Trading Thome and Contreras: Right Moves at the Right Time

Cregen McMinnCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Jim Thome #25 and Ken Griffey Jr. #17 of the Chicago White Sox celebrate after Thome hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins during the American League Central Division Tiebreaker game at U.S. Cellular Field on September 30, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It’s white flag trade II!

Not quite.

The decision by Kenny Williams to move Jim Thome and Jose Contreras late Monday night wasn’t a decision to surrender the season—that would imply there was a part of the season remaining that was worth surrendering.

Instead of these two moves being considered another white flag deal, lets look at them for what they really were. A chance to move two players who weren’t in the plans for next season, and who the Sox could receive a little something back for if were shipped out of town now.

The fact that Williams was able to receive anything for Contreras is actually one of the biggest steals of this trading season. Contreras is 5-13 on the season with a 5.42 ERA. The 13 defeats were the most for any American League pitcher. Manager Ozzie Guillen had recently said Contreras would no longer be in the rotation, before admitting he was “coerced” into starting him one more time in a recent game in New York.

After giving up eight runs in three and a third innings the manager said he would not be coerced into starting him again.

Moving Jim Thome takes away an offensive weapon from this years team, but it also allows the Sox to experiment with Dye and/or Carlos Quentin at DH, which is a setup that might be the plan for next season.

It’s been reported by Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune that the Sox are interested in picking up their end of Dye’s $12 MM option. This would make sense if they thought the 35 year old slugger could be a replacement for Jim Thome at DH.

The players received by the White Sox in these two deals aren’t top of the line prospects but they do have potential. Minor league pitcher Brandon Hynick comes over from the Rockies. He’s 10-9 on the year with a 3.86 ERA and two complete games. One of which was a perfect game back in July. Going into last season he was ranked as the Rockies 8th best prospect.

The Sox received SS Justin Fuller from the Dodgers. Fuller has five home runs in nearly 800 minor league at bats; however, four of those homers have come this season. He’s only hitting .254 on the season and has only swiped three bases. There’s not a lot to go on with Fuller since he’s only in A+ ball, but from what hes done so far it looks like he might be nothing more than minor league filler.

These two trades were not white flag trades like some would suggest. Instead they were shrewd moves by a GM who always seems up for making a run at the World Series, but who also understands the importance of setting a team up for a future run at a championship as well.

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