MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

AL Central looking like one powerhouse division

Tigers are reigning champs, but pennant-winning Royals, Indians, White Sox eye top spot

AL Central looking like one powerhouse division

The Tigers are the king of the American League Central, and the king is always given his due. They would probably be the division favorites if the 2015 season began today.

But in this case probably is a big word.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox unveil Samardzija, Robertson, Melky

Three offseason additions introduced at U.S. Cellular Field

White Sox unveil Samardzija, Robertson, Melky

CHICAGO -- Rick Hahn looked at the large crowd assembled in the U.S. Cellular Field Conference and Learning Center and presented a perfect opening line for the Tuesday afternoon news conference introducing Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera as the newest members of the White Sox.

"So how was your week?" said a smiling Hahn, drawing laughter from the group.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Melky, White Sox have 3-year deal

Outfielder expected to hit second behind Eaton

Melky, White Sox have 3-year deal

CHICAGO -- Two primary reasons stand out for the White Sox being able to announce a three-year, $42 million deal with Melky Cabrera on Tuesday morning, prior to the afternoon news conference at U.S. Cellular Field introducing the switch-hitting outfielder, Jeff Samardzija and David Robertson.

Those reasons are White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and an excited, confident White Sox fan base, who have responded positively to this flurry of offseason moves.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Samardzija, Lester are right fits in Windy City

Pair of aces sure to add plenty of spice to City Series rivalry

Samardzija, Lester are right fits in Windy City

CHICAGO -- With apologies to the late Bob Wills and all Texans, this Hot Stove season has been a tale of the Chicago two step, with the White Sox and Cubs adding aces through a series of calculations and reactions that both teams believe could not have worked out better.

Not only did Jeff Samardzija jump from the A's to the White Sox, with Jon Lester being signed to replace him on the North Side, but the series of events that led them to Chicago bodes well for both teams.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wave of enthusiasm fuels White Sox momentum

Fan reaction to offseason moves encourages club to push limits

Wave of enthusiasm fuels White Sox momentum

CHICAGO -- If you improve it, they will come.

That theme seems to be playing out on the South Side of Chicago, with the fans' huge response to the six offseason additions made by the White Sox giving the team greater confidence for bolder moves in the immediate and distant future.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox, Penny reportedly agree to Minors deal

White Sox, Penny reportedly agree to Minors deal

Brad Penny is back in baseball. The veteran right-hander has agreed to a Minor League contract with the White Sox, according to multiple reports. The club hasn't confirmed the agreement.

Penny, 36, finished the 2014 season with the Marlins, posting a 6.88 ERA over eight appearances (four starts) after signing with Miami in June. He was out of baseball in '13.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox reshaping began with Avisail deal

Acquisition of right fielder in '13 signaled club's desire to get young, impact players

White Sox reshaping began with Avisail deal

CHICAGO -- When Jose Abreu picked the White Sox over other teams pursuing the free agent from Cuba during the 2013 offseason and quickly proved he could be a frontline Major League player early in the 2014 season, the White Sox reshaping program moved into high gear.

That perception concerning the South Siders seems to be somewhat prevalent but not entirely accurate.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Offseason of major upgrades for White Sox

Addition of free-agent outfielder Cabrera is club's latest move

Offseason of major upgrades for White Sox

One of these days, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is going to take his foot off the accelerator, isn't he?

As holiday shoppers go, he and the White Sox suddenly seem tireless.

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Phil Rogers is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Meetings were just tip of iceberg for White Sox

Club adds starter Samardzija, closer Robertson during productive week

Meetings were just tip of iceberg for White Sox

SAN DIEGO -- No award was presented to general manager Rick Hahn on Thursday afternoon naming the White Sox as the unofficial winner of the Winter Meetings.

That sort of prize rates as subjective at best, with numerous other teams making interesting and impactful moves during a frenzied four-day period in San Diego. But if everything runs as efficiently and successfully as the White Sox have in ripping through their needs over the last few months, then Hahn will have very few complaints during his tenure.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox acquire lefty Jennings from Marlins

White Sox acquire lefty Jennings from Marlins

SAN DIEGO -- Dan Jennings became the latest addition to the White Sox push for 2015 contention, when the South Siders picked up the left-handed reliever from the Marlins on Thursday in exchange for right-hander Andre Rienzo.

