9 Players That Could Be Dealt With a Profitable Sox Deal Now Originally Featured On NBC Sports Chicago
Only last summer Chicago White Sox fans saw the cost of making a great trade.
They’ll likely see that for years to come, too.
It took Nick Madrigal and Cody Hoyer to get Craig Kimbrill out of the Chicago Cubs on that big deadline deal, a deal that, although it didn’t work out at the time, seemed worth the hefty price tag. Months ago, Dane Dunning went the other way in the deal that landed Lance Lane. For a World Championship competitor to bring in the kinds of pieces needed to chase a championship, promising youngsters are the typical cost.
RELATED: Why Sox’s comeback in Kimbrel’s potential trade is hard to predict
White Sox fans may be pulling their collective hair from the fact that the failed acquisition of Kimbrel means the team is in desperate need of a second baseman this winter. But that’s what should be high on Rick Hahn’s to-do list once the lockdown period is over and baseball can resume—no matter how briefly before the start of spring training.
As previously checked, the seemingly best way for the White Sox to block that hole per second using an impact player would be via trade. And while Base 2 is at the top of the list, Han could explore plenty of other trading scenarios in an effort to tease a vogue elsewhere on the list as well. There is an opportunity to add a large bat playing on the right field. And despite a full five-man rotation, many fans are hoping for another dominant arm to join the starting team.
If the White Sox were to do any of that, they would be forced into another situation where they would need to give away some young talent to get promoted to run in the World Championships.
So who is even available to let go of right now? lets take alook.
He’s not young, but he has the unusual advantage of being publicly discussed as a business candidate by his general manager, which makes a deal seem likely. It’s certainly possible that Kimbrel can make the White Sox a squad maker. Even after two months of being with the White Sox, he’s attracting a lot of teams, especially those looking for a closer look. His numbers before the cubs trade – 0.49 PM in 39 relief trips – were so good that the Han had no trouble finding an interested party. It’s just how much he can get in return after Kimbrel’s incredible failures against Liam Hendriks in 2021.
It seems highly unlikely that the White Sox will trade with Vaughn. He had a successful rookie season, garnered consistent reviews from the brass team, and his incredible versatility gives the White Sox a fantastic luxury, which is a big part of their plans in 2022 and beyond. But we said many of the same things about Madrigal. The deadline bolstered Hahn’s repeated insistence that he never take anything off the table, splitting him from a player who despite being injured at the end of the season was his second starting player and seemed to be for far too long. Vaughn comes with what’s expected to be a higher offensive ceiling, of course. But this is the kind of thing that can achieve all-stars in the trade. Nobody’s suggesting Vaughn is going anywhere, but Madrigal is a cub now, something we thought was impossible at this time last year.
Sheets and Vaughn were rookies last season, getting a taste of the big leagues for the first time, so the numbers they set in 2021 should not be expected to be repeated in 2022 and beyond. But while each of them had their own struggles, they came together to form an extremely frightening power-thumper. Vaughn controlled the left throw, with a 0.938 OPS against them, while the Right Sheets crushed to hit the 0.900 OPS. Keeping them as a platoon in the DH or the Right or anywhere for 2022 wouldn’t be bad for the White Sox. But Sheets could also be among the players that command interest in business conversations, and this left-handed pop is a prized thing – he’s had four hits in three playoffs. What is the obvious downside to detaching from the sheets? He can turn into the kind of influential guy the White Sox is looking for, especially as time goes on and more opportunities open up in first base, in the right field, or in DH. But remember, it’s time to beat the south side now.
The White Sox is still figuring out how it will use Crochet, the first player in 2020 promoted to the major leagues, in 2022. Given the mass exit from the Major League, it might be better to keep him there than add to fix the relief squads. But they view it as a long-term start, not that there’s room for it out there at the moment. Crochet could well join Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and Michael Kopech as spinners for the near future, once veterans like Dallas Keuchel and Lynn finally move on. But he also has enough of an upside that he can rip a hunk away from another team looking to install a skinny left man – remember Chris Seal Companies on Recruit Night? – in its own rotation in the future.
Small leagues are no longer the thing to watch for White Sox fans during their rebuilding years. But while there is a shortage of big name names like Kopech, Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert, the closet isn’t completely bare. Kelley is one of the most flattering names for teams that might be asked what it takes to partner with a major influential player. Maybe not enough to build a package around it himself, but people were thrilled when White Sox Kelly, a hot high school pitcher, landed in the second round of the 2020 draft. That thrill may extend to potential business partners as well.
Burger has gone through a lot and has become a darling of White Sox fans in the process. There doesn’t seem to be much opportunity at the big league level for the former first player, which is what happened with Yun Moncada in third place. Burger played second base last season, but even after Madrigal fell, the White Sox wasn’t keen on throwing a burger out there as a starter every day in the midst of a playoff chase, eventually trading for Cesar Hernandez. But he still ranks third in the organization, buoyed by a great year of returning to action in Triple-A Charlotte. Sure a burger could get a chance as a reserve at the big league level, but perhaps the best way to solve the second base problem is not to put a burger in there but use it to fetch someone else?
The White Sox is in a winning position now, and although Hahn has remained committed to ensuring long-term success, the window for competition is now open. So someone with a big league arrival date expected in 2025 might be relatively expendable as the White Sox chases a championship nowadays. Montgomery was the team’s first pick in last summer’s draft, a high school that climbed to the top of the organization’s potential rankings. He’s a left-handed bat, only 19 years old and comparable to Cory Seeger – not to mention that Tony La Russa loves what he sees. Looks like he’ll look good in a White Sox half a decade from now. But that same plea may allow Han to get the chops he needs for his modern title pursuits. No one should be envious of making that kind of decision – trading away from a teen’s POS hasn’t gone the White Sox’s way lately – but that’s life in the middle of a discord window.
Like Burger and Sheets drafted in rounds one and two to be anchors in future dreamland, the White Sox may use a similar strategy with Montgomery and Cath, the latter becoming a third-place main man picked from Top School in the second round of last summer’s draft. Cath is already a potential No. 4 in the organization, ranking third behind Montgomery, and although the guys called Moncada and Tim Anderson, two vets who can barely make it up the hill, likely have something to say about how long it will take to ascend. To big business finally for Montgomery and Cath, there’s plenty of promise out there – enough of it that the win-time factors that apply to Montgomery can also apply to Cath’s Hahn business talks.
It doesn’t seem likely that the White Sox will pay a few million dollars to get the best player in the 2021 international signing category just to trade him. We’ll see if Céspedes can provide a field upgrade from within the organization as soon as this year. Until then, though, perhaps only a “take nothing off the table” approach could provide a path for him to be the commercial piece that makes a big impact in the league.
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