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How the White Sox Get Better
The Chicago White Sox have put together an impressive first 55 games. They sport a 31-24 record, the fourth best record in the Majors, and it’s not a product of luck. Their Pythagorean Record (a mathematical formula that combines runs scored and runs given up) sits at 31-24, which means they aren’t just squeeking out these victories. They’ve gotten big contributions from Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, and Dayan Viciendo as well as surprising pitching from Chris Sale and Jake Peavy. The White Sox are vastly outperforming pretty much everyone’s expectations and sit in first place by a game and a half over the Indians and more importantly 6 games over the Tigers. But, even the most avid of White Sox fans (Hawk Harrelson maybe excluded) can’t expect the White Sox to continue at this pace throughout the summer. So… How do the White Sox get better with the knowledge that their farm system is probably the weakest in Major League Baseball?
The first thing that jumps out is the White Sox’s total lack of production out of the left side of their infield. Alexei Ramirez has hit .220 and Brent Morel and Orlando Hudson have combined for White Sox third basemen to hit a combined .176 with no homeruns. We know that Kevin Youkilis may be available, but the White Sox very simply do not have the pieces to trade for Youk and remain competitive. So I took at look at what might be available via promotion and the outlook is somewhat grim. Eduardo Escobar was the most highly thought of prospect for the White Sox and he’s currently backing up at the Major League level and hitting .176. So what’s a potential trade target for the left side? Tyler Pastornicky? I can’t see the Braves giving him up yet.
The guy that I’m going to call a few times about if I’m Kenny Williams is Houston Astros 3B Chris Johnson. The Astros are only 8 games under .500 as of right now but with that many guys playing above their heads, expect that number to balloon and make the Astros sellers. That said, getting a young third baseman out of the Astros won’t be easy. I’m thinking that if the Astros feel they can compete with this current rotation over the next few years, then a package centered on Nestor Molina should do the trick. I have to imagine the White Sox would need to include some other prospects with some upside.
Next the White Sox could really use another starting pitcher to help keep the Tigers potent offense at bay. Expect Kenny Williams to make a few phone calls to the Padres for one of their outfielders (Will Venable) and a starter (Jason Marquis could be had for cheap, but the prize is Clayton Richard). I’m guessing the Padres would want Dayan Viciedo in exchange for the deal. I know this isn’t a trade that gets the White Sox fans heart pumping, but another starter for a slight downgrade in the outfield would be nice.
Should the White Sox maintain their pace in the AL Central (and I’m not convinced they will) expect the GM to either get really creative by moving some of their own big pieces for other big pieces in a blockbuster type trade or stand completely pat adding a veteran reliever in a walk year as every “buying” team always does at the deadline. Either way it should be interesting to hear what the Sox fans come up with as they realize their team has a chance to compete and win this year.
Bold Prediction: Chris Sale, Gordan Beckham, Will Ohman and Brent Morel in a three team trade that bring Andre Ethier and and Chase Headley to the Windy City.
Stat of the Day: Brewers prospect Tyler Thornburg has lowered his ERA to 2.28 for the season. ESPN insider Keith Law had Thornburg as the Brewers fourth best prospect before the season.