Andrew Vaughn still oddly outside scope of White Sox trade talks

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol
(Photo by Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)

The White Sox rumor mill is creaking to life as the second half of the season approaches, starting with Lucas Giolito and a plausible potential suitor, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jon Morosi relayed the notion on Wednesday:

The Dodgers are interested in White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito, one of the top available pitchers, sources say. Giolito, who went to high school in LA, has a 3.45 ERA this year. The Dodgers have an @MLB-best 9 of the industry’s top 100 prospects, per @MLBPipeline.

That’s a start, and we’ll have to see how many more names will surface in trade rumors over the fortnight to come. Jon Heyman offered a stopping point earlier in the week when he said the White Sox are considering four players off-limits, at least when it comes to active shopping.

“What I’m gathering from other sources around the league is that they’re open – not saying they will trade them – open to trading almost everybody with the exception of a few players, those players being (Dylan) Cease, (Luis) Robert, (Andrew) Vaughn and (Eloy) Jimenez,” Heyman said. “So, basically four players that they don’t want to trade. Does that mean that they wouldn’t consider it or wouldn’t listen to offers? I’m not sure about that. But I expect those four players to stay and anyone else could be dealt.”

On one hand, you could construe that as progress, because Bob Nightengale’s list of untouchables from last October only had Cease and Vaughn. On the other, I wrote back then that I didn’t really get why the Sox held Vaughn in such high esteem, and the answer isn’t any more clear a half-season later. Maybe Vaughn being off limits just means he doesn’t have sufficient trade value, but putting him in the same category as Dylan Cease and Luis Robert Jr. suggests a certain amount of value.

Vaughn finished the first half of 2023 hitting .244/.319/.432. He leads the team in RBIs with 53 on the strength of the team’s best performance with runners in scoring position, although that split is regressing on him (.167/.242/.300 since the start of June). Otherwise, not much stands out, and a couple of new Statcast leaderboards on Baseball Savant show how his future contributions may be capped.

There’s the new Fielding Run Value leaderboard, which shows Vaughn ranking toward the bottom among first basemen at -3. I wouldn’t buy into that number entirely because a half-season of defensive stats can be weird (he’s one run better than two-time Gold Glove winner Matt Olson). DRS puts him at 0 on the season, so I’d probably describe him with phrases like “a little below average,” or “average at best.”

Either way, the problem isn’t so much what Vaughn’s doing now, but how much improvement is possible. It’s hard to see him making any leaps, because he’s fighting a two-front war against a lack of reach and a lack of speed.

Regarding the first shortcoming, he’s a small target at first base, and that surfaced a couple times in the last two weeks, turning potential outs into infield singles.

As for the latter, there’s also a new Statcast leaderboard for baserunning, and that doesn’t do Vaughn any favors, either. The Runner Runs stat isn’t very descriptive, because while he’s tied for third-worst in baseball, it’s a 33-way tie.

The more telling number is the Advance Attempts Above Average stat. Vaughn’s tied for the sixth-worst score at -14 percent, and his company in the top 10 comprises seven catchers, a 40-year-old (Miguel Cabrera), and a couple of journeymen first basemen (C.J. Cron and Rowdy Tellez).

This stat feels more stable to me. It’s backed up by FanGraphs, which says Vaughn has the least baserunning value of any qualified player. It also jibed with my own observations, including a couple of plate appearances in the opener in Oakland on June 30 that prompted me to tweet the following:

The video of those plays in question, so you can judge for yourself:

I feel like I’m nitpicking a player who hasn’t been the problem for the White Sox, but I also think first base is a hard position to sum up generally. I don’t really care to use WAR and WAR alone for this discussion, because the defensive penalty for the position makes most of them look unimpressive. José Abreu and Paul Konerko spent most of their careers hovering around 2-3 fWAR, which suggests it’d be easy enough to find an upgrade. Experience would tell you that’s not really the case.

