With the MLB trade deadline approaching next month, teams will soon start evaluating their chances of making the playoffs. At 32-43 and mired in last place in the AL Central, the Chicago White Sox are ready to take their ball and go home. As such, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the White Sox are making nearly everyone on their entire roster available.
Konerko, a veteran, isn’t producing as much as he has in the past. His seven home runs, 30 runs batted in and .253 batting average are pretty modest. But he’s a veteran who has been around the block, having appeared in a total of 19 playoff games over five postseason series. He would be a solid reserve for a team needing depth on their bench.
The 24-year-old Sale would be even more coveted. His record is only 5-6 on the year, but his ERA is a tidy 2.75 and last year he was 17-8. But he’s reportedly off the table and Chicago is wise to hang onto him.
So who would be the White Sox’ most desired players?
One would have to be reliever Jesse Crain. That’s been confirmed by the Boston Globe, which reports that Crain is on the wishlist of many teams. That’s not a big surprise as contenders are always looking for relief help this time of year – and right now, Crain is one of the best in the game. His microscopic .052 ERA and 46 strikeouts in only 34 2/3 innings are heavily desirable. And even better is that his contract ends after this year, so he’s not going to sit around on a payroll for years to come. As a rental relief pitcher, he’s as good as they come and in a pinch, he’s saved games earlier in his career. He may not be a full-time closer, but could step into that role if needed.
Alex Rios is maybe the position player that will draw the most interest. Rios is only 32 and had a career year last season with career highs in home runs (25) and RBI (91) while batting over .300. With 11 home runs and 35 RBI, Rios is a little off of that pace but still having a productive season. He should appeal to plenty of teams as a fourth outfielder, or even as a starter for teams with little power.
There’s also Alexei Ramirez who will be sought by teams needing infield help. One executive believes the Mets have considered him as a long-term shortstop. Ramirez has one year left on his deal with a club option after that, but his contract is a bit steep as he’s owed $10 million over each of those next two seasons. If New York really wants him as a long-term replacement over current shortstop, Omar Quintanilla, their best bet may be to decline his 2015 option and try to renegotiate with him. Ramirez is still a solid player but once known as one of the better power hitting shortstops (averaging 17 home runs in his first four seasons), he hit only nine last year and has a single one so far in 2013. They should be able to get him at a more reasonable price if he’s the player they want.
Perhaps the most intriguing guy available is starting pitcher John Danks. Danks, after all, just signed a five-year deal with the club last year for $65 million. The White Sox appear to have overpaid for him a bit and his numbers the past two years have been pretty bad. Danks’ ERA since the start of last year is well over 5.00 and the pitcher is just 4-9 over that stretch. He may be available, but it’s difficult to envision a team taking on that much money for a pitcher that wouldn’t even make some rotations.
Other players such as slugger Adam Dunn and Jake Peavy could also draw some interest. But both players are owed a lot of money in 2014 – approximately $15 million each. On top of that, Peavy is currently on the disabled list and is expected to be out for a few more weeks. Despite the injury, though, Peavy has been a quality starter this year and will be one of the better ones available. A team desperate to add a starter will fork over the money if they’re convinced they can make a postseason run.
If the White Sox are serious sellers at the deadline, the team could look significantly more different by next season.
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