White Sox Trade Deadline Thoughts (and Prayers)

The song 1999 by Prince starts with Lisa Coleman singing the lyric, “I was dreaming when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray“. I have to warn the reading audience that’s how this blog is going to proceed. I thought about writing the normal fare for a trade deadline blog, but really, there’s no point. I could give you a bunch of trade scenarios and we could argue over them, but really we won’t get any closer to thinking about this shit if we go about it that way. I’m going to take you on a disorganized ride, “so sue me if it goes too fast.”

Prince and Lisa Coleman

Rick Hahn should wait to make a deal, don’t want to appear desperate

Photo from wttw.com

Nick Madrigal got injured on June 9th. It was on June 10th when his injury was known to be of a severe and possibly season ending nature. That day, the White Sox won and settled into the a 4.5 game lead in the AL Central. Hardly a desperate tense. Not to mention, Nick Madrigal injury or not, the White Sox have had the same needs since the season opened. The White Sox need above average hitters vs RHP. Same as it always was.

Fast forward to this morning and you have lost 4 straight to the Astros and the Indians after beating up the Cubs are now only 2 games back. That’s more “desperate” in theory than June 10th, but possibly not as desperate as the upcoming all-star break. Who knows? But widely available gauges of desperateness probably shouldn’t be the deciding factor in acting or not.

The other surprising stance by a good chunk of fandom is that they would almost prefer to wait to make a deal as opposed to making one sooner. Now don’t get me wrong, I am well known in my family and friend group to delay decisions as long as possible. I tend to say I am deliberate, Chorizy might say I am a slow poke, regardless, I get this mode of life. However, making a deal earlier is preferable for two reasons, one obvious and one not so obvious.

The “Obvious” reason to make a deal earlier is to get more time with the addition to your squad. Adding an extra month or so of a valuable players’ services is, for lack of a better word, GOOD. It is also fairly obvious why your partner might want to trade you earlier as well. *Scrolls through twitter seeing another half dozen players with soft tissue injuries* Their window to take advantage of their trade assets is decreasing and an injury of even minor severity can shrink that value to NOTHING.

The less “Obvious” reason you should want your GM to deal early is conditional on your believing that you have one of the smart / good GM’s. If that isn’t you, feel free to skip forward to the next heading and begin reading from there. #Hahnbots, please continue on with me.

If you believe your GM is a good one, you’d prefer that yours is making deals when the trade deadline market is still fairly young or immature or emerging, depending on which descriptor you prefer. Think about it, when is it easiest to beat NFL lines, early in the week when the markets are immature or on Sunday morning at 11:48am when Pinnacle Sports is taking $100k on either side. Okay. Right now, the July 31st deadlines markets are fairly immature. At 10:47pm ET on July 30th, those markets will be mature af. Think about it.

I work in Real Estate (back office) and some of the most profitable deals are those that are considered “Off-Market” deals. Effectively you end up with a more exclusive track to bidding on an asset. The public isn’t consulted or asked to place bids. That’s kinda like the trade market early on before EVERYONE is involved.

Watch when the orgs that crush on trades make them. The Rays make them, whenever. Dodgers too. There’s really no reason to wait at all if a deal can be made and you can get an edge, you do it.

I want the White Sox to add some players but I don’t want them to “Mortgage the Future”

Not to pick on HashTagWhiteSox, this was just the first / easiest tweet I could find. There’s many tweets like it. This shouldn’t even be a thought.

First off, the goal is winning a title, and while you don’t need to drunken sailor the process, we do need a little bit of stupid cowboy in us (Larry Dennitt, Sr. – Talladega Nights) to make some deals. Secondly, there’s limited time to act. Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon are free agents after this season, Jose Abreu’s contract expires after the 2022 season, Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal are all free agents after the 2023 season. The time to act is now and aggressively. Replacing that gaggle of talent seems a difficult feat, so why not try and win, NOW, with those players.

I think it’s far more dangerous to “Mortgage the Present”. That’s what the White Sox did in 2020, when they were a lock for a playoff spot, were clearly short a starting pitcher and chose to sit on their hands. These opportunities are fleeting and the biggest mistake possible is not doing enough to acquire the appropriate talent when you have one of these opportunities to win a championship.

Chicago White Sox’s Tim Anderson (7) is restrained by Jose Abreu after he was hit by a pitch from the Kansas City Royals, as benches cleared during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The Royals won 4-3 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: CXS125

Now, I’m not necessarily saying you barrel the entire farm system for one top player right now, but I’m not NOT saying that either. Be aggressive and get the best fix for this team today (and tomorrow if possible). Worrying about the expected value of Jared Kelley 8 years from now isn’t the best tact for winning a championship now, while you have a championship caliber core. You’d be spitting in Tim Anderson’s face if you don’t want to acquire appropriate reinforcements.

The White Sox Can’t Possibly Afford Player X (Ketel Marte for my purposes)

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte reacts in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays in the third inning of their baseball game in Toronto on Sunday, June 9, 2019. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)

I really like Ketel Marte. I am not sure he is the answer for the White Sox this trade deadline, or that the Diamondbacks are even listening on offers to Marte. But I have seen a fair amount of thoughts that the White Sox can’t possibly acquire him at the deadline because they don’t have appropriate prospects. I’m not sure that’s true.

Using Joe Sheehan’s work from two weeks ago (an excerpt of which is HERE, but you should really subscribe to his newsletter, it costs $$$, but it is well worth it), teams don’t really pay big for rentals anymore. There’s a delineation in the game, let’s call it the POST CUBS era, where nobody trades high end prospects for rentals anymore.

I know what you’ll say. Beef, Marte isn’t a rental, he’s got control at a favorable contract. That is true. But you saw what Yu Darvish went for in the off-season, right? Okay, he was actually owed a little bit of money. How about a guy that wasn’t really owed much, and had some control left. How about Joe Musgrove? He went to San Diego for, we’ll I’ll clip the deal in below.

According to Fangraphs.com, the prospect FV of the players received by Pittsburgh were, Cruz 50, Head 45, Rodriguez 40+, Bednar 40, Fellows N/A, Cruz. Take a look at the White Sox prospect list below, from Fangraphs.com and craft your own. Seemingly a Marte type could be had.

There should be no concerns parting with 40 & 40+ prospects EVAR!….If you can’t replace those with each draft and each international signing period, than you are fucked anyways.

I’d personally prefer a BIG SPLASH, but that might be short sighted on my part. Several small deals might provide the optionality that gives the White Sox the biggest upside. Mercedes has options, Mendick has options, Vaughn has options, Heuer has options, Foster has options, Collins has options…displace any or all of them if making several small deals provides the appropriate risk adjusted bang for the buck.

It could go down a different way

In the end, I don’t have a preference, other than action > inaction. If Rick Hahn’s pro-scouting squad is on a got-damned heater and he wants to scoop up some AAAA player(s) that they feel another org has undervalued and they think that’s the best course of action to add to the 2021 White Sox, I’m all ears. I’ve said for years that I’d like Hahn and crew to make some wild trade that I don’t quite understand in the moment and have it work out like gangbusters. I’m still kinda waiting on that. Now would be a fabulous time!

There should be no restrictions on trading talent, the White Sox over cautiously stood pat in 2020, they can’t do that again! Let’s not get to “zero, zero, party over, oops, out of time“.


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