There are so many areas the Chicago White Sox need to improve in, it is almost laughable. Are there any ideal trade scenarios, though?
Well, sure. With as many positional deficiencies as the White Sox have on the 25-man roster, searching for ideal trade targets does not take a lot of imagination.
Jonathan Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Angels’ Peter Bourjos are the first who come to mind. Minor league outfielders Stephen Piscotty (St. Louis Cardinals) and Alex Dickerson (Pittsburgh Pirates) are two other players who would reshape the White Sox lineup and add an entirely new dynamic to the offense. And there’s always New York Yankees outfielder Zoilo Almonte to consider.
You get it. The list could go on ad infinitum. So instead of looking at who the White Sox could acquire, let’s look at the players currently with the team who have the most trade value.
There are some limitations that have been imposed on the conversation. As Dan Hayes from CSNChicago.com reported, several rival general managers have said that four players—Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu—will not be included in any trade talk. That still leaves a wealth of talent on the roster that is potentially available, though.
There is always a trade market for established closers, and Addison Reed fits that bill. Coming off his best season as a pro—5-4, 3.79 ERA, 40 SV, 1.107 WHIP—Reed has significant value. He’s got a fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, the attitude the position demands and a slider to match.
Making him even more attractive is that he is under team control until 2018. Now he will get a rather significant pay raise next season when he is eligible for arbitration for the first time, but even then, he will still be a bargain.
To be sure, Hector Santiago does not have the same type of trade value as Quintana, Sale or even Erik Johnson. He is still one heck of a young pitcher who is best served in the starting rotation.
Consider that in 11 relief appearances, Santiago had a 3.93 ERA, 1.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.473 WHIP. Conversely, he finished with a 3.51 ERA, 1.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.393 WHIP over the course of 23 starts last season. Now he did give up 16 home runs and walked 62 batters as a starter, but he is a left-hander who can throw five pitches—fastball, changeup, curveball, cutter and screwball—and has the potential to grow into a No. 2 starter.
Like Reed, Santiago is under team control until 2018.
Alexei Ramirez has value as a completion piece. That is to say that teams like the Cincinnati Reds, Cardinals and Pirates could all use a shortstop to fill out their roster who can run the bases, hit at the top of the order and drive the gaps the way Ramirez does.
He does not take enough walks as his .313 OPB in 2013 can attest to, but 39 doubles and 30 stolen bases are difference-making statistics. And while the argument has been made that the right-handed hitter may not be traded because of Abreu’s acquisition, do not shut the door on Ramirez being dealt. If general manager Rick Hahn can find an attractive offer, then he would be wise to take it.
He is owed $19.5 million over the next two seasons and has a $10 million team option with a $1 million buyout in 2016.
It must be noted that none of the above-mentioned players will net the White Sox much as individual pieces. But if Hahn can work out a three-team trade or can find a way to package two of them, he may be able to improve the roster quite a bit. Don’t forget that they have replacements waiting in the wings.
Micah Johnson, Marcus Semien and Chris Bassitt are just a few examples of guys who could step in to fill the shoes of the departed.
Hahn has stated that this may not be the offseason when the White Sox go out and sign a free agent to a large contract to fill out the roster, according to Hayes. I get that. That does not mean that he cannot strike now and secure the services of a young player who can solidify a roster deficiency.
Statistics and contract information are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com