The trade deadline’s possible ramifications
After contending through the 2012 season, the Chicago White Sox had reason to believe that they could again be in the hunt in 2013 without significant changes. So far, however, things have not gone as planned for the South Siders. They enter Tuesday with a five-game losing streak, dropping them to a record of 32-47, which is the worst in the American League Central Division.
As a result, many have labeled Chicago as sellers as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline approaches at the end of the month. Over the next several weeks, we will see a whirlwind of rumors floating around regarding the Sox and the trade deadline, which is 4 p.m. EST on July 31. We decided to check in on the White Sox to see who has been rumored to be available and how that could affect the whole organization.
POSSIBLE TRADE CHIP: OF Alex Rios
Background: Rios had a career year in 2012, hitting .304 with 25 home runs and 91 RBIs. While he has not had quite the same year this year, he has still been one of the most consistent hitters in a lineup that ranks near the bottom of the league in most major offensive categories. The 32-year-old would also be attractive to suitors because his contract has him locked in until the end of next season and also includes a club option for the 2015 season. Rios does have a limited no-trade clause that could hamper a deal, but, per ESPNChicago’s Bruce Levine, he would likely wave it to move to a contender.
What a deal could mean: With the extra years of team control that Rios offers, Chicago could net themselves a much better haul of prospects than they would have if Rios was just a rental whose contract expired at the end of the season. With the White Sox farm system ranked 29th by Baseball America, a few prime prospects here could help replenish some talent throughout the minor leagues. At the major league level, a Rios deal could mean everyday playing time for young Jordan Danks, who has been used mostly as the team’s fourth outfielder since he was promoted in late April.
POSSIBLE TRADE CHIP: RHP Jake Peavy
Background: While Peavy is currently recovering from a broken rib and has not pitched in nearly a month, the righty had been one of the best pitchers on the staff outside of ace Chris Sale before landing on the shelf. While he almost definitely won’t get traded while on the disabled list, if he can come back shortly after the All-Star break like the White Sox are hoping he can and pitches well, he would be an attractive starter for many contenders.
What a deal could mean: Like Rios, Peavy is under team control for at least the 2014 season and has a player option for the 2015 season. Front end starters don’t hit the market often, especially with multiple years still on their contract, and the former Cy Young Award winner could bring back some high-end talent should he be moved. If this trade goes down, a possible candidate for Peavy’s spot in the rotation is 2012 Dash alum Erik Johnson. The former second round pick was recently moved up from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte and is a combined 9-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 97.2 innings with the Barons and Knights this season. The way he has pitched this year, he certainly deserves a chance at the big league level at some point this season, especially if a member of the rotation is traded to a contender.
POSSIBLE TRADE CHIP: RHP Jesse Crain
Background: The right-hander has easily been one of the best relievers in all of baseball in 2013, sporting a microscopic 0.74 ERA as the primary set up man in front of closer and Dash alum Addison Reed. The veteran is a free agent at season’s end, and it makes little sense to keep him on board when several contending teams could use another arm to solidify their bullpen.
What a deal could mean: While trading him may not necessarily fetch a bunch of highly regarded prospects, dealing Crain would open up a spot at the back of the bullpen where the White Sox could end up trying Dash alum Nate Jones in higher leverage innings in front of Reed. The second-year righty struggled at the beginning of the season but has been much better of late with six straight scoreless outings. With a bullpen spot open, maybe 2013 Dash alum Daniel Webb could earn a look? Webb has been solid throughout much of the season after beginning here in the Carolina League. Either way, someone would earn the jump to the big leagues, and there are plenty of notable Dash alums in Birmingham and Charlotte’s bullpen who could have a chance.
POSSIBLE TRADE CHIP: SS Alexei Ramirez
Background: While Ramirez hasn’t shown the power the last few seasons that he showed in his first few seasons with the White Sox, he is hitting .280 this season while still playing shortstop at a high level. Quality starting shortstops seem to be among the rarest available commodities come trade season, which could mean good things for the South Siders if they decide to shop Ramirez.
What a deal could mean: As we mentioned with Rios and Peavy, the Cuba native offers multiple years of team control, with an option as far out as 2016. A few good prospects could come Chicago’s way in a deal here, and it could mean the major league debut for Carlos Sanchez. However, Sanchez has struggled a bit in 2013, hitting only .237 for Triple-A Charlotte. However, he was on the fast track to the big leagues last season, and he is bound for a turnaround.
Whatever moves the White Sox do decide to make, if any, over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see what impact they will have not only on their roster but throughout the rest of the organization, especially on some Dash-turned-Barons or Dash-turned-Knights.
Stay tuned for the preview of today’s middle match of the Dash’s series with Potomac, coming up later this afternoon.