Chicago White Sox Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News
A year after nearly winning the AL Central, the wheels fell off for manager Robin Ventura and the Chicago White Sox.
Not only did the team finish in last place in the division in 2013, 36 games under .500, but GM Rick Hahn began moving some of the team's veteran assets, including outfielder Alex Rios along with veteran relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton.
With the team trying to rebuild on the fly, the moves that Hahn makes this winter could have long-lasting ramifications for the club not only in 2014, but for years to come. According to a report from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, GM Rick Hahn plans on being more active on the trade market than in free agency.
Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the White Sox along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as November 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the White Sox put their roster for 2014 in place.
Chicago's Free Agents and Done Deals
All the juicy rumors and analysis follow, but consider this your one-stop shop for all the comings and goings in Chicago this winter, including the status of the team's own free agents.
White Sox Free Agents
RHP Dylan Axelrod (Non-Tendered)
RHP Gavin Floyd
1B Paul Konerko (Dec. 4: Re-signed)
RHP Matt Lindstrom (Oct. 31: Team picked up $4 million option)
Oct. 29: Signed 1B Jose Dariel Abreu to a six-year, $68 million contract
Dec. 2: Avoid arbitration with C Tyler Flowers, agree on a one-year, $950,000 deal
Dec. 4: Re-signed 1B Paul Konerko to a one-year, $2.5 million deal
Curtis Granderson: White Sox Among Finalists for the Grandyman?
Update: Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 4:01 p.m. ET
Mike Puma from the New York Post says that the White Sox, Mariners and Mets are the three teams showing the most interest in Granderson.
Talks between the Mets and Granderson are known to have intensified, and SNY's Matthew Cerone reported that Granderson is "scrambling" to find another four-year deal—and that if he couldn't, he may soon lock in a deal with the Mets.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has gone on record saying that the team has the ability to add salary to its payroll this winter, so it would stand to reason that GM Rick Hahn has been on the phone with Granderson's representatives to find out what exactly it will take to bring the slugger back home.
--End of Update--
The White Sox would like to bring Chicago native Curtis Granderson back home, according to CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes, but aside from the large payday that Granderson is expected to fetch, the White Sox are leery of surrendering their second-round pick in the upcoming draft to sign him.
It's the loss of that draft pick, more than the expense, that seems to be the team's biggest holdup, according to Hayes:
One of the keys to this month’s signing of Jose Abreu is that the White Sox didn’t have to forfeit any players in a trade or lose draft picks to acquire the slugger. As general manager Rick Hahn said, the deal was strictly about money and he used that as a selling point with owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
“I actually caught myself saying to Jerry, ‘you know it's just money,’ which I then had to catch myself and quickly expand upon,” Hahn said last week. “By that I meant we aren't giving up a draft pick. We aren't giving up players in addition to money. What we're doing here is reallocating resources we cleared off last summer and devoting them to something we felt was the long-term benefit.”
While adding Granderson's powerful bat to Chicago's lineup would be beneficial, the cost to do so may be prohibitive as multiple teams, including the Cubs, are believed to be interested in the slugger as well.
Jerry Reinsdorf: Sox Can Add Payroll
Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 10:29 a.m. ET
While things have been eerily quiet around the White Sox so far this winter, blame cannot be laid at the feet of owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who told CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes that GM Rick Hahn and vice president Kenny Williams have the freedom to add payroll:
“They’re well below the budgeted number that we can afford to spend this year. If they have a player that is going to increase the payroll as long as it fits within the budget they can do it.”
What that budgeted number is remains to be seen, and the White Sox are unlikely to make a run at the likes of Robinson Cano or Jacoby Ellsbury, free agents that are expected to command contracts well above the $100 million mark.
But whether it's via free agency or the trade market, adding legitimate major league talent appears to be something that is well within the team's ability—it may just be a matter of finding the right fit.
White Sox Have Only Four Untouchables in Trade Discussions
When asked about potential trades at the GM meetings in Orlando, GM Rick Hahn would only name the ace of the team's pitching staff, Chris Sale, as someone who was off-limits, per CSN Chicago's Dan Hayes:
There’s a group of guys that we feel are part of our long-term success and having Chris at the front of our rotation we think is a big part of that potential for success. Obviously he’s signed for the next six years if we exercise both his options and we fully intend to win within that window. So while we have to not close off any avenues and have to hear other clubs when there is certain valuable commodities, moving him is not something we’re looking to do.
According to multiple executives that Hayes has spoken with, the rest of the group that Hahn mentions is comprised of OF Avisail Garcia, LHP Jose Quintana and newly-signed 1B Jose Dariel Abreu.
It's not surprising to see those three join Sale as the "untouchables" on Chicago's roster as all four comprise an excellent foundation for Hahn to build the a contender around.
While those four players would be the team's most valuable trade chips, Hahn has plenty of players, including 2B Gordon Beckham, LHPs John Danks and Hector Santiago and OFs Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo who are sure to garner interest from other teams as the offseason rolls along.
Gordon Beckham: Trade Candidate
Beckham, 27, hit .267 with five home runs and 24 RBI in 103 games for Chicago last season, providing adequate defense up the middle.
Merkin and Chisholm go on to report that a potential deal could be expanded to include RHP Hector Santiago or LHP John Danks as well, with a package of prospects heading back to the White Sox, though at this point, who those prospects might be remain a mystery.
Making such a move would certainly signal that it's full speed ahead with GM Rick Hahn's rebuilding plan, with the Sox sacrificing the chance to win now for a shot at sustained success a few years down the road.