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.
Jose Abreu is a free agent this offseason and could be looking at re-signing with the Chicago White Sox.
Abreu and the White Sox are discussing a long-term contract extension, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Initially an international free agent, Abreu signed a 6-year, $68 million deal with Chicago six years ago. He opted out of the deal after three years and signed one-year contracts each of the last three seasons, making $16 million last year and $13 million the year before.
The White Sox extended Abreu a qualifying offer for $17.8 million next season, which would hinder his suitors in free agency, as teams would be reluctant to lose a draft pick to sign him. If he does not want the one-year deal, some long-term security could make sense for both parties.
Turning 33 in January, Abreu has made All-Star teams in consecutive years for the Sox and led the league in RBIs last season with 123. He has a career .862 OPS, though that mark was at .834 last season. The White Sox could use his steady bat in a lineup that now features emerging youngsters Eloy Jimenez and Joan Moncada.
The Chicago White Sox are at least superior to the Houston Astros in one aspect of the game: their troll game.
Tuesday saw the two AL teams face off against each other in a doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field. During the second leg of it, the White Sox flashed a funny message on their scoreboard about how this was technically the first doubleheader between the two teams since they swept the Astros in the 2005 World Series. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart shared an image of the troll job.
Sox trolling pic.twitter.com/9tPiU0CV0l
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) August 14, 2019
Though they did fall short in 2005, the Astros are now one of the best teams in baseball (currently a full 24 games better than the White Sox in the standings) and won a World Series of their own in 2017.
Still, 2005 obviously brings back some great memories for the White Sox, and it’s not their first time trolling Houston about that year’s World Series title.
Alcides Escobar carved out a lengthy MLB career as a light-hitting, glove-first shortstop with the Kansas City Royals, where he spent eight years as a reliable everyday player and won a World Series. He left Kansas City after 2018 and landed in the Chicago White Sox organization on a minor league deal. His time there does not appear to have gone well.
The White Sox quietly announced Friday that their organization had released Escobar, who had spent the entire season with the team’s AAA affiliate in Charlotte. The Knights thanked Escobar for his time there with a video, but Escobar made quite clear in a reply that he was not happy with how the organization had treated him.
I asked for my freedom they did not let me free and I did it because they lied to me they are not honest
— alcides escobar (@alcidesescobar2) August 2, 2019
Escobar doesn’t give a lot of context why the White Sox were “not honest.” It may well be that he felt he had earned or had been promised a promotion to the MLB level, and he’d hit .286 for the Knights this season. He still hadn’t appeared in the majors, and perhaps it wasn’t going to happen as things stood.
The Chicago White Sox are continuing their youth movement.
According to Andy Slater of 640 The Hurricane, the White Sox are calling up 2016 first-round draft pick Zack Collins.
SLATER SCOOP: White Sox are calling up first-round pick, former Canes catcher Zack Collins.
— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) June 16, 2019
Collins, a catcher, ranked as a top 100 prospect before the season began. He hit .258 with nine home runs in 48 games for Triple-A Charlotte this season. While it’s unclear if he’ll stick as a catcher in the long-term, he’s there now, but it’s his power bat that is generally the most intriguing.
Collins may not be up for long, but he does join a rather exciting youth movement that includes Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Lucas Giolito. Things are looking up in Chicago.
Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis seemed a little frustrated when assessing the state of the AL Central after Sunday’s loss.
The Indians were preseason favorites in the division, but sit at 29-30 after losing three of four to the rebuilding Chicago White Sox. With that, the Indians and White Sox have the same record, both sitting 11.5 games behind the first-place Minnesota Twins.
According to Kipnis, the equal records are meaningless, because the Indians can’t do any worse and the White Sox can’t do any better.
“Think about it, we have the same record. We’re playing like s— and they’re playing as good as they can and we have the same record, to put it in perspective,” Kipnis said, via Kevin Powell of WGN Radio. “Are they playing better than us? At least this series, absolutely. I think they’ll admit it too, that it’s too early to celebrate a second place trophy on June 2.”
It feels like a bit of frustration boiling over from Kipnis’s perspective. The Indians are a long-shot to even get back in the division race at this point, and two months into the season, they aren’t playing well at all. Injuries have played a part in that, but it’s not that simple, and the hole is getting deeper and deeper. Sure, the odds still favor Cleveland finishing ahead of Chicago this year, but their ambitions are much higher than that.
Even the Chicago White Sox are trolling Aaron Rodgers over his weak beer chug.
Several members of the Chicago Bears attended Friday night’s White Sox-Cleveland Indians game. While at the game, they were shown on the video board at Guaranteed Rate Field doing a simultaneous beer chug.
When the White Sox shared the video on Twitter, they tagged Rodgers and told him “this is how you get it done.”
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 1, 2019
The tweet is a reference to Rodgers’ weak effort to chug a beer while attending Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 24, 2019
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford showed up Rodgers after seeing that. Now Mitch Trubisky has too. Kirk Cousins is next up on the list.