The Chicago White Sox have been quiet since their splashy winter meetings moves earlier this month, so what’s next for the Pale Hose?
The Chicago White Sox made the big moves that White Sox fans had hoped they would make during the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings earlier this month, but have been silent since then outside of the Derek Holland reclamation bid signing.
The excitement around the White Sox was buzzing, but has since cooled off as we sit back and wait for the next move out of the south side, left to nothing but our speculation. So, let’s do just that, some speculating.
White Sox Skyrocket in Latest MLB Pipeline Rankings
Jim Callis of MLB.com Pipeline has re-ranked the top farm systems in baseball for updated Top–10 farm system rankings this morning, and the White Sox, who have historically found themselves in the bottom third of the entire league, are now sitting comfortably in the number two spot. Callis writes this about the White Sox rapid rise;
“Winter Meetings trades skyrocket this system up the list, with second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 1 on MLBPipeline’s Top 100); right-handers Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning; and outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe arriving from the Red Sox and Nationals.”
The New York Yankees are number one, with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers coming in at number three and four respectively right behind the White Sox. Callis also notes that MLB Pipeline will be overhauling their prospect rankings next month, and the current rankings may change as a result.
With the Future in the Distance, the White Sox say They Will Not Rush Prospects to the Major-League Level
White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn made it clear that they will not be rushing any of their prospects to the major-league level with the future still in the distance on the south side of Chicago.
Hahn has made it clear that none of the White Sox prospects will start the season with the Sox, with Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer all on track to begin the 2017 season in the Charlotte Knights rotation. Hahn has also put the brakes on the idea that 2016 first round draft pick Zack Collins will begin the season in Double-A, stating that the club would like to see Collins start in Single-A with the Winston-Salem Dash where he ended 2016.
The reason for the slow-down on Collins advancement according to Hahn, is that the White Sox want Collins to have plenty of time to refine his defensive skills as a catcher.
“If he was a bat-only player he would come more quickly because the bat is more mature, more close to big league ready than the receiving,” Hahn said last month. “However, we think he has a very good chance to be an everyday catcher with a premium bat and we’re going to take the time to bring along the defense at the rate it requires.”
Hahn said that even Yoan Moncada, the number one prospect in all of baseball, will begin the 2017 season with Triple-A Charlotte to polish his plate approach and defensive ability.
News that Hahn and the front-office are determined to see the development of their prospects through until they are ready to force the issue with their performance is certainly music to the ears of White Sox fans, who have expressed fears that the front-office would fail to give the newest youngsters the proper amount of time to develop.
Market for David Robertson, And a Free-Agent Signing That Could Pay Off in July
At this point, if I was to take a guess as to which White Sox player will be the next to be traded, I would guess that it will be David Robertson. Major League Baseball is in lust with closing pitchers after watching some of the best in the game make major impacts on the 2016 Postseason.
Given the overall value of closers right now, and the fact that the big three available closers in free-agency, are now off the market, David Robertson has significant value at this point. The Washington Nationals are in need of a ninth inning specialist after swinging and missing on both Wade Davis and Kenley Jansen so far this offseason.
Outside of the Nationals, I haven’t seen Robertson’s name mentioned in any discussions with real traction behind them, but I’m sure that a handful of other teams either have, or will inquire on Robertson moving forward.
If the White Sox do end up moving David Robertson this winter, there could be a potential investment to make in the current free-agent pool, that may pay off for them leading up to the 2017 trade deadline next July. Greg Holland folks, the White Sox should pursue the former Royals closer to fill the void potentially left by Robertson if he is in fact traded.
Holland would fill the ninth inning role, but more importantly, if Holland can return to, or even come close to his pre-injury form, he could net the White Sox additional prospects for their rebuild if they move him to a team desperate for a closer next July. It’s an idea that you may balk at initially, but really, it may just be crazy enough to have a big reward.