TCS Morning 5: Extremely White Sox things

1. In the most White Sox move of all-time, the White Sox have hired Aaron Rowand to be a Minor League outfield and baserunning instructor.

Their love of giving post-playing career jobs to their former players is well-known at this point and a good reservoir for Twitter jokes, but it's not like it leads them exclusively to awful decisions. Removed from the inevitable nature of his hire, Rowand seems like a great candidate for this role if you were just picking guys based on what you knew about them as players. We joke about "the grinder narrative," but Rowand legitimately carved out a stretch as an above-average MLB player on the strength of centerfield defense that was athletic, but had more great reads than great speed, and similarly competent baserunning. He was a skilled, knowledgeable player who maxed out his tools, and certainly is a talker.

Will all those skills actually crystallize into a good coach? I surely don't know, which is where the issue with these hires crops up again. They give these guys jobs with little-to-no experience, and while it's based on long personal relationships, their potential to flop in a new career is given much higher leverage than usual. Rowand is going from a Spring Training special instructor invite to filling a real role in the organization--one low-intensity enough that he can part-time it while looking after his daughters--and while the burden of the team's long period of position player development troubles doesn't rest on his shoulders, visible signs of the same self-reverential hiring processes are likely indicative of larger trends in the organization.

Still, Rowand being on staff when the Sox broke the drought on meaningful post-Rowand draft-and-development hitters would only be appropriate, and after all, at least they didn't make him the manager.

2. There were a flurry of minor league deals Monday, and the White Sox bid into this marketplace was signing extra large Canadian male right-handed pitcher Philippe Aumont, a 26-year-old former 11th overall pick who served as the prospect centerpiece going back to Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee trade. 

Given the value given up for the opportunity to develop the six-foot, seven-inch, 260-pound Aumont, the previous Phils front office gave him every opportunity to succeed. Then they hired a new General Manager this past season and now Aumont is a minor league free agent. Funny how that works.

Mau Rubio of 2080 Baseball said Aumont has "20 command," and the great Craig Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus said Aumont throw a heavy mid-90s fastball but lacks secondary stuff, and with the lack of control produces "lotsa grounders, walks, hits," but I think this was a better summary.

3. This is not a call for the Sox to go offer to go make a deal for Robinson Cano. The size of his contract means the Sox couldn't just eat the deal, and the talent the Mariners would need back makes a deal hard to figure for the still-thin Chicago system. However, it does bring to mind our previous discussion of the Alex Rios waiver claim, and how the Sox development struggles and avoidance of big-ticket free agency items necessitates their need to look for shortcuts and unusual routes to high-level positional talent. 

The Cano situation will need to get more toxic than vague agent chatter that he's discontent with the Mariners being trash to really drive the price down, and even then you'd be talking about Tim Anderson and friends in exchange to have a second baseman from his mid-30's to probably a couple years after he should retire. It's probably too extreme of a case to really be palatable unless the Sox were making other aggressive measures to compete in 2016 (Trading the future for Cano while sticking with Avi in right would be some intense cognitive dissonance), but it's the type of story Sox fans should monitor.

4. It's not that I think this question is completely absurd or ridiculous...'s more that it's kind of a good team's problem to worry about. The Sox need to worry about getting more good players before they fret about their diversity. Being lefty-focused in their rotation could hurt the Sox in individual matchups with certain teams, such as if they were in a playoff series with last year's Blue Jays squad, but that's balanced out over the course of a full season, since it's not like the Indians can just go out and add a bunch of elite lefty-mashers to the roster when the Sox are in town, and then drop them when the series is over.

Left-handed starters generally don't get to be starters if they can't get righties out to some degree, and I'd be more worried about not being able to play matchups as well in the bullpen than in the rotation. Plus, you don't worry about too many lefties when they're Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon. Beyond being too productive and talented to fret about their handedness, Sale is probably the most bizarre matchup in the league, Quintana has a somewhat atypical command/control approach, and the only traditional fastball/slider guy who would figure to have platoon issues is Rodon. Concerns about handedness aren't a serious enough issue to break up a young, cheap and great rotation core, they're more the level of concern that spurs you to move on from John Danks, and well, that's coming in due time anyway.

5. Speaking of him, Jose Quintana is fourth among AL pitchers in innings over the last three seasons, behind only David Price, R.A. Dickey and Felix Hernandez. Of those four, he is the only with a sub-.500 W-L record and has the worst BABIP because White Sox.


The Charlotte Knights' affiliate contract with the Sox does not expire until after the 2020 season, if you were suddenly made curious.