SoxNet Roundtable: Where do the Sox go heading into the Winter Meetings?

SoxNet Roundtable: Where do the Sox go heading into the Winter Meetings?
Jose Quintana in Spring Training, 2015. (Daniel Shapiro / SoxNet)

The SoxNet writers got together to discuss the White Sox's future heading into the Winter Meetings, where the Sox are reportedly going to be one of the most aggressive sellers.

Should the Sox full scale rebuild, partial rebuild, retool and go for it, or stay pat?

Daniel Shapiro - The Sox should go for a burn-it-down, full scale rebuild. They have to be one of the strangest teams in MLB history because they effectively did the hard part of building a contender - they've had stars like Sale, Quintana, Eaton and Abreu for the past three years and under contract for three more.

Yet, no matter what moves they've made, good on paper or not, they've fallen flat. Frazier became a home-or-strikeout bat, Samardzija wasn't up to snuff, etc.

With their promising draft classes years away, it'd be wisest for the Sox to sell off their stellar pieces, no matter how much it would hurt. They need more young blood in the system that can make an impact at the major league level.

Michael Holley - Full-scale rebuild. In terms of their contract situation, I think the Sox are well positioned for a "last hurrah" on its current core, but the pathetic free agent market creates an advantageous seller's trade market, which presents an opportunity to profit by starting the rebuild immediately.

A "retool" can work for team that already has depth, but lack of depth is the primary problem with the Sox. Shuffling a few pieces around will not create a winner in this situation; it's all or nothing, and the trade market (theoretically) presents too good of an opportunity to pass up.

With a Chris Sale trade seeming more and more likely, what team would you prefer to trade? Who would you want as a centerpiece?

Bill Cowhey -  I like the Boston prospects the most, but really I'd be happy with the centerpieces of any of the contenders outside maybe the Rangers and Braves, because I'm not too high on Odor and I doubt the Braves would give up Swanson. However, even if the Sox were to get a Bregman/Turner/Benintendi as a centerpiece, I think that will severely limit the rest of the package, as I don't see teams willing to give up much beyond them, and at this point I think quantity is almost as important as quality.

This is why I'm warming up to a Nationals package, because I think they can still put together a great offer without Turner as a centerpiece with Giolito and Robles as headliners (if they don't trade them for McCutchen first of course), and just as importantly I think they'd actually be willing to do it. However, of all the oft-mentioned "untouchables" I think Moncada is the most realistic get because he's the furthest away from contributing, and if the Sox can get Devers as the primary second piece I'd be more than happy.

Michael Holley - Recent history has demonstrated that the safest way to stockpile long-term, foundational assets is to hoard high-quality position prospects. To me, this makes the Red Sox the ideal trading partners (Benintendi/Moncada/Devers/Travis/Dubon) among those reported as interested, though most realistic suitors have at least one interesting potential centerpiece on the positional side. I'm way high on Benintendi, so I'd love to see him in the deal. I seem to be among the lowest on Houston's Bregman, as I think he looks more like a "safe" solid regular than future superstar. While I love what I've read on LA's Bellinger, I'm a bit wary about a deal centered on a first baseman with potential strikeout issues.

Are there other players the Sox should trade? What type of returns should they expect for each?

Bill Cowhey - Frazier and Melky are the obvious ones, but I think we need to take advantage of the recent surge in the value of relievers and trade Jones and Jennings as well. Jones could fetch a Ken Giles-like package, and we might even be able to at least match the package we gave up for Frazier one year ago with the current FA market. I think Jennings gets us something close to what Duke did, but Melky's value is hard to gauge, especially since there are some OF free agent bats on the market. We might be better off waiting for the trade deadline with him, and I feel the same way about Abreu and Robertson (who I think need to rebuild their value somewhat), if the latter two aren't included to boost a potential Sale/Quintana package.

Daniel Shapiro - Aside from obvious answers such as Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera and Nate Jones, the Sox should explore trading Adam Eaton, but only for a Mark Teixeira-to-Atlanta type package. They'd need to be blown away to trade Eaton, who finished in the top nine in fWAR for position players and is under control for five years. Despite all that, the Sox plan on tearing it down, an Eaton trade can go a long way towards bolstering the system.

 Mark Liptak -  It depends on the path the Sox take. If it is a true rebuild every player can possibly be moved. The only exception I'd make is for Tim Anderson. He stays. I don't include Carlos Rodon in that list because of his agent. There is absolutely no way the Sox, because of his agent Scott Boras, will sign him to an extension. So if the right deal is out there, he goes too. The returns for an Eaton and Quintana should be considerable because of their talent and the lengths of their current deals. For guys like Robertson, Cabrerra, Jones will probably be less but I'd hope to get one genuine prospect who has a solid chance of making the big league roster.
What free agents should the Sox go for? If they're either retooling or rebuilding.
Bill Cowhey -  I really think if it weren't for Dioner Navarro we'd all be talking about the big step forward Rodon took this year, so I think a catcher is the most important move to make, retooling or rebuilding. The free agent crop is terrible, but if we're rebuilding I wouldn't mind Jeff Mathis if just for being the lone catcher left available who is above-average at framing.
Michael Holley -  Talented short-term guys who may be underrated because of poor recent performance, injury, or other factors: Nick Hundley, Chris Coghlan, Steven Pearce, Trevor Plouffe, Colby Rasmus, Peter Bourjos, Ben Revere, David Lough, and maybe even Wilson Ramos if his market collapses completely.
Daniel Shapiro - The Sox pitching and training staffs could make them an enticing landing spot for players like Tyson Ross or Greg Holland.
Wellington Castillo could be a decent backstop stopgap while Zack Collins continues to develop in the minors.
Bringing back Justin Morenau could be mutually beneficial. After working with the training staff and looking serviceable in 58 games, Morneau could continue to get healthier and the team could showcase him for midseason trades.
Most important issue to address going into 2017?
Mark Liptak -  The most important issue is off the field. The Chicago White Sox are basically irrelevant in their own home market. Drastic steps need to be taken on the advertising / marketing / season ticket and promotional departments to put this franchise back in the news. Right now the fan base is turning apathetic - that's even more dangerous then a fan base being mad. At least in that case they still care. JR won't fire or change the baseball side of his front office so he needs to do something on the non-baseball side.
Michael Holley - The most important issue for the Sox continues to be player development. Rick Hahn's strategy over the past few years hasn't been the issue, the Sox have simply failed to develop effective big leaguers to play next to their prime stars.

Bill Cowhey -  Figuring out a long-term plan. Know when you want to contend again. The team needs a firm direction.
Opinions aside, what do you think the White Sox will do this offseason?
Bill Cowhey - I think they will almost certainly trade Sale, and I'm pretty sure Frazier and Jennings will be gone, but beyond that it's hard to tell.
Michael Holley -  I think they'll trade Sale and maybe another player of consequence, but ultimately fail to tear it down as far as they probably should. We'll never know whether or not the right offers were made on the players that end up staying, but everyone will blame it on Jerry Reinsdorf being old.

Daniel Shapiro - I think they trade Sale, Frazier and Cabrera and try to stockpile young assets with the hope that the youngsters are ready to compete while Quintana, Eaton and Abreu are all still around.
Mark Liptak -  Unfortunately I don't think the Sox will do a complete tear down and rebuild. Part of it won't be their fault but it will be more along the lines of "typical" White Sox luck. They have potentially available for trade some of the top talent in the game, some of the best talent on the market in years, but they won't be able to get teams to meet their price. Teams today value top prospects.

Filed under: Editorial

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