While looking at the 40-64 record heading into tonight’s game wouldn’t tell you anything positive about the Chicago White Sox, the club took the crown for the best moves at the trade deadline this season, even though the club failed to move right fielder Alex Rios.
The White Sox have had a tough year, scoring the second fewest runs in all of baseball. Injuries to veterans like Paul Konerko, John Danks, and Jake Peavy (prior to the trade with Boston) didn’t help the club this season, and the loss of A.J. Pierzynski to free agency and the lack of effectiveness from Tyler Flowers certainly didn’t help either.
The right thing to do, as the club sits 20 games out in the AL Central, was to sell off the parts and start over. The loss of Peavy’s contract ($14.5 million in 2014 with a player option for $15 million in 2015 if he reaches 400 IP in 2013-2014) is huge for Chicago’s ability to start over. With Paul Konerko ($13.5 million) and Gavin Floyd ($9.5 million) likely leaving via retirement and free agency, the White Sox will have quite a bit to work with, and, potentially, dealing the likes of Rios, Danks, and Alexei Ramirez this winter could truly allow new GM Rick Hahn to take the steps necessary to rebuild the mess that Kenny Williams left after his promotion to Executive Vice President.
Williams didn’t do any favors by loading the Pale Hose system with a bunch of free swinging, no contact athletes. Jared Mitchell, Courtney Hawkins, Trayce Thompson, and Keenyn Walker are all toolsy outfield prospects that rank near the top of the club’s prospect lists over the last few season, but they just aren’t having the success that the club needs them to have. Add in the Tim Anderson pick in this year’s MLB Draft, and it looks like Hahn is going to continue the trend by drafting more athletes that can’t hit a curveball.
However, today, we bask in the glory of what Hahn was able to accomplish. He stuck the remaining balance of Jake Peavy’s contract on Boston. While Chicago didn’t get any major prospects in the deal, Francellis Montas appears to have a live arm, Cleuluis Rondon could become a useful utility player, and Jeff Wendelken could be a solid bullpen arm. But, again, it wasn’t about the prospects, it was about the money, and the fact that the club DID receive Avisail Garcia from Boston, via Detroit, as part of the three-team deal makes the deal a winner for Chicago.
Garcia had a very successful cup of coffee in 2012 for Detroit, hitting .319 over 47 at-bats before hitting .455 in Detroit’s ALCS win over the New York Yankees. He has torn apart Triple-A this season, posting a .374/.410/.537 line in 33 games, and the 6’4″, 240 pound, 22-year-old outfielder should factor tremendously into the White Sox transition in acquiring Major League ready talent.
Garcia will likely take over an outfield corner next season, and it could be sooner if the club is able to pawn-off Rios and his contract on a contending team during the waiver trade period over the next month.
Chicago didn’t get Xander Bogaerts in the Jake Peavy trade, but they did get some young depth to help their awful farm system, while getting salary relief to guide a quick turnaround. With Chris Sale as the new, veteran anchor of the pitching staff, the club will continue to find parts via trade and free agency to become a nuisance in the AL Central again next season. While the draft didn’t seem to be a good indication of where the White Sox front office is sending the farm, this trade was definitely a win for Rick Hahn and Chicago White Sox fans.