The Chicago White Sox are enduring yet another miserable season, and now the frustration seems to be spilling over into the locker room as well.
After the Sox got thumped by the Cleveland Indians 12-0 on Wednesday, righty Reynaldo Lopez, who started and took the loss, vented to reporters.
“It’s unacceptable for us to look the way we looked today,” said Lopez, per MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “Nobody is happy about the way we looked today. Honestly, we looked like clowns there, starting with me. But I know we can do better. It’s a matter of us to keep grinding, improving and working hard.”
The 24-year-old’s remarks were sharp, and they apparently did not sit too well with some his teammates. On Friday, Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times revealed the reactions of multiple White Sox players who sounded unhappy about Lopez’s comments.
“If I have something to say, sometimes you have to [say it] in your clubhouse,” third baseman Yolmer Sanchez was quoted as saying. “I don’t like to say a lot of things about us to the media.”
“If I have to vent about something negative or any kind of comment that I think is not right, I’d rather go home and talk to my wife,” said shortstop Tim Anderson before taking on a bit more of a conciliatory tone. “But guys are different. They vent in different ways. I understand where the frustration comes from with him. I’m still going to stick behind him 100 percent.”
“You never really want to describe it that way, but I definitely understand Lopey’s frustrations,” veteran pitcher James Shields added. “But, at the end of the day, we are a team and we’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to play the game the right way. We’ve got to pick our game up.”
One exception however was first baseman Jose Abreu, who even seemed to applaud Lopez for his criticisms.
“I respect his comments,” the slugger said through an interpreter. “We are not playing the way that we can play. We can’t lose focus on the things that we can manage and how we need to approach the game, how we need to work to get the job done on the field. I really respect his comments.”
While the Sox managed to snap an eight-game losing streak with an 6-4 win over the Oakland A’s on Friday, they still sit an ugly 25-50 on the year (third-worst in the league). Lopez’s comments may not have been the most popular, but even their fans seem to agree that the team’s play is far below par.
For most teams, we’re a quarter of the way through the Major League Baseball season, and right about at the point that teams can begin assessing what their prospects are. It’s also a point where we can review performances to date and look at who’s struggling and who’s starring for each team. Here, we’re going to be focusing on the players who have led their teams, no matter how the club is doing in the grand scheme of things.
Here is the best player for each MLB team so far in 2018.
Arizona Diamondbacks — A.J. Pollock, OF
A couple of pitchers have a case here, but in a year where the Arizona offense has been surprisingly underwhelming, Pollock has carried them. The outfielder is hitting .293 with 11 home runs and 10 doubles, easily pacing the team in OPS. Unfortunately he is expected to miss 4-8 weeks with a thumb injury, because he was working on a potential MVP season before that.
The Washington Nationals made a big move on Wednesday by acquiring Adam Eaton in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, but it’s really about what they gave up to get him that is the story.
The Nats traded Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning — three of their top prospects — to Chicago for Eaton.
Eaton is an above-average right fielder who hits around .280-.290, posts a .360 OBP and around a .360 slugging percentage. The defensive metrics also graded him very well last season. He also is under contract through 2019, with two team options that could keep him with the Nats through the 2021 season. His contract for him to be paid $4 million next season and tops out at $10.5 million in 2021 if his option is picked up. He’s very cheap for being a good player, and the Nats could put him in center, allowing Trea Turner to move back to short.
But what about what they’re giving up?
The Nats are sending pitching prospect Lucas Giolito, who is the No. 1 player in their system. Giolito was the No. 16 pick in 2012, and he only slipped that far because he had Tommy John surgery. He has put together three full seasons in a row in the minors and did very well. The Nats even called him up last season and he pitched 21.1 innings with a 6.75 ERA. The 6-foot-6 right hander averaged 9.68 K/9 innings in the minors, along with a 2.73 ERA. He is a very promising prospect, to say the least.
Reynaldo Lopez is 22 and was signed by the Nats in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. A starter throughout his time in the minors, Lopez also pitched in relief upon being called up by the Nats last season. He went 5-3 with a 4.91 ERA in 44 innings with the Nats last season. He has gone 19-19 with a 3.16 ERA during his minor league career, while averaging 8.85 K/9.
Dane Dunning was the No. 29 overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Nats. Mostly a reliever during his senior season at Florida, Dunning impressed at low-A ball, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA in seven starts in the Nats’ system. Things are early for the 21-year-old right-hander, but he’s off to a good start.
The White Sox just traded away Chris Sale to Boston for Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz, and now they’ve added three top pitching prospects from the Nats’ organization. They have done a great job rebuilding in the past two days.