Friday, June 28, 2013

White Sox ready to make trades, report says

Jon Heyman does not know Alex Rios plays right field for the White Sox. I'll forgive him and give him a link anyway, because the rest of his article on is worth discussion.

Heyman reports Sox GM Rick Hahn is open for business. The entire roster is on the trading block with the exception of two players: ace left-hander Chris Sale and franchise icon Paul Konerko.

Rival GMs say Hahn is taking "a reasonable approach" in terms of where the White Sox stand this year. In other words, Hahn knows his team is screwed, and he knows it is time for change.

The Sox are nine games out of first in the AL Central -- hardly an insurmountable deficit with over half a season to play -- but that 32-43 record doesn't lie. This team is bad. The Sox can't make routine plays in the field, as evidenced by their 55 errors and 34 unearned runs allowed through 75 games. Further, they can't hit, as evidenced by their .242 team batting average and .295 team OBP.

But that doesn't mean the Sox don't have some attractive pieces to trade. At the top of that list is Rios, who brings both power and speed (11 HRs, 13 SBs) and the ability to play anywhere in the outfield. Heyman lists the Yankees, Rangers, Giants and Royals as possible destinations for Rios. The Phillies could also enter the picture if they decide they are buyers.

Shortstop Alexei Ramirez is another player who could be on the move. Ramirez has been the primary culprit in the Sox defensive struggles. He has 13 errors on the season, including six in his last 13 games. Ramirez is a much better fielder than that, and his issues seem to be mental. Perhaps he's having trouble handling the trade rumors swirling around him. That's not something he's dealt with previously in his career. His power is way down; he hasn't homered since the second game of the season. But some team out there could use a .280-hitting shortstop with speed and a track record of playing good defense. The Dodgers and Mets are listed as possible destinations in Heyman's article. I would not rule out the Yankees, either.

Interestingly, Heyman says John Danks is drawing interest from other clubs. That's a little surprising given Danks' hefty contract, and the fact that he's less than a year removed from shoulder surgery. The starting pitcher most likely to be traded has to be Jake Peavy, who is on the DL right now with a broken rib. If he returns to the active roster before the July 31 deadline, he immediately becomes the best starting pitcher available on the market. (Sorry, Matt Garza)

The Sox also have three veteran relievers who are prime trade candidates. Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom all have manageable, expiring contracts. In other words, they are as good as gone. Hahn is fortunate Crain is having a career year (0.52 ERA, 46 Ks in 34.2 IP). His value might be at a high point, especially if some contending team (Detroit?) sees him as a possible closer.

Indeed, it is about to get interesting on the South Side, and that has nothing to do with the results on the field. The Sox have 87 games to play, and not a single one of them matters. All that is important right now is for Hahn to maximize his return on veteran assets. The process of putting together a better roster for 2014 starts right now.


  1. The biggest concern for the Sox is the lack of capable replacements for guys they would deal.

    A Rios trade would open a second hole in the outfield if you count Dayan Viciedo's floundering in left. Jordan Danks is the only guy who really deserves an extended look in the outfield, and "deserves" might be stretching the term.

    Ramirez has struggled defensively some this year, and his bat has never been what everyone had hoped, but what's the alternative there? Rush a prospect like Marcus Semien or Tyler Saladino? Give Beckham a look there? Toss minor-league placeholders like Angel Sanchez or Tyler Greene out there and see if they can make us pine for Alex Cintron's package of no-hit-no-field awesomeness? More Jeff Keppinger? Brent Morel?

    Even if the Sox could find a taker for Adam Dunn, his complete body of work this season -- including another disastrous start -- STILL looks comparatively useful relative to the alternatives available.

    This really means the Sox need to get either an obviously useful player or meaningful salary relief in any trade. If not, they shouldn't bother.

  2. Dunn and Danks (the elder) are the two guys I would deal for nothing more than salary relief. Those are bad, bad contracts. They probably can't afford to deal *both* Rios and Dunn. Somebody has to hit in the middle of the order next year after Konerko either retires or moves along to another team. I'm hoping they can either move Dunn for salary relief or move Rios for a useful player(s) in return.

    I would speculate the alternative to Ramirez would be Beckham at SS and Keppinger at 2B. Gillaspie gets the rest of the year at 3B. With Ramirez, I think it all comes down to whether the Sox think they can get back into contention in 2014. If so, they better hold on to him because they don't have a viable alternative. If they've resigned themselves to being out of it for both this year and next, they can move on from him. I think his skills are declining, so his trade value probably won't ever be higher than it is now.