Rule changes and the White Sox: The single trade deadline

We’re wending our way through Major League Baseball’s new and proposed rule changes, starting on Monday with the three-batter minimum required of pitchers starting in 2020.

The next rule applies this year, and it involves reducing the summer trade activity to a single deadline.

The official-as-of-now wording:

• Trade Deadline: The trade deadline will remain July 31st; however, trade waivers will be eliminated. Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but players may not be traded after that date.

The move to a single July 31 deadline should force teams to be more aggressive around and after the All-Star break, and it will disrupt the timing of some potential White Sox deals, potentially for the better.

The White Sox have been fairly active in August trades, although in the way most teams wish they weren’t. They haven’t been buyers at the deadline since 2012, and they usually have a couple competent, market-rate veterans on expiring contracts to shed. They aren’t the kinds of players teams fight for, but they help fill a roster gap or two when injuries arise. The White Sox put these vets on waivers, these players usually clear waivers, and then they’re dealt for cash compensations or players that barely clear that bar.

While the Sox have made a lot of these deals, their impact is limited. Their only rosterable player from post-deadline deals is Leury Garcia, who came to the White Sox when the Sox traded Alex Rios to Texas in 2013. In the five years since, they’re batting 1-for-9:





  • No trades


The “1” is the Beckham trade, which netted Almonte. The White Sox got Almonte on a healthy and productive track in A-ball, then dealt him to Colorado for Tommy Kahnle. With the White Sox, Kahnle finally found a way to harness his 100-mph fastball, and the White Sox then sent him to the Yankees for Blake Rutherford. For his part, Almonte reached the majors and made a fine first impression last season, so that particular chain of transactions yielded an unusual amount of talent.

Getting value out of the remaining to-be-determined deals is an uphill battle. Forbes’ hit tool showed up in Winston-Salem in his age-21 season, but he’s going to need something else to define him as a legit prospect. Turner has a 1.91 ERA in Double-A, and a 5.80 ERA in Triple-A, but he’s got left-handedness in his favor, at least until the LOOGY rules set in. The three prospects acquired last season are scuffling in the lowest levels.

Before the Rios-for-Garcia trade, you have to go back to 2009 and the waiver claim of Rios to find the Sox’ previous August transaction of consequence. That’s about one every four years, which isn’t a great rate. The acquisition of Ryan Burr for international money in 2017 — still presumably legal under the new rules because Burr wasn’t on a 40-man roster — might turn out to have a greater impact than anything since Beckham-for-Almonte.

(Buster Olney says these minor-league deals might increase in frequency as a result of this change.)

That said, I will miss the headlines. Were August trades to be allowed this year, the Sox would have a number of candidates to deal. I started to list them, but it turned out to be just about everybody they acquired during the winter, save Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome. That’ll take some of the late-season intrigue out of the proceedings for a tanking team, and might interrupt what had been a natural way to open a roster spot for a prospect deserving of an audition.

When paired with the hard 28-man limit on September rosters coming in 2020, you might see more veterans go the way of Derek Holland, who was cut by the White Sox in September when there wasn’t anything for him in Chicago or in-season interest elsewhere.

From there, the question is whether that kind of waiver activity will be enough to sustain the contending teams who have post-deadline roster emergencies — and Olney wonders if clubs could coordinate with each other on waiver timing — or whether the lack of dependability will force more of the half-in contenders to make middling deals for the Gonzalez and Beckham types in late July.

If it’s the latter, the White Sox could just see their activity shoved up a few weeks. If teams pursue a traditional path toward July 31 and press their luck in August, the Sox will have at least one solid year of devising a strategy for whenever they actually return to buying instead of selling.

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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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I’ll miss dugout hug watch. 


Props to Trout.

Trooper Galactus

Over $400 million and worth every cent. The more teams lock up their players long term, the more it becomes apparent the White Sox missed their lone opportunity to add meaningfully to whatever core they’re building.


They found a way to not only fumble away a golden opportunity, but then watch as every other team changes keeps young talent away from the market. UNREAL!


Heard the Sox offered Trout only $1 million less than that plus they threw in a lifetime supply of fried trout so, as Kenny said, their offer was actually higher.


This really was the offseason from hell. Not only did the Sox utterly fail to upgrade their team for this season In the most complete way imaginable, but every even semi-exciting upcoming free agent we might have hoped for got locked up, like, almost immediately after they botched the Machado deal. It’s like the end of The Departed, only with Sox fans’ hopes for good baseball anytime in the next 7 years.


On a scale from 1 to 100, the offseason grade for our front office would be -10.


The part that is a little depressing for me is the Angles can go over 200 million more then the Sox could for a top tier player contract. Granted Trout is a very rare case but it just adds to how much the Sox feel outdated to the rest of the league.

Trooper Galactus

Want to be even more depressed? They doled out that money despite owing Albert Pujols $87 million for the next three years. Yes, the same guy who has produced 0.0 bWAR combined over the last three seasons. They’re also paying Justin Upton more over the next four years than the White Sox ever dished out for a player, just to rub salt in that wound.

lil jimmy

and yet not a winning team.

Trooper Galactus

Yeah, and unlike a certain organization, they’re doing everything they can to work past their fuck-ups and extend their window instead of just blowing it up. At this juncture, I don’t begrudge a team that’s actually trying to succeed.


*Spoiler Alert *


Wait till I tell you about the rat.


Trout’s a moron, we totally would’ve offered him 8/289 with incentives for $100m for the following two years provided he played all 162 games each year before.

Right Size Wrong Shape

He obviously just doesn’t like the weather here.


Anyone looking for a piggyback to Jim’s excellent synopsis of the new rules, give a listen to BA’s recent podcast.


I think they mentioned it on the podcast, but I would like the hard one deadline a lot more if it were say Aug 15. Give teams another dozen plus games to make the determination.

Josh Nelson

That was my suggestion. I think another two weeks would help teams solidify if they are in contention or not.


totally agree


This will have to wait until next year after the Red Sox or Yankees or Cubs or Dodgers complain about not getting the players they want.


Plus I don’t like the deadline being so close to the All-Star game; there’s usually some awkwardness. Either move the game up a couple weeks or move the deadline back.


I wish it were earlier. I don’t like mercs deciding championships and that is what a 6 week rental feels like to me.


Depositing this here…

Lorenzo Barcelo was still pitching in the Atlantic League last year.


Prefer it earlier too, maybe like June 1st. Late-deciding sellers makes for a distinct advantage for teams playing them the last two months.


If I was in the union, I would push for a hard June 15 trade deadline with no revocable waivers afterwards. That date would give players more certainty of their location. It also would require the teams actually trying to compete to plan ahead, signing useful AAAA players to stash at their affiliates in case of emergency.

Doing that could have a beneficial effect on minor-league salaries, at least at the AA and AAA levels.

Imagine the stocked AAA affiliates of the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Yankees. Veteran catchers and relievers in demand as insurance might be able to make six figures without seeing the majors.


I assume the post-season roster eligibility date remains unchanged? If so, wondering if some vets on minor league deals will get more August trade action.


Question: Will teams still be able to use Revocable Waivers after July 31? That will determine if coordinate waiving is even feasible (though I would have to assume that type of coordination is illegal).

Side question: Can they use revocable waivers before 7/31? You only hear about them after the first trade deadline


Sox deserve a seat at the table for Abreu extension talks. They can have nice things that are past their prime but good in the clubhouse.


I really believe 1) He has a good year and they offer him a QO, which he accepts, or 2) He has a poor year and they let him go or give him the Konerko 2014 contract.

Trooper Galactus

Konerko got that contract after a decade as the face of the franchise and a World Series victory. Also note that after said World Series the White Sox underbid the field to retain him and he stayed out of loyalty. For all their crowing about loyalty to their players and staff, when it comes to money they are absolutely not particularly loyal.


Sarcasm aside I’d be shocked if we didn’t resign him based on how bad the market has been for older UFA’s in general, let alone 1B/DH types. Nelson Cruz had a pretty good year and didn’t break the bank.

And yet, I could still see the White Sox trying to get him at a discount compared to other offers.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Yoan, make the sad puppy dog face!


Now Bregman- 6/100


Don’t know what what roster changes will need to be made (or not made), and we all have discussed the front office and our hopes for change there, but I’ve seen enough of Ricky Renteria, his coaches, and IMO Don Cooper. All are part of these year-after-year losing records….changing players is often compared to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic….and we all have hopes that the young players on the W Sox will continue to develop and that the prospects will emerge when they’re ready. But I see no evidence that this manager and his coaches can lead a major league team to a relevant win number.

Trooper Galactus

I think the primary problem is getting better players and getting better people responsible for acquiring said better players. The coaching staff, bad as it seems to be overall, is honestly the last on my list of priorities right now.