Now, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times Monday saying that he is “not inclined to move any” starting pitching. That indicates Gavin Floyd will indeed open the season in the starting rotation.
And while Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza are the two names most often floated as trade targets, they are not the only ones available. Don’t forget, Beckham was one of the names Hahn mentioned last month as current White Sox regulars he is open to trading.
The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales wrote Sunday afternoon that, in addition to a reliever, he believed “the Sox were looking at one” of the Seattle Mariners’ “left-handed hitters on the right side of the infield.”
That would be Ackley—the Sox have no need for switch-hitting first baseman Justin Smoak—and trading Beckham for him would be exceptional for two reasons.
The first reason trading Beckham for Ackley works is offensive in nature.
Hahn has made it no secret that he intends to distance the White Sox from relying on home runs as much as he can. Ackley (13 steals) has more speed than Beckham (5) and scored 22 more runs in just under 100 more plate appearances.
While Ackley does not set the world on fire with his bat, he also satisfies Hahn’s desire to add a left-handed stick to the order. And having another lefty in the lineup is more than a cosmetic need, it is essential.
As MLB Chicago White Sox beat writer Scott Merkin wrote last week, having another lefty will give “manager Robin Ventura more flexibility with the day-to-day lineup.” Ackley would also allow Ventura to play the matchups late in games.
From an offensive standpoint, what this all breaks down to is simple.
As Gonzales noted in his article Sunday, the Mariners are looking for more power, which Beckham can provide. The White Sox need a left-handed hitting middle infielder who fits Hahn’s plan—that is Ackley.
The second reason the trade scenario works is that it will keep the White Sox’s outfield in place.
True, Alejandro De Aza’s value may never be higher, but he swings a left-handed stick and is aggressive on the base paths. The balance he brings to the lineup is immense.
Viciedo’s ability to go the other way with the ball and power at the bottom of the lineup will serve the White Sox well. He does not get on base all that much—Viciedo’s 5.2 percent walk ratio and .300 OBP are the lowest among regular AL left fielders—but can change the game with a swing.
Alex Rios is the best position player on the team. Enough said.
While each has considerable trade value, the White Sox will need each of them in place if they hope to contend next season in the AL Central.
After signing Jeff Keppinger, the Sox are on the verge of completing their lineup.
One more move—such as swapping second basemen with the Mariners—and the White Sox may have the balance they need to move forward.
After all, this is probably the direction Hahn is going to take the offense for the foreseeable future. Why not get started now?
*Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com and BaseballReference.com