The Marcell Ozuna/White Sox rumor has a familiar shape

Back in spring training shortly after Eloy Jiménez was optioned to the minors, Dominican reporter Héctor Gómez said that Jiménez was in the process of hammering out an eight-year extension worth up to $100 million. The rumor sat out there before a day before Ken Rosenthal shot it down for being “inaccurate and unrealistic.”

Five days later, Gómez resurfaced the report with a revision — still eight years, but down to $65 million or so, and $75 million to $80 million with incentives. This time, the American press didn’t refute the report, but instead corroborated the deal with additional details within the hour. The guaranteed number of years and dollars fell further when it became official, but Gómez was ultimately vindicated for his going out on a limb (and it appeared that his information aligned with the contract’s max value).

That sequence from March is what comes to mind when trying to make sense of this Marcell Ozuna story, which also comes from Dominican media, albeit from a different reporter. Frank Castillo is the source, and Gomez, his colleague, circulated it to his English-speaking audience.

Castillo’s report from Saturday, which said Ozuna would be traveling to the United States on Sunday to sign with the White Sox today, has already been shot down by American reporters like Bruce Levine and Jon Heyman. To their credit, there’s at least one hole in the story. Here’s ESPN reporter Enrique Rojas talking to Ozuna at a baseball charity event in Santo Domingo Sunday evening:

That tweet translates to “Marcell Ozuna in Santo Domingo with the shirt he wants to continue wearing.”

So it’s entirely possible that Castillo has bad information, or at least incomplete information that can one or two news cycles can render outdated. However, if the Jiménez story stands as a precedent of sorts, there’s a non-negligible chance that Castillo has the general gist of the story correct, but maybe it’s just a little too aggressive on specifics, and thus is easier for the team to shoot down without straight-up lying.

If nothing else, it’s fun to see the White Sox back in a position of adding talent to the point that we have to translate tweets from reporters with whom we haven’t been acquainted. Hot stove season is back, baby!

* * * * * * * * *

Speaking of reports from the Dominican Republic, Ben Badler recently published his review of the recent crop of White Sox international signings at Baseball America.

Yolbert Sanchez is still the high-floor/low-ceiling prospect he was reported to be prior to July 2, with no loud tools but a decent set of skills as long as his shortstop glove can lead the way. The reports on Elijah Tatis and Wilfred Veras are more enlightening — Tatis as a terrific athlete who shows feel at shortstop but needs reps in all senses, and Veras as a potential power-hitting third baseman.

But I was happiest that Badler circled back to Benyamin Bailey, who demanded that we pay attention to him with his performance in the Dominican Summer League. The 17-year-old Bailey emerged from obscurity to hit .324/.477/.454 with 52 walks to 40 strikeouts over 55 games, and Badler has filled in a few details.

Prior to July 2 during the end of the 2018-19 signing period, the White Sox came away with one of the more promising sleepers of the class in Benyamin Bailey, a Panamanian outfielder they gave $35,000 in April. Bailey went to the DSL and immediately raked as a 17-year-old, leading the league in OBP by hitting .324/.477/.454 with more walks (52) than strikeouts (40) in 55 games. Bailey, who turned 18 in September, is a physical monster at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and a power/speed threat, with both tools grading out above-average. At his size, Bailey’s swing will probably always have some length, but he’s a patient hitter with a good eye for the strike zone, which helped him hit immediately when he got to the DSL and faced better pitching than he was used to seeing in Panama. He’s a corner outfielder who moves well for his size, though he will probably down as he gets older.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Is there a third reporter sitting on the grassy knoll?

Eagle Bones

I assume Bailey is expected to come stateside this year after putting up that line? I’ve seen him mentioned here, but I admittedly don’t pay much attention to these DSL guys until they come over.

lil jimmy

it was nice to finally see video of Bailey. The leg kick that comes down with toes in, then sets up a hip turn with the swing, engaging his lower half, was unusual. Not something I recall ever seeing.


Baseball America will be releasing their White Sox top ten today. I’d imagine top 7 is pretty consistent with everyone, but who knows after that.

Eagle Bones

I’m having trouble getting The Board to load over at FG, so I’m probably forgetting guys, but who would you consider the top 7? I’d assume the top is probably something like Robert, Madrigal, Kopech, Vaughn and I guess Dunning. Am I forgetting some others in or close to that top tier? After them, it seems like a lot of question marks. Are we assuming Stiever and/or Walker are now comfortably above all the questionable bats?


I think top 7 is pretty set, with the tiers looking like this:
Tier 1: Robert
Tier 2: Kopech, Madrigal, Vaughn
Tier 3: Dunning
Tier 4: Stiever, Walker

And then after that is a tier of many…?


This is the 7 I’m thinking. I think Stiever jumping over Dunning is also a possibility.

Also, despite his issues, I’m gonna say Collins will be at 8.

Trooper Galactus

You could put any one of four players in the 8-11 range in any order and it wouldn’t look wrong because they all have some sort of upside tempered by serious issues.

Collins – Not really a catcher, huge K issues, big bat/OBP potential
Rutherford – No carrying tool, power has not developed, still young-ish
Adolfo – Can’t stay healthy, severe swing issues, huge power potential/arm
Basabe – Can’t stay healthy, severe swing issues, five-tool potential

Perhaps more distressing is that, as bad as 2019 was for this group, nobody aside from Stiever/Walker really forced their way into or past this tier.


However, I will say BA sometimes leans towards recent draft picks. In their midseason list in 2019, they had Thompson and Dalquist at 6 and 7. Since their value hasn’t dropped in the last six months, I don’t see what would lead BA to drop them in the rankings.

They also had Dunning 11 and Stiever 15 on that list and I would disagree with that.

Eagle Bones

Depending on the reports on Stiever’s stuff, moving him up into that area would make sense. I’m still having some trouble reconciling Walker with the other OFs. His numbers were obviously better, but he’s also on the older side (he’s the same age as Basabe and older than Rutherford) and there still seems to be doubts about whether he can stick in CF or not. I might still keep Basabe ahead of him (especially if you think his drop in pop last year is easily explained by his injury). I’m guessing all of these outlets will be all over the place after the top 4.


True, my inclusion of Walker may be premature. Those OF’ers are just a cluster of question marks. I can’t blame anyone for ranking one above the other. Personally, I don’t have Basabe a tick lower based on the K%.


According to my source this will come true.

— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) February 7, 2019


“If nothing else, it’s fun to see the White Sox back in a position of adding talent to the point that we have to translate tweets from reporters with whom we haven’t been acquainted.”

It’s fun to read this as subtle shade directed at Bruce Levine.


Ozuna looks in peak off-season shape in that picture, although it’s hard to look good in the jersey over collared shirt combo.