White Sox Notes: Cease, Kopech, Colas

White Sox Notes: Cease, Kopech, Colas


Dylan Cease was among the likelier players to be traded over the offseason. The White Sox stuck firm to an asking price that teams haven’t been willing to meet, though, and it seems the hard-throwing righty will instead be a top deadline candidate. GM Chris Getz declared at the start of camp that the Sox anticipate Cease being on the Guaranteed Rate Field mound on Opening Day.

That remains the case, assistant general manager Josh Barfield tells Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Barfield said that while opposing teams remain in contact with the Sox about Cease, there’s “nothing imminent” on the trade front. “We’re preparing him to be the Opening Day starter,” Barfield reiterated.

Barring a surprising acceleration in trade talks over the next three weeks, Cease will lead a rotation with a fair bit of uncertainty. KBO signee Erick Fedde is penciled into a spot. Getz has indicated the Sox prefer free agent pickup Chris Flexen as a starter, while trade acquisition Michael Soroka has a good chance at a rotation job. Returnees Michael Kopech and Garrett Crochet are battling for spots in camp.

While Crochet is stretching out from relief work to this point in his MLB career, Kopech trailed only Cease in starts for the team last year. That makes it seem likely he’ll be in the season-opening five, but manager Pedro Grifol indicated that isn’t a guarantee. “He’s getting built up to be one of our starters,” Grifol said of Kopech (link via Scott Merkin of MLB.com). “I know we want to talk about it, but I think in about another week, we’ll talk about it. Right now, everybody is just competing.”

Kopech indicated that while he prefers to occupy a rotation spot, he’s amenable to whatever role the team asks. The right-hander worked in relief in 2021, turning in a 3.50 ERA across 69 1/3 innings. He stretched out to the rotation two seasons ago. Kopech found success in his first season as a starter, outperforming middling strikeout and walk numbers to manage a 3.54 ERA in 25 appearances. His production fell off last year, as he allowed 5.43 earned runs per nine. No other pitcher with at least 100 innings walked batters more frequently. Kopech handed out free passes at an untenable 15.4% clip.

That was one of a number of disappointing performances for the Sox as they fell to a 101-loss season. On the position player side, rookie right fielder Oscar Colás had one of the more underwhelming showings. Viewed as one of the better prospects in a thin farm system, the lefty-hitting Colás managed only a .216/.257/.314 slash line over his first 75 games.  He was optioned to Triple-A midway through the season. Colás hit .272/.345/.465 over 54 games at the top minor league level.

Getz indicated that trade pickup Dominic Fletcher is in the driver’s seat for the right field job this spring. Colás has gotten some exhibition work at first base as he looks to expand his utility for a possible bench role. The Sox have used him exclusively in the outfield during regular season play in the majors and upper minors. Colás got scattered reps at first base early in his professional career in Cuba and Japan, so he’s not entirely unfamiliar with the position, but he conceded there’s an adjustment period as he tries to acclimate to the infield dirt.

“Right now, it’s just an adjustment. I can’t say I feel completely comfortable, but I’m working on feeling comfortable again there,” the 25-year-old told reporters via interpreter over the weekend (link via Merkin). “I’ll play wherever they want me to play. What I want is just to play baseball.” Colás isn’t going to be an everyday option there but could offer cover for Andrew Vaughn over the course of the season if the Sox trust him for regular season work.


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