Over the past two seasons White Sox fans have learned to not grow too attached to one single player. GM Rick Hahn has traded away the likes of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and many others during the early stages of the rebuild. Who’s to say the man behind the White Sox isn’t done? Here’s a look at the top five players who could end up in a different uniform by the end of the 2019 season:
Jose Abreu has become a fan favorite on the South Side ever since he won the 2014 American League Rookie of The Year title. However, could his time at 35th and Shields be coming to an end? His contract expires after the 2019 season and the White Sox don’t look to be contending for a playoff spot next year. As he has been extremely productive for the White Sox in his four major league seasons, he would, without a doubt, bring back a loaded package from a contending club in need of a first baseman. At 31 years old, Abreu is coming off his second All-Star season and continues to be one of the league’s top first baseman. In his time wearing the black and white, he has posted a career-high .296 batting average with 144 career home runs and 476 career runs batted in. Though he could bring back a nice package of prospects, his clubhouse leadership might be far more important, especially in terms of the continued development of Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert, and others.
Avi Garcia is still a mystery. In 2017, he posted career numbers “wowing” Sox fans with a .330 average and a trip to the All-Star Game. After a 2018 riddled with injuries, he regressed to a .236 average, yet hit a career high 19 home runs in only 356 plate appearances. While his value is decreasing, should the Sox try to cash in on Avi before his value drops even more? Along with Abreu, his contract is up after the 2019 season. With all the young outfield prospects in the farm system, Rick Hahn has to make a decision to either resign Garcia and keep him for the long haul, let him walk after this season, or look for trade suitors and try to grab another prospect in return.
The veteran reliever has been one of the most reliable options out of the bullpen, when healthy, since 2012. Throughout his career, Nate has pitched 281 innings and amassed a nice 3.11 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, and a 2.99 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s 32 years old and has team options running though the 2021 season, giving the White Sox some additional time before making a decision, should they decide to keep the aging veteran around for another season or two. If he puts up solid numbers next season, don’t be surprised to see his name involved in a trade deadline deal.
Juan Minaya quietly put together a pretty decent 2018 season. The righty posted a 3.28 ERA to go along with 58 strike outs in 46.2 innings pitched. Along with Jones, the White Sox have a while to decide on what they want to do with Minaya. If he can build off of last season, the Sox could try to flip him at the deadline for a prospect with upside, similar to the Xavier Cedeno and Luis Avilan deals. Likewise, they could opt to keep him as a long-term bullpen presence instead.
While Welington Castillo has not proven much with the White Sox, they gave him a 2-year, $15 million contract with an $8 million option for 2020. After Castillo served an 80-game suspension for PED’s last season, Omar Narvaez stepped up and proved to be a solid option at catcher. With Zack Collins and Seby Zavala likely set to make there Major League debuts at some point during the 2019 season, Castillo might not be on the South Side for much longer if the team looks to cash in.
Overall, this season could go in one of two directions. The first being the White Sox come out and perform well and we don’t see many trades, or the Sox perform lackluster again and we see a heightened amount of trades talent similar to previous seasons. With the likely direction being the latter, watch out for some major prospects coming back in deals if Hahn decides to trade some of these players, especially Abreu, Jones, and/or Garcia.
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