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White Sox Trade Value Index (part 2)

Continuing from yesterday

  1. Tyler Lumsden -- Lumsden is starting to live up to the expectations that come along with being drafted as a sandwich pick. He might have the best stuff of anyone in the Sox minor league system, and though he doesn't have a great strikeout rate, he's been inducing groundballs at a great rate and keeping the ball in the yard.
  2. Javier Vazquez -- This is probably a little low on the list, but like many of you, I'm frustrated with Vazquez -- probably too frustrated to accurately separate myself to objectively assess his value -- Vazquez has a reputation for being inconsistent and carries a large contract. Things can change quickly, though. If I had made this list last season, Jose Contreras and Bobby Jenks wouldn't have even made the top 20.
  3. Matt Thornton -- I now infamously opined that you would grow to hate Matt Thornton, but I'm glad I was wrong. Thornton, under the tutelage of Don Cooper, has turned himself into a valuable reliever worthy of receiving high leverage work. Lefties who throw 96+ don't grow on trees. His value just 3 months ago wouldn't have cracked the top 40. He's got 3 years of arbitration ahead of him, keeping his salary deflated.
  4. Lance Broadway -- 2005's first round pick hasn't been as consistent as Lumsden in AA, but holds better peripherals. He profiles to be a #3-4 starter. His value is higher than Lummy's because of his durability and perceived 'safeness' (for lack of a better word) as a prospect.
  5. Scott Podsednik -- There is bound to be some team in baseball who thinks that Pods can play center and is their key to jump-starting their offense, but I don't know if KW can find them. His defense is poor, he's not getting any faster, and he's about to get more expensive.
  6. Freddy Garcia -- Garcia's lost his stuff, and it's plain enough for anyone to recognize immediately. I've ranked him higher on the list than Vazquez because his contract is smaller, and he carries less long-term commitment, signed only through 2007. There are plenty of teams who would love to have him though, sending good prospects in return. If the Sox don't move him this off-season, they won't resign him, and shouldn't offer him arbitration. For that reason, they should be looking to deal him sooner rather than later.
  7. Neal Cotts -- Hey look, the Sox still have something of value from the Keith Foulke trade. Cotts is a very good reliever with a flair for stranding inherited runners. Once considered a starting pitching prospect, he never developed the secondary pitches to stick as a starter. That, and he just became too valuable in the pen. Entering his arbitration years, where if he's locked up long term on the cheap, he could gain more value.
  8. Tadahito Iguchi* -- I'm unsure of Iguchi's contract status beyond the 2007 option the White Sox hold on him. If he's still arbitration eligible, which I suspect he isn't, he should fall just inside the top 10. Since I suspect he isn't, I'll put him here, tied for 15th.
  9. Jon Garland -- Poor first half aside, nearly every team in baseball would love to have Jon Garland on their staff, but his contract out-prices about half of them. His trade value isn't what it was 3 months ago, obviously, but his relative youth, recent turnaround, and the fact that all of his stuff remains in tact keeps his value relatively high.
  10. Ryan Sweeney -- Not since Frank Thomas have the White Sox had a position prospect who carried with him a virtual guarantee of success at the major league level. Sweeney is still more than a year away from producing at the major league level, but his results are starting to match the rave reviews he consistently receives from scouts.
  11. Juan Uribe -- Juan Uribe will never be a superstar, but he can play one for the White Sox for weeks at a time. He's under ChiSox control through 2008 at less than $5M/yr. With his consistent defense at short, and his occasional offensive outbursts, he's a solid value, though I doubt many around baseball realize what type of player he truly is.
  12. Brian Anderson -- Don't let the sub-Mendoza Line average fool you, Anderson is baseball player. It appears as if he's finally starting to relax and let the game come to him. He has a chance to fly up this list with a strong second half. Strong up the middle defenders with his range who don't cost anything, not surprisingly, are in high demand.
