Lockout saps usual White Sox minicamp buzz, among other things

Camelback Ranch, White Sox spring training home
(Ron Vesely/Chicago White Sox)

As Major League Baseball’s lockout seeps into January, the ooze continues to drag down standard mileposts of the White Sox offseason.

The latest casualty is the annual January White Sox minicamp in Arizona. It used to be a reliable form of vitamin D in the middle of winter. Whether it actually improved matters is questionable — Todd Steverson still got fired, after all — but I enjoyed it for the fresh audio, visuals and material regarding players everybody most wants to see.

Instead, the White Sox’s first tweet in four days offers eight seconds of Colson Montgomery before Tony La Russa sidles into view.

The video cuts off there, probably because La Russa started to sell a reverse mortgage or an unnecessary Medicare third-party plan.

Prior to that footage, the White Sox previously tweeted about their new Cane Guy bobblehead, in case you’re wondering about how deep a team needs to dig in order to present anything around the league’s blanket ban on referencing active MLBPA members. Cane Guy was a delightful subplot during the ALDS, but I don’t think his presence is going to be one that’s worth explaining to a casual fan five years from now.

Then again, the Brewers showed what not trying looks like.

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Picture a world where the White Sox feel comfortable discussing players on the 40-man roster, they might’ve mobilized behind what Jake Burger is setting out to do. Burger announced on Twitter Wednesday that he’s joining us in the content mines, although in a way that reflects his personal journey.

He described it was a “content-based website with a lot of stuff to deal with mental health awareness,” leading with a miniseries that will discuss exercises he used to pull himself out of his darkest spaces, which he described back in 2020 as he attempted to return from a second ruptured Achilles.

Burger also announced a podcast with a co-host he wouldn’t yet name. He referred to “pretty good chemistry,” so I’m going to go ahead and guess Dane Dunning.

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But in this world where team employees and team media members are prohibited from talking to players, some guys are awkwardly on their own. Ken Rosenthal used Nick Madrigal as an example of a player who might be a little more at sea due to a midseason trade that sent him to a new organization while injured.

Rosenthal opened with a story of Madrigal nearly closing on a house by Camelback Ranch, only to discover that he’d been traded across two towns, Chicago and Phoenix.

On the day of the deadline, Madrigal and Sandgren drove to the house to do a final walk-through. It was to be their last visit before Madrigal closed on the property, received the keys and celebrated his purchase. He thought nothing of it when he noticed that he missed a call from White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. Madrigal figured Hahn just wanted to check up on him, see how he was doing.

Madrigal called his GM back. Hahn delivered the news that he had been traded cross-town, not just in Chicago, but also in Phoenix, as the Cubs train on the other side of the valley. For a moment, Madrigal said he went blank. Then he asked Hahn who the White Sox were getting for him. Hahn said Kimbrel. The conversation pretty much ended there.

So he ended up backing out of his original deal and buying a property closer to the Cubs’ training facility in Mesa.

That only worked for a few months. The lockout meant that he couldn’t work out at Sloan Park, so he had to find a new place to train. And instead of communicating directly with the team about where he’s supposed to be in his rehab, he needs an intermediary to properly account for his schedule. It seems like something that can be overcome, but Madrigal’s had to return from two significant surgeries in two seasons, so it’s not like he needed the added challenge.

(Photo by Ron Vesely/Chicago White Sox)

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It feels like we’re all lockout saps.
But as a condemned Sox fan for life, how about some more rosteration?
What’s on 2d, opening day? Does Hahn snag Segura, McNeil, perhaps Kemp in a trade? At what cost? I don’t think he’s signing Story. What about a backup catcher? Does he sign Conforto and hopefully solve right-field for the next few years?


Call me a skeptic, but I expect to see Leury at 2nd and Engel in RF on opening day


You’re a skeptic


Engel’s going to be healthy on opening day? Maybe we should call you optimistic.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’m not sure Brewers season ticket holders will like getting 5 of the the same promotional bobblehead.