Over the past three seasons at the Trade Deadline, I’ve published an article about who the White Sox should consider targeting at the Trade Deadline based on their current situation. With this being the fourth edition, the team has been in a very different spot all four times at the deadline.
Currently, the White Sox are 49-48 and are 3.0 games back in the AL Central. They’ve kept themselves within striking distance of the Twins, but are currently mired in the mediocrity they tried to avoid via the rebuild. If the White Sox are going to find a way to win the division this season, Rick Hahn and the rest of the front office are going to need to make calculated decisions at the deadline this year.
This article is an attempt to look at some realistic options for the White Sox when adding over this next week, given the holes that they currently have. The hope is to make these as realistic as possible – so, no, Juan Soto is not listed. At the same time, Rick Hahn has already identified the priority areas for the deadline: RP, 2B, and RF. The White Sox also need, if possible, to add some flexibility to their current roster. An outfield that regularly contains Gavin Sheets, Andrew Vaughn, Eloy Jimenez, and AJ Pollock is, defensively, pretty brutal. If they can find a way to add to the weaknesses of that group without losing their strengths, the club can find further ways to improve.
For now, let’s look at ten players the White Sox should consider targeting and estimate what the team might have to give up in return to acquire their services.
David Peralta, OF, and Joe Mantiply, LRP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Contract Details: Peralta – Free Agent after 2022 season | Mantiply – Free Agent after 2026 season
2022 Statistics (Peralta): .247/.315/.461, 12 HR, 110 wRC+
2022 Statistics (Mantiply): 38.0 IP, 2.37 ERA, 2.54 FIP, 25.2 K%, 1.3 BB%
Peralta has been a popular name at the deadline for a few years, but the Diamondbacks have been reluctant to move him. At 34 years old with an expiring contract, this might be the time the team finally decides to part ways.
Peralta would present a platoon option that would take the place of Gavin Sheets. Peralta’s .823 OPS and .500 SLG against RHP this season would help a White Sox team ranked 27th in OPS against RHP in 2022. In addition, with +4 Outs Above Average (OAA) in left field, Peralta poses a clear upgrade over Gavin Sheets (.385 SLG, .684 OPS, -3 OAA) and AJ Pollock (.291 SLG, .560 OPS, -4 OAA) against RHP and in the outfield.
Mantiply would go a long way in trying to replicate Aaron Bummer‘s ground ball rate, as he is 12th among relievers with a 56.2% ground ball rate. He has no problem getting left-handers out (.228 AVG, 32.8 K%), but has struggled with right-handers this season (.261 AVG, 20.0 K%), likely because his curveball doesn’t have as great of movement as his changeup and sinker do. That being said, he has limited hard contact this season (.251 xwOBA) and has kept runners off base (1.3 BB%). He is under team control until 2027; however, he is also 31 years old, so some of those later years of eligibility may never come to fruition. That being said, cost control is valuable in today’s game.
TRADE 1: David Peralta for Sean Burke and Jason Bilous. Because of his affordability, Peralta is likely going to be highly sought after at the deadline. It might take someone with a bit more upside like Burke to get the deal done that a typical deadline acquisition for an expiring outfielder may cost. With both Burke and Bilous, the Diamondbacks get AA arms that have the potential to contribute sooner rather than later. Others to potentially move here are Yolbert Sanchez, Caleb Freeman, Taylor Broadway, and Kohl Simas, depending on the age/position of the ask from the Diamondbacks.
TRADE 2: David Peralta and Joe Mantiply for Sean Burke, Romy Gonzalez, and James Beard. The asking price gets a bit higher when you add a cost-controlled reliever in there, hence the upgrade from Jason Bilous to Romy Gonzalez, who could contribute as soon as healthy to the Diamondbacks roster. James Beard becomes a bit more of a throw-in than a solid third piece, though many of the names listed in the first trade could resurface here if the White Sox need to beat another team’s offer.
Matt Moore, LRP, Texas Rangers
Contract Details: Free Agent after 2022 season
2022 Statistics: 46.2 IP, 1.74 ERA, 2.78 FIP, 27.1 K%, 12.5 BB%
Matt Moore has been a pretty cool story in the past few seasons, and since exclusively becoming a reliever, he’s been pretty good this season with Texas. He’s made his strides by increasing the use of his curveball and decreasing the use of his fastball to almost identical levels. He also increased the vertical movement on both his curveball and fastball, showing tangible improvements in the quality of each of those pitches as well.
