Chicago White Sox Trades: Grading Their Last 5 Major Deadline Deals

James Kries@@JKriesContributor IJuly 29, 2012

Chicago White Sox Trades: Grading Their Last 5 Major Deadline Deals

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    In the past few years, the White Sox have made several big deals at the MLB trade deadline.

    This year may be no exception. With his team on top of the AL Central division right before the non-waiver trade deadline, general manager Kenny Williams has been working overtime to ensure that the Sox have enough ammo for a playoff push.

    In the past week, Williams has acquired reliever Brett Myers and left-handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano in trades that were completed to help the White Sox remain playoff contenders.

    Williams has been active in the front office this season, also trading for current White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, acquired in a deal with the Boston Red Sox in late June.

    While currently enjoying a 2.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers through Saturday, the White Sox have clearly been buyers in this year's trade market, adding pieces that they hope will help win the division and possibly more.

    Over the last 10 years, the White Sox have been buyers, more often than not, in the weeks just before the trade deadline.

    If ever there was a year to take a win-now approach, 2012 is it. The White Sox are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Expectations were high last year after the signing of slugger Adam Dunn and the apparent return to health of Jake Peavy.

    The White Sox could barely muster a couple of decent stretches of winning baseball in 2011 and collapsed under the weight of poor performances from high-priced veterans, such as Dunn, Alex Rios and Jake Peavy.

    The White Sox created very little buzz this winter and even traded off some pieces, which prompted talk of rebuilding.

    The reality before the start of this season was that Williams did not have enough leeway to begin rebuilding, holding immovable contracts for the previously mentioned veterans. The only positive step the White Sox could really take this season was to see bounce-back seasons from most of their lineup and to somehow win their division.

    Rookie manager Robin Ventura and his players have done their part, to the tune of 10 games over .500 and extended stays on top of the division.

    It remains to be seen if Myers and Liriano will make big contributions during the White Sox's division race and possible playoff run.

    A White Sox fan can't help but admire Williams and his hard work this season, as he tries to solidify his team and help make them playoff-ready.

    In light of the White Sox's flurry of recent trades, here is a look at the last five major deals the White Sox have made before the trade deadline in recent years.

    Each trade is graded on how successful it turned out for the team, whether the White Sox were renting veteran talent or selling off veterans in exchange for prospects.

White Sox Trade Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson in 2010 (Grade: B-)

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    It's only been two years since this trade was completed between the White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, which makes grading it difficult as the 25-year-old Hudson's output the last two seasons offers a small sample size.

    To this point, however, the Diamondbacks have received the better end of this deal. On July 30, 2010, the White Sox were a game-and-a-half ahead in the AL Central, and looking to bolster their starting rotation.

    Edwin Jackson offered them a veteran arm who had a 4.66 career earned run average through his first seven seasons.

    Despite climbing out of an early-season hole in the division that year, the White Sox lost their division lead to the Minnesota Twins.

    Jackson pitched well for the White Sox, however, posting an ERA of 3.24 and a strikeout-to-nine ratio of 9.2 in 11 starts for the team in 2010.

    Hudson won 23 games for the Diamondbacks between the end of 2010 and the 2011 season. His 3.49 ERA in 2011 helped propel Arizona into the playoffs.

    The jury is still out on Hudson after he underwent Tommy John surgery this season.

The White Sox Trade Prospects to San Diego for Jake Peavy in 2009 (Grade: C)

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    In late July, 2009, the White Sox were in the thick of a division race, just 1.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

    Looking to get some pitching help and make a big splash, GM Kenny Williams pulled the trigger on a deal bringing former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy to the White Sox.

    Peavy didn't come cheap. The White Sox gave up the promising left-handed arm of Clayton Richard, as well as other prospects, including former first-round pick, Aaron Poreda.

    Richard has been a solid starter for the Padres while Poreda is still fine-tuning his game in the minors. The 25-year-old Poreda has a career 3.53 ERA in the minor leagues.

    As bad luck would have it, Peavy suffered a rare shoulder injury in 2010, requiring surgery. It took Peavy more than a year to fully recover from the injury, but in 2012, Peavy began reminding the White Sox why they gave up so much for him, including more than $40 million in salary since 2009.

    Peavy is currently 8-7 with a solid 3.15 ERA and is a vital part of the White Sox's rotation.

White Sox Acquire Ken Griffey Jr. for Nick Masset in 2008 (Grade: D)

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    The White Sox made a deadline move in 2008 bringing future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. to the team in hopes of getting some kind of contribution from the aging superstar.

    Griffey was 38 and nearing the end of his career, playing out his 20th season in the big leagues for the Cincinnati Reds.

    The White Sox gave up reliever Nick Masset, who continues to be a solid, productive arm out of the Cincinnati bullpen. Since the trade in 2008, Masset has made 241 appearances for the Reds and currently holds a 8.5 K/9 ratio since pitching in the National League.

    Griffey didn't have much left in the tank when he joined the White Sox, who were in need of a left-handed designated hitter.

    Griffey will always be remembered in Chicago for his outfield assist during the White Sox's one-game playoff win over the Twins in 2008, propelling the team into the playoffs.

Journeyman Geoff Blum Becomes a World Series Hero in 2005 (Grade: A)

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    After having broken into the majors with the Montreal Expos in 1999, Geoff Blum has enjoyed baseball life as a utility infielder, bouncing between six teams in 14 seasons.

    On July 31, 2005, the White Sox acquired Blum from the San Diego Padres for minor league lifer Ryan Meaux, a pitching prospect who left baseball in 2007. The division-leading White Sox were looking to shore up their bench for a postseason run.

    Blum had little impact at the plate during the regular season after joining the White Sox. In 99 plate appearances in 2005, Blum managed a lowly .506 OPS while spelling White Sox infielders.

    It wasn't until Game 3 of the 2005 World Series that Blum would make his big contribution for the team.

    In the 14th inning of a 5-5 deadlock in Houston, Blum came off the bench to smack a two-run homer to right, giving the White Sox the lead in the wee hours of October 26. Mark Buehrle came on for the save in the bottom of the inning, securing a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

    Blum will always be remembered fondly for his heroic moment during the 2005 White Sox's World Series championship.

The White Sox Acquire Jose Contreras for Estaban Loaiza in 2004 (Grade: B+)

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    In what is almost an annual tradition, the New York Yankees of 2004 were looking for starting pitching to tighten up their issue-laden starting rotation.

    Coming off of a stellar 2003 campaign, White Sox starter Esteban Loaiza was set to become a free agent at the end of 2004.

    Despite winning 21 games for the team the previous year, the White Sox sent Loaiza to the Yankees right before the trade deadline for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras.

    Despite being heralded as the next big thing in the Big Apple, Contreras failed to get off the ground in New York, managing a 4.64 ERA during his two seasons with the Yankees.

    Loaiza was terrible with the Yankees that season, posting a hefty 8.50 ERA in 10 appearances with the soon-to-be AL East champions.

    Contreras went on to be the White Sox's ace, helping pitch the team through their historic postseason run of 11 victories in 12 games.

    While he came up big for the Sox in 2005, Contreras was mostly inconsistent over the next few seasons.