TCS Morning 5: The White Sox have made a good bench coach hire

1. In perhaps two of the most telegraphed and pre-reported White Sox stories in a while, Rick Renteria and Greg Sparks' additions to the Sox major league coaching staff were officially announced Tuesday.

These are good hires! The White Sox are steadily improving as an organization. We get distracted by prominent problems like their sticking to an ill-conceived Robin Ventura hire and a gaping maw in the middle of the MLB roster, but there are incremental improvements going on under Rick Hahn all the time. 2023 is gonna be a time!

Scott Merkin's linked-to story reveals Robin Ventura reached out to Rick Renteria last December to add him to the organization in...some capacity that's never really explained. I'm imagining it wasn't to be the bench coach, since Mark Parent was someone Robin hand-picked when he was hired. Boy, he has to be having fun with that irony.

Despite that oddness, Rick Hahn tried to dismiss the concerns that the Sox just hired Robin's replacement.

In the end, we wanted to get to the strongest coach with the best baseball knowledge and the best well-rounded set of skills next to Robin. That’s what Robin wanted.
— Rick Hahn

Sure, let's do it. In theory, Robin's oft-referred-to leadership brilliance paired with some tactical competence and player development would be good.  This could work.

2. Gold Glove winners and award finalists were named Tuesday. The White Sox were conspicuously absent from any mention, as a great FIP mark didn't redeem Chris Sale's least consistent year as a starter in the eyes of voters. 

Can't figure out why the Sox didn't have any Gold Glove contenders, though, what's going on there?


Of interest, while Jason Heyward pulled in his third career Gold Glove because he's a super-elite defender, Justin Upton was also one of three NL finalists in left field. He's always been a plus athlete, but without much opportunity or reason to watch San Diego this year, I assumed he was farther down the line of being a filled-out bat-first guy than he might actually be. If he actually came to the Sox, maybe he would need to play in the field over Melky, like, constantly.

3. The Reds are for sale! Or just actual Reds players. Ken Rosenthal confirmed with Walt Jocketty that 2016 is a "transitional year" and Aroldis Chapman is available. The Sox don't really need Aroldis Chapman--which is not to say he wouldn't be awesome--but are probably more interested in if Todd Frazier is on the market, and how much his abysmal second half drove down his price. Rosenthal specifically mentions that the Reds want to move Jay Bruce, who is a 28-year-old bat-first corner outfielder who is now coming off two-straight below average offensive seasons.

Which is, uh, not uh, not uh...uh don't trade for Jay Bruce, is what I'm saying.

It's not like there's anyone on the Reds who isn't working with red flags other than Joey Votto, who isn't available, so I guess the main appeal would be a low price. Todd Frazier for not Tim Anderson is potentially interesting.

4. Rick Hahn said they are looking for "long-term" roster additions, and aren't ruling out adding veterans either. In particular he identified David Robertson's four-year deal from last offseason, as an example of a long-term solution.

Oh, signing elite veterans to deals four years and longer is the plan? Perhaps this offseason will be a lot better than we thought. It goes without saying that this is one of those Rick Hahn statements where he doesn't rule anything out--he even says one or two-year deals for veterans are possible (because how can you fill out a roster without them)--and simply states his leanings.

Put it this way: it certainly sounds like Hahn would rather not make another one-and-done trade like Samardzija again, but it's all situational. He probably wasn't really into one-year-only trades last year but felt the opportunity couldn't be passed up. So, we'll see.

5. Paul Sullivan wants the White Sox to trade Jose Quintana and sign Mark Buehrle. This is an unfair description of the article that makes it sound crazy, but it's also the headline, so there's only so much guilt here.

His argument is based off two assumptions where I disagree: that Carson Fulmer is not only going to be ready to be promoted to the majors in 2016, but be a reliable contributor, let alone someone who mostly cancels out the loss of Quintana. Carlos Rodon was a significantly superior prospect to Fulmer, performed better than could be expected for someone as quickly out of college and young as he is, and was still basically a tomato can for a third of the season. Pump the brakes on Fulmer slaying MLB hitters in 2016, please. 

The second is presuming that Buehrle's close to 2015 and shoulder issues can be smoothly resolved by Spring. We're pre-conditioned to thinking Buehrle is always fine, but he's going to be 37 in March and a team that had to wind up starting R.A. Dickey in crucial playoff games basically decided that Buehrle was unusable down the stretch. Yes it would be nice to say goodbye, but you sign guys to major league contracts to play, you schedule ceremonies to say goodbye.

Also, it would be quite the switch in organizational sentiment for a team that wanted nothing to do with extending him or even making him a low-ball offer after 2011, which is leading me to the sad quote from Buehrle about that offseason that was my takeaway from this column.

Yeah, I was pissed off then. I wanted to come back. I wanted to be here.
— Mark Buehrle