As we inch towards the Trade Deadline in Major League Baseball, there has been a lot of chatter about how the White Sox should approach making trades. We asked many of our contributors how Rick Hahn and company should approach the Deadline and what moves the organization should make. Let’s discuss it!
Should the White Sox be Buyers or Sellers at the Trade Deadline?
Jordan Lazowski | Editor-In-Chief
The White Sox are only 3.0 games out of first place in a pretty terrible AL Central. I understand the notion that fans will want to re-tool/sell-off, feeling as though this team can’t win anything as constructed.
However, 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. If you prescribe to the idea that “if you get into the playoffs, you can win it all,” then you should believe that 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 – 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.
Adam Kaplan | Contributor
While the White Sox are only a handful of games out of the AL Central lead, the rational argument is that the Sox should bulk up and do their best to win the division. Especially considering the Pale Hose have one of the easiest schedules post-All-Star Break. So I understand my argument is more of an emotional decision as opposed to a rational one.
That being said, for a litany of reasons, I do not believe the 2022 White Sox have it. Even under the assumption everyone will FINALLY be healthy, the team does too many little things wrong to think the 2022 White Sox could even make a deep playoff run, assuming they even get there in the first place. I still like the core of the 2023 Sox, so I believe Rick Hahn should trade off assets that wouldn’t be useful to the future direction of the organization, build up a farm system that’s one of the worst in the leagues, and try again next year.
The Chicago White Sox will be buyers. As well they should be. But my fear is that Rick Hahn will significantly weaken a farm system that’s already ranked last in all of baseball, just so maybe the White Sox can win the division and make another early playoff exit. Even with a handful of minor additions, I don’t believe the 2022 version of the Sox is significantly better than the 2021 version, and last year’s team was dominated by the Houston Astros and did not win a playoff series. That is why I am on the side of “selling” and not “buying”.
Noah Phalen | Contributor
At the time of answering this question, the White Sox sit at .500 and 3.0 games behind Minnesota in the AL Central. In what is supposed to be Year 3 of a championship window, it’s been a disappointing season overall for the White Sox, and it’s led many to question whether changes need to be made to this core. I think the answer is “yes”; however, I don’t believe the current trade deadline is the time to do that. The Atlanta Braves proved last year that all a team needs to do is get in and get hot. The White Sox are within striking distance of the postseason, so there’s no reason to punt a season in the middle of their “championship window”. The Sox should and will be buyers at the trade deadline.
Michael Suareo | Contributor
With the AL Central title still within reach, the White Sox should be buyers at the deadline. However, I think that being too aggressive this season would be a mistake, as much of their success this season will still depend on the players currently on the roster who haven’t lived up to expectations, such as Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, and Yasmani Grandal. Improvement from that group should be enough for the Sox to close the gap on the Twins and the Guardians, and a lack of improvement would likely mean the team falls short. So, unless they can make a Juan Soto-sized splash by August 2, then their sights should be set on filling in needs with lower-cost rentals.
Tim Moran | Contributor
At this point, there’s really no logic behind this team selling. They’re three games back in the division and have a solid array of excuses for their poor performance: over a dozen starts between Dallas Keuchel and Vince Velazquez, injuries to every part of the roster, and uncharacteristically poor individual starts that won’t last, to name a few. At this point in time, they don’t look anywhere near competing with a team like the Astros or Yankees, sure. But with such a young core, a few veterans who are obvious candidates for (and are already starting) bounce-back in the second half, and an easy schedule, this team could still get really hot. A couple of additions to the roster could make a huge difference, and thus I’m in favor of buying. The progression from rebuilding team to championship contender is not linear. Yes, the first half is worrying, but you can’t sell with this roster, plain and simple.
Tommy Gross | Contributor
The White Sox should be buyers at the deadline. Based on Tankathon.com, The White Sox have the second easiest schedule moving forward as well as a very open division in the AL Central. Currently, the White Sox are sitting three games out of first place in the division with a record of 49-48. The White Sox can probably win this division without any additional help from outside the roster but buying at the deadline will most likely make the team better going forward. They are still in their “contention window”, and I think retooling and selling at the deadline would be giving up on potentially a playoff season.
