I figured a good way to get back into swing is to cover a small trade that I actually really fancied. That trade of course was The Oakland A’s sending Brett Lawrie to the White Sox for two young minor league pitchers Zack Erwin, and J.B. Wendelken. Going by the title you probably figured that I like this trade for the White Sox.
Since Joe Crede’s last game as a White Sox on 22/09/2008, the White Sox have gone through 22 starters at the hot corner. And aside from half of a season of Kevin Youkilis in 2012, and Connor Gillaspie’s BABIP inflated 2014, the hot corner has been hot rubbish. Since 2009 the White Sox have had a slash line of 243/302/364 with a wRC+ of 79, and an fWAR of -0.8. Both of which they are ranked dead last in those catagories. On the fielding side its been just as pathetic over that span. The White Sox are 29th in DRS at -234, and 28th in URZ at -171.5. Needless to say, the Sox needhelp.
Here is where Brett Lawrie comes in. Lawrie isn’t a perennial all star, or a favourite to win an MVP by any means. But he’s been about league average with the bat, and other than what appears to be an outlier in 2015, has been a solid fielder at third consistently over this career. Lets look a bit closer, shall we?
- 2012: 273/324/405, 97 wRC+, 11 HR
- 2013: 254/315/397, 95 wRC+, 11 HR
- 2014: 247/301/421, 103 wRC+, 12 HR
- 2015: 260/299/407, 94 wRC+, 16 HR
Again, not world beater numbers by any means but for a probable bottom of the order hitter, this production is fine. For 2016 steamer projects Lawrie to have a slashline of 256/309/422, 98 wRC+, with 17 HR, which seems to align with his career norms. And really, adding even league average production to the team that was 26th in wRC+, 27th in OBP, and 29th in Slugging helps, a lot.
Overall on defence the White Sox were not much better. 28th in DRS, 30th in URZ. Another area where Lawrie will certainly help. 2015 was Lawrie’s first negative DRS at third, and it has gone down the last three years. However, simultaneously, both the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s had moved him between second and third the past three seasons. In 2011, and 2012 when was solely a third baseman for the Blue Jays he put up a combined +34 DRS at third. White Sox General Manager Rick Hahn said “if today was opening day were today, he’d [Lawrie] would be our third baseman.” That I feel is the best course given Lawrie’s history with the glove.
Again, trading for Brett Lawrie isn’t like trading for Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado. However if you’re trying to have a solid short term guy to shore up the defence and get a little help with the bat, this is the type of deal you make. The two guys the White Sox gave up weren’t their top prospects so they didn’t overpay. Good, not great, move by the White Sox.