Following up: Chicago is a baseball (broadcast) city

Cubs fans smarting over Len Kasper’s jump to the White Sox radio booth probably aren’t hurting as much now.

Marquee Sports Network announced a … well, marquee hire to fill their play-by-play vacancy, bringing over Boog Sciambi from ESPN to handle everyday broadcasting duties up north. Sciambi will still handle some national baseball duties for ESPN, but Marquee’s general manager said 130 games is “a reasonable number to expect.”

Assuming Kasper and Sciambi assimilate into their new team’s daily duties as well as expected, the settling of the broadcast carousel is a boon for the city’s baseball reputation. The White Sox and Cubs now employ three of the most recognized progressive voices in the game, and while Pat Hughes doesn’t flaunt such a fluency in FanGraphs, his status as a venerable game-caller has Chicago going 4-for-4 in quality listens.

Hughes is also the one broadcaster you couldn’t swap with the others and generate the same vibe, although Benetti’s chemistry with Steve Stone gives him a defining edge. I suppose it’s one of those good problems when the concern is that every broadcaster is prepared in the same professional way, but different approaches are also welcome.

PERTINENT: Len Kasper wants to do this

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Liam Hendriks, who has been tied to the White Sox with varying levels of intimacy over the winter, stepped up his courtship with other suitors. He visited the Blue Jays’ spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Monday, which is more than any other team can say thus far, and interest from the Dodgers has also spiked, at least allegedly.

However, the White Sox remain linked:

PERTINENT: How badly do the White Sox need Liam Hendriks?

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Other assorted notes:

*The Giants signed one of my preferred backup catcher candidates, Curt Casali, to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Sandy León, who was not among my choices to back up Yasmani Grandal, landed a minor-league deal with the Marlins that’s worth $1.25 million if he makes a roster.

PERTINENT: Sox Machine 2020-21 Offseason Plan Project: Second catcher

*The MLB season is expected to open spring training on schedule, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic. Unlike last spring and early summer, there aren’t government restrictions prohibiting teams from conducting operations. Moreover, the NBA has opened its season despite an unusually short offseason, and the NHL is set to do the same, so the league looks like it lacks the legal standing to unilaterally impose a shorter schedule to save money.

PERTINENT: Report: 2021 MLB season might require delay

*Baseball America posted a very, very early mock draft, and once scrolling down more than I’m used to in order to find the White Sox, I see they’re tied to Wake Forest righty Ryan Cusick at No. 22.

(Photo of the 1906 World Series from the Boston Public Library)

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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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I hope WMVP 1000 AM will boost their signal to reach deeper into Iowa. WGN was on the fringe of reception which I welcomed the last couple years. WMVP is just static. What is the point of playing the field of dreams game to appeal to neglected Iowa baseball fans, if your broadcast signal fades only 100 miles into Iowa.


My hope is that, like most of the past free agents we’ve been loudly interested in, this Liam Hendriks signing never happens for the Sox. It feels like such a poor allocation of money considering the team’s current bullpen strength and their glaring other needs, and every dime on the books is another excuse for the Sox to sit back and watch the Machados, Springers, and Brantleys of the world sign elsewhere because we’re at our self-imposed payroll ceiling.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I’ve read this sentiment a lot, but I’m not going to lie. If the Sox sign Hendriks I’m not going to be mad. I agree that there are bigger needs, but 1) they have the money to fill all of them if the so choose (which they won’t) and 2) I doubt that if they miss out on Hendriks they are going to spend all of that money on someone else. So I’ll just be happy that they signed a good player rather than do nothing.


While I generally agree that spending big bucks on bullpen arms is not an efficient allocation of resources, and I don’t think a 4-year contract with Hendriks is a great idea, I also don’t think the Sox should sit on their laurels and rely on their current bullpen strength just based on 2020 performances.

Of course, 2020 was a shortened season providing smaller sample sizes, with the pandemic also affecting rosters and individual players in ways that might limit the reliabiliaty of 2020 stats as barometers of future performance. In addition, of the 13 teams to score fewer than 270 runs in 2020, 9 of them were from the AL/NL Central — i.e., the only teams the White Sox faced in 2020. Maybe some of the reason for that low scoring was the effectiveness of the Sox bullpen arms, but it really looks like the Sox pitchers faced the bottom end of the offensive spectrum in 2020, and as such the 2020 stats might be skewing the perceived strength of our existing bullpen.

More specific concerns —

Colome: while his peripherals may not have been great and he could make you hold your breath when he came in, his 0.81 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and converting 12 of 13 save opportunities was one of the strenghts of the bullpen that is no longer there.

Crochet: has pitched a grand total of 6.2 innings of pro ball, experienced forearm soreness through those few innings, and the Sox might want to give him some minor league seasoning to stretch out his arm/give him starts to develop him as an MLB starter (or just to work on his stuff as a reliever).

Heuer/Foster: fewer than 30 career MLB innings each, with their 2020 numbers being better than their previous minor league stats (especially in the case of Foster).

Bummer: is returning from injury after a lightened workload in 2020.

Marshall: has been good in 2019-2020, but he sucked (in limited innings) from 2015-2018 with his 6.08 ERA/1.88 WHIP in 2015 representing his best results during that 4-year stretch.

Fry: except for a stretch in 2018, hasn’t really been particularly good. Not terrible and definitely useful as a lefty bullpen arm, but not great by any measure.

Cordero: even if some of the fault here lies with how Renteria used him, neither his 2020 nor his career numbers are good.

