As year three-ish of the rebuild is on the horizon, the White Sox need to involve some building from the outside.
In 2017, the White Sox made some big moves to create one of the best minor league systems in baseball.
But, prospects don’t win ball Major League ball games. So, to get this rebuild kicked into high gear, the front office needs to add some talent that will get more wins.
And, the man who can help them is Edwin Diaz, who currently plays for the Seattle Mariners. He’s one of the best closing pitchers in the MLB, and he proved it by finishing 65 games and closing 57 of them. Considering that the Mariners won 89 games, his league-leading finishes and saves is remarkable. Those numbers are even more remarkable when you look at Craig Kimbrel‘s numbers: 57 games finished and 42 saves. And, the Red Sox won 108 games.
According to the MiLB website and their farm system rankings, the Mariners need prospects. In fact, they have the worst farm system in all of baseball. And, since the White Sox are ranked third, there are a few prospects that could be spared for a proven reliever like Diaz.
The Mariners need everything. Most of their players are over 30 and many are not what they once were. To make things worse, many are extremely overpaid based on their production. Of their $157 million payroll, a third of it is tied up in Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez. Cano is on the payroll until 2023 and Hernandez has one more year. Remember, Cano was suspended for 80 games for a PED violation (like Welington Castillo) and Hernandez pitched like James Shields did in 2017.
Because of albatross contracts like Cano and Hernandez, Seattle needs to trade players of value and Diaz is one of the few on their roster. The team was above .500 in the first half, but fell to .477 in the second half. Granted, that was still better than the White Sox win percentage of .433, but with the Sox bullpen blew way too many games.
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After Joakim Soria and Nate Jones were no longer available to close games, the White Sox bullpen practically imploded. The Sox pitching staff had a combined 34 saves, but 16 of those were Soria’s and another 5 were Jones’s. Of the 100 losses the Sox had, 53 were credited to starting pitchers. That means that nearly half of them were credited to the bullpen.
Diaz is a young pitcher who hasn’t even entered into the arbitration portion of his MLB time. His skills out of the pen would add the consistency that the Sox lacked in 2019. Even if Jones is healthy and able to close games, Diaz would still be a welcome addition and could be had at an affordable price – probably a prospect or two.
All too often, the best pitchers are found in free agency or acquired by timely trades. Acquiring Diaz from the Mariners would be one timely trade that would make the rebuild move a bit faster.