Coming off of the heels of a 78-84 finish in 2016 the Chicago White Sox need to realize that the current plan is broken. In 2005, then General Manager Kenny Williams struck lighting in a bottle with a talented young core group combined with some low risk acquisitions like Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, Carl Everett and Jermaine Dye.
Newsflash Kenny, the plan is not working! The White Sox have not seen the postseason since 2008, and have a roster with gaping holes at center-field, catcher, designated hitter, as well as the back-end of the starting rotation and nearly the entire bullpen.
With an abundance of gaping holes that can’t be adequately addressed through free-agency, it’s time for the White Sox to get on board with a rebuild while they still have some very valuable trade assets in-house.
Chris Sale is arguably one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball, and has one of the most team friendly deals in all of baseball for a player of his caliber. The 27-year-old southpaw is under contract for the 2017 season at $12 Million dollars with team options in 2018 and 2019 at $12.5 Million and $13.5 Million respectively.
A 27-year-old left-handed starting pitcher under team control for the next three seasons at a very reasonable price, with little-to-no starting pitching available via free-agency makes the White Sox chances of netting a handful of pieces for the future highly likely if they deal Sale.
The Boston Red Sox have been mentioned among other teams in talks regarding a Chris Sale trade, and definitely have the farm system to make a deal happen. The Yankees, Rangers, and Cubs are three other teams that would be possible landing spots for the lanky lefty.
Jose Quintana would also net a valuable return in a trade, given the scarce market for starting pitching in this years free agent class. The White Sox could also see a return, as well as some salary relief if they traded the likes of Todd Frazier, Adam Eaton, or Jose Abreu this winter. Brett Lawrie is projected to make around $5 Million this offseason, but becomes expendable if the White Sox acquire the likes of a Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox in a Chris Sale deal.
One move would give the White Sox four MLB Pipeline Top-100 prospects in the system minimally, and open the door to feel comfortable moving their other valuable trade pieces such as Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, and Todd Frazier to name a few.
Imagine the possibilities. Quintana to the Cubs who need another top-end starting pitcher netting the White Sox Ian Happ (21), or super-utility player Javier Baez. Or Todd Frazier to the Yankees who desperately need a power hitting third-baseman in exchange for James Kaprielian and Drew Finley.
It’s time for the White Sox to change course, liquidate their assets while they have the most value, and begin to rebuild a farm system that has been neglected for many years. The White Sox struggle mightily in attendance year after year, and are ahead of only the Oakland Athletics in Major League Baseball television ratings, so what does the front office have to lose at this point?