Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

SoxFest is a victory lap trap for the Chicago White Sox this year, but Rick Hahn won’t cop to it. “We haven’t won anything yet,” said the Sox’ GM, per The Athletic’s James Fegan. With the golden boy Cubs hanging a winter goose egg (Steven Souza notwithstanding), the White Sox’ rebuilding efforts are cusping at the right time to steal the spotlight from the crosstown Cubs. Hahn was promoted to GM late in October of 2012, the last time the Sox posted a winning record. After seven years at the helm of an extended rebuild, Hahn is getting an opportunity to show a different aspect of his GM profile as he oversees the Southsiders’ push for contention. The handling of Nick Madrigal and Michael Kopech, in particular, will be interesting litmus tests, writes Fegan. For Madrigal it’s a question of service time, an issue Hahn and company sidestepped with fellow youngster Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez by signing them to extensions. For Kopech, it’s a question of inning and pitch limits as he returns from injury. After an aggressive winter, look to Madrigal and Kopech to track their pedal-to-the-metal approach into the season. Let’s check in on a division rival…

  • A couple of injury updates for key players came out of Kansas City yesterday. Both Salvador Perez and Adalberto Mondesi are expected to be ready by opening day, per The Athletic’s Alec Lewis (twitter links). Perez hit an important benchmark yesterday, throwing down to second base for the first time since Tommy John surgery. Royals catchers were a bottom-10 unit in 2019 by measure of fWAR, wOBA, and wRC+. Power was one of Perez’s calling cards, which should help the unit if he can return without any lingering effects.
  • Mondesi, meanwhile, underwent shoulder surgery in the fall and expects to be ready. The 24-year-old is arguably the Royals’ best young player, despite a history of poor on-base skills. Speed (43 stolen bases), dynamism (20 doubles, 10 triples, 9 home runs), and lynchpin defensive skills up the middle (4 OAA, 10 DRS, 9.1 UZR) make Mondesi a key figure moving forward for the Royals. Any push for contention for the Royals will probably come coupled with another development step from Mondesi and/or the other Kansas City youngsters.

This article first appeared on MLB Trade Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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