As baseball fans sit at work or at home today while constantly refreshing Twitter in hopes of catching the most recent news on Sonny Gray, Justin Verlander, and Yu Darvish, White Sox fans sit in anticipation for the news of Rick Hahn pulling off just one more trade to complete the first phase of the rebuild. In the history of the Chicago White Sox, there have been a total of just 7 trades on July 31. While there have been many memorable trades near the deadline, today I’m taking a look back at – in no particular order – the top 5 most memorable July 31 trades in White Sox history (Sorry to the Jerry Reuss trade of 1989 and the Rob Mackowiak trade of 2007, neither of which, I assume, will evoke deep memories from White Sox fans):
2016: White Sox trade LHP Zach Duke to St. Louis Cardinals for OF Charlie Tilson
Result: When this trade was made last year, it looked as if the White Sox had struck a pretty good deal. Tilson was a quality OF with a lot of upside, especially given that all the Sox had to give up in return was a LHP out of the bullpen. However, we know the rest of the story. Both Duke and Tilson suffered injuries soon after arriving to their new teams. While Duke has made it back on the field., Tilson has continued to be hampered by injuries for the entire 2017 season, putting his future with the White Sox in jeopardy.
2005: White Sox trade LHP Ryan Meaux to San Diego Padres for UTIL Geoff Blum
Result: Blum was brought on as a versatile utility player who could give both Joe Crede and Juan Uribe days off at 3B and SS, respectively, especially as Crede dealt with back problems. Meaux became a journeyman who never pitched higher than AAA, while we get the memory of Geoff Blum as the unlikely hero in Game 3 of the 2005 World Series.
2008: White Sox trade RHP Nick Masset and 2B Danny Richar to Cincinnati Reds for OF Ken Griffey, Jr. and cash considerations
Result: Griffey, Jr. was brought on as the classic “reloading” – type rental player the White Sox became famous for in the late 2000s to early 2010s (SEE: Manny Ramirez). As you remember, the White Sox were in the heat of a postseason run against the Twins. While Griffey, Jr. only slashed .260/.347/.405 with 3 HR and 18 RBI for the Sox, we all remember – and still get to see in the opening video at Sox’s games today – him throwing out the potential tying run at home in the “Blackout Game” in 2008. And, hey, at the very least, we got to watch a future Hall of Famer for a few months play in a White Sox uniform. As for Richar and Masset, neither had prolonged success in the majors, although Masset did bounce around from team to team until 2015.
1997: White Sox trade LHP Wilson Alvarez, RHP Danny Darwin, and RHP Roberto Hernandez to San Francisco Giants for OF Brian Manning, RHP Lorenzo Barceló, SS Mike Caruso, RHP Keith Foulke, RHP Bob Howry, and LHP Ken Vining
Result: This is the famous “White Flag Trade” in White Sox history. At this time, the Sox were just 3 1/2 games back of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central race, while having Frank Thomas, Albert Belle, and Robin Ventura. All the players the Sox received in that trade were unknown players, and Ventura was the most vocal in his rebuke of the trade: “We did not realize August 1 was the end of the season.” While many question Jerry Reinsdorf’s decision at the time, just three years later, Foulke and Howry were instrumental bullpen pieces for the Sox in their AL Central title in 2000, while both Alvarez and Hernandez struggled for the Giants in the postseason and left the Giants in free agency.
2004: White Sox trade RHP Esteban Loaiza to New York Yankees for RHP Jose Contreras
Result: After defecting from Cuba the year before, 32-year-old Jose Contreras didn’t appear to be anything different than Esteban Loaiza at the time of the trade. Both had similar numbers, and there was a better track record of success for Loaiza, who was coming off a second place finish in the Cy Young Award race a year before. Former GM Kenny Williams’ thought process was that the teams in the AL Central had already seen Loaiza for over a year, and it was time