The 27-year-old posted an 0-2 record with a 1.34 ERA over 40 1/3 innings for the Marlins in 2014, striking out 38 and recording three holds over 47 relief appearances. Thirty-eight of his 47 trips to the mound were scoreless, and he allowed three home runs.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Creativity key to rest of White Sox offseason

After series of big deals, club seeks final pieces

Creativity key to rest of White Sox offseason

SAN DIEGO -- When it comes to the 2015 White Sox lineup and overall pitching alignment, manager Robin Ventura knows the following with almost 100 percent certainty:

Chris Sale will start Opening Day on April 6 in Kansas City against the defending American League champions. Jeff Samardzija gets the call in Game 2 on April 8, and Jose Quintana closes out this brief three-game road trip on April 9.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All-Chicago World Series? Optimism high in Windy City

Significant deals give White Sox, Cubs hope for 2015

All-Chicago World Series? Optimism high in Windy City

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Dempster attended an NHL contest last week between the Blackhawks and Blues, featuring a truly intense hockey rivalry between a pair of upper-tier Western Conference teams.

But many of the fans wanted to talk baseball with Dempster. They already felt the Chicago Hot Stove buzz.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox acquire Shark in six-player deal

Chicago also gets young righty Ynoa for Bassitt, Phegley, Ravelo, Semien

White Sox acquire Shark in six-player deal

SAN DIEGO -- The dream stands as a simple one for Jeff Samardzija, who is the newest member of the Chicago White Sox following the announcement of a six-player deal with Oakland at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday.

Samardzija's goal is to get a start in an Interleague game at a National League ballpark where he actually can hit and connect on a home run. It's not so much about the thrill of helping the White Sox with his bat, as he already has two career homers. It's about going deep and hearing Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, the team's venerable and colorful play-by-play man who Samardzija listened to growing up in Indiana, call said long ball.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox finalize 4-year deal with Robertson

Ready to close for young bullpen, right-hander's contract worth $46 million

White Sox finalize 4-year deal with Robertson

SAN DIEGO -- You've heard of "Chicago tough," a phrase coined by executive vice president Ken Williams for the sort of intangible the White Sox are looking for in a player.

Well, David Robertson was New York tough enough to capably replace Major League Baseball's greatest all-time closer in the Yankees' Mariano Rivera during the 2014 season. Robertson will be bringing a little bit of that East Coast bravado to the Midwest as the last line of White Sox pitching, with his four-year, $46 million deal announced by the White Sox on Wednesday.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Provas among Scouts of the Year

Provas among Scouts of the Year

SAN DIEGO -- Mike Brito didn't know it at the time, but striking out in the ninth inning with the bases loaded would launch a productive Major League scouting career.

Brito was playing semipro ball in 1976 in Los Angeles when he faced Bobby Castillo, recently released by the Royals. Brito was so impressed when Castillo fooled him with a screwball that he hooked him up with a Mexican League club. When Castillo excelled there, the Dodgers took note and offered Brito a scouting job -- provided he could land Castillo for them.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Windy City resurgence? A case for each club

MLB.com columnists Justice, Rogers on why 2015 will be special for Cubs, White Sox

Windy City resurgence? A case for each club

The Cubs and White Sox each won 73 games last season. Each finished 17 games out in their division. But both teams have been quite active this offseason, signing free agents and making trades, and both should be expected to at least make big moves upward next season -- even before either of them make any more deals.

Which Chicago team has improved itself the most this offseason? Columnists Richard Justice and Phil Rogers offer their takes on each.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Excitement percolating after White Sox moves

Offseason deals put club in AL Central discussion

Excitement percolating after White Sox moves

SAN DIEGO -- Don Cooper talked by phone with then-free agent David Robertson about one month ago, focusing on the same stuff he chatted about with Zach Duke during an earlier offseason recruiting pitch to the left-hander.

He wanted Robertson to know what the White Sox were about, how much they wanted Robertson as part of the pitching staff and how he fit. At the end of the conversation, Cooper saved Robertson's phone number just in case.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

It's been a short trip to stardom for Samardzija

Two-sport athlete from northern Indiana making home in Chicago

It's been a short trip to stardom for Samardzija

SAN DIEGO -- By the age of 30, Jeff Samardzija will have played football and baseball for Notre Dame, pitched meaningful innings in relief and as a starter for the Chicago Cubs and become a key piece of the White Sox starting rotation.

Not a bad run for a native of Merrillville, Ind., situated just 52 miles from the heart of Chicago.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bassitt to give away White Sox gear following trade

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Bassitt to give away White Sox gear following trade

If you're still shopping for Christmas gifts for a special White Sox fan in your life, head to Twitter and retweet former Sox farmhand Chris Bassitt now.

Bassitt, one of several players traded to Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija deal, is giving away sweatshirts, fleeces, shorts and other clothing over social media.

