Gavin Floyd continues to be a hot subject of trade talks, even as he and the Chicago White Sox tune up in spring training. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are still interested in acquiring Floyd, although the Blue Jays seem like a team deeply longing for Floyd. Hopefully, Kenny Williams is willing to part with Floyd to add a bat for the White Sox's future.
The Blue Jays seem desperate to add another starting pitcher before Opening Day. According to FoxSports.com, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos scouted Joe Blanton's start for the Philadelphia Phillies, and has been discussing Floyd with the White Sox since spring training started.
Surely, the Blue Jays would prefer Floyd to Blanton. Floyd started 30 games and threw 180 innings in each of the last four years. Blanton pitched 190 innings and 30 starts from 2005 to 2009, but went only 174 innings in 28 starts in 2010 and 38 innings in eight 2011 starts (relief appearances excluded). Both have good control, allowing a bit more than two walks per nine innings.
He's $1.5 million cheaper than Blanton and three years younger.
Furthermore, Floyd hasn't had health problems during his four years as a starter, whereas Blanton missed much of the 2011 season due to right elbow inflammation.
Williams Must Give Up Floyd In Exchange for a Young Bat
Williams should recognize that he has some position players that will soon need to be replaced, and trading Floyd to replace them may be their only options. Alex Rios and Paul Konerko aren't getting younger, and their replacements aren't coming up through the farm system.
At that, hardly any of the players the White Sox draft rise through the system to become starters. Gordon Beckham and Chris Getz are the only players the White Sox have drafted in the last 10 years who became everyday starters for multiple seasons.
Williams' practice has been to trade White Sox prospects and others for prospects from other teams. That has generally worked, bringing in real contributors like Floyd and Carlos Quentin.
Now, Williams has to make it happen again by trading Floyd for a rising bat in the Blue Jays system. Two players Williams should go after are Anthony Gose and Travis d'Arnaud.
Gose is a solid center field prospect. Gose, the No. 39 prospect in Baseball America's rankings, hit 16 home runs and had a .349 OBP at Double-A New Hampshire last season. Gose could easily supplant Rios once he reaches the majors if the White Sox grabbed him.
D'Arnaud is a terrific catching prospect. Ranked No. 12 in Baseball America, he hit 21 home runs for New Hampshire last year and had a .371 OBP. If the White Sox were to acquire d'Arnaud, he would be able to either take A.J. Pierzynski's place if he proves to be better than Tyler Flowers or replace the lost first base power after Konerko retires.
Getting either Gose or d'Arnuad would be a must in order to pick up some offense for a team that's middling at best at getting runners on base and scoring.
Williams Must Give In
Williams surely recognizes that he has a limited amount of time to get value for Floyd and remove his $7 million payroll hit. Moving Floyd's salary would be a relief for Williams as the White Sox payroll looks to break $100 million again.
Meanwhile, he needs to improve the White Sox future in the one way he hasn't since the start of the offseason—adding a young bat. With Konerko's expected decline and impending retirement, the White Sox are going to need a great deal of scoring and on-base capability.
Anthopoulos seems desperate to add to the Blue Jays rotation before the 2012 season opens, and Williams must give in to his longing for Floyd. In the act, Williams should use Anthopoulos' desperation as leverage to get a high prospect like Gose or d'Arnaud. The timing may be optimal.