He is one of the most aggressive GM's in baseball. His goal is to bring a second World Series title to the Chicago White Sox under his leadership. GM Ken Williams can taste the American League Central Division title. With the non waiver trade deadline approaching in 4 days, there are some bold starting pitcher moves Williams can make. With uncertainty surrounding John Danks and inconsistency plaguing Philip Humber, Williams may go get a starter that puts the Sox over the top. Rumors have circulated that the Sox want Zack Greinke badly. It's a possibility, but I'm not sure the Sox have the assets to get that done with other teams trying to get his services. Here's three pitchers I came up with for the Sox to go after.
The 6'4" 220lbs right hander is nicknamed "Big Game James" which is due to his ability to shine on the big stage. Shields in 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio is 3 to 1. He has a 124 strikeouts compared to 39 walks. Shield is making $7.5 million dollars this season. He has a two club options remaining on his contract for $9 million dollars in 2013 ($1.5 million buyout) and $12 million in 2014 ($1 million buyout). The Sox could decide to keep him after this season or exercise the option. Shield would give the Sox another number one starter to join their 1A Chris Sale and 1B Jake Peavy. The Sox would have a very interesting rotation entering post season play with Sale, Peavy, and Shields as your top 3. The cost to get Shield's from Tampa Bay would likely be a top pitching prospect and at least another minor league prospect. The Rays are 8.0 GB in the East of the New York Yankees, but are only 2.5 GB in the Wild Card. The second Wild Card this year has left more teams in a situation where they are still in. The Rays would have to decide that they are either not going to make the post season, or that Shield's services will be too pricey next year to trade him.
This name has not been floated around in trade rumors. Seattle though traded Ichiro Suzuki earlier this week to the Yankees. The Mariners are 43-57 and are 16.5 GB in a tough America League West. Seattle will not be contending for any titles in the next two years. They are rebuilding and developing young talent. They currently have Hernandez under contract for two more seasons at $19.5 and $20 million dollars. Hernandez is making $18.5 million this season. The 6'3" 230lbs right hander from Venezuela would look great in a Sox uniform. A team like Seattle would want a strong prospect package from the Sox in return for Hernandez. Hernandez is 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA and 147 strikeouts. Hernandez is 26 years old and has been compared often to former Sox Freddy Garcia. Hernandez comes with a hefty price commitment so the Sox would have to be able to afford the contract. It could be feasible for the Sox because Jake Peavy's $22 million dollar option will not be picked up next season. The Sox could negotiate Peavy to a lower price in the off season and trade Gavin Floyd to find the cash to pay Hernandez next year.
I know the first reaction of some will be that this is a "homer" trade idea. I, however, do not look at it that way. The Miami Marlins tried to buy its way into a title this past off season. They were the most aggressive team this off season in free agency as they started their new era in baseball from Miami. Well, the new toy feeling has already worn off in South Beach. The Marlins are willing to deal most of their team to get out from under some financial obligations. Buehrle would give the Sox what they need in a front line starter. Buehrle may not be as over powering as some names out there, but his durability and post season experience are intangible. Buehrle is 9-9 with a 3.31 ERA in his first season with the Marlins. The issue with trading for Buehrle is only a financial one. He signed a 4 year $58 million dollar contract with Miami. The final two years of the contract are back loaded paying him $18 and $19 million dollars in those final two years. Buehrle is older than the other two pitchers at 33 years of age. Buehrle would cost less prospect wise because of his age, but I don't know if the Sox can gamble on the huge financial commitment in the last 2 years. Buehrle would be 37 years old and making $19 million in the final year.
The issue for the Sox is how attractive are their prospects. Do names like Nestor Molina, Jared Mitchell, Simon Castro, or Tyler Saladino interest clubs enough to trade their starters? With competition high among teams, Williams will be facing GM's with deeper systems trying to trade for the same players. Williams is rumored to be going hard on Greinke. Other teams though will show the same interest. The one thing Williams has going for him is he is creative. Also, the Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is one of the best owners in sports. If a move exists that looks like it will send the Sox over the top, expect Williams to make it.
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