Nico Andrade | Contributor
With the division still up for grabs, the White Sox should be buyers at the deadline. The division is very winnable and with a division win, the Sox would make the playoffs. Being buyers at the deadline doesn’t guarantee a division crown, but it sure does help. Rick Hahn has said that he would like to explore positions of need such as second base, right field, and bullpen help. So yes, I do believe that the Sox will be buyers at the trade deadline.
How Do You Think the White Sox Should Handle Their Rotation at the Trade Deadline?
Jordan Lazowski: Acquire RHP Tyler Mahle from the Reds or LHP Jose Quintana from the Pirates
I recently wrote about 10 trades that I would like the Sox to explore, so I don’t want to spoil everything I wrote there. However, sticking with the theme of adding at the deadline without breaking the bank to do it, I think both Mahle and Quintana fit that theme. Quintana is more of a true short-term option, while Mahle would help the rotation in both 2022 and 2023. 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.
Adam Kaplan: Trade RHP Johnny Cueto
Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Lance Lynn, and Lucas Giolito are all under contract or team control through 2023. Despite the struggles this season from a handful of these pitchers, I still like this rotation going into next year. The only pitcher currently in the White Sox starting rotation that is not currently under team control next season is the veteran Johnny Cueto.
Johnny Cueto was signed at the very beginning of the season by the White Sox on a one-year/ $4.2M deal. He’s currently exceeding expectations. As of this writing, Cueto has a 2.89 ERA and is one of only four pitchers with a Quality Start rate above 80% this season (stat from @JayCuda). Every team in contention always needs starting pitching, and between his excellent stats and cheap contract, the White Sox should be able to receive a decent haul for Cowboy Cueto.
And speaking of starting pitching, if possible, the White Sox should be looking to receive close-to-major-league-starting-pitching in their returns, if possible. While the 2023 rotation looks to be pretty good, the 2024 rotation, as of now, looks pretty bleak thanks to the lack of quality starters currently in the Sox farm system. If the Pale Hose are looking ahead anyways, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that their window doesn’t fully close after 2023.
Noah Phalen: Acquire RHP Tyler Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds or LHP Jose Quintana from the Pittsburgh Pirates
Coming into the season, I didn’t feel like the White Sox had done enough to bolster their rotation. Bringing in Johnny Cueto helped, as he’s been even better than they could’ve hoped for. For a time, it seemed like they’d be okay. But Lance Lynn has struggled and Michael Kopech is already past his career high in innings, so I think starting pitching has to be near the top of the deadline priority list for the Sox. As much as someone like Frankie Montas would be awesome, the A’s are going to ask for a haul, and I’m not sure the White Sox are willing or able to meet the price. If they want to get someone slightly less expensive, but also very effective, with the same control as Montas, I’d look at Tyler Mahle from Cincinnati. But speaking more realistically, a reunion with old friend Jose Quintana could be in the cards.
Michael Suareo: Trade OF Luis Mieses and RHP Yohemy Nolasco to the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jose Quintana
I do not believe the White Sox need to make a big splash move in regard to their rotation. Dylan Cease is proving to be an ace, Johnny Cueto has been tough as nails since signing him, and both Giolito and Lynn are due for some more success, as advanced metrics show that both of their ERAs are inflated due to some bad luck.
Kopech is my only real concern, as his innings need to be limited this year. This rotation also lacks a lefty, so acquiring one who can effectively eat innings and help manage Kopech’s workload would be ideal. Both Jose Quintana and Martin Perez are rentals who can fill this role.
Tim Moran: Acquire LHP Martin Perez from the Texas Rangers or LHP Jose Quintana from the Pittsburgh Pirates
Michael Kopech and Lance Lynn have had recent outings that could be a cause for concern. Yes, Kopech’s start against the Rockies turned out fine somehow, but he’s been incredibly lucky all year and is not striking many guys out lately. He’s also nearing what many consider a reasonable innings limit for an ex-Tommy John pitcher in his first season as a starter. Thus, I think a flyer on a decent veteran pitcher with one or two years remaining on a contract, like Jose Quintana or Martin Perez, is a smart move. For now, I’d like to see how things pan out with Kopech and Lynn, but having that sixth arm is a necessary backup plan.
