Let’s spend the last idle day of the All-Star break by clearing out the mailbag. Thanks for those who support us on Patreon, and if you’d like to send us question for P.O. Sox, be it in audio or text form, you can do so by signing up at the 3 WAR tier.
Are the Sox most likely going to be buyers, sellers, or stand pat for the trade deadline. Who most likely comes/goes in the buyer/seller scenarios?— Alec S.
Assuming the Sox do well with the upcoming less challenging schedule, what one or two spots do you think Hahn needs to add at the deadline? Seems Harrison is looking like his recent play is satisfactory at 2B so they can focus elsewhere, like bullpen help, lefty bat, or starter depth.— Don
It seems like they should be buying unless the worst-case scenario hits them hard this weekend with four games over three days in Cleveland. It’s just hard to envision any real earth-shattering additions, because any deal that would be worth forking over a Colson Montgomery could probably be beat by other teams who have equally touted prospects closer to the majors.
My guess is that they look for lefties, be they relievers or outfielders. Nothing too crazy, somebody in the David Peralta/Tyler Naquin/Kole Calhoun tier. Maybe Anthony Santander if they’re feeling frisky.
With Yas needing to DH and play first at times and Vaughn needing a spot in the line-up as well as Eloy having trouble staying healthy playing the outfield, should the Sox be looking to move Eloy say to Cincinnati for Luis Castillo?— Mark
My initial thought was “huge overpay,” but then again, it’s kinda similar to the idea of trading Nick Madrigal for a reliever with 1½ seasons of team control. In that case, if the Sox thought that Madrigal could only absorb so many season-ending surgeries before it started affecting his big-picture feasibility, then it might’ve been a good move to get whatever they could for him, especially when he had nothing else to give the 2021 White Sox. Sure enough, he’s hitting just .222/.263/.250 this year around groin and back injuries. The trade gave the White Sox nothing, but it might not give the Cubs a whole lot more.
I can see the response from the other side being, “I can’t believe we got Eloy Jiménez for a rental!” But Jiménez stops being an automatic bargain after this year. He’s owed at least $27 million through 2024, with two club options totaling $35 million if he earns them. That might be too rich for a small-market team, especially if they’re sensitive to the idea that the White Sox want out from under this contract for a reason. (That reason would be “replacement-level production the last two seasons.”)
The Schultz pick, as Josh said on the draft show is weird. He almost certainly won’t help this current contention window. But what truly bothers me is even if Schultz performs in the minors his trade value will vary greatly team by team. 6’9″ starters are just so rare.— Kevin
I’m glad the Sox are prioritizing youth in the draft now, but why draft a pitcher who will be a major project when the franchise is currently failing at developing high school arms? Why not draft another HS position player with the success of Montgomery?— Matt
My guess is that future trades are probably the furthest thing from a scouting director’s mind when he’s making a first-round pick. In the most likely scenarios, it’d take years for a prep selection to register on other teams’ radars, so they may as well draft the guy they think they can develop.
Now, that leads to the point Matt made when saying that the White Sox don’t have any kind of real success with developing high school arms. That much is true. The counterpoint is that the White Sox are never going to improve until they learn by doing. The rebuttal to that counterpoint: Given the low hit rate on prep pitchers, is that improvement worth pursuing?
They saw somebody who has Chris Sale-like qualities right in their backyard, and it seems like the draftniks understood what the White Sox are going for, even if it does upset his position in the rankings. I’d be curious if the White Sox have learned anything from the unimpressive initial results from the Thompson/Dalquist/Kelley group when it comes to building up teenage pitchers, even if Schultz is a completely different figure.
Bob mentioned cliques in the locker room, if you had to guess what would be the groups in the White Sox locker room.— Benny
I’d guess there are divides along the usual lines, the big one being language, with maybe subgroups for country of origin. For players born in the States, it’s regional, which often overlaps with lifestyle/religion. My guess is that the White Sox don’t have any unusual rifts resulting from these groups. If they look like they’re not having fun, it’s probably because a lot of them are hurt.
Also, Dallas Keuchel just got DFA’d by the Diamondbacks.
Rodon is the 5th best P in MLB using bbref WAR! For the love of Josh, We didn’t even make him a QO! Do you think not bringing back Rodon will end up being one of Hahn’s worst moves? He can opt out after this year so maybe we’ll bring him back. 🤷♂️— Dave
I wouldn’t even call him the worst decision of that winter. Like I said at the time, I understood the general idea that the White Sox didn’t like their chances of getting an encore from Rodón while paying him six times as much. The problem was that if the White Sox wanted to be unencumbered when it came to the open market, then they shouldn’t have exercised Craig Kimbrel’s option, because that encumbered the hell out of any bigger solutions.
Granted, Hahn’s allergy to any move that reduces his treasured flexibility makes me skeptical that he would’ve made a grander move to shore up the outfield, but having Kimbrel’s $16 million on the books for month certainly limited their mobility. Besides, Johnny Cueto has given a lot of what Rodón gave them for the same dollar amount, so I’m choosing to view it through that lens.
Would the Sox consider Re-signing Johnny Cueto and if so, what would that deal look like?— Dan
Prior to this year, Cueto had pitched 54, 16, 63* and 115 innings over his previous four seasons with the Giants, so I’m not taking any of what he’s given the White Sox for granted. That said, if he does somehow get to 140 innings of above-average pitching despite his late start, I could see him signing for the standard $11 million or so that respected veterans get (Corey Kluber, Zack Greinke among recent examples). The question is whether he’d be looking for a second year versus the higher AAV.
(*2020 season; extrapolates to 170).
Why do the Sox continue to play with a short bench instead of putting guys on the injured list? I know the replacement options in the minors are not great but they need to stop putting themselves at a disadvantage when every game counts.— Joe
I think this was a bigger issue early in the season when guys like Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal were struggling for weeks while healthy options like Jake Burger or Seby Zavala could’ve given Tony La Russa players who don’t look like they’ve started a lengthy rehab stint in the Arizona Complex League.
But now, some of the depth is banged-up, which basically means that they have Lenyn Sosa to cover the infield, and Adam Haseley for the outfield. With key divisional series bracketing each end of the All-Star break, I’m guessing the Sox wouldn’t want to have Haseley in place of Jiménez or Robert if they could avoid it.
As the second half opens, Robert’s status is the single news item I’m most interested in, and there isn’t a close second, because lightheadedness has so many different causes and durations. I’d hope the All-Star break allowed the training staff to put a more accurate ETA on his return, and the Sox will have somebody ready for his spot on roster if he’s not likely to appear in the team’s first series.