With the trade deadline quickly approaching, it’s time for our official Sox On 35th predictions. Each contributor has given their say on where they think some of the team’s most appealing players could be headed by July 31st.
Jordan Lazowski: Milwaukee Brewers
These rumors have picked up in recent days, and I like this move the most. While the Astros have been connected to Quintana for awhile, they don’t have the need to get over the hump like the Brewers do in order to pull away in a winnable NL Central. With the #5 farm system, per MLB Pipeline, the Brewers have plenty to offer the White Sox. Plus, as the team with the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball, Quintana’s team-friendly contract should appear all the more appealing to the Brewers. This trade depends on whether the Brewers are willing to speed up their rebuild process to take advantage of a weak NL Central. Don’t be surprised though if the new rumors convince the Astros to pay the price to stabilize their oft-injured rotation.
Honorable Mentions: Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves
Joe Binder: New York Yankees
With New York still very much in contention for the AL East and Wild Card, they will be targeting starting pitching at the deadline. Jose Quintana seems like a great fit for Girardi’s team of struggling starting pitchers. Q is someone who will give the Yankees consistent, quality starts every five days. Sure, he’s had his rough patches this season. However, he’s still been classic Quintana for the Sox who, at times, failed to give him enough run support. The Baby Bombers are an offensive machine so run support should not be a problem in the Bronx.
One thing that makes this trade appealing to the White Sox is the Yankees’ farm system. With great outfielders like Clint Frazier and Blake Rutherford, New York’s number two and three prospects respectively, it makes a potential deal that much more intriguing. These are two guys the Sox will be most definitely be interested in when discussing a deal with New York. With Hahn’s high asking price, it seems likely that Frazier will be the one included in packages along with other prospects. He’s Major League ready, meaning he could end up in the outfield as soon as he gets to Chicago, and he would be a great piece in the South Side lineup. Additionally, one positive for New York is that Jose Quintana has a year remaining on his contract with several club options after, allowing them to keep him around for a few more seasons.
Honorable Mentions: Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves
Michael Gilger: New York Yankees
The Yankees are going all-in this year with all the talent they have on their stacked lineup. They are definitely buyers. It also makes a lot of sense that they would go for starting pitching. Their rotation has been shaky this year with Tanaka struggling early and the rest of their rotation being hit or miss.
The Yanks need pitching, and the White Sox are willing to give it to them insofar as they get a good deal back. The White Sox would expect a similar return as Chris Sale. Ideally, we would receive MLB’s #2 prospect Gleyber Torres, but thats highly unlikely unless we were to tack on additional pieces like Todd Frazier or Melky Cabrera. The deal would likely include outfield prospects like Clint Frazier and some lower level youngsters.
Honorable Mentions: Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros
Jake Spiwak: Milwaukee Brewers (OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Luis Ortiz, OF Brett Phillips)
If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season that the Brewers would ever enter the Jose Quintana sweepstakes, there’s no way I would’ve believed you. However, after surpassing all expectations, Milwaukee enters the All-Star break with a 5.5 game lead in the NL Central. Their lineup can rake as well as anybody in the league, but the one glaring hole that could cost the Brewers down the stretch is their starting rotation.
As a team with a lot of young talent that wasn’t supposed to compete this year, many rightfully believe the Brewers wouldn’t sacrifice part of their future to continue this season’s unlikely run. But with the Cubs stumbling into the All-Star break with no end to their struggles in sight, I see the Brewers taking advantage of that and acquiring the ace their team has been lacking.
The Brewers have enough prospects to get this done, specifically in the outfield (which is a major need for the White Sox). Quintana is still under team control on a great contract through 2020, which makes it more likely that Milwaukee would be willing to part with some prospects to have Jose anchor their rotation for the next handful of years.
Honorable Mentions: Houston Astros and New York Yankees. Both have been rumored for months, but ultimately I don’t believe either will pony up Rick Hahn’s asking price. The Astros are in a good enough position to win this year without trading top prospects for another piece to their rotation, and the Yankees seem committed enough to their rebuild that they won’t be willing to let go of a top prospect.
Jordan Lazowski: Boston Red Sox
Boston’s 3B offense this season has been anemic at best: 29th in OBP, 30th in OPS, 25th in HR, 27th in BB, and 27th in WAR. As a team that many considered the preseason favorites to be heading to the World Series, combined with the fact that the Yankees aren’t going anywhere, this is a positional weakness that the BoSox cannot afford. They have the payroll capability to eat a portion of Frazier’s $12M contract as well. However, don’t be surprised if the Yankees come in and sweep up Frazier for both 3B and 1B help, as they haven’t found any answer at 1B (27th in OBP, 29th in OPS, 24th in HR, and 29th in WAR), nor a productive answer in Chase Headley at 3B, throughout this season.
