 record, 3.18 ERA, 4.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio and recent All-Star start are just a few things that confirm the 27-year-old is still a very good pitcher. But in the last 24 hours, we’ve learned he’s also a piece of trade bait who’s less than pleased with the way things are going in Chicago.

It’s hard to blame Sale for that. The White Sox entered Saturday at 46-50, putting them in line for a fourth straight losing season. But it’s easy to blame him for creating this latest controversy. Instead of sucking it up and taking the high road, he played the part of a problem child crying over spilled milk.

By all accounts, this had nothing to do with the trade rumors. But now we wait to see if said trade rumors will be affected by it.

The early indication is there’s no change on Chicago’s end. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com’s latest report says the White Sox are no more willing to trade Sale than they were before. If that’s true, it tells us the White Sox understand what they should be doing: carrying on as if nothing’s happened and seeing what’s what.

On the trade market, that means continuing to peddle Sale at an enormous price. A report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports put it at “five top prospects.” That’s the kind of asking price that makes it loud and clear that suitors have to come to the White Sox, because the White Sox don’t have to go to them.

“I would expect them to ask for the moon,” a rival general manager told Heyman. “I think they have no interest in moving him unless it’s a no-brainer deal.”

But the question now is whether any of Sale’s biggest suitors—i.e. the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers—are any more willing to meet that price after Saturday’s events. As Stokke suggested in a radio interview (via Adam Kaufman), the answer may be no:

This could actually be true. The White Sox can act like Sale doesn’t want out, but potential trade partners can just as easily act like he does and try to call the White Sox’s bluff. That creates two possible scenarios.

Scenario No. 1: There is no bluff to call.

Despite the bad blood between Sale and his employers, the fact remains he’s an ace pitcher. Not only that, but he’s also still an affordable ace pitcher. The contract extension he signed in 2013 is only paying him $9.15 million this year, with just $39.5 million more on the way if his options for 2018 and 2019 are picked up. That’s a small price to pay for a guy who’s been a top-five pitcher since 2012.

So unless Hahn, Williams or White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is feeling petty over Saturday’s drama, nobody in a position to make a call on Sale is going to stand up and say, “He has to go.” That would be easy if he was some scrub threatening to drag down a winning team, but he’s a star who can only buoy a team that’s already bad.

Scenario No. 2: There is a bluff to call. Or at least just enough of one to get the White Sox to relent.

It would be one thing if Sale had done something bad enough to shave more than just a prospect (“maybe”) off his trade value, but he didn’t. And although four top prospects isn’t the same as five top prospects, the downgrade is only from “really strong offer” to a plain ol’ “strong offer.”

If 2016 was just one bad year on a timeline with a bright future, rejecting it would be the obvious choice for the White Sox. But in their case, 2016 is the latest in a string of down years, and their farm system doesn’t offer much hope of a turnaround. Baseball America had Chicago’s system ranked at No. 23 in the spring, and now it’s without shortstop Tim Anderson and right-hander Carson Fulmer.

And even if the White Sox don’t want to get rid of Sale, they could at least be open to it. If the bad blood subsides, there will cease to be questions about his trade value. But if it doesn’t, the questions could persist or multiply. So, perhaps they’ll make a blockbuster deal now that they might not be able to make later.

Which will it be in coming days? That puts us in best-guess territory, so here’s mine: Sale ends up staying in Chicago.

The odds of a trade were probably low to begin with. There are only a handful of teams that can afford to pay the White Sox’s price, and his talent and contract gave them two reasons not to budge. Although it makes for good headline material, the White Sox shouldn’t let what happened Saturday overrule either of those motivations.

But if nothing else, there’s no denying this whole situation is weirder than it was before. Maybe it wasn’t his intent, but Sale effectively voiced his say in his trade value when he cut up those jerseys. As a result, talks between the White Sox and his suitors are going to have a different tenor.

