Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox is the reigning American League MVP. That is at least for a couple of more days. Last week, Major League Baseball announced the finalists for both the American and National League MVP for 2021 and it had some White Sox flavor to it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good flavor.
Rick Hahn has executed a fantastic rebuild since the year 2016 ended. They won the AL Central by 13 games, have a lineup and pitching staff filled with all-stars, and look like World Series contenders for at least the next half-decade. However, before that, mistakes were made.
The White Sox were (for better or worse) were trying to win when they made some terrible trades that look even worse now. These types of trades really don’t happen anymore as the White Sox have mostly done a good job lately but the somewhat recent past isn’t all that good.
They sent Fernando Tatis Jr. (as a prospect) to the San Diego Padres in exchange for James Shields. It was a trade that tried to get the 2016 White Sox a fifth starter and it failed miserably. Shields wasn’t that good and Tatis Jr. is now a complete superstar. He is one of the three nominees for National League MVP. He also has a very good chance to win it.
In 2021, Tatis slashed .282/.364/.611 for an OPS of .975. He hit 42 home runs, had 97 RBIs, and had 99 runs scored. He had a WAR of 6.6 as a result of those outstanding numbers. He also missed a few games due to a small injury mid-season so the RBI and runs scored totals would have made it over 100 had that not happened. It was an outstanding season for him.
The Chicago White Sox need to be just a little better when they trade prospects.
Another bad trade that they made came in 2014 when they sent Marcus Semien (and Chris Bassitt to make it worse) to the Oakland A’s for Jeff Samardzija. As you might remember, Samardzija was awful for the White Sox and now both Semien and Bassitt are amazing for the A’s. Semien, in particular, is nominated for the American League MVP.
For Semien this year, he slashed .265/.334/.538 for an OPS of .873. He hit 45 home runs and had 102 RBIs and 115 runs scored. He also had 15 stolen bases which kind of flies under the radar because that is always helpful. Semien will come in third behind Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. but he deserves this recognition nonetheless.
It is good to see two former White Sox prospects having so much success but you also have to wonder how the team would be now if they had those guys. A 93 win team might have been a 103 win team but it is what it is. The White Sox may try to bring Semien back which would be very fun. Either way, the Sox are doing a lot of good things right now and need to keep it up.