Honorable Mention: New York Yankees
Joe Binder: Not Traded
While this is a tough call, I not convinced that Todd Frazier will be moved at the deadline. The third baseman has struggled offensively for much of the 2017 season, making him less attractive for buyers. Even though he has started to pick it up offensively, at times, during the summer months, I don’t think it’s enough for a potential contender to make a move. If anything, Mike Moustakas from Kansas City would make more sense for buyers. Plus, if moved, the White Sox would have to eat up a significant amount of Frazier’s $12 million contract owed through the end of this season. If you’re the White Sox, you would have to get an unbelievable return in order to flip the third baseman. Otherwise, it makes sense just to keep him and let him be a free agent at the end of the season.
Honorable Mention: Red Sox
Michael Gilger: Not Traded
My guess is that Todd Frazier isn’t going anywhere, or at least very far. Aside from Melky, Todd Frazier is making the most money out of anybody on the White Sox as he’s currently on a 1 year, $12 million deal. What does this mean? It means that he is worth close to nothing in the trade market, especially recently. For batting .215, he is worth nowhere close to what he’s being paid.
If he is going anywhere, one of two things is going to have to happen:
1) The Sox will try to trade him for close to nothing in return
2) The Sox will have to pay a lot of his salary before trading him so that he has some value.
My guess is that neither of those two things will happen and he will become a free agent after this season.
Honorable mentions: Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jake Spiwak: Boston Red Sox (RHP Bryan Mata)
While Todd Frazier and his .215 batting average is hardly setting the world on fire, there are a handful of teams that could benefit from having the Todd Father in their lineup for the next few months. Namely the Boston Red Sox, who have some of the worst production from the 3B position in all of baseball despite being one of the favorites to win the American League.
Frazier provides above average defense, above average power and he gets on base over a third of the time, all of which would provide Boston with an upgrade. He won’t get the White Sox much more than a mid-level prospect, but Rick Hahn should gladly take as much as he can get in return for the veteran to free up playing time for some younger guys.
Honorable Mentions: New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals
Jordan Lazowski: Washington Nationals
I don’t think there’s any question that the Nats need bullpen help if they want to make a deep Postseason run. Their 5.20 Bullpen ERA is the worst in the majors, and they are tied for 6th for number of Blown Saves. For an old-school manager like Dusty Baker, the “defined” closer will be a comfort for him instead of the revolving door he has at the back end currently. These rumors have swirled for seemingly forever, but I think Hahn’s patience will pay off when the Nats get desperate and *hopefully* overpay again (SEE: Adam Eaton trade). They aren’t the only team that needs the help, though, so a team like the Yankees – with both Chapman and Betances struggling – has the incentive to bring back their old closer.
Honorable Mentions: New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros
Joe Binder: Washington Nationals
David Robertson to the Nationals just makes too much sense. Washington’s bullpen has been horrendous in save situations and owns some of the worst stats in all of baseball. David Robertson would be a huge impact player for a team destined to make a deep playoff run.
Honorable Mention: Houston Astros
Michael Gilger: Nationals
During the offseason, a trade proposal was made which would have sent Robertson to the Nats for infielder Drew Ward and southpaw Jesus Lizard. The Sox declined the offer, however, the Nationals have become more and more desperate as the playoffs are now looming around the corner.
The market for closers is very limited right now, which increases Robertson’s trade value tremendously. I think its likely that the Nationals will up their proposal, and we will see Robertson in a Nationals uniform by the end of July.
Honorable Mentions: Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jake Spiwak: Washington Nationals (SS Carter Kieboom, C Pedro Severino, OF Rafael Bautista)
At this point, I believe it’s not a matter of whether or not this deal will get done, it’s just a question of how much the White Sox will get in return. Unless Nationals GM Mike Rizzo refuses to make another deal with Rick Hahn, this fit is too perfect for a deal not to happen. The Nationals have an atrocious bullpen and a surplus of young position players in their system.
While we’d all love for the White Sox to acquire MLB Pipeline’s 5th rated prospect in OF Victor Robles, I’d be shocked if Hahn is able to pry him from Rizzo and the Nationals. The more likely scenario is a package headlined by either OF Juan Soto or SS Carter Kieboom, with another mid-level prospect and a lottery ticket. A name to watch out for is Washington’s 8th rated prospect C Pedro Severino, who would undoubtedly become the best fielding catcher in the White Sox organization.
