But let’s get the ugly out first: Sosa went on to earn 58.8 WAR with the Cubs, including an astounding 10.3 WAR season in 2001. He had seven top-10 MVP finishes — including winning the MVP in 1998 — and nine top-20 finishes overall. Now matter how we want to clown Sosa — and to be sure, he’s clownable — this was an atrocious trade.
In fact, by virtue of Bell being a negative-WAR player with the White Sox (yes, that’s right, two seasons totaling 38 homers and 176 RBIs don’t matter all that much when you’re a DH expected to do so, thus Bell’s career South Side WAR was -2.7, including a horrifying -2.5 in 1993), it would have been a bad trade if only Patterson (-0.6 WAR in his only Cubs season, 1992) was dealt for Bell.
In fact, part of the reason the White Sox had such sunny prospects for the ill-fated 1994 postseason was turning Bell’s -2.5 WAR at DH in 1993 into Julio Franco’s 3.0 WAR as DH in just 112 games in 1994.
But Bell had a solid pre-White Sox/Cubs career in Toronto, winning a gift MVP in 1987 (just 5.0 WAR, his best season, but ... 5.0 WAR MVP!) and had eight 20-homer seasons (including 1992 with the White Sox).
On this day in 1959, the man who cost the White Sox more than any other trade in their long history was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
The White Sox claimed Alejandro De Aza off of waivers from the Florida Marlins.
Never a major player for the club, the outfielder was an extremely good role player for the White Sox from 2010-14, particularly in the contending 2011-12 seasons. De Aza tore up Triple-A Charlotte in 2011, creating a clamor for him to fill in on the South Side and spell slumping outfielder Alex Ríos. As part of a tug-of-war between manager Ozzie Guillén and GM Ken Williams, De Aza ended up being summoned late (July 27). That he hit even better with Chicago than Charlotte spoke to the folly of letting him needlessly languish. De Aza played as a regular for the rest of 2011 and was spectacular over 54 games, slashing .329/.400/.520 and piling up an MVP rate of 2.5 WAR in that time. During 2012’s near-yearlong slot at the top of the AL Central, De Aza slumped to 2.3 WAR over a full season as a regular, but had an OPS of .848 in September — so the late swoon was no fault of his.
De Aza never again reached such heights with the White Sox, or anywhere else (the lefty was dealt to Baltimore at the trade deadline in 2014). But De Aza remained in the majors until 2017 and ran up 7.2 WAR over 2,575 plate appearances.