  13. Josh Fields -- At this point last year, I was calling Josh Fields a bust. Again, I'm happy to be wrong. He may not pan out, but he has made himself into a prized prospect in just 12 months. His value drops as soon as he is moved to a position other than third, so the Sox would be wise to move him before they are forced into the position switch.
  14. Paul Konerko -- Konerko's Kontract is simply too expensive for many major league clubs. Given the current rate of salary inflation in MLB Konerko's 12M/yr. probably won't be as hard to move at the end of his contract as you might envision right now. Still he figures to play out his contract with the White Sox simply because production from 1B/DH isn't that hard to find, and most teams aren't willing to pay this much for that production.
  15. Joe Crede -- The Man-crush has two more years of arbitration left. I figure that the White Sox will offer him a three-year deal after the season, buying out a year of free agency in the process. His value will eventually be determined by that contract, but as an arbitration eligible player he still carries considerable value. His offensive and defensive production at a reasonable price put him higher on this list than Konerko.
  16. Brandon McCarthy -- 22 year olds who can pitch league average ball don't grow on trees. When Brandon is moved into the rotation next season, and if he pitches above average as I expect him to, he could secure the #1 spot on this list. His diminished role in the bullpen this season doesn't do much to diminish his overall value to most clubs.
  17. A.J. Pierzynski -- I bet most of you are surprised to see Pierzynski sitting this high. I've been railing on his low RBI total in many of the gamethreads, but the truth is good offensive catchers are hard to find. And I think AJ's defense has been much more solid this year too. He's signed through 2008 at around $5M/yr., and no matter which Pierzynski you get, the low-average power hitting '05 version or the high-average doubles hitting '06 version, that's a bargain. His value may be depressed by a bad reputation, however.
  18. Jermaine Dye -- Jermaine's in the middle of an MVP season, and is locked up through next season for the relatively paltry sum of $6M. There's not a team in baseball who wouldn't love to have Jermaine patrolling their right field at his current price and production. He ranks below Thome, because he hasn't consistently put up numbers in the past.
  19. Bobby Jenks -- Jenks questionable past, inconsistent minor league performances, and the screw in his right elbow keep him from being the White Sox player with the highest value, but it's close. Jenks wouldn't have even made the top 20 a year ago, so he's made some huge strides. He's got at least another year at near the league minimum before he reaches arbitration. It might be worth the gamble to lock him up at below market value following the season. Given what some teams are willing to pay for proven closers, it probably wouldn't be hard to move him in the event that he loses it.
  20. Jim Thome -- Since the Sox are only paying Jim $8M/yr., that is the salary figure I'll use for this excersize. At that price, Thome is one of the best post-arbitration values in baseball. Only his age and worries about his health keep him from sitting atop this list.
  21. Mark Buehrle -- Buehrle has a $9M option on his contract for 2007. There are only a few teams in baseball who wouldn't be willing to pay for his type of consistency. In fact, the reason that he doesn't rank #1 on this list is that the Sox have his rights for only the next year and a half.
  22. Jose Contreras -- How you rank Jose Contreras depends on how you view his last calendar year, and whether you feel he is capable of repeating that for the life of his newly signed 3-year contract. Contreras is signed through 2009 at a cost never exceeding $10M/yr. Given what the market value for league average pitching will probably be like in '09, Contreras should be a bargain. I've ranked him #1 because he's pitched better than Buehrle for the past year, and figures to better than him for the life of Buehrle's contract, with two years tacked on for good measure.
Compared to a team like Minnesota, with Liriano and Mauer producing All-Star seasons for near league minimum, the Sox don't really have any untouchable players. What they do have is a relatively young core locked up for the next couple of seasons at reasonable salaries. Kenny's job will get really interesting following next season with key players (Dye, Iguchi, Buehrle, Garcia) becoming free agents.

Yes, I realize there's 22 players on this half of the list. Originally, I had Iguchi listed as an asterix and Crede-Uribe listed as one entity.