2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Chicago White Sox

2021 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: Chicago White Sox

by July 10, 2021 0 comments

It’s incredible that the Chicago White Sox have played so well in 2021 considering all their injuries. They have four key components currently on the injured list. Eloy Jimenez should return around the end of July. Luis Robert is set to be back within six weeks. Nick Madrigal is out for the season. Yasmani Grandal just had surgery and should be healthy in six weeks. Rick Hahn, the White Sox general manager, is aggressive when it comes to trades. He has built the team up over the years to get to the position they are in now. Chicago will get huge additions back to the lineup when Jimenez and Robert return but chances are Hahn will likely trade for a few pieces to put the team in prime position as the playoffs approach.

Make sure to check out all of our other Trade Deadline Previews.

Current Position

Record: 51-35

Rank: First place in AL Central, 7.5 games ahead of Cleveland

Status: Buyers

In December of 2016, the White Sox decided they would tear down their team and begin a rebuild. They shipped out Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox and got back uber-prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech. Shortly thereafter, they sent Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals for Lucas Giolito and Dane Dunning (who they flipped for Lance Lynn this past offseason). The following summer they pilfered their crosstown rivals by giving up Jose Quintana in exchange for both Jimenez and Dylan Cease. The White Sox are now in a position to control their division for years to come. The fan base has bought into this likable, young squad and Hahn will almost assuredly reward that support with a few key additions to the current team.

Trade Candidates       

Eduardo Escobar, Third Baseman/Second Baseman, Arizona Diamondbacks

As soon as Madrigal tore his hamstring on June 9, rumors of the White Sox acquiring Escobar sprung up. It makes all the sense in the world. Escobar plays multiple positions. He’s hitting for power (which the White Sox need). He plays for the worst team in baseball that is looking to deal any veteran who can bring back young talent. Moreover, Escobar is on a manageable contract that expires this season. Apparently, the two teams have negotiated extensively on a possible deal. Escobar wouldn’t cost too much. Word is Arizona would like a minor league pitcher who has good control (perhaps AA lefty Konnor Pilkington, their third-round pick in the 2018 draft) and a minor league bat with upside (AA outfielder Micker Adolfo or rookie-level outfielder Benyamin Bailey).

Adam Frazier, Second Baseman, Pittsburgh Pirates

Frazier is another name that comes up prominently in connection to the White Sox. Frazier is having the best season of his career (.325/.396/.459) and is in his prime at 29 years of age. He is in the midst of a very affordable contract and is arbitration-eligible in 2022. The White Sox would fit in perfectly at the top of Chicago’s lineup. Realistic cost? It would start with one of the high school pitchers the White Sox have drafted early in the past two years (Jared Kelley, Matthew Thompson, or Andrew Dalquist). Additionally, Chicago would probably have to give up an intriguing lower-tier hitter. Frazier will probably be traded since Pittsburgh is looking to add young prospects but the guess is another contender will top the White Sox package.

Trevor Story, Shortstop, Colorado Rockies

Story is an interesting possibility because he’s a premier hitter, plays for a team that started to rebuild in the offseason, and is heading into free agency. Teams will not want to give up their top-tier prospects for a two-month rental but Story is tempting. He would make Chicago’s lineup lethal, especially when Jimenez and Robert return. The Rockies might ask for 2020 first-round pick Garrett Crochet. The problem from Chicago’s perspective is that scenario is that Crochet is a late-inning arm out of Chicago’s bullpen and they can’t afford to weaken the pen at this point. This would be a tough price for the White Sox to pay but if they are convinced he would tip their playoff chances in their favor, Story might be worth the cost.

Joey Gallo, Outfielder, Texas Rangers

The White Sox have been getting by with outfield fill-ins as they wait out Robert’s return. Andrew Vaughn’s ability to play as a decent left field has been a godsend. Gallo has been white-hot lately and the Rangers would seem to be in selling mode as they are in last place in the AL West. Gavin Sheets and Jake Burger have recently been brought up to the big club and hit well in small sample sizes. Either might be enough along with a throw-in young prospect to bring Gallo into the fold (he’s arbitration-eligible in 2022).

Kris Bryant, Third Baseman/Outfielder, Chicago Cubs

Bryant is a free agent at the end of this season but would command a return a la Story. The Cubs slugger was great in April and May has slumped in June and July, and just left a game earlier this week with a hamstring strain. But the former MVP can carry a club when he’s right. The White Sox would love to have him but after they fleeced the Cubbies in the Eloy/Cease for Quintana deal, the Northsiders might be leery to ship a stud to the Pale Hose.

Relief Pitching

Chicago’s starting pitching has been elite and they are fine at the end of the game with Liam Hendriks performing at an All-Star level. But the rest of the bullpen has been shaky at times. Typically, a strong contending team like the White Sox will trade a lower level prospect or perhaps a Triple-A player who has seen his prospect hype die-off in recent years (a la Blake Rutherford) to bolster their bullpen. Expect Chicago to swing a deal like this as the trade deadline approaches.

Backup Catcher

Grandal’s recent knee injury put the White Sox in a tough spot at the catching position. Zack Collins has been adequate, and actually was serving as the personal catcher for Giolito and Carlos Rodon. But he’s far from a plus defender and while he can hit a bit against right-handed pitching, he certainly shouldn’t be starting the vast majority of games. Chicago will look to trade for a catcher who can handle a pitching staff and not embarrass himself at the dish. The backstops at Triple-A – Seby Zavala and Yermin Mercedes – don’t check both those boxes.

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