Last Friday night’s 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins was a silver line for the Chicago White to an otherwise rough day. Before the game, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media to announce several White Sox players and prospects had suffered significant injuries. The team’s pitching depth was staggered with these injuries, and trading their best assets now may be a necessity.
At least four pitchers who were currently with the White Sox or in their minor league farm system suffered season-ending injuries. reliever Ryan Burr and Double-A prospect Jimmy Lambert will miss the rest of the season with ligament damage that will require Tommy John Surgery. Potential future closer Zach Burdi will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right patella. Finally, reliever Ian Hamilton will also miss the rest of the season recovering from a facial fracture.
These injuries are added to the already long list of White Sox pitchers injured as Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning, and Carlos Rodon have been sidelined this season due to Tommy John Surgery. At the moment the White Sox have very little quality pitching depth in their minor league system, and the people who make MLB picks don’t have them at the top of their lists for the rest of the season
For as bad as it has been, the back end of the White Sox bullpen this season has been a pleasant surprise. Closer Alex Colome and left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer have been one of the main reasons why the team is so much better this season. Colome has 17 saves this season while Bummer currently holds an impressive 2.08 ERA through 23 appearances.
With the trade deadline under month away, both relievers are drawing trade interest. Colome has been one of the best closers the last few years in baseball, and with another year of control on his contract, his trade value is extremely high. Bummer’s trade value is high because of his age and versatility out of the pen as he can pitch in any spot whether be middle relief and or closer.
On the other hand, it may be wise for the team to sell high on their relievers now to replenish their depleted pitching depth. If they could get three or four quality pitching prospect by trading both Colome and Bummer, it would be worth their wild to do so. The team needs to add at least one or two more potential starting pitching prospects due to the current rash of injuries and the regression of Reynaldo Lopez.
The 2016 New York Yankees are the most recent and best example for the White Sox as they traded their best relievers in Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for a package of prospects.
For their two relievers, the Yankees received eight prospects back in return including outfielder Clint Frazier and All-star Gleyber Torres. Now the White won’t get that quantity back in return, but if the team could pick up a quality reliever or starting pitching prospect that is on the verge of being called up, the deal pays off that much more.
It also might be the best market for the team to sell in due to the elimination of the waiver trades in August. More teams may be willing to offer more knowing that they might not be able to find a reliever after July 31st. There could be an unexpected bidding war in which the White Sox could get more in return than what they were expecting.
Trading both Bummer and Colome wouldn’t exactly prolong the rebuild either. When the Yankees traded their top relievers in 2016, they were in the ALCS the following year against the Houston Astros.
The recent rash of injuries may be the final straw for the White Sox front office to consider trading not just Colome, but Bummer also. If the team could get the right package in return and spend money on the right free agent pitcher in the offseason, the loss of their relievers might not even be noticed.