Tommy Gross: Trade RHP Johan Dominguez and SS Wilbur Sanchez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jose Quintana
Who doesn’t love a reunion? Jose Quintana has built back his value this season for the Pirates. Over 16 starts this season, Quintana currently holds a solid 3.70 ERA and a 3.27 FIP. He is currently on a one-year, $2 million deal, which makes this a pretty low-risk move. On the Sox side, Johan Dominguez has posted a solid 2.35 ERA in Triple-A Charlotte this year. The sample size is low, as it’s only two starts due to injury, but his career 3.48 ERA in the minor should intrigue a rebuilding team like the Pirates. On the back half, Wilbur Sanchez is a 20-year-old shortstop in Single-A Kannapolis who is currently ranked 23rd in the Sox farm system and should add some farm depth to Pittsburgh.
Nico Andrade: Acquire RHP Tyler Mahle from the Cincinnati Reds or LHP Jose Quintana from the Pittsburgh Pirates
On paper, the Sox have a lights-out rotation. But, adding one more starter at the right price wouldn’t hurt: either Tyler Mahle from the Reds or, yes, former White Sox Jose Quintana. Both would be good options for the Sox. Tyler Mahle is a free agent after the 2023 season, so in that case, the Sox will have one full season of Tyler Mahle. In Jose Quintana’s case, he is a free
agent after the 2022 season and he is a rental in a way. I personally would love to see the Sox go the route of Tyler Mahle, though he might be a bit more expensive due to the fact that he is signed past 2022.
How Do You Think the White Sox Should Handle Their Offense at the Trade Deadline?
Jordan Lazowski: Add a left-handed bat to take the place of Gavin Sheets
Gavin Sheets has a sub-.700 OPS against RHP this season, and as someone whose calling card is supposed to be his ability to mash RHP, he hasn’t done that at all this season. On top of that, he’s a first baseman that’s been forced to the outfield, and that experiment is going as well defensively as you’d expect it to. With Yoan Moncada and Yasmani Grandal showing signs of life from the left side of the plate, a third left-handed bat would really help this team in the long run.
Options here include Tyler Naquin (CIN), David Peralta (ARI), and, to a lesser degree, Ben Gamel (PIT). All three have at least a .740 OPS against RHP, with both Naquin and Peralta in the .800 OPS range. In addition, none of these players are first basemen who are forced to play the outfield, so that’s another immediate upgrade for the Sox.
The roster at current is extremely limited defensively, as they employ at least five DH/1B players (Jimenez, Abreu, Vaughn, Sheets, Grandal). Getting rid of one of these players and adding a true defensive outfielder is the least the Sox can do.
Adam Kaplan: Trade 1B Jose Abreu
If I’m the only one advocating for the Sox to be sellers, I might as well go big.
I know this is painful to see. It’s painful for me to write. I would love to see Jose Abreu play his entire career on the South Side. But Frank Thomas played time in Oakland. Mark Buerhle played time in Toronto. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if Abreu was traded, especially if he ended up winning a ring.
Jose Abreu is currently in the final year of the 3-year/$50M deal he struck back in 2020. As of this writing, Abreu leads all AL first basemen in fWAR (3.1), while slashing .304/.388/.468, good for a wRC+ of 147. He would make an excellent first baseman or DH to any contender. While players like Jose Harrison, who also isn’t signed to the Sox beyond this season, would also make an excellent trade candidate, Abreu having an All-Star-esque season means the players the Sox could get in return for trading away Abreu would be far greater than the haul they could get for someone like Harrison.
Further, with the way the White Sox are currently constructed (they have many 1B/DH right-handed bats who can hit for a good average but little power and high GB%), it wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world to free up first base. That’s one less first baseman to play in the outfield.
Noah Phalen: Acquire OF Tyler Naquin from the Cincinnati Reds
This may be a surprising take, but I think the offense should be the least urgent of the priorities at the deadline. Don’t get me wrong, in an ideal world, the Sox would get another left-handed bat, preferably one that can actually play the outfield to give Gavin Sheets and Andrew Vaughn a break, but I don’t think it’s as pressing of a need as some extra arms. Acquiring OF Ian Happ in another cross-town trade with the Cubs would be a fantastic addition, but would be expensive, and the Sox may elect to go the cheaper rental route instead. If that’s the case, I think the Sox and Cincinnati match up well again, and I’d see what the Reds want for OF Tyler Naquin.
Michael Suareo: Trade RHP Johan Dominguez and C/1B Tyler Osik to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Tyler Naquin
The Sox desperately need two things if they want to make a playoff push this season: a reliable left-handed bat and improved corner outfield defense. A 2B could be added to this list, however, Josh Harrison’s 127 wRC+ since June 1 and his stellar defensive efforts are enough to make that less of a priority.