You could use scale to understand that Vaughn isn’t approaching Konerko or Abreu territory at 0.2 fWAR and 0.6 bWAR, but when isolating the non-hitting parts of his game, I find it easier to understand how much work remains for his bat.

To be fair, Vaughn doesn’t seem like a finished product. He’s seeing results from a conscious effort to get more lift, and he’s also drawing more walks, which was supposed to be part of his game all along. It wouldn’t be shocking if he hit .280 or better over the course of seasons to come, raising the other slash-line numbers along with it.

The counterpoint involves two questions:

No. 1: What if he doesn’t get better? The threshold for meaningful offense at first base is a high one, and Vaughn might not be equipped to meet it on a routine level.

No. 2: So what if he does? And then you circle back to the questions about his defense and baserunning.

And as we go round and round, you can pull in the conversation about Rick Hahn’s difficulties making trades, even if the redundancies result in his manager fill out a lineup card with four first basemen on it.

At least at that point, the discussion is less a bare-knuckled brawl over whether Vaughn is actually good, and more of an exercise in expanding imaginations, which serves a greater purpose. If Hahn is not willing to consider shopping the one first baseman other teams might actually want, then it really limits the ways the Sox can reshape their roster into something more flexible.

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A year and a half ago or so, Rick Hahn could not admit that trading for Craig Kimbrel was stupid so he picked up Kimbrel’s expensive option. Now he can not admit that drafting Andrew Vaughn (instead of, for example, C.J. Abrams) was stupid, so he essentially places him in a “no trade” category, likely to mask the fact that he has little trade value. I don’t know what triple slash Vaughn would have to achieve in order to be somewhat valuable given his speed and defensive liabilities, but I am confident that it is beyond his reach. I propose “wonder bread” as his nickname—–no (nutritional) value.


Wonder Bread is actually an incredibly nickname, well done.


Funny you think Abrams would be the player he is now coming up through the Sox system.


OK. I propose that the team draft demonstrably bad players so as to eliminate the possibility of screwing them up.


You’re acting like Vaughn was some 3rd rounder the Sox drafted in the 1st round. He was 70 (If i remember right) grade as a hitter coming out of college and arguably the best pure bat in the class. You have Vaughn drafted to the Rangers instead of Jung and hes probably in the all star game this year as their 1b since the Rangers wouldn’t of also played him stupidly out of position for 2 years.


Yep what’s killing Vaughn right now is that he’s no where near a 70 grade hitter. The defense, whatever, and the power maybe patience but the slashes are mediocre across the board. He should be 60 points higher in each.
At this point though I’d probably take Josh Jung over him.

karkovice squad

Sure, he had a strong consensus grade but wasn’t a fit for the Sox, tho. As you say, he was yet another player added to the surplus of players at the bottom of the defensive spectrum.

He had a flat college swing. The Sox waited until this year to add any coaches with interest in changing swing attack angles.

Just another example of the Sox challenges with scouting/evaluating both themselves and outside talent.

There’s another part of the story which is that the Sox poor reputation for player dev probably means impact 1st round prep players with college offers will just use that leverage to make unsignable bonus demands.


I like Riley Greene as much or more as I do Abrams but yeah it would taken a mindset to take the best player instead of the one who could get to the majors quickest which is what Vaughn was.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Vaughn being off-limits is baffling to me. He is going to have to hit a ton to make himself valuable, and it’s probably the easiest position to fill on the diamond. Heck, they already have Sheets and Burger on the roster, and while I think Vaughn has more upside than them I don’t think he’s in a different class.


Agreed, no reason he should be off limits. League average wRC+ in 2022 for a 1B was 108. Vaughn’s career wRC+ is 105 and he’s at 108 this year. He’s probably going to have to be in the 120ish wRC+ range to have solid value. Can he get there? Maybe. Vaughn tricks a lot of us Sox fans by having proffesional looking at bats, which we don’t see a lot of.

