White Sox Trade Rumors: Top 5 Chips Chicago Has To Deal at the Deadline
The loss also puts Chicago 4.5 games back of Detroit in the AL Central, with one game remaining in the series before Boston and New York come to town.
Winning this series Wednesday afternoon not only helps the Sox in the standings, it may decide the fate of many current players on the roster. This stretch, if not tomorrow's outcome, will decide whether White Sox GM Kenny Williams turns Chicago into a buyer or seller at the July 31 trade deadline.
If the White Sox cannot get their act together and play like the team they are certainly capable of, many familiar faces could wind up helping other ballclubs reach the playoffs.
The "all in" mentality and slogan throughout the 2011 season really makes it difficult for the White Sox to improve themselves via trades. This is the highest payroll the Chicago White Sox have ever had, and there really isn't much more you can do when you put all your chips in the middle.
When you find yourself all in, you just have to play the cards that were given to you. However, one can never underestimate Kenny Williams. White Sox fans will just have to play the waiting game when it comes to their fate come July 31.
If the White Sox do decide to make some moves, whether it's adding for a playoff run or rebuilding toward the future, here are the top five players that will draw the most attention at the deadline.
5. Dayan Viciedo
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Dayan Viciedo is by far the top prospect in the Chicago farm system. Viciedo is in the third year of a four-year, $10 million contract. He is making $1.25 million this year and is due $2.5 million next year.
Viciedo currently plays for the Charlotte Knights, Chicago's Triple-A affiliate.
In 93 games with Charlotte, "Tank"—the nickname given to Viciedo by Hawk Harrelson last season—is batting .307 with 16 home runs and 65 runs driven in. Viciedo has shown explosive power and the ability to hit to all fields while honing his skills in the minors.
Viciedo is the next position player in line to replace a traded or injured player on the big league roster. Viciedo's value is very high considering his young age of 22, but it would be a stretch for Kenny Williams to let go of the one player in the farm system that could possibly help the major league club immediately.
If Viciedo were to be shopped, the White Sox would have to get some major league talent in return.
4. Matt Thornton
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Left-handed relief help always seems to be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. With the emergence of young lefty Chris Sale, veteran reliever Matt Thornton becomes available at the right price.
In March, the White Sox signed Thornton to a two-year, $12 million extension running through 2013 with a club option for 2014. Teams may be willing to take on Thornton's contract given his track record because he is guaranteed for the next two seasons.
In 37 appearances this season, Thornton has posted a record of 0-4 with a 3.41 ERA and three saves. In the past month, Thornton's ERA is a tiny 1.69, which could attract some potential suitors.
3. Mark Buehrle
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Mark Buehrle is the heart and soul of the White Sox pitching staff. He has won a World Series with the boys, pitched a no-hitter and tossed a perfect game...all while being the same charismatic, down-to-earth pitcher and ultimate teammate.
There is not a White Sox fan out there that wants to see Mark Buehrle suit up in another uniform, but his ability and personality can really help a ballclub get over the hump come postseason time.
If Buehrle were to be traded before the deadline, the only likely landing spot would be his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. This is because Buehrle has the right, as a 10-and-5 player, to reject a trade to any team. If he were to be traded, his salary would be escalated to $15 million and extended through next season.
2. Edwin Jackson
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Edwin Jackson may be the easiest pitcher to acquire from the abundance of starting pitchers on the White Sox staff.
Jackson is only under contract for the remainder of the season, in which he's making $8.5 million.
Jackson has already been rumored in trades but remains in Chicago pitching for the White Sox, and pitching effectively at that. Since rumors started swirling, Jackson has been brilliant in his past to start—going 2-0 and posting a 1.20 ERA.
Jackson is a valuable piece for the White Sox to move because of their surplus at starting pitcher. And we all know that starting pitchers can carry teams through the postseason and to a World Series championship.
I'm not saying Jackson will be the difference in a given team's postseason success, but his stuff has been spot on as of late and he can be had at a reasonable price.
1. Carlos Quentin
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Carlos Quentin is far and away the most valuable piece the White Sox have available to teams looking for a powerful right-handed bat.
This season, Quentin is batting .268 with 20 home runs and 62 runs batted in. This season is also the last year of his contract, which would make Quentin a rental for a ballclub if they cannot sign him to an extension. That is the only thing that may keep teams at bay when it comes to acquiring Carlos by the trade deadline.
Quentin has been one of the few sources of power on the South Side this season. However, the fact that Dayan Viciedo is waiting in the wings for his opportunity to play full time in the majors makes Quentin expendable to a point.
Quentin is only making $5.05 million this season, which makes him affordable on the books for a team in need of a power-hitting right fielder. But his trade value is extremely high and the price in terms of prospects or MLB players in return will be steep.
I do not suggest Kenny Williams trade one of his two 2011 American League All-Stars when the team is still in contention and having trouble scoring runs.
But what I've learned about Kenny Williams is to never expect anything, yet be prepared for the unexpected.