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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Articles tagged: Chicago White Sox

Multiple MLB teams reportedly aiming to play with fans in 2020

Jim Crane Astros

Several Major League Baseball teams are apparently planning to at least try to play in front of fans in 2020.

Whether fans are present in stadiums or not is ultimately being left to teams and local authorities. With that in mind, it was reported on Wednesday that several teams are at least looking into the possibility of hosting some fans.

Danny Parkins of 670 The Score reported that the White Sox are planning to play games at Guaranteed Rate Field with a limited number of fans.

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez told Andy Slater of Fox Sports 640 South Florida that he would be willing to consider a plan to let the Miami Marlins play in front of fans as well.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also told KTVV/Channel 11 that the state was eager to work with both the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers to allow fans to attend games.

“We look forward to working with the teams and to find out there strategies to make sure they will be able to open up their stadiums safely,” Abbott said, via Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Know this: If those teams can not make the case to the public that their stadiums will be safe, the public will not show up. So, I feel confident we will find safe ways to open up the stadiums and have fans in the stands to watch Major League Baseball.”

Astros owner Jim Crane made clear that he planned to look for ways to allow fans to attend games.

A lot of clarity will come on this in the weeks to come. Teams will have to determine how full stadiums can be, if at all. That said, owners will do everything they can to get fans in the stadium, as the revenue losses if games are played in empty ballparks would be significant.

Whether there are fans or not, we’re going to be watching a very different game for the 2020 season.

5 MLB teams most likely to surprise this season

Lucas Giolito

The MLB season looks like it will be played in some form, which is good news for teams who had high hopes for the 2020 season. Multiple teams have put the pieces in place to have a very good season — sometimes in a way that will defy expectations.

Here are five MLB teams that had poor 2019 seasons but could be poised to surprise in 2020.

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White Sox employees charged by FBI for running ticket scheme with broker

White Sox

Two Chicago White Sox employees and a ticket broker have been charged by the FBI for running an illegal ticket scheme during the 2016-2019 MLB seasons.

An indictment related to the case became public on Friday, and the Chicago Sun-Times shared details of the case.

Former White Sox ticket sellers James Costello, 66, and William O’Neil, 51, are alleged to have collaborated with Bruce Lee, a ticket broker, on the scheme. Costello and O’Neil allegedly used other team employee IDs to generate complimentary tickets that are typically reserved for friends and family of the players, youth groups, commercial sponsors and others, and are not for sale.

Lee allegedly paid Costello, who later recruited O’Neil to participate in the scheme, in exchange for the complimentary tickets. Lee then allegedly sold the tickets on StubHub for low prices, thinking he would avoid detection.

However, the White Sox’s data system flagged Lee as a seller because he had sold so many more tickets than anyone else. He allegedly sold over 11,000 White Sox tickets on StubHub in 2018, while the next highest seller sold 129 tickets.

Lee is alleged to have sold 34,876 White Sox tickets from 2016-2019, generating $868,369 in revenue.

The White Sox alerted the FBI when they realized what must have been going on.

Report: White Sox, Twins ‘heaviest suitors’ for Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner

Now that free agent starter Zack Wheeler has signed, the entire pitching market looks set to take off.

The next domino to fall could be Madison Bumgarner. The free agent left-hander has two major suitors in AL Central rivals Minnesota and Chicago, according to Andy Martino of SNY.

Both the Twins and White Sox are eager to upgrade their rotations, so it’s no surprise that they’re aggressively chasing Bumgarner. Both teams were in on the Wheeler sweepstakes, with Chicago actually making the highest known offer there. It’s not clear what the asking price is financially for Bumgarner, but it’s probably not that dissimilar from what Wheeler was asking. Given that both teams were willing to pay up there, they likely won’t back down when it comes to Bumgarner.

Bumgarner is still only 30 and should have several good years left. That said, his 3.90 ERA for the San Francisco Giants in 2019 was a career worst.

Report: Zack Wheeler turned down more money from White Sox to sign with Phillies

Zack Wheeler is getting an impressive sum of money from the Phillies, but reportedly left some cash on the table in order to sign with the team.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Wheeler turned down more money from the Chicago White Sox than the $118 million he got from Philadelphia. His desire to stay close to his wife’s New Jersey home was apparently a major factor in his decision to sign with the Phillies.

We can take a couple things from this. First, the Phillies had a huge inherent advantage geographically that allowed them to land Wheeler at something of a discount. With that in mind, it’s hard to see anyone else as having a great chance unless they blew Philadelphia’s offer out of the water financially.

Second, the White Sox are serious. They’ve already brought in catcher Yasmani Grandal, and the fact that they were willing to go big in a Wheeler deal suggests that they want to take a big step forward in 2020. Some of the trades they’ve reportedly discussed also bear that out.

Jose Abreu signs three-year, $50 million deal with White Sox

Jose Abreu

The Chicago White Sox have shown a willingness to spend big already this offseason, and that has allowed them to bring back one of the most important hitters in their lineup.

On Friday, the White Sox announced that they have agreed to a three-year, $50 million deal with first baseman Jose Abreu.

Abreu was named an All-Star for the second consecutive year last year. He hit .284 with 33 home runs and a career-high 123 RBI, which led the American League. The 32-year-old had signed one-year contracts in each of the past three seasons, having been paid $16 million last year and $13 million the year before. Abreu originally signed a six-year, $68 million deal with Chicago as an international free agent six years ago, but he opted out after the first three seasons.

The White Sox had extended Abreu a qualifying offer worth $17.8 million for next season, which meant any team that signed him in free agency would have been required to forfeit a draft pick.

Abreu should continue to provide a steadying presence in Chicago’s lineup alongside emerging youngsters Eloy Jimenez and Joan Moncada. The White Sox also made another big free agent signing this week when they added an All-Star catcher, so they appear to be committed to contending in 2020 after 11 straight seasons without a playoff appearance.

Report: Zack Wheeler has interest from three teams

The New York Mets look poised to lose starting pitcher Zack Wheeler in free agency.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, Wheeler is likely to reject the Mets’ $17.8 million qualifying offer amid free agent interest elsewhere. Wheeler has preliminary interest from the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, and San Diego Padres.

There is some belief that Wheeler could become the consensus third-best starter on the market behind Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, and he could be a backup choice for teams who fail to land either of them. That’s down to Wheeler’s relative youth — he doesn’t turn 30 until next May — and his success when healthy. He posted a 3.96 ERA last year.

In addition to the aforementioned teams, there’s an NL East team that reportedly has its eyes on Wheeler. He looks like he’ll be an in-demand starter.