White Sox “Trades” with EVERY TEAM – AL East Edition – 2023

A long time ago, I was listening to an interview with legendary poker professional Phil Ivey and the interviewer asked the question (paraphrasing) How would you recommend a player learning the game get better the fastest? Phil said something to the effect of (paraphrasing) Buy in to a game at much lower stakes than you would normally play, and then play every single hand for an hour. Try and figure out how you would play all of these different hands in different situations and positions that you are normally taught not to play in. In the spirit of that recommendation from an all-time great, Chorizy and I are once again going to undertake the exercise of making a White Sox trade with every team in the majors…..this is the AL East Edition.

Tampa Rays

White Sox send: Andrew Vaughn 1b
White Sox receive: Brandon Lowe 2b / of and Joe LaSorsa LHP (Reliever)
Rationale: The White Sox are trying to clear up First Base / Designated Hitter and the most valuable tradeable commodity is likely Andrew Vaughn since he is still on a minimum salary and will just be entering arbitration in 2024. That’s attractive to most teams, but especially teams that have a self-imposed miniscule budget like Tampa.

The Rays on the other hand are a likely trade partner in this scenario as they are lacking a bit at Right Handed Power at First Base / Designated Hitter. They also have the self-imposed tiniest mini-payroll budget in MLB and Brandon Lowe has quickly become their 3rd highest paid player entering 2023 at $5.25M. Lowe is a Second Baseman by trade, but can flex to the outfield corners without hurting you too bad. He was an elite hitter in 2020 and 2021, but 2022 was a down year for him mostly due to a back injury. He’s due the aforementioned $5.25M in ’23 an $8.75M in ’24, before he has two club options for $10.5M and $11.5M in ’25 and ’26. If all works out (which is seldom does), Lowe would be the long-term solution at keystone until the official close of the contention window.

Joe LaSorsa is a lefty reliever that is due for a 40 man spot that the Rays can’t afford to provide him, so he’s a nice addition to the deal for the White Sox who are thirsting for quality bullpen alternatives with minor league options. He has much more utility to the White Sox than a Rays team bursting at the seems with such products.

New York Yankees

White Sox send: AJ Pollock + $3M
White Sox receive: Richard Fitts
Rationale: This is pretty much a salary dump. The Yankees have a number of outfielders going into free agency and will need to pick up some capable bodies. In order to get anything back in the trade, the Sox will need to send some cash. In return they’ll get a 22 year old trying to escape single A. It can really be anybody, so if they want to just dump the salary and not throw the $3M, they can get a lesser prospect. However, I choose to go with Dick Fitts.

Baltimore Orioles

White Sox send: Norge Vera Right Handed SP, Jared Kelley Right Handed SP
White Sox receive: Anthony Santander RF
Rationale: The Orioles surprising 2022 campaign has them improving into a young core a little quicker than I would’ve thought. However, since this is the brain trust that materially brought along the Houston Astros current dynasty, they are constantly looking to enrich their farm system even as the major league club careens towards potential playoff appearances.

That’s where Santander comes in, he’s going to make $7.442 million this season (just signed a 1 year deal in his 3rd Arbitration year, he’s a super two so he’ll have a 4th Arbitration year in 2024) and has just had his first 2 fWAR or better season (2.5 fWAR to be exact). This is the perfect time for the O’s to ship him off and turn him into more stuff that helps them for another half decade.

For the White Sox, Santander can competently hold the baton in RF until Oscar Colas is ready to claim it from him, then his switch hittingness and corner outfielderness will be much needed depth on a roster that has really lacked it. But, the real reason to bring Santander in is POWER. He’s hits dongers. Ball go far, Team go far. He hit 33 tanks last year and I don’t trust anyone not named Eloy Jimenez on this current White Sox roster to match that in 2023. Having control of the player in 2024 makes me hear Rick Hahn’s music.

In Vera and Kelley the Orioles are adding much needed depth to their farm system on the pitching side. As good as the Orioles have been at stitching together a bullpen out of thin air, that’s tougher to do on the starting pitching side. It can get expensive and even though the O’s have the top pitching prospect in the game on their farm in Grayson Rodriguez, they don’t have a ton behind that.