With Aaron Bummer on the shelf until September, Tanner Banks failing to produce, and the bullpen needing more options towards the back end, the White Sox need some sort of left-handed relief option heading into August and September. Moore would fit this category well without breaking the bank at all. He’s gotten both left-handers (.241 AVG, .541 OPS) and right-handers (.171 AVG, .535 OPS) out this season at a pretty quality rate.
TRADE: Matt Moore for Andrew Dalquist and Tyler Neslony. Dalquist would be another arm with a lot of potential the White Sox could send over to Texas. In addition, they would also send a flyer in Neslony who would have the ability to get a tryout at the MLB level now, should the Rangers choose that route. Other players to include here include Yolbert Sanchez, Blake Rutherford, Hunter Schryver, and John Parke. This would likely be a very inexpensive deal for the White Sox for a 33-year-old reliever.
Tyler Mahle, SP, and Tyler Naquin, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Contract Details: Mahle – Free Agent after 2023 season | Naquin: Free Agent after 2022 season
2022 Statistics (Mahle): 98.1 IP, 4.48 ERA, 3.79 FIP, 25.6 K%, 9.3 BB%
2022 Statistics (Naquin): .245/.305/.429, 6 HR, 98 wRC+
With starting pitching and a left-handed OF help being on the White Sox’ wish list, could the club kill two birds with one stone over in Cincinnati?
The White Sox do need to consider adding a starting pitcher at the deadline. With Lucas Giolito struggling a bit and Michael Kopech guaranteed to be on an innings limit, there are definitely plenty of innings to be had in the rotation down the home stretch of this season. This is where a player like Mahle comes in, who struggled early in the season but has a 3.22 ERA in seven starts since the beginning of June. He also has a recent track record of success, posting a 3.72 ERA (127 ERA+) in 2020-2021. The movement on each of his pitches has improved this season, and he in general has really good stuff. Perhaps working with Ethan Katz could help refine a few things?
As for Naquin, much like the previously suggested Peralta, he presents a very clear upgrade in the outfield and against RHP over Gavin Sheets. He posted a .853 OPS against RHP in 2021 and has a .811 OPS against them this season (.266/.335/.476). In the outfield, he’s not the strongest defensively (-1 OAA in RF), but still presents a clear upgrade over the alternatives.
TRADE 1: Tyler Mahle for Bryan Ramos, Sean Burke, and Anderson Severino. Because of the extra year of control on Mahle’s contract, he will be a more expensive piece than a rental. Ramos is having a great season at High-A, while Sean Burke has advanced quickly through the minors, though is a little overmatched currently at AA. Between these two players and a high-upside, high-risk arm in Severino that the Reds could call up immediately, this would be a pretty nice return for a controllable asset.
TRADE 2: Tyler Naquin for Kohl Simas and Jason Bilous. This is going to be a very similar return as the one for Peralta: a platoon outfielder on an expiring contract. Simas has had a great start to the year in Low-A, but he is still quite a ways away from contributing at the MLB level. The Diamondbacks get a young arm to dream on here with a depth piece in Bilous. Other potential names include Caleb Freeman, Jose Rodriguez, Matthew Thompson, and Davis Martin, again depending on the desired age/position.
Andrew Chafin, LRP, Detroit Tigers
Contract Details: Free Agent after 2022 season
2022 Statistics: 30.2 IP, 2.64 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 28.9 K%, 7.0 BB%
If the Tigers are willing to trade within the division, a great left-handed relief option for the White Sox would be Andrew Chafin. The great thing about Chafin is his ability to get right-handers (.200 AVG, 28.6 K%, 2.9%) out, but does struggle with left-handers (.234 AVG, 29.3 K%, 12.1 BB%). At the end of the day, he gets pretty good results and limits hard contact: 31.3% Hard-Hit Rate, 2.29 xERA, .181 xBA, and .238 xwOBA.
TRADE: Andrew Chafin for Johan Dominguez. The Tigers made a similar trade last trade deadline with the Brewers, trading Daniel Norris for Reese Olson (15th ranked prospect). This is a very similar replica of that trade, as Dominguez is a mid-tier prospect with stuff that’s good enough to be near-major league ready once healthy. Another name to consider here is Yolbert Sanchez. The Tigers could use some second base help within their organization, and Sanchez could provide some immediate relief in that area with a struggling Jonathan Schoop. Alternatively, Kohl Simas, Jason Bilous, or a smattering of relievers could see their name thrown out here.
