The White Sox should be BUYERS at the DEADLINE!!

I’m BeefLoaf, and I’d like my favorite team, the White Sox to buy at the deadline, even though they are nine games under .500 and five and a half games out of first place as I type these words.

Before we get too far down the line on this thought process, I want to set a few things straight. This prescribed course of action does not in any way endorse current management. It also does not assign any additional “growth” to the current CORE of players. Take them for whatever it is you think they are now, with no additional improvements. Everything is at present state, and that’s how we are viewing this problem. Speaking of the CORE though, let’s talk about them first.

The White Sox “CORE”

I’ve written about this CORE, many, many, times in the past. It’s always helpful to evaluate where you are in the middle of game play. Here’s how the group stands right now. The red text are options of some sort, the black text denotes overt team control.

I did not include Gavin Sheets here, I consider Jake Burger the more impactful bat and even though Gavin is likely to be here helping this group along, he falls off the list for me. I have also not listed any minor league players, there are just no near term contributors in the group at this point. That could change, but for our purpose we won’t count on it. Lenyn Sosa or Oscar Colas might be a guy, but for now, they are just quad-A players and that’s that.

One damn near obvious conclusion about this CORE, no matter what you think about them currently, as a collective, their performance will degrade over time. Even if you think Player X will continue to get better, well, Player Y is likely to regress in the meantime. So we need to treat this group as such. Now I don’t consider that a sharp decline, but it should be obvious that a talent infusion is required. I tend to think nobody would disagree with that. So what to do?

Sell at the Deadline?

You can sell at the deadline. That’s the most obvious choice, you have a crappy record and are more than a stone’s throw out of first, so everyone reflexively says SELL or time to REBUILD. A couple quick thoughts there.

I’d argue Lucas Giolito is the most desirable selling piece of the expiring contracts. Lucas also has a 107 ERA+ as of writing this, so just barely above league average. As much as I am a big fan of Lucas and enjoy watching him play for the White Sox, how much would a team reasonably pay for 13-15 starts of a slightly above league average pitcher? Fwiw, Mike Clevinger is at 106 ERA+ and can also be sold.

In an era where teams make the post-season with 80 something wins, is there really a big need to grab a starting pitcher that wouldn’t take the mound in a playoff series until game three or four? I’m not sure. Modern teams seem content to use bullpens to make a big chunk of their starts anyway. They are fine running their mediocre starters out of playoff games after one time through the order. How much do think the White Sox would actually receive in return from trades of these players? How much of that return would actually help the 2024 and 2025 teams?

What about the relievers? Joe Kelly, Keynan Middleton and Gregory Santos have all been mentioned and I admit I like all three of them. But again, what do you expect to procure for guys that will likely pitch the 6th or 7th inning for another team. You can get lucky sure, but Nick Schaefer and I covered it in gory detail just how crappy our fearless GM has been in similar spots in the past. I wouldn’t think any of these trade pieces would be strong enough to change the fortune of this team for the time period that they still have Luis Robert and Dylan Cease.

What about a FULL REBUILD!?!?!?

A full rebuild!?!?!? That would mean trading the actual valuable pieces of the roster, materially Luis Robert, Dylan Cease and others. They could bring back a real haul. This is fraught with two of the worst combinations of ideas, one obvious and one not so obvious.

Rick Hahn can not be allowed to man the reigns for another full scale rebuild. He’s already shown he just can’t do it, so unless, he’s fired prior to the trading deadline, a full rebuild is absolutely out of the question for your boy. Not to mention, teams really horde prospects these days, so it’s tough to even red paper clip your current talent in a way that Hahn did in 2016-2017 without a strong development machine behind it, which the White Sox clearly don’t have.

Conversely, except for in some very rare instances, and this NOT being one of them, NO TEAM should go into a full rebuild anymore. The MLB is already giving basically .500 teams playoff births. How hard is it to retool and be mediocre. Rebuilds are just schemes to not spend money at this point and the ever growing field in October, though it is shoveling money into the pockets of the owners, has also shined light on this phenomenon. So I think it should be retired. Don’t think in terms of TEAR DOWNS or REBUILDS. I know it’s hard.

OK, FINE! We’ll listen to your pitch on BUYING!?!?!

I wrote about trading Colson Montgomery during the winter. Most of the people that read that blog just replied on twitter either “NO” or that I was an idiot or some other such nonsense. Now they might be right, but they weren’t evaluating the problem correctly. As crazy of an idea as it sounds that you might barrel a top 20 overall prospect to improve the middest CORE around, I just think it’s crazy not to. I have a hard time even envisioning the White Sox with this current management group cobbling together a better core. And think about it, they have always failed this group on the margins.

Why not spend your most valuable prospect capital on those margins? ONE TIME ONLY! That should give them at least a fighting chance to put reasonable players around these other reasonable players. This is also Rick Hahn’s specialty in trading. PUBLIC AUCTIONS. If you note that Colson Montgomery is available to the highest bidder, how crazy will that shit get? You might get a couple of current contributors for a package built around him.

You like Bryan Ramos? ME TOO! Trade him! Send him to the highest bidder. How about the prodigy Noah Schultz that just struck everyone out in his A ball debut? Do you think some other team would be willing to take a chance on 21st century Randy Johnson? LFG!?!?!

To me, selling off all the biggest pieces of a bottom three farm system should be a goddamn no brainer given the circumstance. This doesn’t even mention that due to the game conditions the White Sox find themselves in the soft mlb division possibly in history. We saw Cleveland play well last year, but they needed everything to go right and this year is playing out showing how much that was the case. Cleveland STINKS! Minnesota STINKS! Kansas City STINKS and of course, I’d been mentioning it all weekend, DETROIT STINKS!

Any remaining concerns about BUYING?

Yes! One main concern is Hahn, and how this trio has handled the last several deadlines with Hahn at the helm. I wrote about it HERE, but to catch you up. In 2020, when the White Sox were desperate for starting pitching (they only had 2 legit starters) and manager Ricky Renteria was begging for them to trade for another starter, Hahn traded for Jarrod Dyson, they predictably ran out of pitching in the playoffs, lost, everyone got fired.

In 2021, when the White Sox were guaranteed a playoff birth, they needed a 2b and bullpen help. Hahn actually pulled the trigger, getting Kimbrel and Tepera, as well as Cesar Hernandez. Save for Tepera being decent, none of those worked out and the Sox lost in the playoffs.

2022, only back 3.5 games at the deadline, with a team dying for reinforcements, Hahn only trades for Chaim Bloom salary dump, Jake Diekman (DFA’d recently) and it nearly killed Tony LaRussa and the White Sox missed the playoffs.

I worry Hahn just doesn’t have the gumption to go real bold and gamble what chips he has. The safest of safe routes is to sell at this deadline, gather up minimal upside pieces and move on to 2024 talking a good game. The best play though is to barrel your prospects and try to win this weak ass division. Even better is to do it with a mind towards 2024 and 2025, where you still have your very best players on the roster and it’s very likely none of your AL Central roomies concern you all that much.


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