The Chicago White Sox don’t need to make a big trade yet
By Chip Egan
Despite the rash of injuries that the Chicago White Sox have dealt with to open the season, the team has played some great baseball which has more than kept them afloat in the division. The White Sox have done well enough so far that the need to make a trade is not something they need to do immediately. At least not yet anyway.
The need to find more pitching is on the “to do” list for every team but the White Sox have gotten excellent starting and middle relief work. Even the loss of starters Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn can be weathered in the short term.
The ability to have guys produce when called upon has allowed the team to win its first two series of the season against Detroit and Seattle. Due to the shortened spring training, starting pitchers are going to need some time to get stretched out to go further than four or five innings in a game.
So far, the starting group of Giolito (10 day IL with abdominal tightness), Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, Vince Velasquez, and Dallas Keuchel has given the White Sox some very good outings to the point that none have recorded a loss and have a combined 24 strikeouts to 10 walks.
Cease and Keuchel have each gone five innings with the other three going four apiece. Keuchel’s three earned runs are two more than any other starter. However, his five strikeouts and zero walks in his debut were a positive compared to how poorly the second half of last season went for him.
Keuchel and Velasquez were big question marks going into the season and neither did themselves any favors with their spring training performances. Once the games counted, both have been admirable in their back end of the rotation starts.
The middle relief has also done its job in holding down hitters as a bridge to closer Liam Hendriks. Last year’s American League Reliever of the Year winner has a couple of saves already but he has not been the type of lockdown pitcher that he was last season as he has allowed four runs in three innings with a 9.0 earned run average.
The Chicago White Sox should wait to make the right trade if any at all in 2022.
While the need to look for upgrades is something all general managers do, the need for the White Sox to make a deal right this minute is not a necessity at this point. The team is playing well with contributions coming from a number of players which has led the team to take its first two series.
Second base and right field have been covered sufficiently. Josh Harrison has played well defensively at second while the revolving door of A.J. Pollock, Adam Engel, Gavin Sheets, and Andrew Vaughn has been just fine.
They only endured only one mishap when Pollock misplayed Javy Baez’s fly ball to bring in the winning run for the Tigers in their opening day victory.
The offense has covered any deficiencies the team has by averaging over five runs and nine hits a game thus far. That, combined with the pitching and defense, has contributed to helping the White Sox get out of the gates quickly.
The recent rumor of Andrew Vaughn being pursued by the Oakland A’s in exchange for pitcher Frankie Montas made for some interesting fodder for the media. On the day before the opener in Detroit, White Sox general manager didn’t address the Vaugh rumor specifically but did say top guys on the current roster who can help the club won’t be going anywhere.
"That’s part of the reason I laugh a little bit joking about the rumors of last night. We’re not looking to rob Peter to pay Paul to make this team better, ” Hahn said. “Guys that we view as important to helping this team win wouldn’t be the first ones out the door as we try to make this team better.”"
This is why, despite the injuries to guys like Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Garrett Crochet, and Yoan Moncada, there is no need for a knee-jerk reaction to make a quick deal that only serves as a band-aid to the problem.
The White Sox have the talent to get through the current injury situation and be atop the division when they get most of those players (Crochet is out for the year due to Tommy John surgery) healthy.
This is not to say the White Sox shouldn’t explore what the trade market has to offer. Hahn should listen to offers and look into the quality and feasibility of making a deal that would upgrade the ballclub.
The season isn’t even a month old and teams are still trying to figure out what they have. If the White Sox keep winning more games than they lose, they might be able to wait until the trade deadline to find guys who can be added for their push to the playoffs.