Vera has already flashed his plus fastball, materially against underaged / overwhelmed competition. More data is necessary to see what his eventually upside will be. Kelley was a top prospect in his draft class and the White Sox nabbed him in round 2 of the 2020 draft out of high school with an over-slot bonus. He’s flashed that pedigree in 2 seasons in the minors, but he’s failed to live up to the hype in actual results to this point. Much of the critiques of Kelley come with the caveat that he needs to work on his “conditioning”. This is code for he’s #108Thicc. I think once Barstool Chief eventually bombs out of the #108WeightLoss competition, we’ll have room to add ole Jared and get his “conditioning” on track.

Toronto Blue Jays

White Sox send: Luis Robert CF, Romy Gonzalez IF, Aaron Bummer Left Handed RP
White Sox receive: Alejandro Kirk C, Cavan Biggio 2b, Teoscar Hernandez OF, Nate Pearson Right Handed SP, Francis Bowden Right Handed SP
Rationale: The Blue Jays are hot and heavy in their contention window sporting one of the finest young teams in the majors. They are pretty much in good shape in most spots, except for Center Field as the aging George Springer has been having trouble staying healthy out there the Jays have resorted to the Raimel Tapia‘s, Jackie Bradley Jr. Jr.’s and even the Bradley Zimmer‘s of the world to fill the gap. With Robert, they get their Center Fielder of the future, they comfortably move Springer to a corner and are settled in the outfield for the next 4 years.

Image Credit: George Fisher USA Today Sports

The one thing the Jays have tons of is catchers. In my SoxMachine off-season plan last season I tried to trade for Alejandro Kirk at a much cheaper price than now, then 2022 season happened and he exploded on the league, sporting a 129 wRC+ and 9 Catcher Framing Runs for a 3.8 fWAR season (we missed our cheap window). So Beef, if he was a break out star, why would the Jays trade him. Well, they have the always dependable Danny Jansen, who is certainly no slouch and then they have top prospect Gabriel Moreno right on his heels (he made his major league debut in 2022). God it must be nice to have talent depth at a position. So the Jays can move and improve from their position of strength. Kirk is under team control through 2026, so he’s the long-term solution at Catcher for the Sox.

The White Sox are also taking some shots at filling out other positions by grabbing Cavan Biggio. Biggio has been okay, early in his MLB career, hardly the stud that his father was, but he does bring two things that the Sox sorely need, good defense at 2b and a high walk rate. If he’s nothing better than a league average 2b, you can spike the ball on this portion.

Teoscar Hernandez is your nominal Right Fielder in 2023, keeping the seat warm for Oscar Colas as, Hernandez becomes a free agent after the season. He sucks in the outfield, but he leaves the yard and the Sox desperately need some pop.

The last two pieces to this deal are basically lottery tickets. Nate Pearson was a former top prospect who just can’t stay healthy, if by some miracle the underachieving White Sox training staff can get him right, you’ll win this trade handily. Francis Bowden has long been a command over stuff guy in the minor, who posted solid results each year, until 2022, when he got absolutely destroyed at AAA Buffalo, however, we have Ethan Katz and he has 2 more minor league options and since Charlotte would go a fortnight without having a proper starting pitcher, this is a worthwhile gamble.

The Jays also get Romy Gonzalez in the deal to fill up their utility spot once occupied by Biggio. Gonzalez is very athletic, but he can’t stop striking out. In fact he just struck out again while I was writing this. And finally Aaron Bummer. They only nominally have a lefty in their bullpen and in order to secure all of this it felt like they might ask for a little more to the deal, so he rounds this out.

Boston Red Sox

White Sox send: Colson Montgomery, Yoelqui Cespedes, Sean Burke
White Sox receive: Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo
Rationale: I know that Devers is in the last year of his contract, so this would be a one year rental unless the White Sox extend him. But to quote famous actor Dirk Diggler “I wanna fuck. It’s my big dick. So everybody get ready fucking now!” I know we all have high hopes for Colson Montgomery, but Rafael Devers can mash right now! The window is closing and I don’t feel like waiting for rebuild #2 to try to win something. Give me Devers and his monster power (and adequate fielding) and throw in a lefty outfield bat that isn’t great but is an easy improvement over what we’ve had.

The White Sox are giving up a top 100 prospect and two others that could be competent major leaguers. However, Montgomery is the story here. The Red Sox are replacing Bogaerts with Trevor Story, but if Montgomery proves to be the SS we think he can be, he’ll push Story back to 2B. The crazy thing here is that IF we were to hear that Devers were available, other teams may offer more for the 26 year old masher.

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