That shouldn’t matter…but we’ll see.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Chris Sale Scratched from Start: Twitter Reacts to SP Reportedly Cutting Jerseys

Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale did not make his scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, but it wasn’t because he was traded or injured.

Rather, Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports cited a source who noted a “blowup” occurred because Sale “didn’t want to wear throwbacks, so he cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them.”

Naturally, Twitter had a field day with the strange story. 

The White Sox released a statement on Twitter before the game, attempting to explain what happened without delving into the specifics that social media found so humorous:

CBS Sports tried to re-enact the scene:

Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Sun had some fun with the cutting angle:

Jonah Keri of CBS Sports approved of Chicago’s throwbacks:

Fans of the rival Cubs enjoyed the storyline from the city’s South Side, as Bleacher Nation’s Brett Taylor indicated:

Jesse Spector of Sporting News connected the Sale incident to the other big weekend story in baseball:

Here’s the best of the rest:

Even if Sale goes on to win the American League Cy Young Award, many baseball fans will likely remember Saturday’s incident as the biggest story involving the ace this season.

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Chris Sale Suspended by White Sox After Clubhouse Incident

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale did not take the mound Saturday for his scheduled start against the Detroit Tigers after a disagreement over the team’s choice of jersey.

The White Sox released a statement on Twitter before the game against their division rivals, noting he was “sent home” because of a “clubhouse incident.”

Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports cited a source who said the “blowup was because he didn’t want to wear throwbacks, so he cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them.” Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirmed the report, while Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports quoted a source who said, “Sale asked that they not wear (throwbacks) on his day because they are uncomfortable. Things escalated when they wouldn’t relent.”

Rosenthal also cited a source who said Sale had picked the jersey the team wore in each of his previous starts, which is something every White Sox starter has done this year. Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score added, “told Sale used a knife to do whatever cutting he did of uniforms.”

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com previously reported the incident occurred with the team’s “front office/staff” and not any of Sale’s teammates.

On Sunday, Sale was suspended five days after the incident, per the White Sox:

This isn’t the first time Sale has had an issue with the front office. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported in March that the pitcher “accused executive vice president Ken Williams of lying to players” after Adam LaRoche retired before the season. LaRoche left the White Sox “after Williams informed him that he must limit” his son’s access to the clubhouse, per Nightengale.

ESPN Stats & Info said Matt Albers would start in the southpaw’s place. Albers has not started a game since 2008, when he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, but he does sport 42 appearances out of the bullpen this season with a 5.03 ERA, 1.59 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 34 innings.

Given the fact the Aug. 1 trade deadline is quickly approaching, it was natural to speculate whether Sale was pulled because he was involved in a deal before the White Sox released their announcement.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network cited a source who said “Sale was not scratched due to a trade,” although Jon Morosi of MLB Network did point out “Sale being scratched does not mean White Sox have agreed to a trade, but it indicates talks have progressed with at least [one] team.”

Sale is one of the marquee players potentially on the trading block this year as a five-time All-Star who finished top-six in American League Cy Young award voting in each of the last four years.

Chris Cotillo of SB Nation cited a rival executive who called the asking price from the White Sox “prohibitive,” and Heyman noted the team was looking for “five top prospects” in exchange for Sale. TR Sullivan of MLB.com recently reported the Texas Rangers were putting forth a “serious effort” to land the dominant pitcher.

It is not just the fact Sale is such a talented hurler that is driving that possible market. He is also only 27 years old, in the middle of his prime and under team control through the 2019 campaign, per Spotrac. That would give whichever team landed him in a hypothetical trade a shutdown ace atop the rotation for years to come.

Sale boasts 19 starts on the season with a 3.18 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 133 innings. He led the American League with 274 strikeouts last year.

The White Sox entered Saturday’s game against Detroit with a 46-50 record, which was good enough for fourth place in the American League Central. They were 10.5 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians and don’t appear to be legitimate contenders this season, which could motivate them to deal the superstar pitcher.

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