The Chicago White Sox will be buyers before the August 2 trade deadline. The only question is how much they are willing to spend to turn their underachieving ballclub into a serious title contender.
According to MLB Analyst & Insider Jim Bowden, the White Sox are having discussions with teams about many of the available premium players. While this may sound like typical Rick Hahn lip service, the White Sox have shown that they are willing to go after high-profile talent via a trade.
Last season the White Sox landed the best reliever on the market when they swung a trade for Craig Kimbrel. The move did not pan out as planned, but he was seen as one of the most valuable trade chips up for sale at the time.
The biggest name on the market this season is Juan Soto, who has taken the baseball world by storm after news that he turned down the biggest contract by total value in MLB history. The 23 year old has already won a World Series and is proving he is a generational talent on a nightly basis.
If Jim Bowdwn’s report is accurate, the White Sox are doing their due diligence in looking into acquiring Soto. However, it won’t happen. For starters, the number of players the White Sox would have to give up would kill any depth they have or deplete their farm system. Even if they were to mortgage the future and add him, they would still have to pay him $500 million to keep him long-term, which everyone knows the White Sox won’t do.
But just because they don’t add Soto doesn’t mean that there aren’t other players that can help the White Sox. Here are some potential trade deadline targets for the White Sox.
Andrew Chafin, LHP, Tigers
Rick Hahn loves to add bullpen help. Last trade deadline, he added Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel. This offseason, he brought in Joe Kelly and Kendall Graveman. Come the August 2nd deadline, we should see that trend continue.
Bullpen arms are the White Sox’s most significant need. Aaron Bummer is on the IL, and it is unknown if or when he will return. If the White Sox want to make a run in the Postseason, they probably don’t want Tanner Banks or Jose Ruiz throwing many innings. This is what makes Andrew Chafin such an appealing target.
Chafin is the best-left reliever on the market. He has been one of few bright spots on the Tigers this season. In 30.2 innings, he has a 2.64 ERA and a career-best strikeout to walk ratio.
His 47.5 ground ball rate would play exceptionally well in a hitter park like Guaranteed Rate Field. He has a player option that he will likely decline after this season. This essentially makes him a rental so the White Sox would not have to give up a ton. Inner divison trades are challenging but not impossible.
David Robertson, RHP Chicago Cubs
A Jose Quintana reunion with the White Sox has been picking up steam on Twitter, but a David Robertson reunion would make much more sense.
Roberston had to undergo Tommy John surgery but made a solid return to the field with the USA Olympic team and the Tampa Bay Rays. He signed with the Cubs this offseason to be their closer and has done a solid job nailing down the ninth inning. In 39.1 innings, he has posted a 1.83 ERA and logged 14 saves.
Opponents are hitting just .147 against him. His 48.3 percent ground ball rate, which is the lowest it’s been since 2017, is also a positive sign.
He won a World Series ring with the Yankees in 2009 and was named an All-Star in 2011. While his days of being an elite closer are behind him, he can still provide a wealth of experience in high-pressure situations and postseason games.
The White Sox and Cubs have shown they are comfortable trading with each other. While Last year’s trade with the Cubs did not work out, Roberston is a much better fit for the White Sox bullpen. Unlike Craig Kimbrel, he is used to being in a setup role. For a team in desperate need of bullpen reinforcements, Robertson is one of the most appealing options available.
Matt Moore, LHP, Rangers
If the White Sox are looking for a discount version of Aaron Bummer for their bullpen, Matt Moore is their guy. Life in the MLB has not been easy for Moore. He went from being a top-pitching prospect to undergoing Tommy John surgery. He posted some rocky numbers upon his return and is now a member of the Texas Rangers relief core.
While it is not the career anyone envisioned for Moore, he is thriving in his new role in the Rangers bullpen. This season he has a 1.74 ERA with the second highest strikeout rate of his career. In 46.2 innings, he has racked up 52 strikeouts.
Moore will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Rangers would be wise to try and get something in return for him while his value is still high.
Josh Bell, 1B/DH, Nationals
Left-handed power might be the White Sox’s largest need outside bullpen arms.
Gavin Sheets has been better of late but hasn’t given the White Sox the pop they hoped for. Yasmani Grandal returned to the lineup after being on the shelf for the past month. The addition of Bell is just what the doctor ordered for a team starving for more home runs.
Bell was named an All-Star in 2019 after launching 37 home runs and 116 RBIs for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2021 he 27 home runs for the Nationals. This season he already has 14 home runs which would lead the White Sox. Bell isn’t just a power hitter. He is batting .304 this season with a .882 OPS.
Adding Bell to the middle of the White Sox lineup would solve many of their offensive issues. Bell would have to serve as a full-time designated hitter. This would move Andrew Vaughn to right field and bump Gavin Sheets from the rotation. Sheets is a good player, but Bell is a clear upgrade.
Brandon Drury, INF/OF, Reds:
Would adding Brandon Drury be a flashy move? No. Would it get fans excited? Probably not. But it does make sense for the White Sox.
Drury has been the most productive bat in the Reds lineup this season. That isn’t saying much considering how dreadful the Reds are this season, but the numbers speak for themselves.
Drury is slashing .271/.330/.517 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs. He would lead the White Sox in both of those categories. The 29-year-old journeyman is everything the White Sox wishes Leury Garcia is. He can play all four infield positions and has experience roaming the corner outfield.
If the White Sox were to add him, he would likely slot in at second base. Josh Harrison then could be used as a weapon off the bench.
Luis Castillo, RHP, Reds:
The White Sox starting rotation is pretty solid on paper. But as the old adage goes, you can never have enough pitching. Luis Castillo would fall into the category of premium player.
Castillo is a two-time All-Star who is putting up absurd numbers this season. In 13 games, he has a 2.77 ERA with 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
The 29-year-old Dominican throws gas. Castillo has a fastball that averages 97 mph, which helps him produce a high swing and miss rate. Opponents are batting .199 against him with a 37.9 percent hard-hit rate.
This front-of-the-rotation caliber starter would immediately elevate the White Sox staff to the best in baseball. The Reds are trying to cut payroll. If they are going to part with Castillo, they might as well send him to the opposite league.