White Sox tidy roster as World Series nears end

Danny Farquhar could be back, but the Angels removed Kevan Smith from any White Sox plans

The Boston Red Sox are one win away from officially christening the offseason after their wild 9-6 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4.

The Chicago White Sox are one of the other 28 teams biding their time until the wheeling, dealing and retaining can begin, and they spent some time tidying up their roster in anticipation.

On their side, they outrighted Danny Farquhar, Ryan LaMarre and Rob Scahill to Charlotte, removing them from the 40-man roster and making all three minor-league free agents after the season. The press release includes a quote from Rick Hahn saying the club plans to stay in touch with these players and representatives, and I’m guessing that’s included as a nod to Farquhar in particular.

The White Sox also tried to sneak Kevan Smith through waivers, but he ended up getting claimed by the Angels. The discussion here on Friday centered on Smith being the one decent framer among the three catchers the White Sox carried. While I’m sympathetic to his case, it seems like the arguments for the sustainability of any of the Sox’ three catchers hit a dead end pretty quickly.

  • Smith: The best receiver, but enters his age-31 season as a BABIP-based hitter with a surgically repaired ankle who can’t throw out runners.
  • Omar Narvaez: The team’s best hitter and the youngest catcher of the three by far, but he forfeits most of his offensive gains with bad blocking and framing.
  • Welington Castillo: The best track record of the three, but also the oldest, and while the blood-doping suspension renders his numbers a small sample, the regression of his receiving has a history.

Running Narvaez out there as a starter while jettisoning Smith is very on-brand for the White Sox in that it’s the worst move for the pitching staff, but it’s also defensible. If any of these guys are going to mean anything to the White Sox two years from now, it’s because Narvaez made meaningful gains behind the plate as a defender. I wouldn’t call it likely, but it’s also a shorter to-do list than Smith or Castillo. Narvaez also has age on his side, at least relative to the others.

It remains to be seen what the Angels have in store for Smith, but even if Smith cleared waivers, I expected the Sox to try trading him in order to break a good soldier free from the Charlotte-to-Chicago cycle. Seby Zavala will effectively take Smith’s spot on the 40-man next month, and that’s the other half of the White Sox’ best in-house hopes. Smith might be the most playable in the present, but with a number of tough 40-man decisions coming — Zach Thompson is pitching himself into consideration — these catchers as a group aren’t talented enough to command one-tenth of the active roster.

Besides, my guess is the next contributing White Sox catcher will come from outside the organization. Maybe it’s worthwhile to emphasize Smith’s framing advantage to make the area front of mind when the Sox go shopping, but that’s about as far as the future value goes.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Patrick Nolan

For the record, I think Castillo is the guy that should have been jettisoned. I would have tried to trade him, eating money if necessary. If it would have been impossible to trade him, that would then have told us all we need to know about any potential regrets with cutting bait. He was an interesting idea that seemed logical at the time, but he seems like the least useful of the three, particularly given that it doesn’t look like any bounce back in the offense he provides in 2019 will be for a competitive team. Just do what’s best for the young pitchers.

karkovice squad

Just do what’s best for the young pitchers.

I believe that’s a rough translation of “Yasmani Grandal.”

Greg Nix

Yeah, still plenty of time to trade Castillo if they bring fin another catcher. I have my heart set on Grandal, but it seems like too savvy a move for this organization. They’ll probably trade for Chris Iannetta or sign some shit. 

lil jimmy

Castillo was a surprise. The whole Flowers, Alex Avila thing was a surprise. As far as catching goes, I can’t even guess what they might do. The idea of them trading half the farm for Realmuto with Collins and Zavala close to Chicago seems unrealistic to me.
The outfield is the real mess, then starting pitching.


Grandal having a tough postseason with the glove. Don’t know how not being able to catch or throw helps the young pitchers all that much

Eagle Bones

If teams are really dumb enough to believe this narrative then that is awesome because it means hell cost less.

Greg Nix

Dang, you’re right, four bad innings definitely outweighs 6 years of being a top-3 catcher in baseball. I feel dumb. 


I don’t think we’d have trouble trading Castillo. He’s an averagish catcher and teams like the Angels, Rays, Dbacks, Nationals and Brewers could use an upraise at catcher. 

Trooper Galactus

The Angels literally just acquired a better catcher for free, remember?


Outside of organization: Lots of chit-chat on packaging up prospects for Realmuto. The guy can hit, have no knowledge on his defensive skills. Why not? Not many true starting catchers available from other ML rosters.

Own system: Narvaez OK by me until Collins, Zavala, et al arrive (if they ever do). I’m not holding my breath. Castillo gone by summer deadline?

Down the road: I’ve been touting using their upcoming #1 pick (3rd) for either Rutschman or Longeliers.

Sox have so many positions to address, but nailing down the catching position seems like a priority.

Eagle Bones

I dont think I’d wanna give up what it would cost to get realmuto.


at some point, Sox will need to start adding proven MLB players. prospects won’t fill every need……


At some point yes, at this point no.  The rebuild needs to get some positive momentum then use “leftover” prospects to plug holes. Realmuto, for the ransom demanded, is futile.

karkovice squad

I’d only have a few restrictions on trades: no 1-year rentals, retain some depth in the farm, and a short list of untradeable players.

Realmuto’s got multiple arb years left. His overall cost will probably be of a muchness with Grandal’s. He’s a couple years younger than Grandal, tho.

So I’d pay a decent ransom for him. At least enough of one to force a 2019 contender to pay a premium.

Greg Nix

I don’t think Realmuto’s better than Grandal. He is better than Wilson Ramos, but I’d rather pay Ramos $30 mil than trade Dunning plus whoever for Realmuto. 

karkovice squad

Of a muchness means comparable.

With no other moves on the books, there isn’t a reason to prefer spending cash or trading the equivalent value in prospects for either of them. Grandal will probably have draft pick compensation attached, for that matter.

Let’s also be realistic about who’s in the farm. Almost all of the Sox pitching prospects have notable injury histories. And behind Madrigal in the rankings are a lot of guys who might turn out to be league average a few years from now.

Ramos is an entirely different category. And $30m is a prohibitively big commitment for what he offers at this point, with age and injury history. Especially with catcher receiving seeming to be a perishable skill.


Seby Zavala should be a great addition to the roster. They have nothing to worry about.


Agreed, if Castillo isn’t traded this offseason, then he should be jettisoned for whatever we can get at the trade deadline.  Then it should be Seby time. 

lil jimmy

” jettisoned for whatever we can get at the trade deadline.”
If he’s not suspended at the time.

Trooper Galactus

Jettisoned for nothing to move on from his sad saga would be a good trade in my book.

As Cirensica

If he is suspended, he will be jettisoned in a DIY style. Alright.


Relax why go out and over spend because you’re upset. Imagine having the rookie of the year, Avi back to 2017 stats and Abreu flirting with the triple crown. Yoan having a break out year. Cease showing up and showing out. The young arms with run support. Rondon at 3rd and one of the young outfielder in center. If they jell you will have a contender for years.