On the eve of “Big Game” James’ debut in a White Sox uniform, I’m sitting and pondering what’s the next move that Rick Hahn will make to push this team over the top for a second World Series trophy in 11 years.
Here’s a short list that will clearly give us the edge in the AL Central…
Left handed power hitter, that can still hit
Year after year the White Sox have went out and signed aging left handed power hitters to extended contracts only to get little in return. The “Adams’ Bomb” is the best example of this as both Dunn and LaRoche were failures with nauseatingly bad contracts. Lucky for the White Sox, LaRoche is an ass and left $13 million on the table to help the team better itself.
Jay Bruce or Carlos Gonzalez seem to me the most likely candidates to take on that role as they are on two teams going nowhere fast, and both the Reds and Rockies would likely entertain trying to get Avisail Garcia’s career going with a lower level prospect or two in return.
Bruce would fit better for the White Sox financially with $7-$8 million left this year and a club option for only $13 million next season.
CARGO comes with a much heavier financial liability with roughly $12 million owed still this year, $20 million next season and oh yeah, Scott Boras is his agent.
My pick: Jay Bruce
One more solid arm for the pen
After being the best pen in baseball for the month of April, the Sox turned into one of the worst in May, and have settled down since the KC series. The obvious choice here is Andrew Miller from the Yankees, but Brian Cashman will be more diligent in his negotiations than the Padres were for Shields. The great thing about Miller is he’s under contract though 2018, but carries a hefty $9 million per year along with it. The Yankees have never shied away from eating part of a contract, but they will want something good in return. With Hahn making it clear that Tim Anderson and Carson Fulmer are off the table, not sure what interest the Yankees would have after that especially with other teams in the mix.
Another name is Anrodys Vizcaino from the Braves, but this seems more of a reach as he’s under control until 2020. He’s been dominating the last two seasons and would be a solid mainstay for the Sox bullpen; this would be a bigger win than Andrew Miller, but with all those control years probably carries a hefty price tag.
The final option and least likely since it’s a divisional foe is Fernando Abad from the Twins, that has been that exact opposite of his name. He currently has a 0.92 ERA and only has allowed 15 hits over 19.2 innings with no homers.
There are lots of teams that will be looking to move bullpen arms over the next few months, but these are the top picks that would have the biggest impact.
My Pick: Andrew Miller (although I’d prefer Vizcaino)
A shortstop, maybe?
We all knew Jimmy Rollins was old, and while I like Tyler “The Magician” Saladino as a future infielder for the White Sox, I’d rather have a solid veteran there for the remainders of the season. With Tim Anderson ready to take over the reigns in the next year or two Saladino is expendable, and might look good to the Angels in exchange for Yunel Escobar. Escobar brings experience and a .311 batting average, something the Sox could use right now. He handles the bat well and is an above average defender.
Another option would be the Reds’ Zach Cohart; perhaps a package deal sending both Bruce and Cohart to the Sox for Garcia, Saladino, and a few prospects would work. The Sox might be accused of using the Reds as a farm system as that would be three players in less than a year acquired by them. Still it makes a ton of sense.
My Pick: Toss Up – I could see either happening
This is me just being greedy at this point, as moving Mat Latos in the fifth spot with addition of Shields makes him a much more agreeable option than as a 3 or 4, however letting Rodon slide back to fifth spot to get some more seasoning against easier competition would be the ultimate rotation move.
Julio Teheran would be most team’s first choice as he’s settled in this season with an ERA currently at 2.92. He’s under control until 2019 with a very favorable contract and would really push the Sox rotation over the top for the next few years. In fact, if the Sox made this move you would not have to worry about adding a bullpen arm.
Another option would be Rich Hill from the Athletics as he’s been having an incredible season thus far at age 36. He doesn’t provide any long-term stability, but would be a nice addition this season without a big asking price. He’s also proven he can get American league hitters out, which would be an unknown with Teheren.
My pick: Rich Hill (again I would prefer Teheran, but my guess is other clubs have more to offer the Braves in regards to the future if they trade him)
So there it is, my thoughts on a few final pieces the White Sox need to make a push to the playoffs and World Series. A left-handed power hitter and another arm in the pen would be enough in my mind to take care of business and anything else is just gravy. Let’s go SOX!!!!