I still believe Gavin Sheets has an MLB future, but his defense in RF isn’t cutting it and he has been too inconsistent at the plate to be relied on in an everyday role right now. There are two possible rentals available who would fit seamlessly fill his role in this lineup: Tyler Naquin and David Peralta.
Tim Moran: Acquire INF Brandon Drury from the Cincinnati Reds and/or sign free agent OF Michael Conforto
Josh Harrison has been solid for about a month or so, but still is nothing special at second base. So I’d certainly go after Brandon Drury of the Reds. While he is right-handed, he still sports a solid 114 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season (and mashes lefties at 182 wRC+). Second, while I’m still pretty high on AJ Pollock, a left-handed outfielder is a must. Signing Michael Conforto makes too much sense, so I would advocate for that move as well.
Tommy Gross: Trade RHP Christian Mena and 3B Wes Kath to the Arizona Diamondbacks OF David Peralta and LHP Joe Mantiply
David Peralta is having himself another solid year in Arizona and is currently slashing a .240/.304/.446 season with 12 HR and a 111 OPS+. At age 34, he still has a lot of power from the left side and is in the 89th percentile in Outs Above Average based on Baseball Savant. Joe Mantiply has been great out of the bullpen the past two seasons for the Diamondbacks and even made the All-Star game this year. Mantiply currently has a 2.49 ERA and adds a much-needed left-hander to the bullpen with the injuries to Garrett Crochet and Aaron Bummer this season.
Christian Mena is having a very solid year this season, pitching in 17 games between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem with a 3.28 ERA. He is currently ranked as the team’s 29th-highest prospect but should shoot up the rankings as mid-season prospect ranking adjustments are released. Wes Kath is struggling at the plate this season, but was the Sox’ 2020 second-round pick and is currently the 6th ranked prospect. Both of these prospects are only 19 years old as well.
Nico Andrade: Trade OF AJ Pollock. Acquire a LH RF.
I may be in the minority here, but maybe it is a possibility to trade A.J, Pollock.
Hear me out. He was brought on this team to play right field every day. He has played more and more recently, but if the Sox are forced to keep using him as a platoon bat and defensive substitute due to his numbers, then what is the point? Pollock is a veteran that has value to this team if he plays every day. Now, I’m not saying that the Sox should go out and shop A.J. Pollock, but they should consider it depending on how the Sox front office views their outfield.
Aside from that, a lefty bat is the most ideal thing that the Sox would like to have in right field. A few names come to mind: David Peralta from the Diamondbacks, Ian Happ from the Cubs, and Tyler Naquin from the Reds. If the Sox could manage to get Naquin and Mahle at once, that would be a huge win for the Sox.
All of those names hit from the left side, but the best name out of the bunch is Ian Happ. It would take a pretty good haul to acquire Ian Happ, as he will be a free agent after the 2023 season. He can play infield and outfield, and he also can hit from both sides of the plate. He would provide lineup flexibility, and that would be a premium for the Sox. Hopefully, the Sox can pull off something for Ian Happ, but it might include a couple of big names such as Bryan Ramos, Norge Vera, Garrett Crochet, and others.
How Do You Think the White Sox Should Handle Their Bullpen at the Trade Deadline?
Jordan Lazowski: Add at least a LRP, but consider adding another RHP 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. In addition, the club needs to insulate against Jose Ruiz in high-leverage situations.
Good names from the left side include Matt Moore (TEX), Andrew Chafin (DET), and Joe Mantiply (ARI). 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%). Moore has gotten both left-handers (.241 AVG, .541 OPS) and right-handers (.171 AVG, .535 OPS) out this season at a pretty quality rate. Chafin gets right-handers (.200 AVG, 28.6 K%, 2.9%) out, but does struggle with left-handers (.234 AVG, 29.3 K%, 12.1 BB%).
From the right side, David Robertson (CHC) is a name that comes to mind, but at the end of the day, good right-handed relief options will always make themselves available in abundance at the deadline. If the White Sox want to add two relievers, they should have no problems doing so.
Adam Kaplan: Trade Joe Kelly
The White Sox don’t have a stud bullpen arm that’s only signed through this season. Liam Hendriks, Kendall Graveman, and Reynaldo Lopez are all either under contract or under team control through the 2023 season. All have been excellent this year. As I previously mentioned, I like the Sox core for 2023 and don’t think they should break up this current team too much.
