The Chicago White Sox, by most people’s accounts, “won” the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings last week, but does Rick Hahn have more moves up his sleeve?
CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox made significant strides in their rebuilding efforts this past week at the annual MLB Winter Meetings when they moved starting pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton for a haul of prospects.
On Tuesday afternoon the White Sox dealt perennial All-Star starting pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox in a deal that brought the White Sox baseball’s top prospect plus three others.
The next day on Wednesday, Rick Hahn outdid himself when he sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for a trio of right-handed pitching prospects. The ChiSox received Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.
Briefly recapping, in a matter of 30 hours, Rick Hahn brought back the number one overall prospect in baseball in Yoan Moncada, the number one pitching prospect in baseball in the form of Lucas Giolito and five other prospects including the eighth ranked pitching prospect, and a 2016 first round draft pick.
In that short span the White Sox long neglected farm system rose from the bottom third of the league, to the top ten in Major League Baseball.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) December 8, 2016
Naturally the White Sox fan-base was feeling all sorts of ways about their ball club late Wednesday evening. One of those feelings was of course, “who’s next?” in regards to which White Sox player will be the next to be traded in the now rapidly progressing rebuild.
Thursday morning saw some soft speculation about “deep talks” with the Houston Astros involving starting pitcher Jose Quintana, but nothing has panned out. Some rumblings have also made their way around about a possible trade with the Colorado Rockies involving first-baseman Jose Abreu, but the signing of Ian Desmond really makes that move seem unlikely at this point.
It has actually been a pretty quiet past few days for the White Sox after making all the waves in Washington, D.C. early in the week. To be expected I suppose, there’s really no reason to rush this process now.
With certain free agents still on the board such as Kenley Jansen and Edwin Encarnacion, the Sox may be taking a wait and see approach, lurking in the background and waiting for a team in need to miss out on their free agent hopeful.
Whomever loses out on Kenley Jansen would likely be interested in ringing Rick Hahn’s line to inquire on David Robertson or even Nate Jones at a lesser return cost. The Dodgers, and Yankees are still in need of a third-baseman like Todd Frazier, depending on where Justin Turner signs of course.
The Rockies, Astros, Dodgers and Yankees have all been mentioned as teams needing a front-line starting pitcher, i.e. Jose Quintana. The White Sox still have a handful of valuable trade pieces, and a handful of teams still need those pieces if they hope to compete for a playoff berth in 2017.
So if you’re concerned about whether or not the White Sox will move those players between now and mid February when they report to Glendale, Arizona, I wouldn’t be. Both the supply and the demand are there for the White Sox, and Rick Hahn has earned our trust that he will be able to make the right move, for the time being at least.
Even if the White Sox don’t end up moving all, or even most of the pieces before the team reports to Spring Training or Opening Day, they can hold onto them until the trade deadline when a desperate contender needs an extra middle-of-the-order hitter like Todd Frazier or Jose Abreu. Or one of those clubs need an anchor for their rotation like Jose Quintana.
People have asked me over the last few days, “who do you want to see traded next?” Well, that’s simple, James Shields. That’s highly unlikely though. I don’t know who will be the next “painful decision” as GM Rick Hahn labeled the potential impending trade candidates as, I don’t even know when it will happen. The only thing I do know is that it will happen.
Embrace the rebuild White Sox fans, it will be tough, but it will likely be fruitful.