New Year's Eve 2018 and no A.L. Central title in sight

I have not had anything to drink.  These are the ramblings of a White Sox fan living a nightmare.  While the rest of White Sox Nation (all 17,091 judging by this year's attendance; more a township than a nation) suffers from the media driven delusion that the rebuild is an inevitability, I stand angry, bald, and alone speaking truth.  The truth is this rebuild is far from a certainty.  Meanwhile, Sox fans keep hoping for Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Adam Ottavino (He's 33 years old?), and Edwin Encarnacion (He's 36 years old Monday?).  Rick Hahn keeps teasing from afar; the rebuild might be sped up, why wait for 2020 when 2019 is around the corner?  Hahn forgets we're White Sox fans, not his Harvard buddies.  We hold grudges.  We get upset and refuse to hide it.  We eat with our hands, no napkins on our laps.  We realize we can watch the Sox lose at home on television for free. We take a mental inventory of all the times people have (vile expletive) us.

Harper isn't coming.  Machado isn't coming.  I don't want them.  Overrated for the former and cancerous for the latter.  Save the money for Nolan Arenado and Madison Bumgarner next year.  Oh ya, by the way, they ain't comin' either.

Ottavino?  Couldn't we have signed Joakim Soria at half Ottavino's asking price?  Encarnacion?  Don't we have at least three designated hitters on the current roster?  I need to stop reading SB Nation and Fansided.  I hope all of these rumors are baseless.

I have lit several candles, and I'm now transitioning to Yolmer Sanchez and the position on a baseball field known as third base.  You know it.  A guy named Joe Crede played there once.  He overachieved, threw leather all over the place, won a ring, made a little money, wanted more money, left the Sox, and disappeared to a farm somewhere I've never heard of.  Since Mr. Crede, third base has been a little bit of an issue for our Sox.

Sanchez played there for the majority of last year, illuminating the zero confidence vote for the since departed Matt Davidson.  Yolmer is my first choice on a party invitation list.  Yolmer is my first choice if my girlfriend just broke up with me, and I need to call someone to cheer me up.  Yolmer is my first choice if I want to learn how to drink a flavored beverage unconventionally.  Yolmer is not my first choice to be the White Sox third baseman, and he's not your first choice either.

So, Manny 'Evil-Blight-Scourge-Poison-Plague-Malignancy' Machado isn't coming here to play third base.  However, it is required for the Sox to field a third baseman for all of their 162 games.  It's not Yolmer.  Yolmer is our part time utility player, full time cheerleader.  That begs the question, who is it?

Well, the Sox have proven they're willing to trade young players this off season, albeit not the ones we've come to read about over the past two years.  Two prospects were traded for starting pitcher Ivan Nova and first baseman/designated hitter Yonder Alonso, neither of whom were on the White Sox Top 30 prospect list.  Instead of spending millions on Mike Moustakas, consider what's out there on the trade market.

In my estimation, there are four third basemen that could be available in a deal.  Three of those four wouldn't cost the White Sox a top 10 prospect from their farm system.  Three of those four are under 30 years of age.  They are:

3B Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees.  Andujar had a very good rookie season with the Yankees-.297/.328/.527 with 27 home runs and 92 runs batted in. By all accounts (I didn't see him play often this year) his defense varies from bad to repulsive, but those offensive numbers as a 23 year old speak for themselves.  With whispers and shouts that Machado will be a Yankee, the internet is rife with Andujar trade rumors.  Hit the kid 15,000 ground balls this winter and make this deal.

Fake trade:  Andujar to the White Sox for OF Blake Rutherford (#7 in the Sox system, #77 in MLB's Top 100), P Alec Hansen (#10 in the Sox system), and P Jonathan Stiever (#29 in the Sox system).

3B Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies.  Franco is only 26 years old, but it seems like some time ago when he was supposed to be the next big deal as far as young players go.  He was the #54 ranked prospect in the MLB's Top 100 in 2014, but his numbers have been more modestly consistent than impressive to this point in his career:

2016- 581 AB, 25 HR, 88 RBI, .255/.306/.427

2017-575 AB, 24 HR, 76 RBI, .230/.281/.409

2018-433 AB, 22 HR, 68 RBI, .270/.314/.467

That being said, he is still only 26, and the Phillies may also be shopping him with the idea that Machado will land with them.  He has power potential, there is still room for growth, and he probably wouldn't cost a lot in prospect capital.

Fake trade:  Franco to the White Sox for 1B Gavin Sheets (#15 in the Sox system) and P Jimmy Lambert (#21 in the Sox system).

3B Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks.  If anything, the trade of 1B Paul Goldschmidt indicates the DBacks are in rebuilding mode.  Lamb had a monster 2017 (.248/.357/.487, 30 HR, 105 RBI) and an injury shortened 2018 (.222/.307/.348, 6 HR, 31 RBI in 238 plate appearances).  He is controllable for two more years, and he is 28 years old.  He is certainly worth taking a chance on, and he may be cheaper than expected due to his recent regression.  If Lamb could put up his 2017 numbers in 2019 and 2020, the Sox rebuild would be on firmer ground.

Fake trade:  Lamb to the White Sox for OF Steele Walker (#12 in the Sox system), 1B Sheets, and P Codi Heuer (unranked prospect).

3B Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners.  The Mariners' general manager Jerry Dipoto makes 275 trades a year, never makes the playoffs, and continues to keep his job.  Good gig.  Hold on to that one, Jerry.  Anyway, Dipoto has salary dumped all winter long like his life depends on it.  The 31 year old Seager is still owed approximately $45 million over the next three years, and he is coming off a down season.  If the Sox think he can recapture his productive years, like 2016 when he slashed .278/.359/.499 with 36 doubles, 30 homers, and 99 runs batted in, he could be had one of two ways.  One, trade a couple decent prospects and eat a smaller portion of his salary, or trade a few prospects that have as much chance of making the majors as Ellen DeGeneres does, and pay the majority of his contract.  He's only 31!  Let's go with Option #2.

Fake trade:  Seager to the White Sox for OF Craig Dedelow (unranked prospect), P Blake Battenfield (unranked prospect), and IF Mitch Roman (unranked prospect).  Postscript-I hope Dedelow, Battenfield, and Roman prove me wrong.  I root for the underdogs.

Purge Harper and Machado from your minds.  Ottavino and Encarnacion?  Ridiculous.  I am here to be the voice of reason.  If Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, and Tim Anderson don't all turn a corner next year, push all your expectations to 2022.

I don't tell you what you want to hear.  I tell you what you need to hear.  That's what Sox Township needs at this time.  Happy New Year.

 

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