Drawing inspiration from Bill Simmons annual NBA Trade Value Index column, I thought I would make a similar list for the team that I know best.
This list is not a list of who is the team MVP, or who is the best prospect, it's simply my attempt to quantify which players hold the most trade value around the league.
Easily Replaceable Spare Parts
- Cliff Politte/Dustin Hermanson -- A pair of relievers who almost literally gave their right arms for a World Series title. Politte's a free agent at the end of the season, and is in danger of being DFA'd. Hermanson has another year left on his deal, but probably figures to retire if his comeback bid is unsuccessful this year.
- Pablo Ozuna -- There's probably not another team in baseball, not another manager in baseball, who would get above replacement level production out of Pablo Ozuna. He ranks this low because he's more valuable to the White Sox than anything he would bring in return.
- Ross Gload -- Unlike Ozuna, Gload could probably be easily replaced within the organization. And that's why he ranks so low on this list, most teams in baseball have a couple of Gload-types just waiting in the wings.
- Chris/Vernon Carter -- It looks like the White Sox have not been able to come to terms with recent draftee Christopher Duffy, the HS 3B who I thought looked like a young David Ortiz. Thanks to the emergence of Carter, it may not be a big loss. Carter, 19, started at low-A Kannapolis getting just 50 at-bats before being sent back to extended spring training. When short season ball opened, Carter began mashing the ball. He currently leads the Pioneer League in HRs with as many HR as the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place hitters with 7 in under 75 ABs. It's still the Rookie Leagues, though, so he stays stuck down the list. -- There are a couple of other young Rookie Leaguers who are putting up some numbers, but it's still the rookie leagues, so Carter's the only name I'm mentioning.
- B.J. Lamura -- Lamura looks to be following in Jeff Bajenaru's footsteps. He has an excellent hit and strikeout rate out of the Birmingham pen, but doesn't have the reputation of top-level stuff. He's also walking a batter every other inning. Baj was turned into a useful bench piece in Alex Cintron, so Lamura may have some good value in the future.
- Robert Valido/Jose De Los Santos -- A couple of youngish SS's splitting duties in Winston-Salem. Valido was recently demoted from Birmingham after a disappointing first half. I don't know much about Santos' defensive ability, but I came away from spring training relatively unimpressed with the reportedly rangy Valido. Young shortstops always have value.
- Ryan Rodriguez -- 6'4" lefty who's been solid, though slightly below average, at every stop. His saving grace is that he's probably always playing above his head. The Sox have pushed him quickly. At 21 and in AA, this lefty could surprise in a year or two.
- Adam Russell -- Unspectacular, but slowly moving up the prospect radar. Big, durable, right-handed pitchers are always in demand.
- Aaron Cunningham -- Drafted in the 6th round of the 2005 draft with a reputation for good power, Cunningham started the season with a flurry in Kannapolis. An unknown (to me, anyway) injury held him out of action for about a month, but he continues to show his potential.
- Ray Liotta -- Liotta is probably the White Sox prospect who has hurt his value the most with a poor first half. Jon Sickels ranked him as the Sox top prospect before the season, but he hasn't delivered like one, even with the favorable home ballpark.
- Daniel Cortes -- Just 19, Cortes struggled in his first month at Kannapolis, no thanks to the defense behind him. Since then, however, he's developed into the relative staff ace while being the youngest member of the club and one of the youngest in the league. Look for him to post very good numbers in the second half.
- Lucas Harrell -- Harrell looked like a 2004 draft bust after another disappointing season in '05, but he has rebounded in High-A Winston Salem to become their staff ace. He's struggled in his last couple of outings, but if he returns to his form of the first two months, he should get a look in AA by the end of the season.
- Heath Phillips -- Phillips is a middling lefty who often draws comparisons to Mark Buehrle thanks to his fast pace on the mound and excellent pick-off move. He projects as a back of the rotation starter, but could wind up with the dreaded AAAA tag.
- Chris Stewart -- Stewart profiles as more of a back-up catcher than full-timer. He has a good defensive reputation, and that's probably the one thing that will get you to the majors faster than being a left-handed pitcher.
- Sean Tracey -- Probably more of a relief prospect at this point, Tracey is getting to be a little old for a prospect. He'll need to improve on his control if he ever hopes to succeed at the major league level, and I don't know if there is another organization, or pitching coach, who can get that out of him. He does have major league stuff though, which will always make him intriguing to other teams.
- Charlie Haeger -- Like Tracey, Haeger needs to improve his control. Unlike Tracey, however, Haeger the knuckleballer might not have the bullpen option to fall back on. He'll need to find a team in need of cheap league average pitching talent, who also has a lot of patience.
- Alex Cintron -- Cinton's value is largely tied to his defensive position (SS) and his relatively cheap contract. He has 2 more years of arbitration left, but he'll start to get expensive as a back-up from now on.
- Kyle McCulloch -- The 2006 first round draft pick wouldn't be eligible to be traded until June of next year, but I included him on the list just to show the approximate value of a late first round pick. The Sox are taking it slow with McCulloch, sending him to the rookie leagues where he has been good in limited work.
- David Riske -- Average right-handed reliever. He's a free agent at the end of the season which makes his value rather negligible. He was acquired for Javier Lopez.
- Rob Mackowiak -- Mackowiak is one of the best hitting full-time back-ups in baseball. Unfortunately, he's paid like it. That makes him useful to only the large market teams.
I'll have the second half of this list for you sometime tomorrow.