White Sox acquire Jake Diekman from Red Sox for Reese McGuire

In a trade of vestigial players solving very specific shortcomings, the White Sox traded their third catcher for the Boston Red Sox’s second lefty reliever.

Jake Diekman is heading to Chicago for Reese McGuire in a deal that isn’t particularly exciting, but probably makes better use of a roster spot for both teams involved.

Diekman comes to a White Sox team that is down to its Plan D, Tanner Banks, as the leading lefty in its bullpen. With Aaron Bummer out until September, Garrett Crochet out for the year and Bennett Sousa not ready for primetime, the 35-year-old Diekman gives the White Sox an experienced situational southpaw.

He comes to Chicago with major struggles in the control department, as he’s walked 30 batters and plunked six over 38⅓ innings. He’s mitigated the damage by striking out 51 batters, and he’s been just as effective as ever against lefties:

  • vs. RHB: .212/.395/.447 over 114 PA
  • vs. LHB: .188/.316/.250 over 57 PA

That part is key, because while Banks has been a pleasant surprise, he’s not somebody built to parachute into an inning against a lefty. In fact, he’s dealing with reverse splits in his rookie season:

  • vs. RHB: .217/.294/.264 over 119 PA
  • vs. LHB: .279/.311/.512 over 45 PA

Diekman is the better candidate for facing a lefty with two outs. He is a risk for walking that batter and bringing a righty to the plate, after which one has to hope that his veteran guile wins out.

As for McGuire, he didn’t seem likely to stick around unless Yasmani Grandal proved unable to catch. The combination of Grandal’s return and Seby Zavala‘s surprising surge limited McGuire to two starts since the All-Star break. Moreover, even if Grandal or Zavala were to get injured, Carlos Pérez represents a credible third-catcher option in Charlotte.

While McGuire only hit .225/.261/.285 during his 53 games with the White Sox, he did serve a purpose by giving Tony La Russa a credible glove-first option behind the plate while Grandal struggled to recover from the second of his knee surgeries. He was certainly a more useful option than Zack Collins, who’s hitting .160/.279/.352 over 42 games between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo.

McGuire became expendable more because Seby Zavala decided to hit .296/.340/.539 over 30 games with the White Sox after Grandal was sidelined by back spasms. Zavala’s 29-percent strikeout rate is still cause for concern when it comes to his sustainability, but with Zavala and McGuire both out of options — and Zavala years away from being arb-eligible — retaining him was the easy call.

It’s also a better opportunity for McGuire, because the Red Sox opened a catching spot on their 26-man roster by trading Christian Vazquez to the Astros, although that deal is unfolding in an awkward fashion:

Speaking of retaining, Diekman has another year after this one for $3.5 million, followed by a $4 million option for Diekman in 2024. Hopefully the control improves to make Diekman less of a burden.

Earlier in the day, the White Sox were connected to Tigers lefty Andrew Chafin by Ken Rosenthal. It’s possible the Sox could acquire both and relegate Banks to Charlotte, but that’d probably be a suboptimal use of resources.

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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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Right Size Wrong Shape

Reese was fine, but Zavala made him expendable. I think what I’ll miss the most are the juvenile jokes.

Shingos Cheeseburgers

My sixth sense for White Sox pessimism thinks that BB% ain’t getting better once he puts on a White Sox uni

jhomeslice

Nothing worse than relievers who have real problems throwing strikes. Wonderful.

As Cirensica

LMAO…. This is a hilarious analogy

jhomeslice

I know it isn’t a ton but still, another 3.5 M next year to add to their ridiculous bullpen expenses. And their bullpen hasn’t turned out to be much of a strength anyway. They are just complete morons with how they spend/prioritize.

I guess we should all just be thankful that Colas or Montgomery are not gone. But then again there is still about 16 hours left.

Right Size Wrong Shape

With Bummer and Crochet coming back next year, they could probably flip him for a minor leaguer. I did read that Crochet is planning to come back as a starter, though.

jhomeslice

I’d love to see Crochet as a starter, and for him to look like he did his first few big league games.

I just read on MLBTR that the Sox are not done looking to add relievers. They are trying to get Givens of the Cubs, who is also due 3.5M next year. Utterly hilarious.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I think he has a mutual option for next year, so not a big commitment. I always liked him.

armchairGM

seeing all these trades of unheralded prospects for bullpen arms makes me hope the max return for givens is someone like dj gladney.

Right Size Wrong Shape

I like DJ Gladney. I’m thinking more along the lines of Bailey Horn.

abehickock

Hahn and/or Williams see how critical a deep bullpen is to winning games. I wish they felt the same way about a player’s defensive ability, base running ability, baseball IQ and competitiveness. All qualities most of the players on this roster are sorely lacking.

LamarHoyt_oncrack

Not to mention they are lacking the ability to get a hit once in a while. This offense is unwatchable. When you have Grandal, Moncada, and Eloy combining for a negative WAR, it’s little wonder why they have problems scoring.

As Cirensica

Jake Diekman is [apparently] the best Hahn could do to solve the 3 catchers situation. A reliever that walks a ton is a reliever I dislike instantly. He has been getting worse as the season progressed. I am, of course, going to wish he returns to form, but I think this is another cooked pitcher Hahn brings in.

soxygen

“The White Sox announced the trade, adding that they’re also sending a player to be named later or cash to the Red Sox as part of the swap.”

So this guy cost more than just McGuire.

Last edited 5 days ago by soxygen
GrinnellSteve

This part concerns me.

Then I discovered they get him for next year. That’s likelier to be a limiting thing than an asset.

shaggy65

Actually a solid move, addressing our need with our surplus.

This is exactly what I wanted- – adding around the edges without losing any real prospects. If having a real lefty in the bullpen helps us back our way into the playoffs–great. But let’s not pretend this team is one move away from being a real contender.

John SF

Despite the historic bullpen $$ and that, I am happy with this small trade.

I’ve always liked Diekman, even when he was giving us so much trouble in the division. IIRC he and Liam were in the As pen together.

Diekman has also shown some ability to evolve his repertoire over the years.

At 35 we can’t hope for any big improvements from him, but it’s not unreasonable to hope that Katz can get Diekman looking good for another year and a half.

Reese was expendable, and this keeps us from putting him on waivers.

abehickock

What’s going to happen when Grandal hurts himself again running to first base? Who else do they have to catch that can perform in a pennant race?

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