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What can Fedde, DeJong, Pham, and Kopech net White Sox at Trade Deadline?

by Tim Moran

Opinions vary on whether the White Sox will deal Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert Jr. at this year’s trade deadline. Yet for a few other players, that’s not the case—Chris Getz has every reason to shop them. This nucleus of trade material consists of Erick Fedde, Paul DeJong, Tommy Pham, and Michael Kopech. Obviously, interest and return value differ widely between these pieces, but bottom line, they’re on the block.

For Getz, the goal should be simple: acquire position prospects wherever possible. The Sox farm system has experienced a pitching boom this season, with Drew Thorpe, Noah Schultz, Jairo Iriarte, Ky Bush, Grant Taylor, Mason Adams, and Jake Eder all impressing. Sadly, the bats haven’t shown nearly as much. Colson Montgomery is trying to find his footing in Triple-A, Bryan Ramos fell off a cliff, Sammy Zavala has a ways to go on his hit tool, and Jacob Gonzalez is improved but middling.

Let’s start with Fedde, the most valuable piece, and work our way down on what Chicago can and should target.

Erick Fedde

Fresh off a successful career revival attempt in Korea, Erick Fedde has asserted himself as a stellar #2 or #3 starter in the MLB. Following a mediocre but respectable start against the high-powered Los Angeles Dodgers, he sports a 3.23 ERA, 3.48 xERA, and 1.14 WHIP. Limiting walks like he never did in his first major league stint, the 31-year-old has registered a 3.64 K/BB with these advanced metrics:

Given Fedde’s ERA is clearly no fluke, his team-friendly two-year deal makes him a seriously valuable pitcher for contenders to acquire. But exactly how much can the South Siders obtain for Fedde? Let’s start by looking at a similar trade from last year’s trade deadline.

On August 1, 2023, the Philadelphia Phillies dealt their #5 prospect in exchange for Tigers’ pitcher Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen, 31 years of age like Fedde now, had posted eerily similar stats at the time to 2024 Fedde. The key difference is Lorenzen had just half of a year left on his contract. Note, however, that Fedde’s emergence this year doesn’t quite match Lorenzen’s track record of being serviceable.

All that considered, Fedde is somewhat comparable to Lorenzen’s worth but undoubtedly on the more valuable side. My best guess is he could net a Top 50-75 prospect in baseball and a flyer, or two touted prospects just outside the Top 100.

I could write eight hundred words on plausible Fedde swaps, as there are many suitors across the league, but I’ll give one for example. Shoutout to James Fox (@JamesFox917) on X for proposing this trade, which seems fair to me: Fedde goes to Baltimore for the Orioles’ #6 and #7 prospects Connor Norby and Dylan Beavers.

Baltimore’s starters have performed superbly thus far in 2024. But Kyle Bradish just suffered a season-ending UCL injury and Albert Suarez and Cole Irvin have both been remarkably lucky, meaning GM Mike Elias could use a guy like Fedde. Meanwhile, Norby and Beavers are outfielders severely blocked by the O’s abundance of young position talent. Norby, who can also play second base, just recently debuted and would slot in immediately in Chicago.

Paul DeJong

Respectfully, Paul DeJong holds no value to the White Sox moving forward. His contract runs out at season’s end, and Colson Montgomery is assuming the role of franchise shortstop very soon. Chris Getz will trade DeJong at this deadline.

DeJong has slightly outperformed expectations in 2024, putting up average offensive numbers on the heels of a rough campaign last year. Sadly, his .236/.280/.449 line appears lucky, given he’s earned a .224 xBA and .412 xSLG. His defense isn’t what it used to be, but it’s been adequate. All in all, he could represent a minor improvement for a contender with lackluster shortstop play.

The Atlanta Braves, surprisingly, fit that description perfectly. Orlando Arcia has been abysmal this season, and DeJong would represent a significant power boost for a lineup struggling to drive the ball. Accordingly, I think Getz could nab 21-year-old 3B Sabin Ceballos. The corner infielder was drafted in the third round last year and gets on base consistently, posting a .276/.363/.387 line in 2024 High-A action.

Ceballos is ranked as Atlanta’s 18th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. It’s not much, but it’s probably all you’re going to get for an average-at-best rental performing above their expected stats.

Tommy Pham

Tommy Pham will leave well-appreciated. At times earlier this season, he was the only competent player on the diamond for the White Sox. All in all, he’s a bit the opposite of DeJong, posting a .720 OPS but hitting the ball very hard and suffering from tough luck in 2024. Pham’s defense is a tad subpar, though, so he likely would be getting a return similar to DeJong.

A good comparison for Pham is the Mets’ trade of outfielder Mark Canha last year to the Brewers. At that trade deadline, with very similar age and stats to Pham, Canha brought back Milwaukee’s 30th overall prospect Justin Jarvis. I think Chicago can do just slightly better, given the large pool of teams in reach of the playoffs in 2024.

Amidst the NL hodgepodge of clubs vying for a Wild Card spot this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates could use a third outfielder. Jack Suwinski, Michael A. Taylor, and Edward Olivares are all poor options currently for the young squad. I project that if Getz were to deal Pham to Pittsburgh, he could net the Pirates’ 21st overall prospect, 20-year-old middle infielder Keiner Delgado. The young international signee from Venezuela is putting up a respectable .755 OPS in Single-A currently.

Michael Kopech

Projecting a Michael Kopech trade return is not an easy task. The flame-throwing righty has fantastic strikeout numbers yet dismal walk and homer numbers, all good for a slightly subpar 4.33 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. There is a year and a half left on Kopech’s contract.

Despite the uninspiring output, many teams probably believe they can turn a former high-profile prospect with intriguing stuff into a powerhouse reliever. Heck, the Orioles traded for a reliever with an 8.57 ERA (Shintaro Fujinami) last deadline because they saw potential in his wicked fastball.

Accordingly, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the White Sox can aim for an organization’s fifteenth-best prospect or so for Kopech. I could feasibly see the package being better or much worse depending on scouts’ evaluation of his ability to tweak and improve. One team that has confirmed interest is the Kansas City Royals:

Chris Getz could target catcher Carter Jensen here, a 20-year-old featuring an .804 OPS in High-A action. Jensen faces competition from Kansas City’s only Top 100 prospect, 19-year-old catcher Blake Mitchell, so the Royals could view him as expendable. Whatever the case, Kopech will be a fascinating study in reliever value.

Follow us @SoxOn35th for more throughout the season and towards the Trade Deadline!

Featured Image: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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