The Rest Of The Rebuild: An Idea Of What To Expect
The 2016 Winter Meetings are over. The White Sox rebuild is not.
Although Rick Hahn was the most popular boy in school this week due to him kicking off the White Sox rebuild by shipping out Chris Sale and Adam Eaton to completely revamp the White Sox farm system, there's still a long way to go in this rebuild.
Now that the process has been started, there's simply no point in half-assing it from here on out, and frankly, not completely tearing it all down would be taking a step backward. Having said that, there's no immediate rush to get everything done.
While the 30-hour span that saw the White Sox trading both Sale and Eaton back-to-back felt like you were mainlining dopamine directly into your cerebral cortex, it's not an accurate reflection of how this process is going to work.
There will be more trades made before spring training, but they may not come this week. They may not come next week. Hell, they might not come until we turn the calendar over to 2017.
But they're going to come.
How many will come, I don't know. While I still think the White Sox plan to trade Jose Quintana this winter, they don't have to. If the offers aren't out there that they like they could go into 2017 with Jose Quintana on top of the rotation and then revisit his value come the trade deadline. If they don't like that, Quintana will still have three seasons of affordable control remaining next winter, so he'd still have a lot of value on the market. This approach obviously comes with risks, and possibly some rewards as well.
The risk obviously is that, even if the White Sox have had tremendous luck with their pitchers over the years, pitchers are still fragile commodities. They break rather consistently. Were that to happen to Quintana it would crater his value and all of a sudden you're feeling like the world's biggest jackass for not moving him before. On the other hand, if Quintana is still Quintana, maybe teams seeing him do it as the No. 1 in a rotation raises his worth on the market, because no matter what the metrics say, the perception across the league is still that Chris Sale is head-and-shoulders above Quintana.
Anyway, I'm going a bit further off the path than I had planned to at this point. The purpose of this post is to try and imagine a realistic path forward from this point on. I am approaching this in a scenario in which Rick Hahn trades all the tradeable assets before spring training.
Quintana, Jose Abreu, David Robertson, Todd Frazier and Melky Cabrera are all leaving in this exercise. I'd just like to give everyone an idea of what kind of assets the Sox can get in return for these players. I'm not a prospect expert, nor do I know how much teams truly value particular prospects -- an organizations rankings of its players might be different than the prospect rankings readily available to us. So read this with those caveats.
Having said all that, I think this is all realistic enough, so let's get started with our next move.
TRADE DAVID ROBERTSON TO THE WASHINGTON NATIONALS FOR C PEDRO SEVERINO AND OF ANDREW STEVENSON
We can't know for sure what the closer market is going to look like right now, but it should become a lot clearer, and I have the sneaking suspicion that by the time the dust settles it will once again be the Nationals finding themselves on the wrong end. Considering all the ground work the Nats have already done with the White Sox, it would only make sense to approach them about Robertson, and word is they've already done that anyway.
In my mind, this is easy. The White Sox have a lot of young pitchers now, and those hurlers could use a good defensive catcher to work and grow with. That's where Pedro Severino comes in. Severino is never going to be a hitting catcher, but he's very well-developed behind the plate already, and is an excellent framer as well as game-caller. He's the perfect fit of a catcher to grow with your staff.
Stevenson is the higher-rated prospect, but he's not someone you'd consider a top prospect. With Adam Eaton now in the fold, and Victor Robles coming, the Nats may be willing to part with Stevenson, who was a teammate of Alex Bregman's at LSU. He was a better hitter than Bregman in college too, though Stevenson's real value lies in his speed and defense. In a way he reminds me of a very young version of the outfielder you just gave up: Adam Eaton.
Though he's not likely to be as good as Eaton, he just brings a lot of the same skills to the table, but with a lower ceiling.
Now that Robertson is out of the way, we move on to our next deal. The last blockbuster.
TRADE JOSE QUINTANA TO THE COLORADO ROCKIES FOR SS/2B BRENDAN ROGERS, OF RAIMEL TAPIA AND LHP KYLE FREELAND
I don't think Colorado wants to part with Brendan Rogers, but for Jose Quintana, with the number of other suitors, I think we can get them to pay up. We've seen Colorado do that thing this winter where it adds more offense to a team that really doesn't need any more offense. They've landed Ian Desmond, and they're still looking into Mark Trumbo. Now, I'm guessing that they hope to turn Charlie Blackmon or maybe even Carlos Gonzalez into a pitcher after it's all said and done, and they might, but neither of them are getting back a pitcher of Quintana's caliber.
And Colorado needs pitching. A pitcher like Quintana might just be the kind of guy Colorado wants at the top of its rotation, as they do have some young fireballers in the pipe to put behind him.
Rogers is the prize here. He's the No. 6 prospect in baseball, and he is pretty similar to Yoan Moncada in what he brings to the table, though he's not a pinch-hitter. He probably has more power than Moncada too, and as people are wont to do when it comes to Colorado middle infielders, Rogers has drawn Troy Tulowitzki comparisons.
Whether or not that's realistic, or if he can stick at shortstop, I don't know, but the offensive ceiling is high.
After Rogers there's Tapia, who is the No. 71 prospect. He's a toolsy outfielder! Scouting reports all indicate that he's going to be able to hit, but his average will depend on whether or not he can learn to be a bit more patient. Either way, he has a nice swing, good speed, and plays perfectly acceptable defense.
Finally there's Freeland. He'd be a rare return for the White Sox this winter because he's not just a pitcher, but one who throws with his left hand. He doesn't have top velocity, but throws in the low to mid-90s, but with that fastball comes strong command and a good slider to go with it. He also has a curve and a change that still need work, but project to all be usable pitches one day.
And that's your package for Quintana. Some believe we could get four or five players in return for him, and that may be true, but I'm sacrificing quantity a bit for quality here. I think that the packages you've received from the Sale, Eaton and Robertson trades allow you to do so at this point.
TRADE JOSE ABREU TO THE NEW YORK YANKEES FOR SS/2B JORGE MATEO, OF BILLY MCKINNEY AND RHP ALBERT ABREU
This trade allows the Yankees to address an iffy situation at first base without giving up guys like Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres, whom they covet. Jorge Mateo is still a hefty price, though, as he's the No. 18 prospect in baseball. Mateo has a lot of useful tools, and should prove to be a capable hitter -- though maybe not with a lot of power -- but the one thing he has that truly stands out is his speed.
He is ridiculously fast. Scouts have clocked him from the right side of the plate to first base in less than four seconds. He's also shown intelligence on the basepaths. If he can develop more patience at the plate and develop better on-base skills, he could become a real weapon in an offense.
McKinney is a name you may be familiar with. He was originally with Oakland but went to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija trade, and then wound up in New York as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade. His star has faded a bit, but his swing and approach are still there, and it's possible that last season was just a step backward before he gets things back in order. He's worth taking a flier on in my opinion.
Finally there's Abreu. Why not trade one Abreu for another? Albert Abreu is a lot like the pitchers the Sox have already acquired in that he has a big fastball -- upper 90s, occasionally touches 100 -- but he still needs work on his command and control. He's a guy with potential to be a starter one day, but could just as easily develop into a high-leverage reliever.
TRADE MELKY CABRERA TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS FOR 1B CHRIS SHAW
I honestly don't know if the Giants would want to do this, but while trying to figure out the market for Melky -- and there really isn't one that's obvious -- the Giants just seemed like the most logical landing spot. They have a platoon they say they're happy with in left field, but I don't think they'd mind an upgrade if the price is right.
If I'm the White Sox I offer to eat some of Melky's salary and hope to get a better prospect. I've chosen Chris Shaw. Shaw is a left-handed first baseman that has tremendous raw power, but he can't run to save his life.
He's like a lefty Paul Konerko!
For real, though, we won't get much for Melky, at least not compared to what we're getting for everybody else. I think a prospect like Shaw is a realistic ask. He's not a blue-chip, but there's enough there to make it worth it.
TRADE TODD FRAZIER TO THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS FOR 2B WILLIE CALHOUN
This is another deal that will depend on what happens in free agency. If Los Angeles decides it wants to spend money on Kenley Jansen rather than Justin Turner, it's suddenly in the market for a third baseman, and Todd Frazier makes a lot of sense. There's no long-term commitment, and he'll give you most of the offensive production that Turner was able to at a much cheaper price.
The prospect I ask for in return is Willie Calhoun. He's listed as a second baseman, though I have no idea where he ends up, nor do I really care. It's not his glove I'm interested in, it's his bat. He has some developing still to do, but he's only 22, and there's a ceiling there that he can reach. If he does he'll be a useful player to have in your lineup, and possibly one with positional versatility.
There. Those are the types of trades I'd make. I considered moving Nate Jones as well, but I don't really know what kind of value he would have, or what his market would be at this point, so I just took the easy way out of "we can trade him in July after he builds value as an actual closer for three months."
If these trades are all made, here's a guess as to what your 2017 Opening Day roster would look like (though without any possible free agent signings, which I'd also expect to see some of).
C: Pedro Severino
1B: Matt Davidson
2B: Brett Lawrie
3B: Tyler Saladino
SS: Tim Anderson
LF: Rymer Liriano
CF: Charlie Tilson
RF: Jason Coats
DH: Avisail Garcia
C: Omar Narvaez
IF: Carlos Sanchez
OF: Leury Garcia
OF: Jacob May
SP: Carlos Rodon
SP: Miguel Gonzalez
SP: James Shields
SP: Carson Fulmer
SP: Lucas Giolito (I'd guess there's a FA starter in one of these two spots)
RP: Juan Minaya
RP: Dylan Covey
RP: Dan Jennings
RP: Jake Petricka
RP: Zach Putnam
RP: Michael Ynoa
CP: Nate Jones
Oh hell yeah that's 100 losses and a No. 1 pick right there.