Chicago White Sox: 5 Players Who Could Be Gone in 2014
For the Chicago White Sox, the first half of the 2014 MLB season was a series of up and downs.
While they have been much more competitive than they were in 2013, the unfortunate reality is that they probably aren't much more than a .500 team with their current construction.
They have a solid nucleus to build around for the future, but there's work to be done. As we approach the looming July 31 trade deadline, many questions face general manager Rick Hahn.
First and foremost: Who stays and who goes?
Hahn recently told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago that the White Sox are not necessarily looking to deal anybody, but he certainly wouldn't rule it out.
"There's no urgency to make any moves at this time," Hahn said. "It's going to be dictated based upon the fits and what the return is going to be."
Should he decide to hit the market, though, here's a look at five guys who could be on the move.
Ramirez may be the most valuable trade piece the White Sox currently have.
He was just selected to his first All-Star game and is coming off a strong first half, hitting .282 with eight home runs, 42 RBI and 15 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
He's also been solid defensively—he committed only nine errors in 95 games.
After 2014, Ramirez will have two years and $20 million left on his contract, with a one million dollar buyout option in 2016. While this is certainly affordable one for a shortstop of Ramirez's caliber, moving him for some prospects could free up money for the White Sox in 2015.
Another reason that he may be expendable is the fact that Chicago seemingly has a plethora of middle infielders in the farm system that be major-league ready soon.
Coupled with the fact that the team desperately needs pitching help, that could be enough for them to move the veteran before the deadline.
In his seventh season, Ramirez continues to be one of the more offensively productive shortstops in the game and is still above average defensively. With the affordability of his contract, he could be very attractive to a contender.
At 32 years old, he is in the prime of his career, which is exactly why now would be the time for Hahn to move him.
Beckham's time with the White Sox may be running out.
The former first-round pick (No. 8 overall in 2008) has yet to reach the potential many believed he had coming out of the University of Georgia.
His .247 lifetime batting average and career .311 on-base percentage aren't exactly the numbers the organization or fans had hoped for at this point. He has never been able to produce consistently at the plate, and with several middle infield prospects in the minors, Beckham's days in Chicago may be numbered.
Per his player page on MLB Trade Rumors, his name has been connected with trade talk for several weeks, so it certainly would not come as a surprise if he was dealt before the deadline, especially since he is arbitration-eligible after this season.
At one point, Beckham was considered a big piece of the White Sox's future, but it now seems more likely that it will not include him.
Dunn has had a rough time since arriving on Chicago's south side in 2011.
In his three-plus years with the White Sox, Dunn has hit .201 with almost 700 strikeouts—simply put, he has been awful; even more awful was the four-year, $56 million contract they gave him before the 2011 season.
This wasn't exactly money well spent.
Mercifully for White Sox fans, his tenure with the team is coming to an end—possibly sooner than expected.
As bad as Dunn has been, he can still draw walks and hit the ball out of the park, particularly off right-handers. Because of this, he could draw interest from a contender looking for power from the left side.
At this point, he may not net the White Sox much in a trade, but dealing him would provide financial relief, as the new team would have to pick up a portion of his remaining salary.
If he's not gone by the trade deadline, there's a good chance he could get picked up by the August 31 waiver deadline, which would cost his new team less money.
Either way, Sox fans can always hope.
Viciedo hasn't quite turned into the player the White Sox thought he would by this point in his career. Although he's only 25, he is in the middle of his third full season with the team and is having another subpar year.
While he's not likely to start hitting for average, his 2014 mark of .242 is well below his .259 career number, and he still isn't putting up the power numbers that the organization thought he would.
Though he had 25 home runs and 78 RBI in 2012—his first full season with the team—he hasn't been able to build on that since.
Even more alarming is his career OBP of .303—he just doesn't get on base enough.
Despite this, Viciedo is still fairly young and has the potential to greatly improve his power numbers at some point, which is why he has been drawing the interest of a few teams recently, according to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston (h/t SouthSideSox.com's Steve_p).
Viciedo is arbitration-eligible at the end of 2014, and if the White Sox can get some pitching help in exchange, it might make sense to move him in a trade.
If they don't, there's a chance they could deal Alejandro De Aza, who is also arbitration-eligible at season's end. De Aza is having a down year, though, and would more likely be a candidate to be moved prior to the waiver deadline.
Now two years removed from shoulder surgery, Danks is looking more like the pitcher who the White Sox signed to a five-year, $65 million deal prior to the 2012 campaign.
This is exactly why now may be the time for Hahn to try to get something for the 29-year-old left-hander.
Danks will still have two years and $29.5 million remaining on his contract after 2014, but teams in contention will certainly pay for reliable left-handed starting pitchers.
Before his July 20 start against Houston—in which he allowed seven earned runs in 4.1 innings—Danks had been pitching pretty well, allowing only eight earned runs over his previous four starts.
He also has 14 quality starts in 20 games, which is among the best in baseball.
At this point, Danks seems to be getting closer to being the pitcher he was prior to his surgery, which is why Hahn needs to get something in return if he does deal him.
If not, the White Sox would be happy to keep a starter of his caliber who can consistently put up quality starts.
If there is a deal out there that make sense—and will make the team better long-term—then Hahn has said he will consider it, but left-handed starting pitching isn't something to be given away. If Danks continues to throw the way he has been, it could be a tough decision for the team.