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White Sox trade rumors: Manny Machado isn’t going away

Rumormongers say Rick Hahn is making the most compelling case so far

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, I said it made sense for the White Sox float around the periphery of the Manny Machado trade discussions, whether it’s because they can capitalize on the Orioles not wanting to trade their star inside the division, or simply because they’ll want to make their interest known for Machado’s impending free agency.

It intensified starting Wednesday afternoon, and has only intensified overnight, with rumors coming from all angles. It’d be one thing if it were the White Sox-friendly Bob Nightengale:

But Ken Rosenthal (a former Orioles beat writer) wrote up a story with the White Sox in the lead:

In a surprising turn of events, the rebuilding Chicago White Sox emerged Wednesday as the most aggressive suitor for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, according to major-league sources.

Rosenthal floated that the White Sox could up and trade him to the Yankees, and so did Dan Clark, another Baltimore reporter:

But Nightengale downplayed that claim this morning:

If the Orioles want to deal for starting pitchers, that’s the one area where the White Sox have one or two to spare from their rebuild. There’s Carlos Rodon, if the Orioles consider him “controllable,” but since he’s in his arbitration years and coming off a shoulder surgery, I don’t think he’d drive a deal.

I’m thinking it’s only pure prospects, such as the White Sox’ top seven in order of advancement:

  1. Lucas Giolito
  2. Reynaldo Lopez
  3. Carson Fulmer
  4. Michael Kopech
  5. Alec Hansen
  6. Dane Dunning
  7. Dylan Cease

It requires some balls to think about which ones are truly expendable at this point. The day before, Rick Hahn articulated a problem with dealing from the system now:

“Frankly we'll probably be in a little better position for deals like that a year from now. I think we'll have a much better understanding of which of this group is going to be taking a step forward. We'll certainly have a better understanding of what the timelines are and where potential holes may exist. To do such a trade at this point would be a little bit conjecture in terms of, 'Hey we think there's going to be a hole there, we think we have depth there,' whereas a year from now, we'll have a lot more information along those lines.”

But considering TINSTAAPP, sometimes this is the time to deal. There are combinations of the above pitchers that could potentially make sense without being a homer trade or one that shoots the rebuild in the foot. I’d treat Kopech as untouchable and Giolito next up, because cutting that deep offsets a healthy chunk of Machado’s value and forces the Sox to really pony up. However, would a Lopez- or Hansen-oriented deal walk the line between feasible and painful? Could they make Hansen untouchable, or would both be required?

I don’t have a great feel for what’s at stake here, and that’s only the first of a few components that this trade requires. Another one is the likelihood of the White Sox extending Machado before he gets a chance to really test his market. If the Sox are able to acquire Machado largely on pitchers they deem expendable, then they probably can’t get greedy with that part of it:

If the White Sox do have to cut into their depth, at least they’ll still have Jordan Guerrero around as a candidate to absorb spot starts. He wasn’t taken in the Rule 5 draft.