The White Sox should express caution in selling as they still have some quality assets that could get them back into contention for 2017 and beyond. With an improving farm system thanks to a quality 2016 draft class, the White Sox could add from within in a few years.
If the White Sox do indeed sell, they need to be very careful in doing so. Just by looking at the way Anthony Ranaudo pitched on Wednesday (given it was only one start), it shows one key element the White Sox have. That would be pitching depth. There are very few teams with pitching depth, and assuming they can find a few more bats, this team could become competitive sooner rather than later.
When the White Sox brass came out and said the only thing they ruled out for trades were rental players, it basically pointed to the fact they are looking at the teams’ long term future at this point. In other words, bringing in a player that will help that not only this season, but in future seasons is possible. But, due to the inconsistency of the White Sox in 2016, the front office is absolutely right by not trading the future for a player that will only be on the south side for two months.
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An area the White Sox could trade from in order to improve the team not only this year, but in the future is their relief pitching. With that said, moving David Robertson makes sense, just due to the fact that they would be clearing $25 million over the next two seasons. If they can find a taker for Zach Duke, I don’t think it would be hard to get someone to drive him to the airport. While he still has a bit left, he is owed $5.5 million in 2017, which the White Sox would love to get rid of.
The one area I would be extremely cautious about touching is the starting rotation. Miguel Gonzalez would make sense to move, just because it would be effective to turn a player they found off the scrap heap into a decent prospect. However any other movement is a concern of mine. Carlos Rodon must stay, and unless they can get a number one starter type return for Jose Quintana, he stays as well.
Assuming Quintana is dealt, my guess is they will be getting an MLB ready starter back, not to mention a couple of solid position player prospects. I would love for the White Sox to be able to get a huge return for Chris Sale, but finding a compatible trading partner for Sale that makes sense for both teams is going to be hard. James Shields won’t bring back much in return, just due to his contract and age. Assuming he doesn’t opt-out after 2016, he is owed $42 million over the next two seasons, and will be 35 at the beginning of next season.
Overall, there are things that need to change if the Sox want to get back to being an elite team. The first thing they need to do is hit, and in order to do so they need better players. 2016 first-round pick Zack Collins is on the way, who is a catcher but questions remain about his ability to stay behind the plate.
They will need to fill other positions through trade and free agency over the next several months, and in order to make trades they will need to improve their farm. Moving a good closer would help that cause, giving them more ammo in the farm in order to make trades. On top of that, if one of the players happened to be good enough for the majors in 2017, he could take a spot in the 25-man roster.
The next six months will be interesting, both in direction and player movement. While fans may not like every move, keep in mind how difficult it is to get a team back to the postseason after the situation they were in during the middle of 2013. And look at how far they have come now. Better days are ahead, Sox fans.