All is not happy in Chicago.
In the wake of the Chicago Cubs breaking their World Series drought, it seems that the Chicago White Sox will not sit quietly. The White Sox are reportedly looking at a few different avenues to build their ballclub up after a few dismal and dysfunctional seasons. Several questions require answers. Could the White Sox solve all of their problems in one offseason?
Are the Chicago White Sox about to undergo a full rebuilding process, or a partial one?
What offseason moves the Chicago White Sox make will reveal the direction of their franchise. With so much pitching talent on hand, the White Sox might not have to tear it completely down. Not when one of their top two hurlers, Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, could nab all of the top prospects the White Sox need to restock their farm system. Each of them could bring the White Sox at least two major league ready players in one trade.
The problem that the Chicago White Sox have had in recent years is that the ownership group sees the team as only being short a couple of minor players. It is their belief that two or three stopgap players could be plugged in for a run at the MLB playoffs. All of the results would suggest otherwise.
White Sox struggles have led to a managerial change (courtesy of CBS Chicago) with Rick Renteria replacing Robin Ventura. With that change at the top comes whispers about the White Sox tinkering with an altered baseball philosophy.
The first wave of baseball meetings has featured a few players coming and going. And the Chicago White Sox, although they have not made any deals of significance, have done their due diligence to see what is out there.
As a result, it is being reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that the Chicago White Sox are officially taking calls for third baseman Todd Frazier. Rosenthal goes on to quote a rival MLB general manager, who sees the White Sox not doing much.
“I think they’re in the exact same place they were in during the summer. They’ll listen on everyone, but I think they’ll focus on trying to move the short-term guys first and then listen on the big guys — and ultimately not move the big guys.”
“The short-term guys are Frazier, second baseman Brett Lawrie and outfielder Melky Cabrera, all of whom are entering free-agent years, and closer David Robertson, who is signed through 2018.”
That is exactly what the Chicago White Sox did last season. They surveyed the MLB trade market and wound up with Frazier and Brett Lawrie. Both players ended up being integral cogs in the White Sox lineup. Frazier hit a team-leading 40 home runs last season, while Lawrie was good defensively. Are they long-term solutions?
What the White Sox need are long-term solutions in their everyday lineup. So far, only shortstop Tim Anderson fills that role. Not even first baseman is a sure thing for the White Sox. According to CSN Chicago, Jose Abreu can opt-out of his current contract and enter arbitration next week. If so, Abreu’s contract could balloon to a large amount.
Such uncertainty could lead to the Chicago White Sox to entertain calls for Jose Abreu also.
Do not be surprised if the White Sox make a couple of trades.
If the White Sox hear an offer they like for Todd Frazier, he will be dealt. If not, they will seek out his representatives and engage in talks about a contract extension. Because the White Sox are listening to offers, it is likely they will want to get at least one pro-level prospect in return.
Chances of a Todd Frazier trade taking place are about 50 percent.
The same goes for ace Chris Sale. If the White Sox do decide to trade Sale, they will get a lot in return.
For example, if the White Sox were to engage in trade talks with the Cubs, the White Sox could start off the conversation by asking for Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler, and C.J. Edwards.
To some people, it would be asking the Cubs to give up too much for Sale, when in fact, it is the White Sox who are giving up the most value. Chris Sale is one of the top-five best pitchers in baseball, and he is on an affordable contract, which would allow the Cubs a ton of financial flexibility. A move from the American League to the National League also improves Chris Sale’s WHIP and ERA. He would be a perennial Cy Young candidate with the Cubs.
Rick Hahn at GM Meetings: "We realize putting ourselves in a better position for the long term is the more prudent path." #WhiteSox— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) November 8, 2016
Giving up a special hitter like Kyle Schwarber would hurt, but he is truthfully a designated hitter. Schwarber offers little value to the Cubs defensively. If the Cubs were to call the White Sox about the availability of Chris Sale, they could not stand on ceremony if they asked about Kyle Schwarber. Sale is the better player.
Adam Eaton is another player the White Sox are entertaining offers for. Ken Rosenthal believes that the Houston Astros are a potential candidate to trade for the White Sox outfielder.
The Chicago White Sox are open for business, but MLB teams will have to wow them with an offer if they want to grab a White Sox player. The most interesting trade could be made between the White Sox and Cubs. The hot stove is heating up.
[Featured Image by Jon Durr/Getty Images]