White Sox “Trades” with EVERY TEAM – AL West 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 West Edition.
White Sox send: Liam Hendriks CL, Bryan Ramos 3B
White Sox receive: Adolis Garcia OF
Rationale: The Rangers can hit, they’ve assembled a roster that can do that. What they don’t have yet is pitching. While I think they’ll spend in free agency to bolster their rotation, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot you can do at closer. I think it would be at the very least, surprising, if the Rangers were to deal Garcia. But maybe they’d be willing to do so to solidify the back of their bullpen. Hendriks changes the look of their pen quite a bit as it likely pushes Leclerc (they need to exercise his option) and Hernandez into the 7th and 8th inning guys instead of relying on them for saves. In addition, they’ll get Bryan Ramos who is more and more seeming like a legit prospect from this system.
Adolis Garcia is very much the type of guy the White Sox can use. A solid RF with power who can also play CF if needed. This also cuts the Sox payroll by nearly $13.5M since despite being 30, Garcia has not yet reached arbitration.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
White Sox send: Dylan Cease SP
White Sox receive: Shohei Ohtani DH / SP
Rationale: Looking at Anaheim’s roster, it’s difficult to imagine a trade between these two teams. The Angels have over $100M in payroll tied up in Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon just for this year. But then the next highest paid guys is a massive drop off to $7.5M. Additionally, they have almost no players in late arb years. So if you’re gonna trade with them, it’s probably gonna be a pretty massive trade.
I love Dylan Cease and he put together an incredible year in 2022. In addition to that, down the stretch, he seemed to become even more of a pitcher than a thrower. Being more efficient with his pitches and generally being someone you’d tune in to watch even during the end of season death march. But if you want to get one of the best talents in the game, you gotta send your best. You would be getting 1 year of a pitcher in the same tier as Cease, but also the best left handed hitter the Sox have had in a while. Not to mention, you get that in one human.
For Anaheim, they are unlikely to tear this down, but also unlikely to unseat the Astros in the next year. So having Cease through 2025 and reducing payroll by about $25M for this season, should help them to even out their roster a bit. It’s possible they’d want even more than Cease, but it starts getting complicated in terms of dollars after that, so
White Sox send: Eloy Jimenez OF / DH & Garrett Crochet Left Handed RP
White Sox receive: Hunter Brown Right Handed SP, Luis Garcia Right Handed SP, David Hensley 2B / 3B / Util, JJ Matijevic 1B / DH
Rationale: The Astros have a disgusting amount of pitching depth. Just eyeballin’ their playoff roster, they have 6 competent major league starting pitchers on it, plus their top starting pitching prospect. It’s an absolute wealth of pitching and they seem to keep generating it year after year. There is a reason that this team goes to the ALCS basically every season.
One thing they are missing though is the absolutely frightening offense they have displayed in the past. This version of the team has slid back towards the middle of the pack in that regard and are desperately in need of reinforcements going into 2023. Now, although they’ll probably just sign Jose Abreu to a 2 year deal and rip my heart directly from my chest, I figured what if we dealt them Eloy Jimenez, at would that look like?? With Yordan Alvarez maturing into a down right decent Left Fielder, the DH / 1B spot is wide open for the Astros with Yuli Gurriel falling off a cliff and Michael Brantley following suit. In Jimenez the Astros would get the near unlimited upside they have with Alvarez, but from the Right Side, along with his injury history.
In return the White Sox would remake their rotation for the next several years. Luis Garcia is already an average to average plus SP, so he anchors the deal. The upside in this deal materially comes from Hunter Brown the Astros top SP prospect that had another banger year in AAA and came to the majors without missing a beat being an absolute stud through 20 Innings of work mostly out of the bullpen. Those guys, plus Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech would hopefully provide a formidable front line going into the middle of the decade.
In David Hensley you get a 6’6″ utility guy who controls the strike zone well but doesn’t hit for power. Yes he can float to basically every position and be okay, while still doing this, so it’s a weird profile, but in the White Sox “BASICALLY STAY HEALTHY” scheme, he should fill in the gaps nicely.
JJ Matijevic is a power only lefty bat that might be AJ Reed all over again, but he’s worth a gamble as the last piece of this trade. If you get a platoon side power DH out of him (you know, what Gavin Sheets is supposed to become), then bless up. I’ve added oft injured Garrett Crochet to this deal to sort of even out the risk for the Astros. He throws bb’s and the ‘Stros don’t really have an impact lefty in their bullpen (not that they necessarily need one).
White Sox send: Aaron Bummer Left Handed RP & Danny Mendick 2b
White Sox receive: Kyle Lewis OF & Justus Sheffield Left Handed SP
Rationale: Jerry DiPoto LOVES to deal. In this instance though, he is taking the lower upside of the gamble. Aaron Bummer has been great in the past, but even the current iteration of Aaron Bummer has been a very good dependable left handed reliever who throws a billion ground balls. Seattle can utilize that with Eugenio Suarez (noted BeefLoaf guy) and JP Crawford capably manning the left side of the infield. In return the White Sox receive two lottery tickets.
Kyle Lewis was the 2020 AL ROY, he was expected to be the Mariners Centerfielder of the future until a devastating knee injury wiped out most of his 2021 and 2022 seasons. Healthy in the 2nd half of 2022, he struggled mightily in his return to the Mariners at the plate and wasn’t even given a September call up by the club, nor was he added to the playoff roster. After initially refusing to play in Triple-A Tacoma after his assignment, he did hit, .879 OPS 116 wRC+. The hope here is to restore Lewis’ bat and make him an answer in a corner outfield spot.
Justus Sheffield had a lot of promise, was once a top 100 prospect and has basically sucked so far for the Mariners. He’s been up and down with the Mariners not finding much success at all. The hope here is to get him with Ethan Katz and see what the Sox can get out of him. He and Lewis, have minor league options remaining (1 and 2 respectively), so even if it takes a minute to get this going, they add to the teams depth.
Danny Mendick is here, because well, every team can kinda use a Danny Mendick and with him getting an arbitration raise and the White Sox already having, Leury Garcia, Romy Gonzalez and Lenyn Sosa in house, I figured Seattle might want to extend their bench a bit. LET’S GAMBLE!
White Sox send: Yoelqui Céspedes OF
White Sox receive: Ramon Laureano OF
Rationale: Laureano might be the highest paid player on the A’s in his second arb year, which says way more about Oakland than him. He posted a 92 OPS+, so he’s nothing special at the plate. However, he should be an upgrade over AJ Pollock (defensively) and Adam Engel (offensively). Yoelqui, on the other hand, has some name power and has shown some flashes of being a good player. But the 30% K rate in the minors will likely not translate well to the majors. If the A’s can fix that, they’ll have a nice player. In the meantime, they’ll save about 4.5M.
No more Garcia’s in the outfield, we tried that