As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Chicago White Sox: 32-42, 5th in the AL Central
Back in December, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn rocked the South Side by instituting a rebuild. He decided to trade All-Star ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton for a boatload of prospects (which we’ll get to them in the next section) in hopes of making the franchise have sustained success.
By being extremely patient with the process, the White Sox have taken a hit on the diamond as expected. They have also seen their top pitcher (and biggest trade chip) Jose Quintana not perform well this season (4-8, 4.69 ERA in 88 1⁄3 innings) after being named an All-Star in 2016. In addition, former All-Stars Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera are experiencing tough times at the plate and the Sox still do not have the services of starter Carlos Rodon, who has been on the 60-day disabled list all season.
Despite the struggles from Quintana, Frazier and Cabrera, all three will almost certainly draw strong interest over the next month. In addition, Chicago has a closer who teams want in All-Star David Robertson and a top-notch slugger in Jose Abreu.
What moves have they made so far?
Chicago made two big trades on Dec. 6 and 7, during the winter meetings. Hahn first shipped Sale to the Red Sox for baseball’s No. 1 prospect in Yoan Moncada and fellow prospects Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe and Victor Diaz. Then, the ChiSox dealt Eaton to the Nationals for prospects Dane Dunning, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez.
Along with these two deals, the White Sox also signed 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Luis Robert on May 27 to a minor-league deal that included a $26 million bonus. They also signed Mike Pelfrey to a minor-league deal and called him up this year after James Shields went on the DL. However, the two trades and the signing of Robert are the ones that the White Sox hope will pay off for them because they expect all of the prospects, especially Moncada and Robert, to be significant major league contributors.
Are they buyers or sellers?
The White Sox are the definition of sellers in advance of the trade deadline, and will primarily draw interest from clubs looking for starters, relievers and infielders.
However, Hahn has preached for the last six months that they have to be “patient” with the rebuilding process and that they are not going to deal their top trade chips just to do it. They want to get players who will be major pieces in their effort to make the franchise one of the best in baseball.
The good news for them is that pitching will be at a premium considering the lack of aces and closers available now. They also have position players who are upcoming free agents and can be nice rentals for contenders.
Who could they trade?
A blockbuster deadline deal involving the White Sox is almost certain, especially given the amount of interest in Quintana and Robertson.
Quintana has drawn interest from the Dodgers, Astros, Pirates, Yankees, Braves and Red Sox. The Dodgers were the latest to throw their hat in the ring and are regarded as a dark horse to land the 28-year-old lefty.
The White Sox will be trying to sell the Quintana of last year, when he posted a 5.1 WAR and a 3.20 ERA. He also struck out 181 and finished 10th in the AL Cy Young voting. More importantly, they will emphasize that Quintana is under team control through 2020 and is owed only $37.85 million over the next four seasons, giving contenders a pitcher who can not only help them win now but also help them keep vying for the postseason for possibly three more seasons.
Robertson has been heavily mentioned in trade rumors to the Nationals since the offseason. The White Sox and the Nationals nearly completed a deal for Robertson before spring training, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, as Washington was to send left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor league infielder Drew Ward for Robertson in a trade in which Chicago was going to pay almost half of Robertson’s remaining $25 million on his contract.
With the White Sox declining the offer, the Nationals — leaders of the NL East — now need a proven closer desperately because they have had six different relievers earn a save this year and their window to win now is closing sooner rather than later. Robertson fits the Nats’ need perfectly, but his level of play this year (11 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 24 appearances) has certainly driven up the asking price to acquire him.
For position players, the White Sox’s biggest trade chips are Frazier, Cabrera and Abreu. Frazier and Cabrera are free agents after this season, and the White Sox would like to get some nice value in return for the two former All-Star players. Frazier has already been scouted by the Red Sox this season and a deal could possibly help Boston resolve its issues at third base. As for Abreu, he had been mentioned in a lot of trade rumors during the offseason, but nothing ever came to fruition. The White Sox would probably love to trade their first baseman, but this year may not be the right time because there are bigger names at first, such as the Royals’ Eric Hosmer and the Athletics’ Yonder Alonso.
Out of every team in baseball, the White Sox have the most prominent players in the trade market, leaving us to believe that they will make some big moves before the non-waiver deadline.
Out of all their trade chips, Quintana and Robertson will get traded. Where Quintana will land will be a mystery because of the line of suitors after him, though the Astros and Yankees have been pegged as the most probable clubs to get him. As for Robertson, we’ll predict he goes to the Nationals. The Nationals proved to do whatever it took to get Eaton in the offseason. And with closer being the biggest piece they need to contend for a championship, the Nationals are going to find a way to give the White Sox what they want for their All-Star reliever.
Frazier appears likely to be dealt, but the White Sox will probably not get that much in return for him because of his hitting troubles overall this year. The same is true for Cabrera, but if the White Sox can get steals for both him and Frazier then they should deal them instead of waiting to let them go in free agency. Abreu will stay in the South Side unless the White Sox get an incredible offer they can’t refuse and will more than likely try to move him in the offseason.