Given all the contenders for the second wild card spot around baseball, real and imagined, it seemed implausible that Miguel Gonzalez’s brand of adequacy wouldn’t find a suitor of some sort.
It took until a couple hours before the deadline, and after Gonzalez started earlier in the day, but one of those teams on the outside met the Sox’ terms. Gonzalez is heading to the Texas Rangers for Ti’Quan Forbes, a 20-year-old third baseman in A-ball.
Forbes seems like an intriguing enough return for a two-hours-’til-deadline August deal, as he has some pedigree and skills. The Rangers drafted him out of Columbia High School in the second round of the 2014 draft, signing him for over-slot money ($1.2 million for a pick worth $957,900). The pick hasn’t yet panned out offensively. Forbes is hitting just .234/.281/.344 over 130 games between A-ball Hickory and High-A Down East, with 128 strikeouts to 25 walks.
The good news? He was drafted as a shortstop and the tools have transferred well to the corner. It’s also worth noting that he’s made 16 starts at short this year after making just two appearances there over 2015 and 2016 combined. There’s still enough there to make him intriguing, as J.J. Cooper reiterated Baseball America’s pre-draft report:
For the White Sox, Ti'Quan Forbes still has good tools. Was known to be a slow-developer when the Rangers' picked him.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) September 1, 2017
BA’s line at the time was that Forbes possessed "arguably the biggest gap between the player he is today and the player he could be at maturity” in the 2014 draft class. That said, it remains a big gap to bridge, especially if he’s trying to make it work at third base.
The slow track probably has allowed the White Sox to get a good look at him. Between this season and the 120 games he played for Hickory in 2016, that’s 250 games for teams that share the same league as the White Sox’ A-ball affiliates.
Also, his letters in his name can be rearranged to spell “Barf Question.”
As for Gonzalez, he leaves Chicago having delivered more than asked of him. He posted a 4.01 ERA (104 ERA+) over 45 games and 262 2⁄3 innings, which is a pretty good return from what started as a minor-league deal after the Orioles gave up on him at the end of spring training.
After a three-week tune-up in Charlotte, Gonzalez joined the Sox and resumed exceeding his modest arsenal the way he did in Baltimore, replacing John Danks and solving a rotation spot for a White Sox team that crumbled elsewhere. The only knock on him was his tendency to require a DL stint or two, but despite points off for durability, he still gave the Sox 3.7 bWAR for just $6 million or so over his time with the Sox.
Gonzalez’s absence creates a void in the rotation, and one that Derek Holland will probably occupy unless the Sox pack some surprises in their 40-man roster call-ups later today.
This trade was dwarfed by the Houston Astros within the hour.
The Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros pulled off a last-second blockbluster deal that sent former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to the first-place Astros, seconds before the 11:59 ET trade deadline Thursday evening. [...]
The Astros will send right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez (No. 3), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11) to Detroit.