Bolstered by last year's trade deadline haul, Chicago White Sox GM Chris Getz is poised to further stock the farm system by leveraging ace Dylan Cease's trade value.
Reports from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggest the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams interested in acquiring the White Sox right-hander. While Baltimore boasts a well-regarded prospect system, including top talents like Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg, acquiring Cease could create logjams for other young players like Joey Ortiz and Connor Norby seeking big-league opportunities.
Based on projections and expert opinions, the Chicago White Sox face the possibility of another tough season, potentially finishing near the bottom of the American League standings. The trade of Cease, whenever it materializes, could further solidify this outlook. The recent FanGraphs "ZiPS" projections have Chicago winning 65–70 games in 2024 and that is with Cease in the rotation.
However, amidst this grim outlook, a glimmer of hope lies in the team's evolving farm system. With top prospects like Edgar Quero, Jake Eder and Colson Montgomery waiting in the wings, many are making a statement: The White Sox need to let prospects play in 2024.
The AL Central is in a period of transition
The 2024 AL Central race could be wide open, presenting a golden opportunity for the Chicago White Sox to shape their future. While the division was largely quiet this past season (save for the rebuilding Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals), several teams are now in flux, creating space for a new contender to emerge.
The White Sox brass has to be excited about the upside of Colson Montgomery and Bryan Ramos. In 2023, both young stars showed flashes of brilliance at Double-A Birmingham.
Montgomery, the highly-touted shortstop prospect, put up impressive numbers despite a mid-season back injury. He slashed .277/.363/.467 with 12 home runs in 79 games and took home AFL All-Star Game MVP honors. As Getz said during the offseason, “He'll certainly let us know when he's ready”. Seems like with the departure of Tim Anderson, skipping Triple-A Charlotte could be a possibility.
Ramos, meanwhile, continued his ascent through the White Sox system with a dominant display. The Cuban slugger slashed .271/.369/.457 with 14 homers in 77 games, showcasing his advanced ability to barrel up the ball well to show off some impressive raw power.
Solidifying their starting rotation remains the Chicago White Sox's top priority heading into 2024, and while recent acquisitions of lefties Ky Bush and Jake Eder possess exciting potential, their command inconsistencies raise questions about their immediate big-league readiness.
The decision to prioritize the future won't be without its risks. A young, inexperienced team might face growing pains, and contending for a playoff spot in 2024 might not be a realistic goal. But for the White Sox, the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term uncertainties.
The potential reliance on young, developing players in 2024 might not translate into immediate success, but it could offer a far more compelling storyline than the team's underwhelming second half of 2023. While seasoned veterans provided stability in the past, the injection of fresh talent, eager to prove themselves, could spark a new energy and competitive fire within the organization