White Sox “Trades” with EVERY TEAM – NL Central 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 NL Central Edition.
White Sox send: Bryan Ramos 3B, Norge Vera SP, Cristian Mena SP
White Sox receive: Marcus Stroman SP
Rationale: As I look at this Cubs team, they have a strong crop of prospects, but they are not yet breaking into the Majors. So while we hear things from Hoyer like the Cubs will be “active” in free agency, it would be surprising that they go all out to fill all the holes the team has. Especially as the team plans to lower ticket prices. With that said, I am going after their ace.
Marcus Stroman has been a very good pitcher. There are some negatives here though, including him making $25M in 2023 and having a player option of $21M for 2024. This is not necessarily expensive for a top of the rotation guy, but why do the Cubs need that right now? Assuming he plays well in 2023, $21M won’t keep him around. Making this either a 1 year rental or an albatross 2 yr/$46M if things go wrong. Additionally, he spent over a month on the IL last year. That said, he pencils in as the White Sox number 2 or 3 pitcher immediately and would really bolster the rotation. Not sure how much Jerry would love this trade, but it makes a ton of sense to get Stroman.
Now all that stuff I said above, it ain’t cheap. And the Cubs will want back young prospects to be on the timeline with their current crop. So the current MLB roster ain’t where we’re pulling from and well, the Sox are thin. As I mentioned, it’s a one year rental, which keeps me from putting Montgomery in the deal. I don’t think Stroman’s on the level of Luis Castillo, not to mention, the bigger contract. I would expect him to be valued similar to last year’s trade targets like Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, and Sonny Gray. Therefore, the Sox will need to send multiple young, talented players with upside. This will help the Cubs’ chances of hitting on 1 or 2 of them in the next few years.
St. Louis Cardinals
White Sox send: Jose Rodriguez SS, Noah Schultz Left Handed SP & Jordan Sprinkle SS
White Sox receive: Jack Flaherty Right Handed SP
Rationale: Jack Flaherty is a STUD PITCHER…if this were 2019, however, since then injuries and ineffectiveness have ruled the day. He’s finally ambled down to his last arbitration season heading into 2023 and is projected to make a little over $5 million. However the downside risk of his availability might be too much to bear for the division winning Cardinals and moving on could be that more likely move. On the other hand, this is a gamble that our White Sox need badly. Trade for a potential impact player with warts. Please gimme Carlos Quentin and not Jeff Samardzija.
The White Sox would send a pair of short stops, one in Jose Rodriguez who was pretty good at AA last season and requires 40 man protection. He covers the strike zone well and his bat to ball skills are pretty terrific. It’s very likely he’s not a shortstop in the majors as he logged 10 errors in less than 500 innings at the position last year in AA. Maybe he’ll improve, maybe he’ll play the keystone. Jordan Sprinkle is the opposite, a recent college draftee who is going to be a shortstop, but he just flat out stopped hitting in his junior year of college. Maybe the Cardinals magic will help him get back.
Noah Schultz was the White Sox first round pick, he’s 6’9″. Given the White Sox recent success with 1st round picks and MLB’s collective success with players this tall reaching their potential, it’s the ultimate upside lottery ticket. In the end, Flaherty’s price might be purely on name recognition, maybe that 2019 stud is no longer in there, but we bout to gamble and see.
White Sox send: Adam Engel OF, Luis Mieses OF, Jason Bilous P
White Sox receive: Nick Senzel OF
Rationale: Nick Senzel was once a #2 overall draft pick. But since then, he’s been an oft-injured player that has not lived up to what Reds fans expected him to be. Leading their blogs to write about the possibility of non-tendering him here and here. While I don’t think that will happen, I also don’t think the Reds are that keen on keeping him around in 2024 and 2025 in his arb 3 and 4 years. He’s not the player they wanted to build around, he’s a role player when healthy.
For the White Sox, Senzel is a more controllable version of Adam Engel that also has 3 minor league options left. This is valuable to them. In return, they will actually send Adam Engel who can return to his hometown rather than being non-tendered. In addition, a lottery ticket in Luis Mieses and a pitcher who has a chance to be a back of the rotation guy in Cincy.
This is by no means a sexy trade, but it could be useful. And who knows, maybe Nick will figure things out and/or stay healthy and become a contributor.
White Sox send: Jake Burger 3b
White Sox receive: Ethan Small Left Handed SP
Rationale: The Milwaukee Brewers missed the playoffs by 1 game in 2022. While the team’s prominent starting pitchers and back end relievers are all materially in place, many offensive contributors are moving on in free agency. In need of some thump and with 3b WIDE. DAMN. OPEN, the Crew are in a decent spot to take a gamble on Jake Burger.
One thing I know for sure is that Burger has plenty of thump in his bat. However, his hit tool and defense are still a bit on the less than satisfactory side of the ledger. But, maybe with more playing time and a steady spot this could improve.
The White Sox get a back of the rotation pitching prospect that has minor league options which is something they desperately need. Small doesn’t throw terribly hard and succeeds more on deception. At a minimum, his change-up should allow him to be a credible 5th or 6th starter in the near term.
White Sox send: Andrew Vaughn, Oscar Colas, Norge Vera, Lenyn Sosa
White Sox receive: Bryan Reynolds
Rationale: The Pirates were the first pick I had in our Regular Season Wins bets. I thought for sure they’d get over 64.5 wins and dammit if they didn’t disappoint me. That said, they are not close to contention. And with Reynolds going into his second arb year, he’s just gonna get more and more expensive for them. If they were to deal him now, they should be able to get quite a bit in return, maybe more than I have above.
The Pirates are one of the teams that could easily find a spot for Andrew Vaughn as first base and DH are unanswered questions for them. And if he does well, they can trade him in a few years as the next phase of their on-going rebuild. But in all seriousness, he can be an impact bat for them at a position of need. Additionally, Colas is ready to make the jump to the big leagues and would likely be a starter this year for the Pirates. Vera is probably another year away, but they have time. Sosa is a nice final piece here since low end, he’ll be a useful utility man, high end, a power bat at 2B.
Reynolds coming back to the Sox answers the RF question for the next three years without spending a lot of money to do so. It also replaces Vaughn’s bat with one currently performing better. If you’re in the “bring back Abreu” camp, this is the move for you.
Nice piece. A comment about Burger’s defense, especially compared to Moncada’s: Burger has fast reflexes, but he tends to wait back for grounders, flatfooted. Moncada properly charges the ball, fields short hops like a Hoover, and throws on the run as well as anyone. The real question is, why hasn’t anyone taught Jake fundamentals at 3rd? Charge the ball! I played 3rd (poorly) but I knew this shit in 6th grade.