If you've been reading along, you know how I feel about the White Sox and their current state of affairs. The team is improved from last year, no doubt. The front office has made some good to potentially great moves and when some key players come back from injury this team should have a decent core of young (ish) players to build around. The White Sox, however, should not think they are a contending team. Could this team, possibly, maybe, sort of contend for a final wild card spot? sure, anything is possible, but to borrow a phrase from Theo Epstein, I don't want a cookie.
Another thing I'd like to make known to White Sox management: As a fan, I'm ok with a full-blown rebuild. I don't know how it keeps coming up, but the trope about fans not showing up if the White Sox rebuild is not grounded in any type of evidence. I hate to point this out, but fans aren't exactly breaking down the gates right now or last season. Not to put too fine a point on it, but attendance has been on a steady decline since 2008.
I get the feeling Rick Hahn is willing to go full tear down, but there is a bit of resistance to that idea. I don't think it is a dictate from the marketing department, but more from the senior baseball management. While I think that Hahn a great amount of autonomy, I also think that Kenny Williams isn't totally out of the picture and exerts at least some influence on matters. Hahn did make a good start last year and the off-season. What I like about Hahn's moves thus far is that he has mixed in some acquisitions that have been good for the big league team. There are been some good additions to the minor league system too, but it hasn't been all down in the minors like the Cubs. Don't get me wrong, I think the Cubs are doing a great job, but I also like what Bruce Levine said one time, "rebuilding the minor league system and being competitive at the major league level need not be mutually exclusive." The White Sox aren't exactly competitive this year, but there has been visible improvement.
In order to keep that improvement rolling, I hope Hahn makes at least two more moves from the major league roster to add more depth to the minor leagues. Hopefully, like last year, it brings back a player or two that are very close to the big leagues. The question and challenge for Hahn is who should go and are they moveable. I think the first part is apparent. Alexei Ramirez, John Danks, Adam Dunn, and Gordon Beckham have all been mentioned in trade rumors. I did hear a funny idea last week. A caller to the Score proposed trading Paul Konerko to the Pirates. Yes, because acquiring an old part-time player is the way to the post-season.
Of the folks listed above, Danks and Ramirez have the most to offer a potential team. Danks is a lefty pitcher who has been decent throughout most of the year. A move to the National League would be probably be best for Danks. The switch to the other league would give Danks a potentially slight upper hand. The problem with moving Danks is that he has a hefty contract and I don't think many teams will want to take. Also, with the Giants getting Peavy, one of the potential suitors is off the table. St. Louis, especially with Michael Wacha down, could potentially be looking for a pitcher. The Pirates, tied with the Cardinals, might want to get a jump on the race as well. It would mean eating more of Danks' contract to send him to Pittsburgh, but depending on the return the money might be worth it.
Moving Ramirez poses some different problems. Alexei isn't a young player anymore, but at 32 not exactly old. A team could get some valuable time, or pick him up right at the decline. He is coming back this year from a sub-par one, at least in terms of homers and defense. Looking for a partner might be a little tricky. I don't think St. Louis would be interested. While Peralta has been a disappointment, he is signed for 3 more years. I also doubt they would take on Ramirez and sit Wong, who is still 24 and the second baseman of the future. Looking at the AL East, I'm sure the teams in contention are looking for some extra offense, but those teams look pretty set in the middle infield. I don't particularly want to see Alexei go, but he is probably the best chip to move.
Speaking of teams looking for some pop, Adam would provide just that. Unfortunately he has a pretty hefty contract and it would be a rent a player kind of scenario. Also, other than hitting home runs, he doesn't bring much else. I can't see a National League team picking him up so a DH slot is the best bet. I wonder if anyone wants a lefty slugger who can't hit lefties very well?
The final and least likely player to be moved is Gordon Beckham. I don't think his contract is the stumbling block or his defense, which is passable. It pretty much is the rest of it. He doesn't hit for power, doesn't get on base very much, isn't particularly fast and has a tendency to go on prolonged slumps. If Hahn could move him, I can't imagine the return would be much of anything.
After these four players, I'm sure a move or two might be possible, but the return wouldn't be much, perhaps Dayan Viciedo, but I don't see that happening mostly on the part of the White Sox. There really isn't much in the minor leagues to fill his spot. I think we've seen enough of Jordan Danks to get the picture, along with Moises Sierra. Honestly, if Hahn makes one big move that would be a success, two would be amazing. I don't envy his upcoming week.
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