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White Sox, please build around Robert Jr and Crochet

by Tim Moran

Fresh off a record-setting losing streak, reports of the White Sox shopping both Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert Jr. as trade pieces have surfaced. Jon Heyman and Jeff Passan wrote in the past week on Chris Getz and Co.’s willingness to deal the dynamic duo.

Undoubtedly the two best players on the team, dealing either would represent a drastic attempt at reshaping the franchise’s future. While returns would be significant, I firmly believe Chris Getz would be making a major mistake to ship either player.

Let’s start with Robert Jr. He is an interesting piece, showcasing an abundance of talent yet producing limited output through 4.5 seasons due to injuries and a couple of rough stretches. Solid offensively and defensively, Robert Jr. holds massive trade value due to his remaining contract. Interested teams would acquire 3.5 seasons of control, paying only ~$60 million in the process assuming club options are exercised. At 26 years old, he’s the ideal outfield trade piece—except for the injury history.

Accounting for all these factors, I’d say Robert Jr. nets a return somewhere between Adam Eaton and Juan Soto’s blockbuster trades. That may sound hilarious, but keep in mind Eaton fetched a hearty package of two highly touted pitchers and another quality arm. Roughly speaking, Chicago would likely be due a top 20 prospect, a top 50 prospect, and a top 100 prospect for LRJ, or something of equivalent value.

Garrett Crochet revamped his game entirely this past offseason after entering the league as a reliever and missing most of 2022 and 2023 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Commencing 2024 as the Opening Day starter, Crochet endured a few awfully unlucky starts before beginning a dominant run of eight starts still active today. On the year, he is rocking a 3.33 ERA, 2.31 xERA, 2.77 FIP, and an absurd 6.06 K/BB ratio, putting him firmly in the conversation for best pitcher in the American League.

The White Sox control Crochet for 2.5 more seasons, yet at a far cheaper rate than Robert: the rookie contract is worth just $800k this season plus two arbitration-pending yearly salaries. Considering the season less of control and dearth of time succeeding as a starter though, Crochet is likely worth less than Robert Jr. Still, his upside is massive, and a package centered on a pair of top prospects would feel appropriate in return. 

Factoring in the success of several young arms, Chicago’s farm system is above average. Hovering about tenth or so in the league now, trading these two players would instantly catapult the Sox system into top-five status. But is it worth it? 

To me, the answer is no. This is largely because of one truth—the South Siders’ top prospects aren’t far off. Look at Colson Montgomery, Noah Schultz, Drew Thorpe, Edgar Quero, and Jairo Iriarte. Thorpe takes the bump tonight and the rest will all be in the majors by the end of next season, barring major setbacks. 

Circumstances matter here—if the Sox had no prospects or only inexperienced prospects to build around, a full-scale rebuild makes sense. In turn, trading Crochet and Robert Jr. would be intelligent. Yet that’s not the case at all. 

Note the financials too—with Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Max Stassi ($7.5 million option lol), and Martin Maldonado ($4 million option LOL) likely departing this off-season after non-options, Getz will have a slim payroll of under $40 million. That leaves plenty of room to sign a few bats by 2026 and complement what should be a loaded rotation. 

Serious ballclubs do not trade away their two best players with 2.5-plus years of control unless a full-blown rebuild is in order. They just don’t! Yes, the current squad is horrendous. But the future of the White Sox is very near, and Getz will easily add to that by trading Erick Fedde and Paul DeJong in the next couple of months. 

Moreover, consider the ceiling of the two players. Due to Robert’s injuries and Crochet’s lack of workload, each player’s potential value far exceeds their current trade value. Playing it safe is not an option for an organization in such terrible shape. It may sound suspect, but gambling on health and output from this duo is the correct choice—the Sox have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

To state the obvious, there are theoretical packages which one couldn’t say no to. For example, say a team offered three elite prospects for Robert Jr and two were nearly MLB-ready. Getz wouldn’t be dampening the short-term outlook of the Sox by accepting, and thus I’d approve of such a trade. Yet I highly doubt that any general manager would pony up for such a price.

In all likelihood, the White Sox are just doing their due diligence. Listening around for offers can’t hurt, and if news breaks that they have secured a mammoth package featuring prime MLB-ready talent, I’ll be the first to eat my words. Realistically, though, the Sox will be forfeiting a star player at the wrong time if they pull the trigger on a trade.

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Featured Image: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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YES. Thank you. Please. Trading 26 year olds for 21 year olds is the path to a 30 year rebuild. Anyone whose contract is up at the end of the year, go ahead and trade them. These two we need to keep.

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