Should the White Sox have traded Alex Rios before the deadline?
Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was one of the more active GMs in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Hahn's trades involving Matt Thornton (albeit for a mid-level prospect), Jesse Crain and Jake Peavy will go a long way towards shaping the White Sox’s future.
Peavy’s trade alone netted the Sox Avisail Garcia, three other prospects and freed up around $20 million dollars that Hahn can use in next year’s draft and on improving the international scouting department.
It was a rather impressive three weeks for the freshman GM.
The White Sox still have a couple of veterans on the roster, though, that could have been traded.
This slideshow will look at five trades Hahn and the White Sox could—or should—have made using published rumors as a baseline, as well as one that would have been an excellent fits based on the needs of both teams.
Some of the scenarios that will be covered may still happen, since Ramirez and Rios will likely be placed on waivers.
First, let’s look at why the list is so specific.
Adam Dunn is most likely not going anywhere.
When it comes to making trades after the non-waiver deadline has passed, quite a few things must go right. For a detailed breakdown on the process, see this recent article by B/R's Jason Martinez.
Regarding the White Sox, the only players who were the subject of trade rumors prior to July 31 that I see having a chance of being involved in a waiver-wire trade are Ramirez and Rios.
From all accounts, Matt Lindstrom’s $4 million option next year will be picked up. Otherwise, he would have been moved for a low-level prospect well before the deadline passed.
Adam Dunn’s production—while on the rise—would not seem to warrant another team assuming the reaming money on this season’s contract and the $15 million he is owed in 2014.
John Danks, Gordon Beckham, Alejandro De Aza and others will be put on waivers, but their departures are unlikely.
That leaves Ramirez and Rios, who have fairly modest contracts given their production. They can provide the type of offensive, defensive and lineup flexibility that many contending teams find attractive.
As such, they will be the focus of the conversation here.
For a brief moment, it looked like Alexei Ramirez was on his way to the St. Louis Cardinals.
While Hahn was wise to demand top prospects and that the other team assumes all of the remaining contract in any trade, it may have cost him here.
While Peavy went to the Boston Red Sox, Hahn’s prospect and salary demands may have ultimately derailed the effort to move the shortstop to the Cardinals.
Had Hahn been able to find a middle ground, sending Ramirez to the Cards would have been a huge move.
Alexei Ramirez may still fit into the Cincinnati Reds' plans.
The Cincinnati Reds need a shortstop. More specifically, the Reds need a shortstop who can bat second.
On the season, they have a woeful .234/.275/.345 slash line from the second spot in the order, and their shortstop is a large part of the problem.
While a terrific fielder, Zack Cozart was hitting mere .240 entering play Sunday. He does have eight home runs and 36 RBI, but he has yet to steal a base and has struck out 72 times in 391 at-bats.
Ramirez, on the other hand, is hitting .275, has stroked 28 doubles and has only collected 51 strikeouts in 436 at-bats.
Defensively, Ramirez is a bit of a downgrade, but the Reds need one more offensive piece to complete their roster. Sure, they have scored 481 runs, hit 107 homers and amassed 200 doubles, but are only hitting .250 as a team.
Ramirez—who has a .283/.306/.354 slash line in the two-hole—may be the difference between a one-game appearance or an extended run in the postseason.
The Reds currently have a 4.5-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for the second wild-card spot in the National League.
Alex Rios would still look good in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.
Rios fills two distinct needs for the Pirates.
First, he would solidify the No. 5 spot in their batting order. On the season, the fifth spot in the Pirates' lineup has compiled a slash line of .239/.333/.379 compared to Rios’s .274/.326/.425.
Second, the right fielders for the Bucs have failed to provide any real offensive support this season. As a team, they are hitting .235 with 10 home runs, 38 RBI and 107 strikeouts at the position. They simply need more production from the spot if they hope to turn this promising season into a memorable one.
What ultimately derailed this trade is unknown, but the thinking is that the White Sox were asking for a king’s ransom in return.
ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden tweeted just before the deadline expired that the Pirates were unwilling to complete a deal unless the money or prospect demands from Hahn and the Sox changed. Gregory Polanco and Alex Dickerson were two of the prospects being mentioned.
If Rios clears waivers, Hahn and the Pirates could revisit this scenario and meet in the middle.
Are the Texas Rangers still a potential landing spot for Alex Rios?
Martinez’s reasons are straightforward.
Lance Berkman's injury that could keep him out for the season, Nelson Cruz's possible suspension, David Murphy's continued struggles and a four-game deficit in the AL West gave the Rangers plenty of incentive to acquire a bat at the trade deadline.
The Rangers do have some intriguing options in the minor leagues. Luis Sardinas and Joey Gallo, for example, would fit nicely into the White Sox farm system.
I would imagine that those two players are close to untouchable, though, so any deal with the Rangers would likely hinge on them assuming all of the remaining dollars on Rios’s contract.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal noted that Rios’s salary might not be that large of a deterrent for everyone, however, so a trade may still be possible.
If a trade manifests itself, it would behoove Hahn to get at least one player from the Rangers' 25-man roster in return for Rios.
The rumor that will not go away.
This trade should have been one of the first ones the White Sox considered. Not only do the Pirates need help in right field, but they are in need of a more consistent shortstop.
On the season, the Pirates' shortstops are hitting .231 with 19 doubles, 25 RBI, 86 K, three stolen bases and a .591 OPS. Ramirez easily bests each of those numbers.
At 66-44, the Pirates have the best record in baseball, but only hold a 1.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. If they hope to win their division and make a deep run in the postseason, adding more than just a right fielder may be in order.
To be sure, Jordy Mercer has been hitting the ball much better lately. After Sunday’s game, he is hitting .333 in the last seven days, but is his current pace sustainable? Probably not, and that is why the Pirates would be wise to consider a blockbuster trade with the White Sox.
After all, they may deem Polanco—by far their best position prospect—more expendable and the salaries of Rios and Ramirez easier to absorb if they are getting more than just a right fielder in return.
Of all the potential moves that Hahn could end up making, this one has the best chance of taking place. Matter of fact, it should have happened already.