I can’t see his trade value being too high so it might make sense to see how continues to develop while he’s on a cheap rookie contract.


Yeah but to be fair you could put Eloy in that class, too. Although Eloy’s shown flashes Vaughn hasn’t, he’s had a lot more opportunities than Vaughn and is still plagued by defense and injuries.

I think we’re overreacting a little to Vaughn being called “off-limits.” I really think all he meant was “we know no one is going to give us value they could provide, given their upside.” And that seems right. Unlike TA, Vaughn and Eloy figure to be around the next time the Sox decide to try again, so it makes even less sense to sell low.


I would absolutely put Eloy in that class. Eloy, if another team would pick up the two options, would be paid $49M/3Y (16.3 per year) over the next 3 years. The surplus value he’s generate over that, even if he stayed fairly healthy, would be limited. If he keeps getting hurt at a similar rate that he has (so not even getting hurt more often), you wouldn’t want to pay him that.


Agreed, he’s the ultimate tease, can never stay healthy to even just be a DH, I wouldn’t consider him untouchable.


He’s under team control until 2027, right? So that factors into the team’s thinking – they probably figure that they can afford to give him another season or two to see how much he improves, unless there’s a tab out there that really wants him and is willing to give up a premium prospect.


You match the team’s thinking (which makes sense) until this part:

unless there’s a tab out there that really wants him and is willing to give up a premium prospect.

The messaging from Hahn seems to be that even if he were offered two top 100 prospects for Vaughn, he would say no because Vaughn has been and still is so integral to the hypothetical contention window. The FO is taking the extra step from “riding with a mediocre 1B with potential” to “sticking to delusions of a dynastic core”.


No player is really “off-limits.” All off-limits means is “we’re almost certain no one will meet our asking price for him.” If someone offered Hahn two top-25 prospects for him, I’m sure he’d say yes. But @vanillablue is right – there’s no point in shopping Vaughn because he couldn’t return a premium prospect right now. Better to take a shot that he improves.


I also think the best course of action is patience with Vaughn. It’s a moot point since he won’t be on the move for a variety of reasons good and bad, but the issue is that Vaughn’s value to Hahn = his value + the weight of the rebuild at large. It’s possible, if not likely, that Hahn has passed on good offers for him in the past.

Augusto Barojas

Vaughn’s value certainly isnt great at the moment. Its not likely Hahn would get a good offer or good value for him in the first place, so talk of whether or not to trade him is prerty moot. Probably makes sense to keep him rather than sell low. He is the least of this teams problems. They are going to be pure suck until at least 2025 or 6.

I only hope they package Gio, Graveman, and TA to the Dodgers and pry a couple interesting prospects away. I think they are more likely to get the highest quality players in a package deal than trade those guys separately.


Teams rarely get better value from packaging their assets that way. Usually teams in the Sox situation maximize returns by selling each piece individually, and someone is going to have to sell me on why the Dodgers would want Anderson. Yes, they have a hole at shortstop, but the patchwork solutions they’ve used their this season, headlined by Rojas, have been better by any meaningful statistical measure than TA has.

Alfornia Jones

1B/DH just isn’t that important, and no one values this position higher than the White Sox. The combination of Sheets/Burger at 1B is immediately equal or better than Andrew Vaughn, so if Vaughn holds value in a trade he should have been gone long ago.

Vaughn is a career .315 OBP and he shows no signs of turning this around. We are giving shots away to the field to use a PGA reference. He doesn’t need to be Paul Konerko (.354 OPB & .486 Slg & 118 OPS+ career) but he certainly needs to split the difference.

