The bullpen is now lights out. It might be a top-five bullpen, if not top three in the league. The rotation is still a critical point that needs addressing, however. Along with the failure of Operation Parrot in Edwin Encarnación, the designated hitter is a major role in the lineup that isn’t filled yet.
Boston helped the White Sox start the rebuild, why can’t they help them finish it too? J.D. Martinez is the answer at DH. There were rumors circulating the last offseason that the Red Sox were looking to shed some payroll but they let go of Mookie Betts instead. Many fans loved the idea of bringing in Martinez to a hitter-friendly park like Guaranteed Rate Field where he is basically guaranteed 40+ home runs a year. He did struggle in 2020 but last season was odd and really should not be taken into consideration as much. Trading for Martinez definitely fixes the lack of production out of DH last season.
As for Eduardo Rodríguez, he is a solid lefty who is showing signs of progression. He posted a respectable 3.85 ERA in 121 innings his rookie year in 2015 but took a step backward with a 4.71 in 107 innings. Every year since his ERA has gone down. His best year so far was in 2019 when he pitched about 80 more innings than he averaged at the time at 203 innings with a 3.81 ERA and a WAR of 3.7.
Rodríguez sat out 2020, unfortunately, due to a coronavirus-related heart condition. Once everyday life returns back to normal and the MLB plays 162 games again, the White Sox will have a momentum-building young southpaw who fits nicely in the back end of the rotation or even in a long-relief role in the playoffs.
Unfortunately, 40+ home runs and a young, solid pitcher on an upwards progression comes with a price. And that price, according to MLB The Show, is Michael Kopech, Jimmy Lambert, and Alec Hansen. Yes, I tried to get Chris Sale back but the A.I. would not accept any offered trade due to the game mode’s max of three players each team is allowed to trade and nothing else. With some cash, a draft pick, or another prospect or two, I’m switching southpaws in this deal.
This trade helps fix what the Red Sox need the most, which is pitching. They are trading away their second-best pitcher but Kopech probably fits into that role upon arrival, to be honest. This is a tough blow to the White Sox’s farm and probably puts them into the same situation the Red Sox are in now in terms of pitching depth specifically.
Along with the fan’s attachment and investment in Kopech, this trade is not a realistic one. With that said, n a win-now mode, you have to do what you have to do to win. Alone this trade seems like a giant question mark, but only works if the next one is made too.