What Under-the-Radar Players Could White Sox Target at MLB Trade Deadline?
After seeing some big-name players traded earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox are desperately trying to stay in the playoff hunt while still looking to improve their team before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline.
Trades which brought Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers to the White Sox have already heralded the team as serious contenders, despite their recent descent in the division standings.
After a lost weekend in Detroit when the White Sox suffered a sweep and lost their hold on first place in the AL Central, general manager Kenny Williams and the White Sox might not be done trying to improve their team.
Although some big names remain on the trading block, such as Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, the White Sox might not have to make another big splash to improve the roster.
There are several under-the-radar players who could either help the White Sox win now, or potentially grow with the team if a complete reboot is in order following this season.
The White Sox can also still grab some big names who have been rumored to be going elsewhere, and in light of what some teams are giving up in recent trades, Williams could still find some real bargains before July 31st.
The following is a list of players who either haven't dominated the MLB trade rumors that have been swirling around the past few weeks, or players who haven't been linked to the White Sox.
Here are some under-the-radar players the White Sox can target before the trade deadline.
Clayton Richard (San Diego Padres)
Originally drafted by the White Sox in 2005, San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard could be a left-handed option in the White Sox starting rotation, assuming John Danks does not come back this season.
Even if Danks returns from injury, it remains to be seen how effective he will be.
Richard, while not exactly dominating National League hitters this season, is a ready arm who has made 21 starts this season and has an earned run average of 4.04 over the last four seasons.
While Richard occasionally has some control issues, the White Sox organization knows what they're getting in Richard. The team traded Richard and other players to the Padres in 2009 for current White Sox starter Jake Peavy.
Richard would make a fine addition to the middle or back of the White Sox starting rotation, and would be under team control through 2014.
Ryan Dempster (Chicago Cubs)
While most baseball fans with an internet connection and a TV know that Ryan Dempster has been on the trading block for the Chicago Cubs the entire season, the right-handed pitcher could be snatched up by the White Sox near the end of the trade deadline, assuming the Cubs can't work out a deal with one of Dempster's suitors.
The Dodgers previously could not come up with a suitable package for Cubs president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer. The new brain trust on the North Side have been showcasing Dempster and starter Matt Garza for weeks in hopes of nabbing top prospects from pitching-starved playoff contenders.
While it looks like Dempster and his current 2.11 ERA may be heading west to the Dodgers, there is no guarantee Epstein & Co. will pull the trigger on any deal that doesn't include some top prospects.
The White Sox don't exactly have the healthiest farm system with most of their top prospects now playing in the majors, so a deal with the Cubs might be a remote possibility.
If the Cubs realize that Dempster might not garner the treasure trove of prospects they're expecting, the White Sox could be a last-minute destination for Dempster, who has played in Chicago since 2004.
Hunter Pence (Philadelphia Phillies)
On Monday night, the White Sox's big three finally returned to their first-half form and flexed their muscles in the a 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios all homered for the White Sox, helping to end the team's five-game skid.
The dreaded team-hitting slump that befell the White Sox since the All-Star break is hopefully a thing of the past after the team's power display Monday.
If the team continues struggling to score runs while losing ground to the Detroit Tigers in the division, a shake-up may be in order if the White Sox are serious about this whole playoff thing in 2012.
While he's a big name playing for a big disappointment in the Philadelphia Phillies, outfielder Hunter Pence could provide a spark for almost any major league offense.
The two-time All-Star has been struggling a bit this season, managing only a .336 on-base percentage, but has shown in the past that he's one of the game's elite players.
Pence has averaged 26 homers and 92 RBI during his six seasons in the National League. While he has slowed down on the basepaths the past two seasons, he is a solid outfielder in his prime who could provide an extra power bat to the White Sox lineup.
A deal for Pence would likely be tricky for Kenny Williams, but it would definitely be a shocker if the White Sox landed the star slugger.
Paul Maholm (Chicago Cubs)
While Chicago Cubs pitcher Paul Maholm has been rumored to be going back to his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, not much has been mentioned during this trading period about the 30-year-old lefty.
Maholm has pitched well for the fifth-place Cubs, posting an ERA of 4.09 in 18 starts this season.
Maholm is a veteran arm who could add some depth to the White Sox staff. White Sox hurlers Chris Sale and Jake Peavy might wear down during this year's division race, and Maholm would be a great option to spell either pitcher or replace the struggling Philip Humber in the team's rotation.
Maholm is a free agent at the end of 2012, and might not command much in return for a possible trade.
Randy Choate (Miami Marlins)
The Miami Marlins declared their position as sellers in this year's trade market Monday, trading Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers.
The disappointing Marlins might not be done dealing this year, and one of their hidden gems is side-armed lefty reliever, Randy Choate.
Choate currently holds a solid 2.49 ERA in 44 appearances this season. He is coming off of a stellar 2011 season where he posted a 1.82 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 54 appearances for the Marlins.
With White Sox veteran reliever Matt Thornton struggling at times this season, the addition of Choate would mean less pressure on Thornton and Hector Santiago to get lefties out. Thornton currently has his highest ERA since the 2007 season.
Left-handed batters have just a .203 batting average against Choate over his career.
John Lannan (Washington Nationals)
Once the pitcher of the future for the Washington Nationals before Stephen Strasburg arrived in the nation's capitol, left-handed starter John Lannan still might catch on with another team and enjoy a solid career.
Lannan, who is pitching behind one of the best starting rotations in baseball, was recently optioned to the minor leagues (reported byWashington Post, via AP) The first-place Nationals lead all of baseball with a 3.25 team ERA.
The 27-year-old has fared well in the majors the last few seasons, posting a 4.01 ERA in 92 starts for the previously struggling Nationals.
While Lannan might not offer much to the White Sox during their current division race, he might be a dependable arm for the next few years whether the team continues to be playoff contenders or if they decide to overhaul the organization.
Ricky Nolasco (Miami Marlins)
With a full-blown fish-fry in motion following the Miami Marlins' recent trade of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, the fourth-place Marlins appear to be having their near decennial sell-off.
With their new stadium, new manager Ozzie Guillen and several high-priced free agents, the Marlins looked primed this offseason to battle for the NL East crown.
The Marlins have buckled under the preseason pressure and struggling closer Heath Bell's awful performance this season.
Suddenly, the team appears to be mimicking the 1998 and 2004 seasons when ownership gutted their teams, the difference being that those Marlins teams were coming off championship seasons.
While one two-player trade might be the only move the Marlins make this trading season, it could also be a sign of another re-tooling in South Florida.
Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco may be the least exciting deal on the table for the White Sox, but the Marlins would be giving up a somewhat decent starter who has made no less than 26 starts each of the last four seasons.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper could possibly work some of his magic with Nolasco and help improve on his career 4.50 ERA.
While Nolasco could turn out to be another version of Gavin Floyd for the White Sox, Nolasco has been good enough to hang around the majors for seven seasons in relative obscurity. Perhaps a playoff race would bring out the best in the 29-year-old hurler.