Writing about trade rumors is kind of a self-defeating practice, especially if you're a blogger who hasn't even a shred of inside information. I mean, I have some reliable avenues to get by-the-minute trade information, but so does everyone else who uses Twitter.
But with rumors circling around Carlos Quentin, Dayan Viciedo, Mark Teahen, and Mark Buehrle as possible trade bait, in all likelihood somebody's gettin' dealt. It's up to us to figure out who would be great to get rid of, who might be worth it to sacrifice, and what would the equivalent of amputating our legs for the sake of getting a new bike.
Obvious Pros: High trade value, rids us of his defense, we'll never have to hear Hawk say "he hits a hard .220" ever again
Obvious Cons: Not that expensive, still has an impact bat, bails out on a player once capable of MVP levels, now there's a hole in right field
Spin: If the goal of a trade is to get back something you want in exchange for something you don't mind losing, then Quentin and his replacement level play in 2010 seems ideal. 2008 is getting farther and farther away, but it's amazing how much teams will still kick the tires on a guy in his 20's who is capable of hitting 40 HR. With both the 1B and DH positions extremely locked up, Quentin would be forced to play right field, and there's really no reason--with his lack of body control* and foot-speed--to think he'll get better from the -14.5 UZR he put up in 2009 or the ghastly -22.9 he put up in 2010.
The problem with Quentin is that you're creating a hole in order to plug another. CQ could surely fetch a fine middle reliever in return, but a starting quality right fielder would need to come back as well unless you're really deeply in love with Alejandro De Aza or Mark Teahen. This has sparked conversation that a repeat of the Carlos Lee trade should take place, where the Sox got Luis Vizcaino for the pen while also getting Scott Podsednik to play left field everyday. That doesn't inspire much confidence, as I always thought the Brewers fleeced Chicago at a time where they were desperate to change their identity.
Also, by trading Quentin, the Sox are risking selling low on a talented hitter yet again**. After an injury-riddled 2009, Quentin seemed out of sorts for most of 2010 with isolated bits of super-productivity. If he was dealt, it wouldn't be a shock to see him put together another All-Star season.
Deal him or keep him?: Trade him. He's not just 'bad' in right field, he isn't an option. Even if his bat returned, his value would be underwhelming due to his "I've just been shot in both of my thighs and I'm trying to drag myself to the ER" defense. With 2 DH mainstays, there's nowhere to put him. Good player, bad fit.
*When I say body control, I specifically mean his ability to run and jump around without getting hurt
Obvious pros: Bye-bye succubus!, removes possibility of him providing awful defense at any position, ditches awful contract, frees up utility role to be filled with better player
Obvious cons: Low trade value, loss of left-handed "bat"
Spin: If you can find someone willing to part with a decent middle reliever in exchange for Mark Teahen, do it. Oh my God, do it. After a year of sub-replacement play where he was noticeably devoid of power despite playing in U.S. Cellular and seemed inadequate for playing any defensive position, a team other than the White Sox giving Mark a shot seems like a stretch, let alone dealing an actual asset for him and his contract..
Anybody want to pay over $10 million the next two seasons for someone to slug under .400?
Deal him or keep him?: Deal him if you can, but 'Cash for Clunkers' was ended months ago
Obvious Pros: Not a starter or even necessarily a member of the 25-man roster, high trade value, maybe he'll never fix his plate discipline
Obvious Cons: No more Jack'N Dayan, gutting farm system yet again, dealing away a player with 40 HR potential for way below what his potential value is
Spin: Trading Dayan Viciedo is the logical endpoint of the 'All-in' mantra. He's a guy who could be the best player on the team a few years down the road, but may not be in position to help the White Sox win any games at all in 2011. Dayan is likely too undeveloped defensively and too undisciplined at the plate to win the 3rd base position, but at the very least could be a pretty potent all-or-nothing power hitter down the road, and we have more than a few of those already on the team.
Really, if 'all-in' we're really the mantra of the 2011 White Sox, I would want this team to be a lot better than it is, and be even more aggressive than they've been. They could go way over budget with the intention of cutting payroll in subsequent years, cut Mark Teahen just for the sake of getting rid of him, and in turn, deal every prospect worth a damn for immediate help.
But it's clear, especially from the way that the team distributed the end of Konerko's contract, that the Sox have every intention of trying to compete in 2012 and 2013 as well. As such, the man who by all logic could be the team's biggest run-producer by 2013, might need to stick around
Deal him or keep him?: Well, I guess you could, and for the time being it would solve all your immediate problems, but while Carlos Quentin might come back to have some productive seasons, there probably needs to be some sort horrific injury to prevent 21-year old Dayan Viciedo from far out-stripping the value of the reliever the White Sox get in return. Sure, the team might win a division, but trading Viciedo has the potential to make KW look like a moron for years to come.
Obvious Pros: HIGH trade value, gets value in exchange for a player who could be on his way out once his contract expires at the end of 2011, gets rid of a lot of money
Obvious Cons: Creates a very noticeable huge hole in the starting rotation, dealing a starter for bullpen help is dumb, uh...it wouldn't feel right?
Spin: Trading Buehrle would certainly get a lot of bullpen help, and it would need to, because Chris Sale would have to go back to the rotation, where he's not the proven commodity that he is in the bullpen.
If 2011 is a rebuilding year, then trading Buehrle is a fantastic move; it ditches an expensive contract of a possibly overpaid veteran and gets a valuable return for a player that isn't a great shot to come back (and possibly shouldn't come back).
But if 2011 is a 'go-for-it' season, then dealing a lot of proven commodities for unknowns doesn't seem like the right move. Buehrle wasn't even that great last season, and put up a 3.8 fWAR due to all the innings he logs.
Most of all, the prospect of trading a trusted starter because arms are needed in the bullpen seems pretty dumb. This isn't last year where pro-ready Dan Hudson was waiting in the wings should a starting spot open, getting rid of Buehrle would force the Sox to shift a lot of pieces around, and is a long-shot to make the team immediately better.
Deal him or keep him?: Per his usual policy, Kenny Williams should listen to offers on Buehrle like he listens to offers for all his players, but this would really need to be one hell of an offer.