Joey Wendle, INF, Miami Marlins
Contract Details: 2023 Mutual Option
2022 Statistics: .300/.347/.406, 2 HR, 116 wRC+
Rick Hahn has identified 2B as an area of suboptimal production, and Wendle is a player who provides some additional on-base potential over Josh Harrison/Leury Garcia while doing it from the left side of the plate. He is 15th in wRC+ among 2B with at least 170 PA on the season, so it’s not a necessarily small sample size – but it is a little bit smaller than one would hope. He’s not exactly a platoon option either, as his .693 OPS against LHP is still serviceable. He’s also a good defender, posting +1 OAA at both second base and shortstop this season. Overall, the word for Wendle is “serviceable” – he gets the job done, but isn’t particularly flashy in doing so. High floor, low ceiling.
TRADE: Joey Wendle for Jose Rodriguez. With the Marlins apparently entertaining the idea of trading anyone not named Sandy Alcantara, sending across a minor leaguer who might be able to play Jazz Chisholm’s position in a few years, should he be traded, would be a nice return for Miami. I wouldn’t put this one high on my wishlist, however. Josh Harrison is doing plenty fine over at 2B currently, and at worst, he’s a phenomenal defensive second baseman on a team that can use all the help they can get on defense.
Jose Quintana, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Contract Details: Free Agent after 2022 season
2022 Statistics: 97.1 IP, 3.70 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 20.7 K%, 7.1 BB%
Ah, what a reunion this would be. After a pretty brutal season in 2021, Quintana has bounced back with the Pirates in a big way primarily through the increased use of his improved changeup. He is a four-pitch pitcher and uses all of them at a significant level. His 4.18 xERA leaves some to be desired, but he has an ability to fill some spot start roles in a way that Vince Velasquez has been unable to this season.
With Michael Kopech on an innings limit at some point this season, the White Sox are going to need someone to eat the innings. Who better than an organization and fan favorite?
TRADE: Jose Quintana for Matthew Thompson. Both Thompson and fellow 2019 pick Andrew Dalquist have shown flashes of potential, but more lows than highs while in the organization. However, the Pirates have revamped their player development structure under GM Ben Cherington, and Thompson is the type of high-upside arm that the team would be happy to get their hands on for someone with an expiring contract.
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Kansas City Royals
Contract Details: Free Agent after 2022 season
2022 Statistics: .321/.389/.399, 3 HR, 127 wRC+
I feel like I’ve advocated for trading for Benintendi every year at the trade deadline, but this year is one where it feels it would be an objectively smart decision for the White Sox. Benintendi does some things really well that the Sox could use. His 10.1% walk rate would be the third-highest on the team, behind Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu. As a left-handed hitter, he also hits right-handers incredibly well; this season, he’s hitting .342/.409/.435 against RHP, good for a 142 wRC+. He isn’t a Gold Glover in the OF (0 OAA, +1 DRS), but he gets the job done in a way that Eloy Jimenez, Gavin Sheets, and even AJ Pollock don’t defensively. Obviously, he doesn’t hit the ball out of the ballpark at a high rate, but with the team struggling defensively, Benintendi could help balance out the lineup in two different ways. In the best-case scenario, Benintendi replaces Gavin Sheets place on the roster due to his ability to be even an average defender in the outfield.
TRADE: Andrew Benintendi for Davis Martin, Yoelquis Cespedes, and Benyamin Bailey. The Royals need some outfield prospects, as currently, Drew Waters is their highest-rated one after being acquired via trade. Cespedes’ pedigree is clear, and Benyamin Bailey was highly regarded when the White Sox signed him as an international free agent. He’s struggled to stay healthy, and losing a year of COVID did him no favors, but he’s 20 with potential. In addition, Martin gives the Royals a near-major league-ready arm with back-of-the-rotation potential.
Ian Happ, 2B/OF, Chicago Cubs
Contract Details: Free Agent after 2023 season
2022 Statistics: .282/.366/.446, 9 HR, 127 wRC+
Of all of the above options, none has a higher level of value to both the 2022 and 2023 White Sox than Ian Happ. With a year still remaining on his contract, should the White Sox acquire his services, they have their left-handed hitting right fielder already plugged in for next season. Better than that, Happ is getting it done from both sides of the plate this season while dramatically decreasing his strikeout rate from 29.2% in 2021 to 21.4% in 2022 – the lowest rate of his career:
- 2022 vs. RHP: .262/.354/.426 (.780 OPS), 117 wRC+
- 2022 vs. LHP: .346/.407/.513 (.920 OPS), 159 wRC+
He also provides some defensive flexibility, even if he isn’t the best defensive player on the roster (+1 OAA in CF, -1 OAA in LF). While he hasn’t played in the infield this year, he has a history at second base. As before with Naquin, he’s not the strongest defender but represents a clear improvement over the current options.
