July is less than two weeks away, and the White Sox are only 4.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. But is that small deficit a product of the White Sox' success, or the failures of the rest of the division? The supposed World Series contending Tigers have been disappointing, to say the least, which has allowed the Royals, who were in last place at the beginning of the month, to jump into first thanks to a recent hot streak.
If general manager Rick Hahn is a smart man, he'll realize that the White Sox have too many holes to not be considered sellers this season. The mediocrity of the division along with the second wild card might make it tempting for the Sox to try to sneak into the playoffs, but this team is not built for success, and would be best served acquiring value for trade-worthy assets where possible instead of putting together a makeshift roster bound to fail in the playoffs should the team somehow make it there.
Which players could be moved?
Beckham is having his best offensive season after years of mediocrity, and as such, his value will probably never be higher. Conveniently, the Sox second baseman doesn't have a ton of time left before he becomes free agent eligible in 2016, so the best time for the Sox to make a move could be now.
The Giants' woes at second base could put them in the market for Beckham, though they also have options in the minors in addition to the possible (though unlikely) return of Marco Scutaro, making a move for Beckham fully contingent upon those two possibilities not coming to fruition. The Blue Jays are also in need of an upgrade at second base, and could make a play for Beckham as well.
Either way, Beckham's solid offensive performance this season (.273/.324/.409) makes him an attractive trade candidate, and it wouldn't surprising in the slightest to see him on a different team by the end of the season.
Trade Likelihood: Medium (but "high" if other team makes a push for him)
Ramirez has been the best hitter on the team not named Jose Abreu (with the possible exception of Conor Gillaspie), and like Beckham, his trade value will probably never be higher. The Sox shortstop has always been an above-average hitter, but he's never been quite on par with the numbers he's putting up in 2014, which include batting average and OPS totals 29 and 51 points higher than his career marks, respectively.
Yasmani Tomas defects from Cuba
While he might not be the best player to come from Cuba, Tomas could be the country's next MLB superstar.
As with Beckham, Ramirez's trade likelihood will probably depend on how many contending teams are desperately in need of a middle infielder; Hahn will surely only give up his prized shortstop if the price is right.
Trade Likelihood: Medium to low
Somewhat in line with the Ramirez trade logic, Danks' value will also only go down from here if his recent history is any indication. With ERAs of 4.33, 5.70 and 4.75 over the last three seasons, Danks' 3.97 mark this year is somewhat of a minor miracle. He has a history of success before 2011, which could intrigue some teams, though Danks' relative youth (he's 29) and contract (he's signed through 2016) make him a somewhat unlikely trade candidate. Nevertheless, it could be in the Sox' best interest to sell high on the left-hander.
Trade Likelihood: Low
Dunn's massive four-year contract mercifully expires at the end of 2014, but even though he's hovered around the Mendoza line during his time in Chicago, he still provides tons of value. His OPS actually ranks third on the team, behind Abreu and Gillaspie, and he still has solid power. (He's on pace for 26 home runs in 451 at-bats.)
The only issue here is that Dunn has expressed his interest in retiring as soon as this offseason, and there aren't many contending teams in need of a designated hitter/first baseman anyway. But if the White Sox could find a buyer, they'd obviously be thrilled to get Dunn off their hands with his contract running out at the end of the season.