Honorable Mentions: Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies. There’s not a contending team in baseball that couldn’t use more bullpen help, especially someone as talented as David Robertson. With that being said, I don’t see a better fit than Washington, and I’m still confident that we’ll see a trade with the Nationals happen sooner rather than later.
Jordan Lazowski: Minnesota Twins
The Twins are a surprise team in the AL Central, and the AL Wild Card’s 2nd spot has an opening for anyone willing to take it. The Twins would do well to shore up their relief pitching, which currently allows an average of 5.19 runs per game and has a 4.90 ERA, good for 26th in the MLB. Kahnle is a reliable option to turn the game over to Brandon Kintzler, the current closer for the Twins.
Honorable Mentions: Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Colorado Rockies
Joe Binder: Texas Rangers
This could be one of those moves that flies under the radar and flashes up on your television screen right before the deadline hits. The Rangers have the 5th worst bullpen ERA in Major League Baseball and Kahnle has been a stabilizer for the Sox. At the very least, it makes sense for Texas to check-in with Hahn and see what the asking price is for Tommy.
Honorable Mentions: Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies
Michael Gilger: Washington Nationals
It’s no secret that the Nationals have one of THE WORST bullpens in baseball, and if they want to improve their record and give themselves a shot at the World Series, they are going to need to acquire bullpen talent. This trade could be a part of the Robertson trade if the Nationals give the Sox a good offer.
The market for bullpen talent is huge right now, and it would be smart for the Sox to dump all the talent they have for future prospects, especially because our future bullpen talent looks very promising.
Honorable Mentions: Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers
Jake Spiwak: Not Traded
As much as I want the Sox to make a bunch of trades this month, I believe they’ll hold onto Kahnle unless Rick Hahn is able to get an absurd return for him. Kahnle is a 27-year-old that won’t be a free agent until 2021, and he’s done nothing but impress since debuting for the White Sox last season. He seems more like a guy that could be a staple of the bullpen when the Sox are ready to compete, and I expect him to stick around on the South Side.
Honorable Mentions: Washington Nationals and New York Yankees
Jordan Lazowski: Not Traded, Yet…
Currently, the market is not right for someone like Melky. There isn’t an immediate need for an OF/DH type, and even if there were, there are other players who would appeal to teams more (J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen). However, teams will get desperate during the August waivers period, and injuries will inevitably lead to more openings and an eventual landing spot for our lovable outfielder.
Joe Binder: Not Traded
With a limited market, it doesn’t seem likely that Melky will be on the move by the July 31st deadline. There have been no real rumblings about any teams interested in Melky, thus far. While that can change with injuries and what not, Sox fans should prepare to enjoy Melky for a little while longer.
Honorable Mention: Tampa Bay Rays
Michael Gilger: Phillies
I’m going to predict that Melky Cabrera will get traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Melky has a lot that he can bring to the table in Philly. Philadelphia is a young team, and they will be calling up even more of their prospects later this year or next. Melky can play a role on that team as the fun, enthusiastic mentor for a lot of these young players. He would serve as a huge asset for the ball club over there and the Sox would acquire a lot of talent from Philadelphia’s laundry list of prospects. I would suspect it would be somebody like Mickey Moniak if we’re lucky, who would be a great additional outfield prospect for the White Sox. Cabrera’s contract expires after this year, so it would be advantageous for the Sox to trade Cabrera rather than wait for him to go to free agency.
Honorable mentions: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jake Spiwak: Not Traded
This one doesn’t make much sense to me, but all reports are that there isn’t much of a trade market out there for Melky even though he’s slashing .287/.333/.418 and has been one of the most consistent bats in the Sox lineup for a couple years now. While he’s nowhere near Kevin Kiermaier or Jason Heyward in the field, he’s much better defensively than people give him credit for.
However, as hard as it is for me to believe, there apparently hasn’t been much interest from contending teams in a veteran corner outfielder with potential DH ability that constantly gets on base. Maybe we see him moved down the stretch as a waiver deal, but as of right now I expect Melky to finish the 2017 season in Chicago.
Honorable Mentions: Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers
Jordan Lazowski: Not Traded
Our lone All-Star, by the looks of it, has finally turned the corner in his career. While it would be nice to see Avi swapped for some talent, the White Sox are just starting to see the fruits of their Jake Peavy trade, and in a rebuild season, I can’t blame them for wanting to keep Avi around for the time being. Even if he isn’t considered part of the long-term plans, he isn’t blocking anyone from getting a chance, so there is no harm in letting him stay and hopefully continue to produce. If Avi finishes this season strong, produces the same way next season, and the White Sox collect some OF talent (#TankForBeer), I could see them dealing Avi come July 2018.