TRADE: Ian Happ for Norge Vera, Bryan Ramos, and Kohl Simas. Happ will command the biggest return because of the production, control, and overall interest from around the league. Trading Vera would hurt, no doubt, but he is a 22-year-old in Low-A ball. It’s going to take him a while to advance through the minor leagues, especially being on an innings limit of sorts this year due to his lat injury. Ramos is a name that is likely to garner a lot of attention this trade deadline no matter who the Sox talk to, and Simas is a high-upside arm with some development to go – and the Cubs need MiLB pitching prospects. Other names here could include Garrett Crochet, Jared Kelley, Cristian Mena, Yoelquis Cespedes, or Wes Kath. A trade like this would likely hurt a little bit but closes a major hole in the middle of a contention window.
Other Names to Keep an Eye On
While there are 10 names listed above, they aren’t the only ones that the White Sox could look to target. Here’s another group of players who didn’t make my list above, but could easily be involved in some sort of move to fill a need for the club:
SP: Martin Perez (TEX), Luis Castillo (CIN), Noah Syndergaard (LAA), German Marquez (COL)
IF: Josh Bell (WAS), Cavan Biggio (TOR), Brandon Drury (CIN)
OF: Joey Gallo (NYY)
RP: Gregory Soto (DET), Scott Effross (CHC), Aaron Loup (LAA), David Robertson (CHC), A.J. Puk (OAK)
They all have varying degrees of availability/control and have the common thread of being likely names that will move at the deadline. The one that is most interesting to me is Joey Gallo, who has been brutal in New York, but is strong defensively at all three outfield positions and could just need a change of scenery to get back to how he played earlier in his career. Perhaps an AJ Pollock for Joey Gallo trade? Just something further to ponder.
Sox Prospects Most Likely to be Traded
This is always the hardest question, and it makes these articles so much more difficult. Of course, it’s easy to identify the targets. However, it’s about finding an accurate price for them.
Our Michael Suareo wrote an article highlighting the top five trade chips for the White Sox heading into the trade deadline. I personally don’t believe the club will move a player like Colson Montgomery or Oscar Colas, as they are the players with either the highest ceiling or most potential to help the roster sooner rather than later. Guys such as Bryan Ramos, Jose Rodriguez, Sean Burke, Wes Kath, Lenyn Sosa, Yolbert Sanchez, Matthew Thompson, Andrew Dalquist, and Davis Martin are among those who the White Sox will more willingly discuss trading over this trade deadline. Another name that could pop up at the major league level is Garrett Crochet, who after getting Tommy John Surgery, will really never fit the White Sox timeline of contention in a way that makes the most sense for both the team and Crochet’s development. Norge Vera fills his own group as a player the White Sox won’t actively offer up in trades, but won’t necessarily immediately turn down either.
However, by taking the top-tier options off the table, it should be no surprise that the White Sox won’t really be in the mix for top-tier names on the trade block. So, no Juan Soto, no Luis Castillo, and no Frankie Montas unless the team is willing to trade Colson Montgomery or Oscar Colas, and likely much more than that. I’d even go as far as to argue that it’s not worth trading Montgomery now because there’s a very good chance his value could be much higher than it already is a year from now.
At the end of the day, if the talent that is already here isn’t producing, the team won’t go anywhere anyway. Save the large acquisitions for the offseason, when the only cost is money rather than players.
The State of the 2022 Trade Deadline
At this juncture, with the White Sox hovering around .500, many fans have debated the merits of even adding at the deadline for the White Sox in the first place. Some feel it’s even more prudent to potentially sell off a few expiring contracts in hopes of minor re-tooling with an eye on next season.
The reality is: when you’re a team with World Series aspirations that’s within striking distance of the division lead, you have to add at the deadline. Whether or not the team actually makes it is a discussion to be had at the end of the season when it’s all said and done. However, if you prescribe to the idea that “if you get into the playoffs, you can win it all,” then the White Sox need to be adding at this deadline. The team has too much talent – and, frankly, too easy of a path to the division title – to give up with just a three-game deficit in the division. They don’t necessarily need to go crazy, as I mentioned above – they just need to add wisely and plug the gaps.
Re-tooling/selling off at this point in the season sends the wrong message to the players and, more importantly, the fans. The roster construction has problems – but fixing them is what the offseason is for.
With the deadline moved back to August 2nd to accommodate the late start to the season, we are likely going to see the dominoes start to fall on this trade deadline in the coming days. Get ready for the usual frenzy, and let’s see where the White Sox fall come August 3rd. What they do could be the difference between playing October baseball and heading home early.
Have someone else you’d like the Sox to trade for? Let me know on Twitter: @jlazowski14
Featured Photo: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports