With the White Sox in the midst of their second consecutive disappointing season, the consensus opinion among fans and observers is that it’s time for a change. With the 2023 trade deadline quickly approaching, the White Sox front office will have its first opportunity to make some meaningful changes to turn this thing around.
A couple of weeks ago, we here at Sox on 35th, put out a form to give the fans a chance to fix the mess. After nearly a hundred responses, it’s time to share some of the results.
Question 1: In just a few sentences, give your current evaluation of the White Sox and what they will need to do to compete again in 2024 and beyond.
This was a fun question to start out with, as one can only imagine the amount of pure positivity in this section for a team that currently sits 12 games out of first place in year four of the championship window. Some responses were as simple as “Clean house”, while others went into great detail about which players need to stay and which need to go. One person wrote “Sell The Team” for every answer to this poll. One respondent (@jdlm84) answered with a quote from the 1995 Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison: “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Here are some of my favorite responses:
- (@mjc72) – “Current state: Lost in the Abyss with no hope under current circumstances. Sox need a total rebuild from the Executive level all the way down to the lowest minor league level. Competing in 2024 is not realistic. The fixes this organization needs will take several years to correct.”
- “Sell the team.”
- (@pmullarkey2002) – “To oversimplify things, players who take walks and pitchers who don’t throw them.”
- (@MattWease) – “They can’t compete in 2024. Flat out, they can’t. There are too many question marks at too many key positions that require complete 180s from current players or require significant resource investments the club either doesn’t have available or is unwilling to use. For the club to have any hope of success, the FO has to be completely rebuilt and organizational culture changed.”
- (AWM) – “No baseball IQ: terrible fundamentals, bad defense, baserunning, situational hitting, etc.”
To the people who wrote the following responses, I’d ask who hurt you if I didn’t already know the answer:
- (Aches & Pains) – “Horrible and sad. The small window they had from ’20-’22 has been destroyed […] and here we go again. Jerry isn’t going anywhere, BUT Kenny needs to GO [..] He has no stones and has always been a yes man and sadly is the main go-between for Hahn and Jerry. He has stolen plenty of salary and needs to move on. Jerry needs to stay out of the process and ‘maybe’ hire a real baseball man who can come in and makes some serious decisions.”
- (Clifton Dowdell) – “BIG DISAPPOINTMENT! FIRE RICK HAHN and PEDRO GRIFOL. Bring back OZZIE or SUPER JOE McEWING to be the manager. That’s step 1.”
- (Jerry Tekien) – “A VERY POOR PLATE AWARENESS TEAM OVERALL. ALL YOU NEED ARE 3 BIG HR HITTERS. ROBERT IS ONE, BURGER CAN BE ANOTHER. PICK UP A RF DEFENSIVE PLAYER WITH POWER. CATCHER IS THE WORST POSITION ON THE TEAM. NEED A NUMBER 1 AND A NEW BACKUP CATCHER. REVAMP THE WHOLE BULLPEN. KEEP CEASE, KOPECH AND FIND 2 STARTERS WHO DON’T WALK BATTERS. STOP WORRYING ABOUT STRIKEOUT PITCHERS. GET SOME SPEED AND DEFENSE AT THE UTILITY POSITION. CHANGE BATTING AND PITCHING COACHES IMMEDIATELY! BOSTON AT FIRST BASE TOO! GRIFOL NEEDS TO BE REPLACED BY MONTOYO IMMEDIATELY. LET THEM SWITCH POSITIONS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR AND THEN EVALUATE THEM.”
Overall, quite a bit of negativity and very little positivity, which is understandable. And, yes, the final answer was indeed submitted in all caps, which I thought was a nice touch.
But, let’s see some proposed solutions.
Question 2: Let’s focus on the 2023 Trade Deadline. List any players you would NOT trade at this year’s deadline.
There weren’t a whole lot of deviations in answers for this section. Almost every single answer mentioned Luis Robert as a guy to hold on to, although a couple of responses indicated that nobody should be untouchable. Other common answers included Andrew Vaughn, Dylan Cease, and younger players like Oscar Colas, Garrett Crochet, and Colson Montgomery. The most interesting player was Jake Burger, who was considered untouchable by just about 15% of respondents.
The theme was pretty clear though, the White Sox should be selling and selling hard at the trade deadline.
Question 3: Now, let’s talk about the players you’re going to move. List all trades – including who you’re trading with and which specific players you’re trading for – for all current White Sox players you would move at the deadline. Provide a brief rationale if you wish.
This is where the real fun begins. There were a ton of interesting trade ideas in this section – some realistic, and others not so much. Let’s go over some highlights.
- (Michael Devereux) – “Lance Lynn to the Reds for SS Noelvi Marte or Orioles SS Joey Ortiz”
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but if Rick Hahn called Reds GM Nick Krall with this trade proposal, it would be a short conversation. With Elly De La Cruz now in the majors and graduating soon, Marte will become the Reds’ #1 prospect. They’re not giving him up for an aging starting pitcher who can’t keep the ball in the ballpark. The same could be said about Ortiz who, while not the top prospect in a stacked Orioles’ system – is still considered among the top 50-60 prospects in baseball, and Lynn’s contract and performance this season don’t lend itself to getting top returns. Trading Lance Lynn is a good idea, but we need to be realistic about the return.
- (@SouthSideZo) – “Trade for good players.”
I agree, 100%. This is a great idea.
- (Jrue Hancock) – “Tim Anderson and Kendall Graveman to the Dodgers for C Dalton Rushing.”
This is a very intriguing idea for me. I think the Dodgers match up with the White Sox very well as a trade partner. They have young pitching that’s close to major league ready, and a couple of highly-touted catching prospects, both positions of need that the White Sox could target. Anderson is obviously having a bad year, but he’s been better since the break, and could maybe build a bit of value back if he hits well over the next week. Graveman has been solid all year and has another year of control, so he could be a pretty valuable asset. To make this trade even more fun, the Sox could throw in Giolito and the Dodgers could add a couple more prospects. I think there’s potential here.
- (Jake) – “Lucas Giolito to the Orioles for LHP DL Hall, IF Connor Norby, and C Silas Ardoin”
This might be a little too much for what will end up being 8-9 starts of Lucas Giolito, but a back-end top-100 prospect like Norby is likely a realistic return. The Orioles have a surplus of position player prospects and will likely be looking to upgrade their pitching at the deadline, making them an interesting fit for a trade with the White Sox. Throwing in a reliever with Giolito could get you close to a return like this, and I think if this trade is on the table, Hahn should take it. Hall hasn’t been lights out this year in Triple-A but the stuff is there, and he would likely slot in the 2024 rotation for the White Sox, with Norby getting a crack at the second base job.
- (@mrcokoko) – “Lance Lynn to the Rangers for INF Justin Foscue”
Foscue is a name that’s come to my attention in recent days. A former first-round pick in 2021, he’s now 24 and having a solid season in Triple-A. With an expensive and locked-up infield in Texas, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for Foscue on the big league team. The Rangers lead baseball in several offensive categories but could look for some pitching reinforcements at the deadline. The White Sox may have to include an additional piece with Lance Lynn to get this done, but the fit could be there. Foscue would likely immediately join the White Sox and play second base.
- (@Stuvman35) – “Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets, and Lenyn Sosa to the Cardinals for 3B Nolan Arenado”
Do I really need to explain why this one isn’t happening?
- (Nick W) – “Luis Robert Jr. to the Dodgers for C Diego Cartaya, OF Andy Pages, 2B Michael Busch, RHP Gavin Stone, and OF Jose De Paula”
I had to throw one blockbuster in here. I don’t think the White Sox have any intention of trading Robert Jr. given the season he’s had and the extended team control. However, if they did, it would undoubtedly be a massive haul that would re-vamp their farm system. The Dodgers have more top-100 prospects than any other team, according to MLB Pipeline, and have not shied away from making big trades in the past. I think the chances of something like this happening are slim-to-none, but I wanted to give this one a mention because it sure is ambitious.
Here are some other interesting ideas because of either the team they’re traded to or for the return:
- (@fmb.28) – “Joe Kelly to Boston for SS Cutter Coffey (#17 Red Sox prospect, sweet name)”
- (@Whatshamidt) – “Lucas Giolito and Seby Zavala to the Angels for Matt Thaiss (great pitching and a respectable defensive glove for a long-term catcher).”
Question 4: Would you make additional transactions at the deadline (DFAs, Non-Tenders, etc.)?
Nothing terribly surprising here. The most common answer was Elvis Andrus, who could lose his job as a result of one of the aforementioned trades. Several people voted for Aaron Bummer getting DFA’d, though with his contract, I think that’s unlikely. One respondent (@SouthSideZo) called for the Sox to “DFA anyone that’s cheeks”, and I can’t say I disagree there. One person (Depressed TA Fan) even requested that the White Sox DFA Leury Garcia for a second time. Honestly, I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t come back on a minor-league deal yet.
Overall, the general fan responses to this question felt like they understood that there aren’t really any small roster changes that can fix what’s broken here – most things would be like trying to patch a hole on a sinking ship with Scotch Tape.
Question 5: Would you make any internal roster changes at the deadline (promotions, lineup changes, demotions, etc.)?
This section had more hot takes than I envisioned. Promoting Lenyn Sosa was easily the most common answer, and understandably so. Some folks want the Sox to bring Colson Montgomery straight up to the majors, which I would advise against. A surprisingly high number of people want to promote OF Victor Reyes, who has a career OPS+ of 84 in five major league seasons. Reyes is not on the 40-man roster, and I don’t think making a move to get him there makes a ton of sense. Triple-A numbers don’t often translate to the majors. Some people asked for the White Sox to send down Tim Anderson, which is absolutely not going to happen. Overall though, there wasn’t anything that stood out too much, outside of a few calls for new coaches (Joseph Mayotte would like a new hitting coach, according to his response).
Question 6: Let’s look ahead – briefly – to the 2023/2024 offseason. List three free agent targets and your proposed contract
In this scenario of rebuilding the rebuild, I think many people have projected Jeff Bezos to purchase the White Sox between now and November. Here are some free agent deals ideas from fans – some realistic, and some not.
- (@mnl398) – “LHP Eduardo Rodriguez: 3 years, $60MM. The White Sox need a left-handed starter and Schultz, who looks awesome, is still far away. I am categorically against tanking, and a top-of-the-rotation with Cease, Kopech, and Rodriguez could be pretty solid.”
- Credit to Charlie (3/$70M) and @nucleo_138 (6/$80M) for also discussing the acquisition of Rodriguez
- (@mnl398) – “Jack Flaherty: 1 year, $12.5MM. Prove it deal and probably a Katz favorite as well. Assuming the team is bad again in 2024 but he turns it around, he could easily be a trade candidate.”
- (@MikeThompson03) – “Shohei Ohtani: 10 years, $500 million”
- (Tom) – “Charlie Blackmon: 4 years, $100 million”
- (James Hocin) – “I don’t like free agents.”
- (@tom_paints) – “It doesn’t matter. I don’t even think they can afford a seat at the table this year.”
- (@cj25inc) – “L. Giolito, 4 years/$21 million per (admittedly, probably not enough).”
- (@JasonLowenthal_) – “2B/OF Whit Merrifield (2 years, $15 million) — I’m not all the way there with Lenyn Sosa and think he’s better utilized as a utility infielder. Merrifield, whose $18 million mutual option in Toronto is unlikely to be exercised by both parties, offers the White Sox a stable option at second base.”
Question 7: Anything else you would like to add?
Before we take a look at some fans’ final thoughts, we wanted to thank everyone who responded! We tried to include as many responses as possible between our recent podcast (below) and this article. Even if your response isn’t featured, trust us, we feel your frustration and pain – we all deserve better as White Sox fans, and it was obvious from your responses.
- (Mac Smigielski) – “Being a White Sox fan sucks.”
- (@jlewispga) – “Fire Pedro.”
- (@tom_paints, @dbyrne2003, @jjjagz) – “Sell the team, Jerry.”
- (@JosHWastyn22) – “This team sucks for making a lot of Sox fans hate them. It’s a shame. Jerry needs to sell this team because it could be such a special franchise. Take out the COVID year and the White Sox have never made back-to-back playoffs. Gross.”
- (Val) – “I am a true Sox fan, and I believe they will turn things around soon.”
- (@mrcokoko) – “Move Winston Salem closer to Chicago and trade Triple-A cities with the Pirates (Indianapolis Indians); this will help with attendance.”
- (Matthew Ban Der Linden) – “Just hoping this organization takes an honest look at where we are as an organization and then makes smart winning decisions.”
To the comment above – you and me both.
If you haven’t checked out the podcast where we discussed some additional fan comments, listen below!
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Featured Image: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports