Last year at the Major League Winter Meetings, the White Sox were the main focus after they begun their rebuild trading away All-Star pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton. The moves signaled the start of the White Sox change in direction to rebuild through the draft and minor leagues.
The team has had the same goals at this year’s Winter Meetings, but unfortunately, do not have the pieces or position to make a move.
Through the first three days of the meetings, the White Sox have yet to make a trade with any team as they have been looking to trade outfielder Avasil Garcia and or Jose Abreu if they get the right offer. Abreu is highly unlikely to be traded because the organization highly values his leadership during the rebuild and would need a highly favorable return before even considering a deal. Garcia is more likely of the two to be moved, but the market has not been favorable to the team especially after today’s trade.
The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants were two teams that were spurned by the Giancarlo Stanton no-trade clause as the Miami Marlins had principle agreements on a trade before Stanton said no.
Both teams were looking to add a power right-handed bat to their offenses as Garcia appeared to be a viable replacement for either team. The Cardinals on Wednesday did finalize a trade and filled their power need by trading for Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins. That leaves the Giants as the only high favorable trade partner for the White Sox who will not have any leverage over the Giants in getting the highest return for Garcia.
There were also rumors the last few days that the White Sox were talking to the Baltimore Orioles in regards to trading for third baseman Manny Machado.
Many believe that White Sox will heavily target Machado when he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season as they will have only six million on their payroll and will be looking to compete in 2019. A trade this offseason would be a highly bad move on the White Sox part as a trade for Machado would cost them several prospects following a season where the team stockpiled prospects. Furthermore, it would be an embarrassment if the team trade for Machado, failed to compete this season, and was then unable to re-sign him in the off-season losing him and their prospects for nothing.
General manager Rick Hahn did sign a few players last season to one-year deals with the intent of trading them if they had high trade value during the season. The plan worked for reliever Anthony Swarzak as they traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league Ryan Cordell.
The move did not work out for starting pitcher Derek Holland who started the season off really well, only to perform poorly throughout the rest of season and was released in September.
This year, one player the team may look to sign for a season could be outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista has been a quiet name this off-season as his home run numbers and batting average has dropped the last two season in Toronto. He hit just 23 home runs and batted .305 last season, but could be a good signing for the White Sox playing in hitter-friendly Guaranteed Rate Field. If he is able to produce, he could be a big trade commodity for teams at the 2018 trade deadline as power bats are always in demand.
Many should not be surprised by the White Sox inactivity at this year’s Winter Meetings following their highly active 2017 season. The team does not have as many talent players with team friendly contracts that enabled them get the highest return on their trades. Furthermore, the success has driven teams to be weary of trading with the White Sox as they have rebuilt their farm system into the number one in baseball in less than one year’s time. Hahn and the front office will make moves before the start of the 2018 season, but no one should expect the quality or quantity of moves that were made last year.