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MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

White Sox know they still have work to do

Defensive, lineup upgrades would help revamped rotation, bullpen

White Sox know they still have work to do

SAN DIEGO -- There's no one-stop shopping at the Winter Meetings, not when you're looking for ballplayers with the kind of talent that consistently tilts Major League games in your favor.

As great of a job as the White Sox have done collecting difference-makers this offseason, they can't stop with Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke and the others already added. The good news for their fans is that the front office knows it.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Just like that, White Sox reshape outlook in AL Central

Just like that, White Sox reshape outlook in AL Central

SAN DIEGO -- The Chicago White Sox redefined themselves on Monday. Along the way, they redefined the American League Central as well.

This was a day that reminded us why we love the Hot Stove League. One day we're focused on this team or that one. And in an instant, everything changes.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox big part of MLB's cancer initiatives

LUNGevity auction features experiences from all 30 clubs

White Sox big part of MLB's cancer initiatives

SAN DIEGO -- Gerald Penner was a close friend and trusted colleague of White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf for more than 45 years, until Penner lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 69 on Jan. 21, 2010.

Penner served as outside general counsel and secretary to the White Sox board of directors beginning in 1981. He also served as outside general counsel for the Bulls beginning in 1985. The two met in 1964, according to Reinsdorf, at the law firm of Chapman and Cutler.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox make moves with immediate impact

Deals for Samardzija, Robertson highlight Day 1 of Winter Meetings

White Sox make moves with immediate impact

SAN DIEGO -- Little doubt existed that the White Sox prime goals for the 2014 Winter Meetings stood as finding a right-handed starter to supplement their left-handed-dominant rotation and adding bullpen help. 

The White Sox actually were the subject of rumors before the Winter Meetings officially began Monday morning. USA Today reported that the South Siders became frontrunners to acquire Jeff Samardzija after serious talks between the two clubs took place. A late-night deal with the A's reportedly was made to send Samardzija to Chicago in exchange for infielder Marcus Semien, right-hander Chris Bassitt and a prospect. The New York Post reported that the White Sox had serious interest in free-agent closer David Robertson, who agreed to a four-year deal late Monday night.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox claim catcher Brantly off waivers

Backstop hit .255 for Marlins' Triple-A affiliate in 2014

White Sox claim catcher Brantly off waivers

SAN DIEGO -- The White Sox now have five catchers on their 40-man roster after claiming Rob Brantly off waivers from the Marlins on Monday.

That number alone would indicate a move to come, although the Brantly addition certainly wasn't done with a trade in mind.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minoso, Pierce come up short in HOF voting

Minoso, Pierce come up short in HOF voting

SAN DIEGO -- Jerry Reinsdorf understands how seriously voters on the Baseball Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee take their responsibility, having been on the voting committee two or three times himself.

Every nominated player was vetted very carefully, according to the White Sox chairman's explanation of the process, and Reinsdorf termed it as "some of the most enjoyable times I've had." Even with that dedication in mind for this year's committee, Reinsdorf still was disappointed that Minnie Minoso and Billy Pierce, two 2015 candidates with strong White Sox ties, didn't get elected. He felt they both clearly deserved the honor.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Williams to remain with White Sox

Blue Jays denied permission to talk to executive

Williams to remain with White Sox

SAN DIEGO -- For White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, the time was just not right for Kenny Williams to explore an opportunity with the Blue Jays, who were denied permission to talk to Williams about joining their organization.

"I talked to Jerry. He just felt it was not the right time because we have White Sox work to do," said Williams, who is moving into his third season as the team's executive vice president. "I completely understand that and support that.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Abreu adds GIBBY to rookie year honors

Abreu adds GIBBY to rookie year honors

CHICAGO -- Jose Abreu's exceptional first year with the White Sox is closing out with yet another prestigious award.

The hard-hitting first baseman, who came to the South Side of Chicago from Cuba via free agency, earned MLB.com's Rookie of the Year Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award. Winners were announced live during an awards show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday night, and Abreu was selected as Major League Baseball's top rookie overall.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Konerko's career commemorated in book: read an excerpt

Konerko's career commemorated in book: read an excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the new, limited-edition "Paul Konerko: Farewell to a Friend" book, benefiting Chicago White Sox Charities. Order your copy or give as the perfect White Sox holiday gift by visiting www.whitesox.com/pkbooks.

There are too many highlights to total up or comprehend when perusing the more than 2,200 games played by Paul Konerko for the White Sox, or studying the close to 2,300 hits he recorded. The captain stands in the club's top five all-time in 12 offensive categories as his 16 years on the South Side come to a close. And his leadership provided over his time in Chicago can't be measured in numbers.

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