I admit it. I liked what the White Sox did this winter. You know what? I still like it. In spite of all of their troubles I think their starting pitching is highly impressive and is ready to compete. Yes, the book is quickly closing on 2015, but I think 2016 can be the year we breakthrough.
However, the rest of the Western world wants to rip the White Sox apart and trade anyone and everyone with a pulse, even Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, to rebuild the farm system. I personally think this is a huge waste of a potential great pitching staff.
Yes the offense has been garbage. That is proven fact. It's just not working. However, Adam Eaton has slowly but surely brought his stat line up to respectability. Melky Cabrera has been getting a few hits to drop lately, even though the power is still lacking.
Still the White Sox have major holes at three infield positions. Conor Gillaspie is not the answer at third base. That position is in need of an upgrade quickly. Micah Johnson struggles at second base and isn't ready to help out a team with aspirations of contending. Carlos Sanchez is doing a great job with the glove, but in spite of yesterday, that bat is putrid. Alexei Ramirez is struggling both with production and focus.
So this is where I propose the White Sox new trade deadline plan.
I think the White Sox should be buyers at the deadline. What? KenWo are you looney? Maybe. But no. The first thing I do is call the Cincinnati Reds and see what the cost is for Todd Frazier. Do they want minor league pitchers like Erik Johnson, Frankie Montas or Tyler Danish? How about Tim Anderson? Micah Johnson? Trey Michalczewski? You know what? Let's throw in Avisail Garcia. In short, I don't think the White Sox should pause at any of their minor league talent or even Garcia.
Let's put a package together to acquire Frazier. He is signed through 2017. He is an All-Star. If Garcia goes in the package, you make the play on Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton or Jason Heyward to take his spot in free agency. Suddenly a team that can have a lineup of Eaton, Abreu, LaRoche, Frazier and Cespedes (Heyward or Upton) looks very formidable. In fact, I'm willing to bet that we can put some kind of deal that also includes Brandon Phillips and John Danks. Phillips indeed is nearing the end of the line but is still far and away a better player than we can field at this time. The Reds will be looking for someone to eat innings and as much money as Danks costs, it is cheaper overall than what Phillips costs.
Secondly, instead of trading Jeff Samardzija, I am trying to sign him. I liked how he fit into the White Sox rotation when they traded for him and I still like him there moving forward. He's not the top of the line guys that are available like David Price, Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke (if he opts out) or Jordan Zimmermann. Cole Hamels will be another pitcher on the move this off-season. I think the White Sox could play the game of musical chairs and end up with Samardzija. If the White Sox need money to support this, they can find some of it in the way of declining Alexei Ramirez' option. Heck, if you add Frazier and one of those outfield bats, you can live with Sanchez at shortstop.
Back in 2004, the White Sox made a few trade deadline moves with Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez out for the season when they acquired Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras to be part of the 2005 rotation. That team is coming back next month for an anniversary party and a big part of it was acquired at the deadline in 2004.
The White Sox committed this last off-season. There is no reason to stop now. Take the next step like Toronto did. Go ahead Rick, Kenny and Jerry. I say, double-down. Improvements are available. Todd Frazier is out there. Go get him.