Joe Kelly has been awful and injury-prone this season and is also signed through the 2023 season as well. I can’t imagine his trade value is very high if he has one at all. It might be in the Sox’ best interest to keep Kelly and pray he rebounds next year. However, if the organization can convince another team to take on Kelly’s contract in the hopes that he’ll pitch to his previous success, I’m on board.
Noah Phalen: Acquire LHP Andrew Chafin from the Detroit Tigers or LHP Matt Moore from the Texas Rangers
When Garrett Crochet got hurt during spring training, I don’t think any Sox fan anticipated how big of a blow it was going to be to the staff. Crochet was primed to have a big year out of the pen, and the loss of a left-hander put a lot of pressure on Aaron Bummer to be great. Bummer got off to a slow start to the year and hasn’t been healthy. The latest update has him slated for a return in September. This leaves rookie Tanner Banks as the only lefty in the Sox bullpen, and although Banks has done a decent job so far in 2022, this is not sustainable. A left-handed reliever is a huge need for the White Sox. Some potential names I’d like to see them explore include Andrew Chafin from Detroit and Matt Moore from Texas.
Michael Suareo: Trade OF Duke Ellis and SS Wilbur Sanchez to the Texas Rangers for LHP Matt Moore
Despite spending a significant amount on the bullpen this offseason, the Sox still need some additional arms in order to compete for a playoff spot this season. At the very least, they will need to bring in a left-handed reliever, as injuries to Garret Crochet and Aaron Bummer have left them with just Tanner Banks as their only somewhat reliable lefty in the bullpen. There are several cost-effective options here who would instantly improve their bullpen, including Andrew Chafin, Matt Moore, and (if the Red Sox decide to sell) Matt Strahm.
Tim Moran: Acquire LHP Gregory Soto or LHP Andrew Chafin from the Detroit Tigers or LHP Matt Moore from the Texas Rangers
A couple of lefty relievers should do the trick here, although Aaron Bummer’s return is the biggest southpaw addition this team can make. Gregory Soto and Andrew Chafin are solid options out of Detroit, and Matt Moore would make sense as well.
Tommy Gross: Trade RHP Jason Bilous to the Miami Marlins for LHP Tanner Scott
If the Peralta/Maniply trade doesn’t work out (see above), I would still like the Sox to be buyers for the bullpen due to injuries to Crochet and Bummer. As we have witnessed in the playoffs, a good bullpen is essential to winning a ring.
I feel Tanner Scott would be the perfect addition to the Ethan Katz pitching lab. He has just dropped his sinker pitch and has become a nice two-pitch pitcher with his slider and four-seamer. He currently has a 4.43 ERA, but don’t let that fool you because he also has a 3.52 FIP. He currently has a phenomenal 12.84 K/9 but a very rough 6.20 BB/9. I think Katz could try to work his magic with Scott and see if he can fix up the control a bit. I think it would be a good decision to buy low on this player and see how he could pan out. Scott has a couple of years of control, so he can be an ongoing project as well if it doesn’t work out for him this season. The White Sox should only have to give up RHP Jason Bilous, who is only 24 and is putting up good strikeout numbers in Double-A Birmingham this season.
Nico Andrade: Acquire a LHP: Andrew Chafin from the Detroit Tigers, Matt Moore from the Texas Rangers, or Joe Mantiply from the Arizona Diamondbacks
The bullpen once again could use another lefty arm. Andrew Chafin is a lefty that the Sox could make a bid for, who has thrown 30.2 innings this year for the Tigers with a 2.64 ERA. The once-starter-now-reliever Matt Moore is also interesting. He is another guy that would be a mid-season rental just like Andrew Chafin, but because Matt Moore is 33 years old, giving up prospects that are of medium value may be a little too much to pay for a mid-season rental.
The last name is a guy from the Arizona Diamondbacks: Joe Mantiply. With Bummer gone until September, Joe Mantiply would be a good piece for the Sox to add. He is 12th in the majors in ground ball rate. The best part about Joe Mantiply is that he has four years of control on his contract – he will become a free agent after the 2026 season. Maybe the Sox could go the
route of packaging Joe Mantiply with David Peralta.
What are your thoughts on these questions? Let us know @SoxOn35th or in the comments below!
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