The trade deadline is fast approaching and while we believe the White Sox should be selling their closer Alex Colome, that does not mean they cannot also buy. However, they don’t have many commodities to buy with. Beefloaf recently asked this question of Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs
This doesn’t mean that the Sox cannot have a solid farm system next year if prospects perform well, get healthy, bounce back, etc. But what it does indicate is that there won’t be high levels of interest in any Sox prospects other than Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal, who they likely won’t sell.
But sometimes you don’t need to give much. Sometimes a team has signed a deal with a player that they want to get out of so bad, they’ll basically give the player away. Now, I know you’re thinking Zack Greinke, but it sounds like the D’Backs want teams to take the money plus send some good prospects. Sox won’t/can’t do that, so let’s check some other options:
I know he’s 33 years old, I know he hasn’t pitched much in the last 2 years and YES, I know he is owed $21M in 2020, $21M in 2021 and he has a club option in 2022 for an additional $21M with a $5M buyout. I still love the idea of acquiring Johnny Cueto. At worst you’ll get a slightly below league average hurler with more style on the hill than Michael Strahan and better hair than peak Bob Marley. He’s also got the hardware on the shelf from helping the 2015 Royals bring home the bacon. Since the Giants are in a rebuild, I suspect that if the White Sox did want materially all of the contract eaten up, they could get that done by providing some mid-level prospects.
I initially thought about Chris Davis here, despite the fact he hasn’t got a hit since 2015. Obviously not to play, but to grab additional players from them. They’d have to give up Chance Sisco and Dylan Bundy, which they won’t do and which I don’t know makes sense for the Sox at the price. Instead, I looked at Alex Cobb, who has been bad and hurt for them at quite a price. I’d couple Jonathan Villar in this deal, which would take roughly $20M off their payroll, but supply us an additional 100 OPS points at 2nd base along with a bunch of steals. Villar would be a nice vet to put in place until Madrigal pushes him out. Cobb on the other hand would be two years of high risk high reward pitching. If he comes back healthy and to form, you got a number 2 or 3 pitcher for 2/$29M. If not, that’s not a ton to spend in these years of low payroll.
Rick Hahn has a troubled past with left handed hitting corner bats (both OF & IF) and here we have one of the best of our generation, clearly on the downside of his career and owed more money than Hans Gruber tried to steal from Nakatomi Tower in 1988. Votto is still seemingly hitting the ball well (by normal human standards) and loves Cincy, so this may be a hard sell as Votto has a full no trade clause. However, the Reds to have a bunch of young talent already in the bigs and more on the way, and Votto is both in one of those spots where a young player could play and he is quite cost prohibitive, so maybe there is a possibility here. One thing is for certain, even old ass Joey Votto still knows how to take a walk and our White Sox can use a helluva lot more of that.
I know what you are thinking, it’s the fucking Yankees, why would they sell off some high priced talent to a team like the White Sox?? Well, this is the new Yankees and they don’t like going above the luxury tax threshold. Stanton is still a stud, but he’s owed a fortune through 2027 and the Yankees are a drafting and developing machine meaning, he’s kinda redundant for them. They’d probably appreciate the cap (fucking this stupid luxury tax) space to go sign more top flight pitching. Enter the White Sox. Now a couple tree tings here. Stanton does have a full no-trade clause, so he’d have to agree to this shit (don’t worry, he will) and he can opt out after 2020 (don’t worry he won’t), but otherwise, this seems like an excellent fit for the White Sox who are dying for a giant bat to put in the middle of the lineup and play RF. He’s better than the available free agents and could age quite nicely in our tiny band box of a ball park.
I’d actually ask for 3 players here. The third being Daniel Vogelbach or Domingo Santana. And I’d send Yolmer in the deal. That’s a pretty even swap at 2nd base where the Sox take on money. The Leake money makes the additional player possible. Leake himself has not been great, but he’s historically had a nice groundball rate that plays well in Sox Park. Vogelbach and Santana are #108thicc mashers with little to no defensive values, which has never stopped me from loving a player.
Upton has actually performed well, but the Angels 2020 payroll is yamahama fright night! Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Upton make up about $87M alone. Pujols and Trout are pretty much untradeable, for very different reasons. If you throw them a prospect or two (2nd or 3rd tier), you can probably get them to eat some of that 2022 $28M.