The team needs a huge makeover, and one of Vaughn/Eloy needs to go now. Piling on from yesterdays topic, TA also needs to go too. Selling low is no longer a thing anymore, and they are certainly lowering payroll to 2017-18 levels. All the reasons people said to hold on to these players is the reason they still hold value in a trade. 2024 is a punt year, and TA won’t be around the next time the Sox have a winning record, he needs to not be a Sox by Aug 1st. They are going to lose 90+ games this year with or without TA/Eloy/Vaughn, so might as well launch them now to try to find their replacements sooner than later. The plus side is that all three are really easy to replace in their current state.


They should’ve traded Vaughn last offseason. I remembered moving Vaughn in my OPP so I went back I checked: Giolito and Vaughn for Detmers and Adell. It’d be interesting to see what each team’s season looks like in that world.

Anyway, it’s too late. I don’t think his value his there right now. They might as well hold onto him and see what he becomes (or move him next year if he hits).


Vaughn is an average first baseman. Yes, a Sheets and Burger platoon at 1st could equal or even better what Vaughn brings, but the problem with that is it takes two roster spots. They need to clear out the logjam of 1B/DH types now. Of Vaughn, Eloy, Burger and Sheets, at least 2 need to go. Having all 4 on the roster is such a misuse of roster space. Burger probably has the most value because he has 30-40 homer potential and can play a passable 3rd base. Still, his value is pretty low. I would deal Burger and give Sheets away- he has NO value, leaving Vaughn at 1B and Eloy at DH. And if Vaughn doesn’t get better when he starts arbitration, then dump him. But we know Rick wouldn’t do that, because it would make him look bad. What he doesn’t realize is that being 16-under at the break in the middle of your contention window makes you look awful. He and Jerry are too incompetent to realize that.

As Cirensica

Vaughn is an average first baseman

He could be, but he isn’t though.

Last edited 2 months ago by As Cirensica

Whether the Sox keep Vaughn or not doesn’t really matter. The real problem is the excess of slow, defensively challenged players who are named Burger, Grandal, Sheets and Jimenez. Two to three or all four being traded for defense and athleticism at 3B and 2B would be transformative.

There has been all kinds of talk about who the Sox could be “selling” but what about the other side of the deal? What team has what the Sox need at the MLB or AAA level? What team matches up?


Problem is Burger, Grandal and Sheets have no value. The returns you get of the trio would be next to nothing. And, if this inept front office did manage to get a player with any up side… their minor league system could not develop said player into anything useful.

As Cirensica

So, if the White Sox have players with no value, we are stuck with them? We have to play them?!?


I don’t think the Sox should be targeting specific positions as much as they should overall talent. Besides, the biggest need going into 2024 is going to be starting pitching with Giolito, Lynn, and Clevinger likely gone and Kopech’s durability and effectiveness both still questionable.


In any normal organization, Vaughn would have been given at least a full year in the minors so they could really see what they had and actually develop him. Instead, he got like a month in the minors before he was pressed into LF(lol) duty because of how dysfunctional this org is.

See also: Beckham, Gordon


That’s still an excuse for Vaughn? He’s just not the hitter he was projected to be and he’s wildly, wildly unathletic. I’m still convinced the Sox scouting department uses Sportscenter clips for their main source of information.


Noted White Sox hater Keith Law called him a “future clean up hitter in a championship lineup” shortly after he was drafted. Vaughn was very highly regarded by just about everyone. The only critique was using a pick that high on a RH 1B, but that’s more about draft strategy than the player.

So, It’s not so much an excuse as it as indictment against how this organization fails to develop talent by rushing them through the system so they can be cheap plug ins. Vaughn wasn’t the first time they did this, and probably won’t be the last as long as this FO is still around. Hell, we’re also seeing it now with Garrett Crochet.

Last edited 2 months ago by BenwithVen

Colas as well


Yes, you can botch someone entirely forever by botching their development. That’s what development (or not developing) is.

As Cirensica

I have been thinking on the same line as Jim here, but I don’t have (not even close) the quality of writing skills Jim possesses nor his baseball acumen which is very good. Specially by pointing out that using WAR is not a great measuring tape for 1B which is something I have failed to notice.

