New Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn will have his hands full this winter as he attempts to turn the White Sox into a playoff team.
Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune has reported that the White Sox will focus on the trade market more than the free-agent market to make any major moves.
While there are a number of priorities, third base stands out as an urgent area of need. AJ Mass of ESPN (Insider required) has suggested that the White Sox could trade starter Gavin Floyd to the Kansas City Royals for Mike Moustakas.
Interdivisional trades may not be common, but this is a deal that would benefit both sides.
Moustakas was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 MLB draft and he was immediately labeled with a comparison to Alex Rodriguez by his agent Scott Boras (h/t Conor Nicholl of MLB.com). That comparison is very optimistic, but Moustakas has developed into a good player.
The 24-year old third baseman hit .242 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI during his first full season in the major leagues. There is still a lot of room for Moustakas to continue to develop, and there is a good chance that he becomes one of the elite offensive third basemen in the American League in the next few years.
Additionally, Moustakas is a great fit for the Royals because he will not hit the free-agent market until after the 2018 season. Given these facts, it appears unlikely that the Royals would be willing to deal Moustakas.
However, after their acquisition of Ervin Santana, it appears as if the Royals are interested in making a push for the postseason this year. The starting rotation was one of the Royals' biggest problems last season and they will need to bring in another starter or two this winter.
Who wins a deal centered around Gavin Floyd and Mike Moustakas?
Gavin Floyd could serve as a steady middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Royals. He went 12-11 with a 4.26 ERA in 2012, and he will be 30 years old next season. Floyd has one year and $9.5 million left on his contract.
Even though Floyd has a decent amount of trade value, it is hard to see him being dealt straight up to the Royals for Moustakas. Kansas City would certainly demand more than Floyd in return for a potentially perennial All-Star.
Floyd could serve as a center piece for a deal, but at least one other player would need to go to the Royals.
Perhaps the White Sox could sweeten the deal by including a prospect like Carlos Sanchez in the deal. The young middle infielder has been moving quickly through the White Sox system and he earned himself an invitation to the Futures Game in 2012.
Sanchez was ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the White Sox organization following the 2012 season by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. Between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A last season, the switch-hitter batted .323 and stole 26 bases. It is possible that Sanchez could make his major-league debut before his 21st birthday this June.
Even if Sanchez is not a fit in a possible deal for Moustakas, the White Sox could package a different prospect with Floyd such as Scott Snodgress or Simon Castro in order to get a deal done.
Moustakas would be an outstanding addition to the White Sox lineup in 2013 and beyond. Acquiring Moustakas would be expensive for Chicago, but it would very well be worth it.