1. Uh, where is Chris Sale? He last started on Saturday, so regular rest would have meant starting on Thursday, he didn't pitch in that All-Star Game--not sure if we mentioned that--but he's not on the announced slate of pitchers for the Kansas City series thus far.
"For those asking?" This is the official team Twitter account, not some pissy 11:00pm email to the press. "No confirmation," is also such a bizarre thing to come from the voice of the team--you are who would confirm it! If I couldn't figure out my breakfast order, I wouldn't tell the waitress there was "no confirmation." Giving Sale a big break in the middle of the season totally has precedent and makes plenty of sense given how heavy duty his insane stretch made all of his outings, but they're being shady about it--both with this and the All-Star Game--in a way that's unsettling. And there's probably no reason they need to be that way.
That doesn't change the fact that they acted weird!
2. As several irate and possibly overzealous Twitter responses noted, John Danks and no mention of Sale is not exactly peddle-to-the-metal for a series against the Royals with two weeks until the trade deadline. Buyers or sellers, plugging ahead with what's not working isn't very compelling. If Erik Johnson's call-up is waiting on a Samardzija trade so he can slide in the rotation seamlessly, that's understandable enough, but the Sox plunged across the barrier between appropriate respect and counterproductive loyalty with Danks well before this season started.
3. Newly called up Frankie Montas is also not on that list of upcoming starters either, so he's almost definitely in the bullpen. In which case, to reiterate, while this is a cool honor for him, I hope it's a short stay for now, so he can continue getting starter's reps in Birmingham...or Charlotte (let's be honest).
Friend of the site Mau Rubio says the tea leaves very strongly point to a reliever future for Montas, but I don't see the need to acknowledge that now. Either way, Frankie seems ok with the experience.
4. The White Sox officially announced their new radio broadcast deal Thursday, which was news if you found some particular reason to doubt when the city's best-sourced media reporter broke the news weeks prior. The Sox will be on 890 AM WLS for at least the next six seasons, with the Bulls coming along a year later. There's no word yet on how this will affect broadcast teams (probably not much) or pre-grame and post-game host (harder to say).
I've already said I don't like the move for the Sox from an exposure standpoint. Instead of having a natural lead-in and connection to a sports audience, they have to be more specifically sought out. Here's to six years of hopping in your car and wondering why Rush Limbaugh is on your radio before remembering that you were listening to the Sox game earlier.
5. FutureSox responded to our pontificating about Micah Johnson's future by strongly discouraging a move to the outfield. They cited his arm--which is not simply below-average as much as it's a repeated source of serious injury--and his lack of footwork and tracking skills to argue that adjusting to the outfield would be just as difficult as his current difficulties with second base, in addition to upping the pressure on his bat to produce.
It's a good and informative read, even if its larger impact is to just make me rather pessimistic about all things Micah Johnson. He needs to somehow getting better at second, find a way to stop getting picked off first to make his one standout tool hold up, and hit .280 or more to crack a .700 OPS because of his lack of power.
6. Trey "Stacks" Michalczewski went 3 for 3 with a walk Thursday night, raising the season line for the 20-year-old to .272/.355/.416 at High-A Winston-Salem. Most of the power potential of the lanky 6-foot-3-inch third baseman remains untapped, and he's still hit the ground and held his own through steady graduation since being signed overslot out of high school.
He's probably a role player if he ever makes it to the bigs, but developing a role player, or even an MLB-starter at third base would be tremendous for the Sox.
7. Well gee, congratulations Tim Anderson
8. Buster Olney's 30 Questions for 30 teams asks of the Sox: "Can the team continue its late first-half surge into the second half? Because the White Sox face an incredibly difficult schedule at the outset of the second half, and the team must decide what to do with Jeff Samardzija before July 31?"
The White Sox are actually exiting schedule hell after well over a month of the league's best, but with again, only two weeks until the deadline, a week-straight of Royals and Cardinals is probably sub-optimal, even if the Indians and Red Sox awaits afterward.
9. FanGraphs top-10 portion of their trade value list came out Friday and has Chris Sale at No.6, below rookies Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant. Our resident Chris Sale expert has some disagreements, about Sale being slotted behind two players who are mostly unproven and don't even outperform in projections for the next five years.
Dave Cameron acknowledges Sale's greatness more than appropriately, this is just representative of a larger trend to approach the value of prospects in a way that--we feel--underemphasizes the risk involved and overemphasizes the maximum ceiling. It's cool, though.
10. Here is a case where the shot and the chaser are in the wrong order.
The washer, which is thankfully placed in the opposing team's bullpen, for them to improbably run into and injure themselves with, is to raise money for the Boys & Girls Club. Specifically, if anyone hits a home run IN the washer--hitting the side of it doesn't count for some dumb reason--$1 million will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club.
But, here's the rub: