White Sox fans have a natural tendency to filter current events through past disasters, and it’d be foolish if they didn’t. The White Sox tend to repeat mistakes and get mistake-like results even from moves that shouldn’t have been that bad.
You know the saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me multiple times a winter over the course of a decade, I’m already drunk. Punch me as hard as you can, I dare you.
So when the news broke late Monday that the White Sox traded for Lance Lynn — a top-10 American League starter who adds a third 2020 Cy Young finisher to the White Sox rotation — it wasn’t met with universal applause, because fans have seen a trade for a rental starter spectacularly explode in their faces before.
I think most people would agree that if you stack the Lynn trade against the Jeff Samardzija deal, the White Sox have superior timing in acquiring a better arm. Still, when you’re relying on a single year from a pitcher to convert a deal, it’s not the easiest plane to land.
If I were to liken Lynn to a previous trade, I’d say it’s spiritually closer to the Todd Frazier deal. The Sox sent Trayce Thompson, Micah Johnson and Frankie Montas to the Dodgers in order to complete a three-team deal with the Reds. Thompson had a fun September and felt like the biggest immediate loss, but back problems prevented him from any encore elsewhere. Montas was the one who capitalized on his potential, albeit three years, two organizations and one PED suspension later.
Montas’ success didn’t diminish the logic of the trade one bit. Frazier gave the White Sox a high floor with All-Star potential at third base for a reasonable dollar value ($8.25M in his second arb year), and while Frazier ended up contributing the least impressive 40-homer season to the White Sox’s record books, he brought a couple things to the table at a position of need, so the trade was fine.
The White Sox just never followed it up with other decisive additions that seemed necessary in real time. From Brett Lawrie through Mat Latos, the rest of the offseason was one patch after another, and all of them gave way.
Lynn gives the White Sox a No. 2 starter for $8 million in a market where an equivalent talent would cost more than double. His salary is less than the two the White Sox just shed, Nomar Mazara and Carlos Rodón. While trading Dunning for Lynn feels like a little risky in terms of depth, a credible White Sox rotation would not have been counting on Dunning to contribute meaningfully for 2020, because nobody quite knows how he’ll hold up in homer-friendly locales over a six-month season.
This is a very good move if the White Sox add a right fielder, a DH and a less impressive starter to make Michael Kopech unnecessary for the start of the season, because maximizing 2021 is a worthy goal, especially if the CBA poses the threat of a labor stoppage afterward. The White Sox just need to maximize 2021 with the rest of their moves.
Lynn represents a great start toward that end, but I’m invoking the Frazier filter to note the White Sox have stopped short after similar sweeping gestures. Lynn could just be a good solution for the price at a position of need, and Tony La Russa just happens to be a big fan …
… so the move is to be judged as a standalone transaction, and any subsequent on-paper upgrades are going to have to come as cheap. Given how dealing Dunning feels close to cutting bone, the White Sox need to turn to free agency with intent for the heaviest lifting from here on out.
(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)
How concerned should I be that Texas looks like the best (only?) trade partner that Rick has at the moment?
Two different GMs on the Texas side for each deal. Wouldn’t read too heavily into it.
They’re also one of relatively few teams not trying to compete.
Yup! Gotta do more, go all the way, something Hahn has never done in any winter. So there is no benefit of the doubt. Much like the Bulls right now, if this move was done by a new FO, I think there is a lot more praise for it… but it’s the same old half-measured FO so there is tepid approval at best. If this is the biggest move of the offseason, that would be very disappointing.
The hope is this is the first of two or three moves that move the Sox into the Rays/Yankees tier in the AL. But history says, it won’t be.
Once I took the time to really think through the deal, I liked it a lot more than I did initially.
Lynn fits what this team needs in more ways than one. Even if they don’t win the World Series in 2021, it can be a good deal if Lynn provides enough innings to keep a very young bullpen from flaming out, and gives the Sox the option to slow-play the young starters to open the season. Those things can set up success in 2022 and beyond.
Of course, another veteran SP would help even more on that regard.
The embed code from twitter apparently hates my browser
Dumpster diving for bounce back candidates, the Jerry Reinsdorf way.
This really surprises me. If healthy and if not being an a-hole he’s actually just what they need.
I agree. He had a bad year last year, he was a big part of the Nats’ World Series winning team. Hitting 8th, he could be really valuable to the Sox.
As long as 2020 was a one off. Now go get the rest of the pieces.
He was in my offseason plan for that reason. Other than between the ears, he makes a lot of sense for this roster.
“the money will be spent” my ass.
You mean you aren’t pumped for a guy that had negative f/war last year? Rick Hahn is so good at evaluating aging veterans what could possibly go wrong.
And Christian Yelich had a 0.2 WAR last year. Eaton’s track record has been pretty good up to last year. He had a .792 OPS in 2019. Countless players had very bad years last year.
What does Christian Yelich have to do with anything? He isn’t one of the options on the table. Yelich having a down year isn’t a reason to sign Eaton. Yelich may bounce back and Eaton may continue to suck, The reality is Jerry doesn’t want to spend money on a sure bet like Springer so once again we are dumpster diving.
We know Rick Hahn struggles to evaluate aging veteran talent. Edwin and Cishek were the two latest examples of his inability to source talent from the bottom tier of free agency.
You brought up his fWar last year. He was very productive from 2014-2019. I’m just saying that last year was a down year for so many players because of the weirdness of the season. Having a guy who OPSd at least .790 for 5 consecutive years hitting 8th in the lineup is not bad at all.
I hear you, Roke, but OPSd at least .790 in 5 straight seasons is a lot worse in context: his OPS has declined for four straight years and he’s hardly been on the field. His only full season was the 2019 .790 season, but he was only worth 1.5 WAR.
*If* he replicates the 2019, sure, that’s an upgrade over Mazara, but even a 2019 Eaton is an uninspiring solution for a team that just solved its only other major problem with $8m.
last season was a small sample size and the Sox need left handed bats.
if the Sox are done after this move, yeah, you are on to something, but I want another OF added for depth and DH at bats. There are plenty of good ones available.
Eddie Rosario is at the top of my list.
Narrator: They stopped short
1. This is not aiming nearly high enough.
2. Ugh hes such a douche, I really dont want to have to root for him again. I sure hope they checked with abreu and others to make sure this wouldn’t rock the boat in the clubhouse.
I hate this. This is s Brett Lawrie, half-measure move
I can’t wait to see who will be in RF in 2022!
Horrible signing. I rather we have Mazara.
Hey Jim, How does Eaton’s slash line compare with the six you did yesterday?
Obviously, I’m not Jim, so this is like getting a school cafeteria burger when you asked for filet mignon, but even in his atrocious year last year, he slashed: .267/.318/.450 vs. RHP for 100 wRC+. In his career he’s slashed: .286/.365/.436 against RHP for 119 wRC+.
.287/.375/.433 over the last three years.
…aaand the White Sox stop short.
They got a short guy. Was that foreshadowing, Jim?
Now *this* is a move that better have context. If Eaton is the solution in RF, then yuck. If they bring another RF (like Pederson or JBJ) and Eaton is a part of a mix, it’s not Springer but it’s ok I guess.
They wouldn’t spend $7 million on a guy to be part of the mix. This is their right field platoon with Engel. Now they need to add Schwarber/Rosario/Brantley to share DH/LF with Eloy.
They should. In 2019, the Dodgers spent $7.5m on Pederson to be a kind of 4th OF/DH type. Having depth isn’t a bad idea.
That’s the only way to rationalize this. Shit, any single one of those 3 are better LF defenders than Eloy. Upgrade DH in house by moving Eloy out of left and upgrade the OF in both corners. If this is the Sox outfield solution then we did indeed wait through the rebuild for nothing.
Sign Springer too, move Jiménez to DH. All CF outfield
More likely Reinsdorf signs Jerry Springer
Tomorrow: White Sox announce Jerry Springer is the new VP of Public Relations
The Next Day: Jerry Springer was arrested for paying a prostitute with a check again and the White Sox knew about it
Jeez, Jim barely had time to let the ink dry on this article before the White Sox went all “Todd Frazier” winter on us again.
Might as well go full circle. Sign Quintana and trade Kopech for Sale.
If we pull that off, then we can talk about resigning Justin Morneau to DH.
White Sox baseball: Punch me as hard as you can, I dare you
Greg you were wondering why people weren’t all that enthusiastic last night? Jerry reminds us who he is once again. Instead of putting the money saved on pitching into right Jerry put it in his own pocket.
So Mr Hahn, let me get this straight. After fans have displayed all the patience in the world the past 3-4 years and had so much “feel-good” cache built up, you’ve decided to: 1) Having fired your field manager (why?) and hiring an out-of-date manager with alcohol (jail?) issues and possible player-relation issues that has extremely polarized fans. 2) Probably lose an all-star catcher to free-agency that actually performed better than your high-priced signing and handled your top-of-rotation pitcher. 3) Trade a solid top prospect for 1 year of a 34 yr old pitcher, ignoring the lessons learned in the Shields (et al) acquisition and 4) signed an older RF with declining stats and was (by some accounts) a clubhouse cancer that W Sox couldn’t get rid of fast enough the last time they had him.
I’m hoping to heaven that I’m wrong on all this but personally, my “feel-goodness” seems to have been extremely deflated.
You’re comparing Lance Lynn to James Shields when the Sox acquired him? Come on, you can do better than that.
So, no Springer. No Bauer. Eaton? Seriously? I hate this. I feel like I’m gonna cry. Again
Let’s talk Adam Eaton:
Best case scenario is he eeks out 110 games and is a 1.5-2 WAR player. Again, an improvement over replacement level or worse but not a true impact player.
I just don’t see the benefit of Eaton. He’s old and injury prone and is no longer a good defender.
I guess there’s some hope that he can be better if he’s shielded from lefties by Engel? I really don’t like the move but he did have a 106 OPS+ against righties in his abysmal season last year.
Is a 106 OPS+ good for a corner outfielder?
Honestly, I think the timing of this move is the worst part.
They didn’t even let the market playout. If they went hard after Springer, tried to make some trades for a RF and this was the plan C or D at the end of the off-season, fine. I can handle Eaton in RF for one year as a plan C or D consulation prize.
But this is the your Day 2 move of the winter meetings AFTER trading for Lynn? Pathetic.
I’m ok with the move because they moved fast regarding the market. the Sox need left handed hitting, this is a cheap option. they still need more left handed hitting.
I don’t get how the timing after trading for Lynn is relevant at all.