With the White Sox reportedly being sellers, who would make the most sense to move before the trading deadline? While there is no untouchable player, it makes sense to acquire as much top young talent in return as possible. Here are some of the players the Sox should put on the trading block:
Considering the fact that he has two years left on his contract after 2016 at $12M and $13 M respectively. If the White Sox can not only get a team to absorb Robertson’s contract, but also bring back good young players that would do the organization a great deal of help. Since he is a good closer with two years plus remaining on his deal, he could bring back a solid haul. Trading him now is a good move. On top of that, Robertson is 23 for 26 in save opportunities this season. With that in mind, his value could drop over the next couple of seasons, making it harder to bring back the same return.
This is far and away the best chip the Sox should move. He is under contract through the end of 2020, and if the team wants to buy him out for $1 million after the 2018 or 2019 season they can do so if they choose. Since Quintana’s contract is so team friendly (highest AAV is $10.5M), his return would be the greatest of all the players mentioned. Not to mention he is a very good starting pitcher, and one a team could use in a playoff rotation. His statistics don’t tell the entire story, as he’s been the victim of inconsistent run support throughout his career. Since becoming a starter in 2012, Quintana has 55 no decisions. Assuming Quintana is traded, he could bring back multiple MLB ready players.
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The main reason Cabrera should go is due to the fact he is having his best season in a White Sox uniform. When a player is at his age (he turns 32 on August 11), it makes sense to try to get as much in return as possible even though he is signed through the end of 2017. Now I want to revert back to the good season part. Cabrera is having a very good season in his twilight prime, as he is currently hitting .309 with nine home run, 20 doubles and 43 runs batted in.
While I understand those aren’t superstar numbers, keep in mind that Cabrera has the ability to hit in the two-hole. He doesn’t strike out much (only 39 times so far in 2016-336 AB’s), meaning he is good for contact. I don’t think he would bring the same return as Quintana would for the White Sox, but he might be able to command a similar return to Robertson. Maybe not as much as a top prospect, however still a solid player.
I think Shields makes sense to deal just due to the financial factor. He has proven over his last handful of starts that he can still pitch in the American League, even though he isn’t an ace anymore. It seems as though the White Sox may have fixed Gonzalez, as his last four starts have been quality starts. Duke would make sense for fiscal reasons as well (owed $5.5M in 2017), not to mention the fact teams are always looking for left-handed help in their bullpen.
Overall, I don’t think the White Sox will sell off their entire roster. The one player that it would take an enormous deal to move would be Chris Sale, and even then it is hard to deal an ace with a team-friendly contract. One strength the Sox do have is pitching, and it is an area that is very weak at we inch closer to the trading deadline.
I think the White Sox need to infuse top young talent into its roster, which it doesn’t have due to a weak, however improving minor league system. The concern I have with a potential sell-off is how long will the White Sox stick to the plan? This is an organization that gets impatient, and assuming good young players are on the way, would they just trade them for proven veterans? Time will tell, but the next week and a half should be interesting to watch.