I believe Vaughn shouldn’t be placed in a “no trade” category. I think Hahn could listen. Maybe there is a team that can use a player like Vaughn more than we do. Many fans point out that Vaughn 1B bat is not that easy to find, but when you have too many 1B, the novelty becomes an inconvenience.

Last edited 2 months ago by As Cirensica

I thought the core offense of this team was supposed to be a big free agent signing(Harper or Machado) along with Robert, Moncada, Jimenez, Grandal and Anderson.

The big free agent signing didn’t happen and only Robert is any good right now.

Vaughn is just an average 1B and should be traded without a second thought for anything of value.


Shouldn’t Joey Bart be a target for the FO? Seems to be a change of scenary guy, Giants have moved on and are in the thick of it. Signed through 2028.


Bart would fit in perfectly on the Sox since he strikes out at astronomical levels. It may be worth a flyer on him since he could probably be had for little at this point. Come to think of it, there might be a kernel of a TA trade there.


Heck, I would give James Click a call. He did an okay job with the Astros. He is currently working for Toronto.

But the end of the day, Reinsdorf will not hire anyone competent, as they will want to make massive changes from top to bottom. And, I do not see anyone decent baseball exec wanting to come to this dysfunctional clown-show.

As Cirensica

 Reinsdorf will not hire anyone competent,

I don’t think he hires or fires people anymore. I think he delegated all of it to KW and RH. Fans keep saying what Jerry should do or not, and I am one who believes he left the building some years ago.

Many fans think he interferes with the way Hahn runs the team. I don’t think so. I think the only time in recent memory he interfered was when he told Hahn he wanted TLR as manager. It was not a baseball decision. It was a friend telling another friend to have a ride in his new Bugatti Chiron. That’s it. Reinsdorf is 87. I know of some old people that are energetic and have their brain in good shape, but those are rare.

Reinsdorf is not running anything. Otherwise he would have fired Hahn many years ago. He might check the standings while drinking coffee, and forget about it 5 minutes later. The only way the White Sox gives James Click a call is because Hahn or Kenny decides to give him a call. Hahn and Kenny will have to fire themselves. They run the show, and the supervisor is in the middle of his first of three daily siestas.


My nightmare is a Giolito for Bart swap, followed by Bart achieving a 50% K rate over the next half decade.


 Maybe Vaughn being off limits just means he doesn’t have sufficient trade value.

Unfortunately I think you did answer the question here. Vaughn is “untouchable” because… why would he be touched?

I’m sure theres a few teams out there that could surely use him in 2023. But he is not a difference maker/impact addition. Whichever team would acquire him would have to pay for the value of his next 3 years of arb control.

Simply put, that hypothetical is always going to be more valuable to the sox than a 2023 contender. The Whitesox are barren at talent. In Vaughn, they have a guy you can plug in at first base, bat 5th, and not be embarrassed about it. And there is still some hypothetical ceiling there for him to increase that OPS by another .050 points or so.

The Sox are so starved for talent they’re in no position to trade away cheap production wherever they can find it, even if thats in a first basemen who runs like a 33 year old lifetime catcher.

TLDR – its exactly as you said. Hes untouchable because hes not good enough to be touched lol.


It’s hard to see him making any leaps,

Nicely done. May we never see Vaughn scurry around the outfield ever again.

Patrick Nolan

He stinks.

One thing I’d like to add to the 1B / WAR discussion. Yes, there’s a steep penalty for playing 1B embedded in WAR, and *sometimes* it is unfair, but much of the time it is not.

The fact of the matter is that all else besides defensive position equal, 1B-only players are worse at baseball than the other fielders. They are limited to shouldering the least defensive responsibility. So when I go to Fangraphs and I look at leaguewide WAR totals, it makes sense that 1B has the lowest (non-DH) total. They’re the least valuable players.

