Jun 20, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox designated hitter Paul Konerko (14) celebrates with first baseman Adam Dunn (32) after a home run in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s almost July, which means it’s time for the White Sox to get some news from old friend Jon Heyman, who is always out ahead of the next trade for Roberto Alomar. Take it away, Jon!
"The Chicago White Sox are open for business and have made everyone but star left-hander Chris Sale and beloved veteran first baseman Paul Konerko available, rival executives say."
Rivals executives, because Rick Hahn personally doing a press junket would be just a little bit in poor taste.
"The White Sox’s sale (lower case s, so as not to be confused with Sale)…"
Good one! I mean, I laughed.
"…is quite intriguing, say rivals, as it could include center fielder Alex Rios, shortstop Alexei Ramirez and even starting pitcher John Danks, who signed a $65 million, five-year contract just last year. All of those names are on the table."
Other teams find those last two names intriguing? The implication here seems to be that Danks’ contract would be a reason for the Sox to be hesitant and not intensely, intensely vice-versa.
"Rivals say the White Sox are taking a very reasonable approach in terms of where they stand this year, adding that they have some obvious assets to peddle. One NL executive said both Rios and Ramirez should have decent value. Although Ramirez has only one home run this year, that executive pointed out, “He’s hitting .280, has 18 stolen bases and plays good defense.”"
Who is this executive? How can the White Sox simultaneously ensure that this individual remains employed without employing him themselves? Alexei Ramirez has stepped to the plate 935 times since the start of 2012 and has a sub-.300 OBP and sub-.360 slugging to show for it. As much as I have come to accept Alexei’s place on the team simply due to the lack of other options. Escaping the expensive part of this deal in the face of the offensive disaster of this season would be a dream.
Also, to hear that the White Sox are being “very reasonable” is a distinct departure from the talk that surrounded them when they were toeing the waters and deciding between shopping or extending John Danks and Gavin Floyd. There is intention here that there was not before.
In fact, let’s go down the line on all of these while being very excited at the prospect of the White Sox taking an active step toward improving their future and pretty much dreading every game for the rest of the season:
His 10-5 no-trade rights obfuscate the intention in the decision retain him. This could simply be a polite reflection of Konerko stating his preference to not be traded and the White Sox doing him the favor of not playing it up as a conflict in the press.
Or, if keeping him is pure sentiment, it’s as close to justifiable as it gets. Konerko’s turned down enough superior offers to go elsewhere over his career that him getting to leave Chicago on his own terms is a due reward. Also, with his age, rental status and flat-out bad season, this is hardly a bounty the Sox are eschewing. They could probably convince the Giants to send Jeff Soptic back.
He’s the most valuable trade chip by far. Think of the bounty they could get in return! They could get a group of top prospects, one of them might hit all of their potential and bloom into a cost-controlled top-of-the-rotation star–waaaaait a second!
This is both what hangs me up about trading Sale and a re-purposed rant from a Cleveland Indians fan friend after his team traded Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia.
Are the Sox not going to be competitive by the end of Sale’s deal? How likely are they to pull in even one prospect who blossoms to be as valuable as Sale, let alone come out ahead? It’s not just about making the biggest trade possible.
Now that I’m hours removed from the giddiness of reading Heyman’s article, the realization that Danks is grappling with velocity loss, riddled with home runs and owed over $47 million after this season and is pretty much impossible to trade, has swept back over me like a wave of icy water.
He’s stuck in a big power drought that makes him more of a hole-plugger than an impact player, but this is the one bat that the Sox shouldn’t need to talk people into.
Heyman referring to him as someone who can be plugged into all three outfield positions makes it seem like he’s only superficially aware of White Sox activities over the past two years. Hard to blame him, as a national writer, but it calls the other assessments he’s made here into question. They all seem to be based on judgements from the last time the Sox were relevant.
As discussed yesterday, Peavy being injured and having possibly only two starts before the non-waiver trade deadline is redeemed by a somewhat brutal lack of appealing pitching trade candidates.
Needless to say, all these guys 28-and-over making market value should be available in this situation.
The biggest no-brainer in the group. It will be interesting to see if there’s enough desperation to push his return package beyond the standard-issue hot reliever rental, or if a team eyeing him to close makes a difference. It would really be nice to see the Sox drop any hesitance to deal with Detroit, because it’s irrelevant here.
In the spirit of closers in demand, it should be acknowledged that relievers are not building blocks, are overvalued and are developed really, really easily by the White Sox organization. That’s something to be taken advantage of.
Point: He’s on a short-term deal, his ERA is superficially low and he’s completely non-essential.
Counterpoint: His K/BB ratio is so awful it might not be worth the effort to move him. Maybe more work sees him improve in time for the waiver deadline or next season.
Strictly a lefty-specialist at this point and not the cheapest one at that. Might as well push his salary and buyout on someone else, but he’s probably most movable as part of a package.
The most baffling element of all of this for me was this line from Heyman’s article.
"“The Dodgers could make sense for Ramirez, and one competing executive said a team like the Mets could consider him as a long-term option if they were so inclined.”"
Hey, he’s 31 and his bat has fallen off a cliff, let’s secure him for the long haul!
This premise just seems to depend on the Mets being insane. I was under the impression that was no longer the case.
"“Adam Dunn, in the third year of his $56 million, four-year deal, might be hard to move, one exec suggested.”"
On the one hand, of course Dunn should be hard to move. His performance in the past two-and-a-half seasons has been terrifying. But if the guy who’s actually played well over the last month (.278/.414/.620) is hard to move, who isn’t in this group?
Exhibit A–who’s getting talked into this if no one wants Dunn? Sure, it’s less money, but Dunn at least does things.
Alejandro De Aza
Unlike the way Alex Rios is marketed, Alejandro De Aza really can play multiple positions in the outfield (probably not right field). His lack of expense and defensive utility could help de-emphasize his on-base woes this season.
That’s everyone I feel like talking about for now. This is very exciting. Thank you, Rick Hahn, for bringing meaning back to my blog.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan