With the way Phil Humber and Gavin Floyd have pitched recently, it’s becoming obvious that if the Chicago White Sox are going to make a move at the trade deadline, starting pitcher is where they will look.
While third base and left-handed relief pitching have been issues as well, the Sox look like they are beginning to realize that they cannot expect to win a division with two bad apples in the starting rotation.
However, it’s been well documented by scouts and baseball experts that the White Sox lack a strong farm system. While they do have some nice prospects in the outfield, that’s the only spot anywhere in the system that maybe could entice a team to deal a starting pitcher.
So, with that said, in order to get the likes of a Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Zach Grienke, Shaun Marcum or someone else, Kenny Williams may have to look on this Major League roster. It cannot just be someone though, as a team like the Cubs, Brewers, or another trade partner will be looking to go young.
It’s going to have to be someone with youth and a lot of promise: someone like Nate Jones or Addison Reed.
Sox fans will not want to hear that, and neither do I. Reed has been one of the best closers in the American League since being moved to that role (today notwithstanding), and what’s not to like about a set-up man that can control a 98 mph fastball?
When it comes to young pitching, this is all the White Sox really have to offer.
Jose Quintana has been fantastic, but he’s probably not going anywhere with the current holes in the Sox rotation. Other teams may bite on Matt Thornton, but it would have to be a swap with a team that’s in contention just like the White Sox, as rebuilding teams probably would not be enticed by a reliever in his mid-30s. Plus, the Sox’s problem in the pen is with the lefties, so trading your best one wouldn’t make much sense either.
The Sox could trade a hitter, but I don’t find that to be very likely either.
Dayan Viciedo is too big a part of this offense now and for the future for Kenny to include him in a trade for a “rent-a-player” starter, and guys like Eduardo Escobar and Jordan Danks, according to most, are not the type of “can’t miss” prospects teams want.
So, unless a team would be willing to make a deal for some of the young outfield talent the Sox have in the minors, it’s probably going to have Jones or Reed the Sox give up. Since Addison Reed is the most important piece of that bullpen, I doubt the Sox would include him anywhere. And as big a piece of that bullpen as Jones has become, it would be hard for the Sox to deal him too.
With all arrows pointing towards trading a member of the Sox bullpen, Kenny Williams has a big decision to make. What is more important to the success of this team: a strong back end of the bullpen or a five-deep rotation?
All I have to say is I’m glad I’m not the one making the decision.