Latest On White Sox’s Deadline Plans

The White Sox could be one of the most interesting sellers of this year’s Frist. Chicago lost its last two games before the All-Star Break and is 16 games under .500 at 38-54. They are eight games behind Cleveland on the AL Central, where they now sit fourth.

Chicago has a number of players that are relatively close to free agency that they could market commercially. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Sox are willing to seriously consider offers for all but four players: the midfielder Luis Robert Jr.ass Dylan stop itfirst baseman Andrew Vaughn and left fielder Eloy Jimenez. Heyman points out that while no one on the roster is inherently untouchable, Chicago has “clear intentions” to keep those four players.

Last month, Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that Chicago had told its rivals that they would focus on keeping players under control beyond this season. If the Sox seriously considered offers for everyone but Cease, Robert, Vaughn and Jiménez, it would mark a change in direction, though the Sox would still refuse to transfer one of their most valuable long-term assets.

Chicago has a number of likely upcoming free agents that are obvious candidates for a move. Starter Lucas Giolito and reliever Keynan Middleton And Reynaldo Lopez are pure rentals; All three were among the MLBTR’s top 20 trading contenders last week. So does the starter Lance Lynn, whose contract includes an $18m team option likely to be bought out for $1m. reliever Joe Kellywho can be controlled via a $9.5 million club option ($1 million buyout) for next season also topped that list.

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The Sox have a few more players with relatively expensive options for 2024. Closer Liam Hendricks has a $15 million option that comes with a matching buyout number. This is likely to be called upon as buying Hendriks would only allow the Sox to defer that payment over a 10-year period. Tim Andersons The deal includes a $14M team option or a $1M buyout. Anderson is having a terrible season (.223/.259/.263 over 290 plate appearances) that might at least force the organization to reconsider an option that just a few months ago seemed like an easy decision. The Mike Clevinger The deal includes a $12 million mutual provision, which the club is likely to buy out for $4 million.

Yasmani Grandal And Elvis Andres are the other upcoming free agents in the roster. Grandal bats at a decent batting average of .251/.317/.374, but mid-season catcher trades are rare and he’s making an $18.25 million salary that would be difficult to move. Andrus fails to produce and scores .208/.286/.266.

It’s not too surprising that the White Sox are considering offers for anyone in this group. It’s unlikely the majority will be on the South Side beyond this season. It would be ill-timed to negotiate with Anderson or Hendriks (currently on the injured list with an injured elbow), although the front office could look into it if they consider turning down the option for either player next year.

Giolito in particular seems almost certain to change uniforms. MLBTR’s #1 draft pick has pitched 112 1/3 innings with 3.45 ERA balls in 19 starts. He beats more than a quarter of all opponents and looks like a consistent No. 2/3 starter on a playoff team. He’s on his way to a nine-figure contract that would be bigger than any other in White Sox franchise history. Chicago should get more in trade this summer than the value of the draft pick they would receive if they allow him to go free agency after turning down a qualifying offer.

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Heyman suggests the Reds and Rangers could check in Giolito. Cincinnati GM Nick Krall has stated that he wishes to improve pitching. It is very likely that the leading club at NL headquarters will upgrade a starting XI that is currently absent Hunter Greene And Nick Lodolo. Texas have had strong results in their rotation but could be looking to add depth as they try to maintain a two-game lead in the AL West. They also reportedly checked with Lynn, although Giolito would be the more impactful and costly addition (in terms of potential capital).

One controllable player the Sox seem at least somewhat willing to consider moving: Starter Michael Kopech. Heyman writes that the Sox would be more willing to give up Kopech than anyone in the group Robert, Cease, Vaughn, Jiménez.

Even though the 1.85m tall right-hander is only in his second full season as a starter in the big league, he is not far from having a free hand. Kopech will soon surpass the four-year MLB tenure and is eligible for arbitration through the 2025 campaign — the same scrutiny window as Cease. He’s playing this season with a salary of $2.05 million.

Kopech was put on the 15-day injured list last week with an infection in his throwing shoulder. However, his return is generally not expected long after the break, so he could have multiple starts before the August 1 deadline. If he is in form he would certainly attract interest.

In 16 starts and 86 innings, Kopech has a 4.08 ERA. He beats 26% of opponents with a solid 11.4% swing shot rate and averages over 95 MPH with his fastball. The 27-year-old right-back clearly shows promise but has yet to establish himself as the top player some reviewers had envisioned. That’s largely down to lack of control, as his 13.1% walk rate is the highest of any pitcher with at least 15 starts.

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Clearly, General Manager Rick Hahn and his staff have far less urgency in making Kopech than there is with any of the upcoming free agents. Chicago won’t go for a complete tear down and rebuild, so they expect to hold onto a high price tag for their controllable mid-speed starter. Still, the front office seems more willing than they were a few weeks ago to consider player transfers in addition to their pool of talented loanees.


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