In Retrospect: Grading The 2017 White Sox Trades
December 7, 2016 – Traded OF Adam Eaton to Washington Nationals for RHP Dane Dunning, RHP Lucas Giolito and RHP Reynaldo Lopez
This came off the heels of the last trade we’ll highlight, but this trade confirmed the direction the White Sox were heading into which was rebuilding. The Sox traded Eaton, who was fantastic in his time in Chicago. He was never an All-Star but the Sox could always count on him for near .290 average, 10 home runs, 80 runs, 50 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, .350+ on-base percentage, great defense and unmatched hustle. Unfortunately, his time with the NL-favorite Washington Nationals was cut very short when he tore his ACL and his meniscus in an awful play at first base. He only played 23 games in 2017.
Eaton’s last contribution to the White Sox was the incredible package of prospects they received from the Nationals. Current stellar starting pitchers Lopez and Giolito have been as good as advertised in their first season in Chicago. It’s going to be very exciting to see what those two rocket arms can bring to the table next season. In addition to Lopez and Giolito, the Sox also received phenom Dunning, who was lights out in Single-A ball. He had an ERA of 2.94 in 26 combined starts for Kannapolis and Single-A Advance Winston-Salem with a K/9 rate of 10.5. This might have been the best trade of the season for the Sox because every single one of these players could have a big part of the White Sox future.
Grade: A+ / This for me was the best trade of the year. The Sox gave up a great player in Eaton but received three of the best pitching prospects in baseball and it’s already showing. Comparing to the other trades, where some players won’t probably pan out, these three pitchers look like ‘can’t-miss’ prospects for the future.
December 6, 2016 – Traded LHP Chris Sale to Boston Red Sox for OF Basabe, RHP Victor Diaz, RHP Michael Kopech and INF Yoan Moncada
This is the trade that started it all. Sale was in line to be one of the best White Sox pitchers in history, if not the best. The five-time All-Star was coming off another stellar year in 2016. The value and the price was extremely high and rightfully so. The White Sox were listening to trades all winter until they were offered a deal for the best prospect in baseball and perhaps the future of baseball. The Sox not only received Moncada, but also aqcuired what some are calling the next, best pitcher in the minors.
Sale is in contention for AL Cy Young Award once again and has reached 300 strikeouts for the year, which has not been done since Clayton Kershaw did it in 2015. Before that was 2002 when the Big Unit Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling both reached that milestone.
Meanwhile, Moncada struggled to show off his potential early on but has finally started to pick it up. If Moncada can play in 2017 like he’s been playing in September, he’s going to be great. Kopech also has his eyes on the majors next season which is going to be electric.
Grade: A- / Anytime you get the best rated prospect in the game, it’s almost automatically a successful trade. And when you throw another player like Kopech, it sweetens the deal even more so. What keeps me from saying this was the best trade of the year is that the other players the Sox received in this trade have relatively unknown futures. However, when you get players like Moncada and Kopech, the Sox don’t have a need to complain.
Overall Grade of 2017 Trades: EXCITING.
Next: White Sox Shut Down Lucas Giolito for Remainder of Season
More than half of the players received in these trades have all been the Sox Top 30 list as well as MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 and Baseball America’s Top 100. That’s what I would call a rebuild.