White Sox “Trades” with EVERY TEAM – AL Central Edition – 2024

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 Central Edition.

The Au Jus

Minnesota Twins

White Sox send: Andrew Vaughn 1B & Aaron Bummer RP
White Sox receive: Emmanuel Rodriguez OF, Tanner Schobel SS / 3B / 2B, Brent Headrick SP
Rationale: The Twins, despite being a playoff team didn’t have a single player in 2023 drive in more runs than Andrew Vaughn did (80 for Vaughn, 66 for Kepler). They do have Alex Kirilloff as their First Baseman of the future / now, but that man can not stay healthy and he had another surgery (shoulder) in the off-season, so buying a stable run producer for the back middle of the order seems ideal. Bummer for White Sox fan is like a skid mark on our shorts on a hot day, but on a team that can actually pick up a fucking ground ball he is quite usable. He’s a throw in here, but on a good infield defense like Minnesota’s his sky high groundball rate fits nicely.

The White Sox are receiving Emmanuel Rodriguez, a 20 year old Outfielder, who isn’t a burner, but handles Center Field just fine. He has pop and patience at the plate. His achilles is his high strike out rate (29% in A+ last year). He hits from the left side, so his floor is likely 4th outfielder, with a good chance to be a strong side platoon player. With the Sox lack of outfield depth on the farm, he’s a great fit.

Tanner Schobel is a college short stop who hasn’t been playing much short in the Twins minors due to other players developmental needs. He runs well, plays clean defense and has an approach at the plate. He’s already made it to double A, so he’s likely to be a guy who could get a shot in the infield on the White Sox roster, given the abundance of theoretical playing time available. Brent Headrick couldn’t break a plate glass window with his fastball, but he’s a major league ready starting pitcher with above average command and 2 minor league options left. I couldn’t think of a better fit for a White Sox team desperate for starting pitch and having newly hired guru Brian Bannister.

Cleveland Guardians

White Sox send: Ky Bush LH SP
White Sox receive: Jose Tena SS/2B
Rationale: In a move the White Sox can quickly regret, they send a SP they just traded for (and has a glubjillion ERA in the minors) to a team that will undoubtedly turn him into a monster. It may seem insane to feed the pitching machine that is the Guardians, but you’re also assuming that Rick Hahn pulled a diamond in the rough in his dead man walking trade deadline.

In Jose Tena, we get Juan Uribe‘s nephew who actually sounds a lot like his uncle at the plate. This from MLB.com

Tena is built to hit for average. But he’s too aggressive at the plate, repeatedly chasing offspeed pitches down in the zone and struggling to catch up to good fastballs at the top, and he makes too much weak contact while rarely walking.

But he is a solid defender at SS and even better at 2B. He’s blocked by Rocchio and Gimenez in Cleveland, not to mention Tyler Freeman, Juan Brito, and Gabriel Arias. So he’s definitely expendable if the Guardians like what they see in Bush.

Kansas City Royals

White Sox send: Wilfred Veras OF/1B, Carlos Perez C, Jose Rodriguez 2B
White Sox receive: Brady Singer SP
Rationale: Brady Singer didn’t have a very good year last year, in fact, it was kind of stinky. But if the White Sox are serious about improving their defense this year and have not yet moved to Nashville, then Singer might make sense for the rotation. Unlike most of the White Sox staff, Singer doesn’t walk a ton of guys (2.8 per 9 inn) and he gets nearly 50% groundballs. Problem is that his strikeouts are way down this year, his Ks per 9 dropped from 8.8 in 2022 to 7.5 in 2023. That would need to be addressed. From a financial standpoint, he’s in arb year 2 (cot’s estimates $5.2M) and he’s a 4 arb year guy. So this is not buying a bad contract like the other Royals trade we keep hearing about.

I wanted to break Ian Eskridge‘s heart into a million pieces, so I chose 3 guys he holds in high regard. Veras is rule 5 eligible, so while he is valuable, you need to move him to a team willing to put him on the 40 man. I see no reason why he can’t do that in KC. Perez on the other hand is major league ready, but seemingly the odd man out. Freddy Fermin looks like the starter when Salvy moves fully to DH/1B duties, but assuming they want to keep Melendez in the OF, Carlos could be the #2 until Carter Jensen is ready for the bigs. And last Jose Rodriguez just feels like a Royal. And he’ll come and bash the White Sox brains in while have a .615 OPS and everyone will be mad the Sox traded him.

Detroit Tigers

White Sox send: Andrew Benintendi OF
White Sox receive: Javier Baez SS, Tyler Mattison RP and Gage Workman SS / 3B
Rationale: The pizza money isn’t as freely available as it used to be, in other words, this ain’t your dad’s Detroit Tigers. In their quest to improve a damn near terrible On-Base Percentage (but not worse than the White Sox), we have an exchange of bad contracts. While the Tigers need OBP, which can be provided by Beni, the White Sox are desperate for improvements on defense and even though Javy might swing at 50 Cent’s 1st pitch, he’s still a good defender at short and if / when Colson Montgomery becomes the everyday short stop, Baez can slide over to the keystone and not miss a beat defensively.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Javier Baez. Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Both Javy Baez and Andrew Benintendi are under contract for the next 4 years, however Beni is owed only $67 million, while Baez is owed $98 million. That delta of $32 million is worth a couple of prospects. That’s where Mattison and Workman come in.

Workman is a Short Stop who also profiles as a 70 defender at Third Base (per Fangraphs) and has power. I’m not quite sure if the hit tool will be good enough to be a big league regular. So you likely have either an up and down utility guy, or if you get lucky, maybe a defense first player at Third or Short. Mattison is a reliever without any true plus offerings, but with good results through AA so far. Very usable arm for a team like the White Sox trying to rebuild a bullpen.

Leave a Reply