Burdi: injury history and inconsistent performance in 2020

Ruiz: a forgotten name, but nothing in is MLB career to make one expect much from

Lambert: uncertain comeback from TJ surgery; uncertain role as starter or reliever

Johnson: looks good in the minors so far, but has only pitched 18 innings at AA


Well, that’s one way to analyze a bullpen…

While I agree the Sox could use another bullpen arm, the fact is the Sox *do* have a good bullpen without one. Identifying a flaw in every player doesn’t tell us much. You can do that for literally any player, save for maybe Mike Trout.


Don’t get me wrong. The fact is that they did perform well in 2020, and I’m excited about the potential that our bullpen arms have. But I don’t think there is enough evidence to confidently expect the Sox bullpen to post as strong results in 2021. I certainly hope they do. But I would like to see them bolster that hope by signing one of the more established bullpen arms.

My preference is Rosenthal, but any of Hendriks, Colome, Hand, Yates, Bradley, or maybe Trienen would be good, too. I’m less excited about guys like Soria, Melancon, Greene, but they did fine in 2020, and would certainly bring experience and longer track records to the table.


Sure, let’s an add arm. I’m with you 100%. In fact, I’ve pushed for Hendricks over Brantley.

My point was just pointing out a flaw with every player doesn’t tell us much. You could do what you just did with every player on the team and it obscures the fact that, when it comes to bullpen, the Sox are better off than most teams.


Agree to disagree about the merits of my post.

I don’t view it as simply “pointing out a flaw with every player”. Maybe my comment about Marshall’s 2015-18 numbers was pushing it, and I’m not super concerned about Bummer coming back from his injuries, but the loss of Colome, the small sample sizes against weak competition for Heuer/Foster/Crochet, and the persistent mediocrity of Cordero and Fry are actual facts that should not be so easily dismissed when evaluating the bullpen.


I suppose to address the replies to this, I should say that if this is the absolute ONLY way the Sox are going to spend any money, then in that case I’m for it. I just think there are better uses for this money.

Eagle Bones

Considering they haven’t / don’t appear to be seriously pursuing any of those players without Hendriks on their books, maybe we shouldn’t worry about that? I agree, it’s not a great way to allocate resources, but I’ll worry about a contract preventing them from making another signing when it actually happens.

Last edited 2 years ago by Eagle Bones

The Casali signing is interesting as it indicates the Giants won’t be sticking with a Posey-Bart tandem. Whether that’s because Posey will play more 1B, Bart stays in the minors to work on his contact issues, or there is a trade brewing, we shall see.

The Giants are one of the more interesting organizations to watch, as their transactions since Zaidi took over do not simply point to a tear-down. They are the only team in baseball I could see signing both of Trevor Bauer and Carlos Rodón this winter.

Eagle Bones

Hopefully Ryan is a better performer than his Uncle John. Just a terrible IMDb roll.

*Baseball America posted a very, very early mock draft, and once scrolling down more than I’m used to in order to find the White Sox, I see they’re tied to Wake Forest righty Ryan Cusick at No. 22.


Lots of good films, including the best Chicago-based movie, and a Black Sox one.

Trooper Galactus

You’d think the White Sox would be somewhat less obsessed with using their day 1 picks on big program college players constantly, given what the returns have been over the years.

Last edited 2 years ago by Trooper Galactus

This article is about basketball, but the logistics of training staffs grappling with COVID protocols will be relevant for when baseball comes back.

One league health source who is close to the matter added, “What scares me — and I know it’s happening — is that their normal job of doing health care on players [is impaired]. I’ve had some trainers tell me, ‘I haven’t touched a player in two weeks because I’ve been so busy doing all this logistics and testing and all that.’ That’s concerning. That’s definitely what I don’t want to happen.”

A second Western Conference head athletic trainer agreed with the above sentiment.

“There will be some decline in player health care,” that head athletic trainer said. “But I think the larger part will be the overload of the care providers.”


Separate issue, but this reminds that I wonder about the state of minor leaguers following last season. Those who were not part of a formal program like the alternate sites, missed access to trainers, didn’t have their normal regimen, diet, etc. I wonder if we will see any effects on performance or health.


I imagine so, and now MLB has informed teams that the leagues below AAA will have the start of their seasons delayed.

The article I linked above discussions how exhausted NBA training staff are just trying to follow the protocols. The NBA seems to have more comprehensive protocols than the other professional team sports, but I imagine trying to keep a team healthy during a pandemic has major disruptions to normal treatment of, say, pitchers. Even for veterans, this is a new world with new dangers, and one where the people tasks with keeping other people healthy are shouldering burdens we cannot take for granted.

Last edited 2 years ago by asinwreck
Trooper Galactus

Unless they’re dead set on adding a top lefty to their pen, I guess. Even so, I’m guessing the Blue Jays won’t let themselves get outbid by the White Sox.


Don’t worry, the White Sox will make sure the Blue Jays won’t get out bid

Eagle Bones

Hendriks is a righty?

Trooper Galactus

Weird, I don’t know why I thought he was a lefty. I’m legitimately getting worried at how much information is getting conflated and confused in my brain these days.


For whatever reason, Hendricks feels like a Sox signing to me. I think it’ll be Hendricks, a tier 3 ish SP, and a DH on a minor league deal.


Benetti’s chemistry with Steve Stone gives him a defining edge” I might have mentioned this earlier – but I had eye surgery late August with a lot of time flat on my back over the next few weeks – and Benetti and Stone (and a red hot White Sox team) helped pass the hours – entertaining and educational, smoothly imparting endless baseball knowledge