Chicago White Sox: Is now the time to trade Michael Kopech?

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers on March 10, 2020 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona. This was Kopech"u2019s first game back after surgery. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 10: Michael Kopech #34 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Texas Rangers on March 10, 2020 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona. This was Kopech"u2019s first game back after surgery. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images) /
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The window of opportunity for the Chicago White Sox to win a World Series is wide open right now but the nature of the game tells you that things can change very quickly. With that in mind, to maximize the opportunity in front of them, would it be a good idea to trade pitcher Michael Kopech?

As of right now, Kopech is penciled in as a starter for a rotation looking to fill the void left by Carlos Rodon when he signed with the San Francisco Giants. Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, and Dallas Keuchel are the top four pitchers with Kopech slated for the fifth slot. Reynaldo Lopez and Vince Velasquez could find themselves in the mix as well.

Keuchel is coming off a difficult season which saw him post career-highs in earned run average (5.28), earned runs (95), runs (105), walks (59), and home runs (25). On the plus side, he did win his fifth Gold Glove. Nonetheless, it couldn’t make up for a year which left more questions than answers as to his reliability in a rotation on a World Series contender.

Kopech has some questions of his own he has to answer based on his track record over the last few years. After undergoing Tommy John surgery that made him miss the 2019 season, Kopech opted out of the 2020 campaign, then returned last year and tossed 69.1 innings while recording a 3.50 ERA and 105 strikeouts.

The Chicago White Sox needed to add something and Michael Kopech could help.

Although credited with the only victory in the playoffs against the Houston Astros, Kopech was lit up for six runs on seven hits over three innings of work.

Since coming over to the White Sox in the 2016 deal with the Boston Red Sox for Chris Sale, Kopech has thrown a total of just 83.2 innings in the big leagues. Being called upon to make a major contribution as a starter and contribute 20 or more stars will be a big task for the 25-year-old, especially coming out of the 99-day lockout that postponed the start of spring training.

Kopech’s age and talent make him an extremely desired commodity which is why it might not be a bad idea for the White Sox to entertain offers for him that could fill immediate needs for a team looking to win the World Series.

The White Sox do not have a prospect listed in the top-100, thus landing a top-tier player in a trade may call for adding a player like Kopech in a deal.

The uncertainty over whether or not Keuchel can rebound to his form of several years ago combined with what Kopech will be able to provide in the rotation makes the need for obtaining a proven starter important.

While nothing is guaranteed, landing a starter with a resume of producing can only help to bolster the White Sox’s chances of getting where they want to go.

The idea of making a move with the fire sale happy Oakland A’s to land either Sean Manaea or Frankie Montas could be the type of deal that strengthens the White Sox rotation.

The A’s might be looking for a haul of prospects but a trade involving Kopech might lessen what the White Sox would have to add.

General manager Rick Hahn made it known that the goal is to win right now at all costs. Hahn told reporters: 

"“I don’t think any of us would be doing our jobs properly-and by that, I mean the front office, players, coaches-if our aspirations weren’t to win a championship, and feeling we need to do everything in our power to win the World Series in 2022.”"

If Hahn is serious about doing “everything in our power”, then making difficult decisions to bolster the ballclub will have to be on the table. One of those decisions could involve moving a player whose future is bright but for the White Sox, the future is now.

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