Joe Binder: Not Traded
After years of waiting, the patience displayed by the White Sox organization finally paid off as Avisail Garcia has been great all season. After an all-star first half, Avi won’t be going anywhere. With an already depleted outfield, it wouldn’t really make sense for Hahn and co. to trade him. Plus, if Avi continues to perform this well in the future, the Sox will want to hang on to him for the long run. While he could be moved, possibly next season, I think it’s a safe bet that Avi will be sticking around on the South Side for the remainder of 2017 and portion of 2018, if not longer.
Honorable Mentions: St. Louis Cardinals
Michael Gilger: Not Traded
Avi should stay with the White Sox. He’s 26 years old and has a lot of good years ahead of him. He had his breakout year this year, and has grown very popular with White Sox fans. I’m not saying he has a spot on the 2020 World Series team, but I do think he does have a spot in our future in some way or another.
His trade value is still growing, so it may be strategic to wait until next year before considering treading him.
Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians
Jake Spiwak: Not Traded
The White Sox lone All-Star in 2017 (how weird is that to say?) has obviously been having a career year, but I don’t think there are too many trades for Avi that make much sense. There was the rumor that St. Louis was looking at him a few weeks ago, but I’d be surprised if that came to fruition. There’s a lot of risk on both ends; the White Sox wouldn’t want to part with a young asset if his amazing first half is any indication of how he’ll play over the next few years, and contending teams are likely worried that his 2-35 slump going into the All-Star break is a sign that he’s reverting to old ways. Regardless, expect to still see Avi playing right field for the White Sox after the trade deadline.
Honorable Mentions: St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers
Michael Gilger: Not Traded
It’s safe to say that Abreu will be staying on the South Side. There have been a lot of rumors going around before this season started, but nothing ever surfaced. Abreu is having a great year, and while I think that it would be a great time to trade him, names like Eric Hosmer will definitely be bought first.
The White Sox will be the team to beat in a few years, and I think that Abreu can be the veteran all-star that can help lead us to a World Series. He has already started filling that role by talking to and mentoring Luis Robert. I would love to see a lot more of that, and I think we will.
Honorable mentions: Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies
Wild Card Players
Jordan Lazowski: The Rest of the Bullpen that Hasn’t Been Mentioned
The White Sox have had one of the strongest bullpens in the majors this season, especially considering they are a rebuilding team. Dan Jennings, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson have all had integral roles in the bullpen’s 3.77 ERA, good for 7th best in the MLB. We might see all of them go, because there are a lot of teams who could use an additional, and reliable, arm out of the pen (plus, who wouldn’t mind a few extra blown leads to help #TankForBeer?). Also keep an eye on veterans like Shields and Holland, and either Yolmer Sanchez or Tyler Saladino, because once Yoan Moncada finds his way onto the roster, there might only be room for one of them.
Honorable Mentions: James Shields, Derek Holland, Yolmer Sanchez, Tyler Saladino
Joe Binder: Yolmer Sanchez
Why not? Yolmer has been doing great things as an everyday infielder for the White Sox this season. For any buyers who need an infielder or utility bat, Yolmer seems like he could be a decent fit. Will he continue to be a solid player in the future? That’s the mystery. What will the Sox get in return for the youngster? Who knows. We’ll let the baseball gods decide on this one.
Honorable mentions: James Shields, Anthony Swarzak
Michael Gilger: Anthony Swarzak
I think that there’s a chance Swarzak gets traded by the deadline. The market for bullpen is just too big for the Sox to hold onto him. It would be smart to trade him for more prospects or other youngsters that the Sox can add to their minor league arsenal.
Jake Spiwak: Anthony Swarzak to the Washington Nationals
When I think of a bullpen arm other than David Robertson that should be moved before the deadline, Anthony Swarzak makes a lot more sense than Tommy Kahnle. Both are having a breakout season and their value is likely at an all-time high, but unlike Kahnle, the almost 32-year-old Swarzak won’t be around when the Sox are ready to compete.
With that being said, I see him being a perfect piece to add into the Robertson trade to Washington. Mike Rizzo would be much more likely to part with a premiere prospect if the Sox handed over two bullpen arms, and the Nationals need as much help as they can get in the bullpen. Swarzak would also be a great fit for the Red Sox, but ultimately I see him being moved to Washington.
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