In that sense, I think the WAR scale for 1B is a little skewed in that a 2.0 WAR player at 1B is better relative to the average team than a 2.0 WAR player at shortstop. But relative to the concept of a *replacement player*, it’s perfectly fair. And that applies to Vaughn.

The situation where I think the 1B penalty is unfair would be a defensively flexible team where you have a guy who can competently play positions besides first base, but just happens to log time there because there’s other guys on the roster better suited to the other positions. Maybe this player is a solid right fielder or a catcher, but is being penalized for the simple fact that *someone* has to play there. That guy is probably being undervalued a little bit.


My takeway: the White Sox OFers are undervalued because they sometimes have to play 1B.

Joliet Orange Sox

I agree completely that WAR often values first basemen appropriately. For all the talk about how analytics have helped us understand the value of things beyond hitting, at some level fans still don’t value fielding.

I recently had a conversation with a cousin who couldn’t believe I thought Robin Ventura (who has a birthday today) was a much, much more valuable player than Paul Konerko and that Ventura getting a lower HOF vote than Konerko showed the flaws in the voting system.

Ventura’s career bWAR is 56.1 (39.4 in his 1254 games with the Sox). Konerko’s career bWAR is 28.1 (29.3 in his 2268 games with the Sox). My cousin argued that Konerko’s bWAR was depressed because he was a first baseman. I agree with that except he thought it was a flaw in bWAR and I think it accurately reflects the lesser value of players who can only play firstbase/dh.

People will also argue closers are undervalued by WAR and I think WAR reflects their true lesser value compared to starters and position players.


Clearly, this team needs to be gutted. But, due to Rick Hahn’s limited abilities as a GM and the fact that a .500ish team could possibly win this division in any year, this will not happen. I fully expect the trading of Gio and 2 relievers at the deadline and that’s it.


I think the W Sox force-feeding Vaughn into the corner OF spots set him back considerably. Having never played the OF clearly wore on him and the grade 70 hitter out of college was not done any favors by Sox brass. I believe he has tape-measure power, has gap-to-gap hitting skills, and has a ceiling to have a Paul Konerko-like career. Paulie had the same misfortune at being miscast as a catcher in LA system and then again miscast as a 3B with Cincy. But by the time he made his way to 1B, PK finally took off. I feel W Sox have a hidden gem in Vaughn and should just pencil him in at 1B, batting 4th every day. Now that they may be in another roster retooling, what’s the diff?


he has tape-measure power

I disagree. He seems to have average power. He barrels well, but nothing spectacular velocity/distance wise. Jake Burger has tape-measure power. Vaughn, like you said, is a gap-to-gap hitter (but with Konerko’s speed)… that is a bad combo.

Al Kohallik

Honestly I think he makes Konerko look fast


This was another high draft pick I didn’t get, even at the time. A decent hitting 1B doesn’t seem the best use of a really high pick. Maybe he was projected for more power than he’s shown thus far though.

karkovice squad

He was projected for both better hit and power tools. Then projections met the realities of White Sox player development.


Sox player development as in what player development. After dumping him in high A ball for a month out of college, covid hit and wiped out his development year. Then instead of revising their plan and signing Schwarber for a year, they cheap out and make Vaughn the starting DH with barely 200 ABs in pro ball, then cheap out again and put him in LF when Eloy goes down, then cheap out again the next year when Eloy goes down again and put him in RF. The sad thing with cheaping out in ’21 is that they ended up wasting $7 mil on eating Eaton’s contract and $6 mil on Kimbrel’s so they wasted more on no production than had they done the correct thing to begin with.

karkovice squad

COVID didn’t wipe out a year of player development. He got a summer in an instructional league which, according to research on skill development, should be a controlled environment and better than competitive action for everything except evaluation. The lockout though, that’s more meaningful.

It’s not like we’ve seen the ’19 and ’20 draft classes be uniquely delayed or poorly prepared as a whole.