Going into this season, I was pretty convinced that this was the best-looking White Sox roster of my lifetime. There were no apparent holes (except for second base), the lineup seemed to be loaded, and the rotation (which has by no means been the problem this year) looked as good as ever.
Passing the one-third mark of the season, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for the White Sox. They're 27-29, in third place, and five games back of the first-place Minnesota Twins.
Besides the record, we can all agree — so far, this team just isn’t good.
Do they have the potential to be good? Absolutely. Once Eloy Jiménez, Tim Anderson, and Lance Lynn return from the injured list the White Sox should go on a run, but in order to stay afloat until then they may need to jump the gun on the trade deadline by making a move.
Of course, the last time the White Sox tried to make an impactful add more than a month ahead of the deadline, it could not have possibly gone worse: 2016, James Shields. No explanation needed.
Ideally, the front office will have learned from past mistakes, and won’t deal any 18-year-old shortstops this time around.
All jokes aside, here are three viable trade ideas for the White Sox to jump-start their season.
All offseason, it was abundantly clear that the White Sox did not need another first baseman/designated hitter.
Two months into the season, they could really use another first baseman/designated hitter — or really, anyone who can drive the baseball.
Enter Josh Bell. The former All-Star first baseman is in the midst of a great season in Washington, hitting .305 with five home runs and 31 RBIs, with a 1.3 WAR. Bell would give the White Sox the switch-hitting power threat in the middle of the order that Yasmani Grandal certainly has not been — all while not costing too much in trade, as Bell is a free agent after this season.
The White Sox are going to need to realize that in order to win as many games as possible, Grandal cannot be catching only twice per week. Grandal is being paid to catch every day, therefore he should be. Bell could slide into Gavin Sheets’ recently-vacated DH spot, as Sheets would be a likely inclusion in the deal anyway.
Bell might have bigger suitors elsewhere, but he is the perfect immediate fix to the White Sox lineup. He’d inject power, a high slugging percentage, and success with runners on base: Three things the White Sox are still searching for in June.
For a good stretch of a few years, Whit Merrifield to the White Sox seemed like a pipe dream at the very best. Now, it could very well be a possibility.
Merrifield, who’s original position is second base but is currently the Kansas City Royals’ starting right fielder, is in the midst of a down year, hitting .225 with three home runs and a .580 OPS. Now 33, Merrifield will be a hot name on the trade market, with the Royals going nowhere but the MLB draft lottery.
Merrifield brings a great glove, defensive versatility, a great bat with a high contact rate, and smart yet speedy base-running, all of which could be of use to the White Sox, and all of which are qualities of players on championship-caliber teams. Think: Chris Taylor on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Merrifield would come with a pretty high price, as the White Sox would likely have to part with José Rodríguez or Lenyn Sosa, two of their prized middle infield prospects, in order to make a deal happen. But Merrifield would be the ideal long-term fix to the second base hole, as he is not a free agent until after the 2024 season.
Here’s the big fish. If there’s one player that is going to fix every lineup issue the White Sox have had to this point in 2022, it’s Ketel Marte of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
One of the most underrated players in the sport, the 28-year-old second baseman is hitting .272 with a .788 OPS and 1.3 WAR this season. Marte is under contract through 2028, as he recently signed a five-year, team-friendly deal with the D’Backs.
Although Marte was recently extended, the Diamondbacks are not particularly close to their competitive window opening up, especially given the ultra-competitive NL West. If the right deal were to present itself for Marte, Arizona would probably take it. Would the White Sox?
Chicago would have to offer up a haul, likely headlined by Colson Montgomery, Norge Vera, and at least one more of the organization’s top prospects. Is that worth five years of Marte, who is a sure thing, and could help the White Sox win a World Series this year? Rick Hahn and the front office will need to decide.
The White Sox have been disappointing this season, but they're within striking distance, and one move could provide the jolt they need to reassert control of the AL Central.