Year 3 of the rebuild is upon us. Is it too early for reflection and assessment? Of course it isn’t!!! So let’s get started!
The Big Trades:
Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for 2B Yoan Moncada, P Michael Kopech, OF Luis Basabe, P Victor Diaz
Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs for OF Eloy Jimenez, P Dylan Cease, IF Matt Rose, and IF Bryant Flete
Adam Eaton (a stale bag of gas station donuts would have sufficed) to the Washington Nationals for P Reynaldo Lopez, P Lucas Giolito, and P Dane Dunning
Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees for OF Blake Rutherford, P Ian Clarkin, OF Tito Polo, and P Tyler Clippard (salary dump veteran)
Let’s work from top to bottom. Sale has a World Series ring, and if I were a betting man, I’d wager $100 he’ll win his first Cy Young Award next season, perhaps his last in Boston. The Red Sox got everything they wanted in this trade.
Without rehashing the numbers, Moncada had an alarming year both at the plate (MLB leading 217 strikeouts) and in the field (4th highest error total in MLB, 21), Kopech is out for the entire 2019 season, Basabe is a ‘maybe’, and Diaz did not pitch in 2018 due to injury.
Advantage: Red Sox
Quintana was 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA for the Cubs in 2017 after they acquired him at the trade deadline. In 84.1 innings pitched, he allowed 72 hits and his K/BB ratio was 98 to 21.
In 2018, Quintana was 13-11 with a 4.03 ERA. In 174.1 innings pitched, he allowed 162 hits and his K/BB ratio was 158 to 68. In other words, he’s been pretty good; a good #3 starter or a very good #4 starter on a championship contending club.
Jimenez is being discussed on television and the internet as if he is the Dominican Republic’s version of Babe Ruth. You can expect a slash line of .350/.505/.700 next year, as he leads the world with 60 home runs and 147 runs batted in.
He has 0 at bats in the major leagues Sox fans. Let’s relax a little.
Cease was named the MLB Pipeline Minor League Pitcher of the Year after a campaign in which he went 12-2 with a 2.40 ERA. In 124 innings pitched, he allowed 82 hits, with a K/BB ratio of 160 to 50.
Rose and Flete were essentially throw ins. Rose batted .183 in Double A last season. Flete is a minor league free agent and almost certainly will not return to the Sox.
Advantage: Wait and see
The White Sox got a starter who could be a #2 or #3 (Lopez), a starter who could be a #4 or #5 (Giolito), and a starter still in the minor leagues whose stat line in 2018 was 6-3, with a 2.71 ERA in 15 High A and Double A starts. In 86.1 innings pitched, Dunning allowed 77 hits, with an extremely impressive K/BB ratio of 100 to 26. All of this for Adam Eaton?
Advantage: White Sox!!!
Contractually speaking, the Yankees received ½ a year of Frazier, 1½ years of Robertson, and 4½ years of Kahnle in their 2017 deal with the Sox. The Yankees made it to the American League Championship Series that year, and all three of the ex-Sox contributed to New York’s success. Frazier hit 11 home runs and got on base at a .365 clip in 194 at bats. Robertson’s ERA was a miniscule 1.03 in 30 games, and his win-loss record was 5-0. In 32 games, Kahnle’s ERA was 2.70, and he had 36 strikeouts in 26.2 innings pitched.
Rutherford, like the aforementioned Basabe, is a ‘maybe’. Clarkin was left unprotected from the Sox 40 man roster and subsequently picked up by the Cubs. Polo is a minor league free agent and almost certainly will not return to the Sox. The Sox never wanted Clippard, and they flipped him to the Astros a few weeks after picking him up.
Rutherford better pan out.
Advantage: Yankees, as usual
Next time we’ll talk about Jose Abreu and Avi Garcia. The White Sox may need minor league depth, and trading Abreu and Garcia after the 2017 season might have filled that need.
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