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White Sox Mon Jul 22 2013

White Sox Trade Deadline Guide

Sox_200.pngAs has been pretty clear for the last month or so, the White Sox will be sellers at July's trade deadline. They also will presumably be sellers post-trade deadline as well, placing any unsold vets on waivers and trying to work deals that way as well. Simply put, the Sox tried to run back last year by making only small cosmetic moves this past offseason. It didn't work, and now it's time to rebuild. For real, this time.

Right now, the Sox have one of the worst farm systems in the game, second-to-last in Baseball America's organizational talent rankings and third-to-last in Keith Law's farm system ranks (Insider only link). The Sox only had three top-100 picks in last month's entry draft, including the 17th selection.

The club obviously needs to replenish their young talent. In a glass half-full kind of way, it's good that the Sox are 38-56, because then they can shut down this season and not worry about what could have been.

General manager Rick Hahn got things started last week, trading reliever Matt Thornton to Boston for minor league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. The Sox didn't land a top prospect, but in addition to shedding $2.75 million of Thornton's deal they got something moving forward. If Jacobs amounts to anything (either a Major League ballplayer or an asset for another trade), then great. If not, nothing big was lost.

Here's a look at who else should be looking for homes in new cities, with a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors and fake trades that won't happen mixed in. Apologies in advance for some ESPN Insider-only links (I reprinted or summarized what was important).

ALEX RIOS


Why he might be traded: Even though Rios only has one home run and a .244 batting average the last month, he's still a five-tool veteran player who could help a contending team. His contract isn't horrible either: the rest of this year and then next year at $13 million, with a team option for 2015 at $13.5 million (and a $1 million buyout).

Total rumors: On this front, the Pirates are the leading team to get Rios. Pittsburgh is 57-39 and shooting for their first postseason appearance since 1992, and they have both a mediocre offense and a hole in right field. Despite the good fits, more rumors emerge, saying the trade won't happen. Other teams interested in Rios include the Rangers and Red Sox.

Totally fake trade: From ESPN's Jim Bowden: "The Chicago White Sox trade Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Gregory Polanco, pitcher Nick Kingham and shortstop Jordy Mercer." That would be two top-10 prospects from the Pirates, according to Baseball America.

Likelihood he'll be dealt: Moderate to high. While Rios would be worth $19 million over the next one-and-a-half years if he performs like he did in 2012, he would be dead money if he has another 2011 season in him. The Sox might have to throw in prospects or eat some money to get him dealt. Rios also has a no-trade clause and won't accept deals to the Yankees, A's, D-Backs or Royals, narrowing his potential destinations.

JAKE PEAVY


Why he might get traded: Peavy is one of the best available arms on the market, and he's a tough guy who could start a big game. He could easily slide into a rotation and be the second or third starter.

Total rumors: The Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Rockies and Giants are all interested. The Blue Jays and Yankees are kicking the tires. The Nationals could be a fit.

Totally fake trade: From ESPN's Dan Szymborski: "Nationals acquire Jake Peavy from the White Sox for pitcher Nate Karns, second baseman Tony Renda and outfielder Steven Souza." A couple top Nationals prospects, the Sox could stock up on multiple positions.

Likelihood he'll be dealt: High. Peavy has been called the star of this year's trade deadline, and his contract is viewed as favorable. He'll make about $7 million through the rest of this year and $14.5 million next year. Teams like that he won't just be a rental, that he can be a part of 2014's rotation, too. As we see year after year, contending teams can never trade for too many arms down the stretch. Injuries happen, ineffectiveness happens, tough pitching matchups emerge. You want a guy like Peavy starting for you if you need a big win.

JESSE CRAIN


Why he might be traded: Despite an injury this month, Crain's value has never been higher. The reliever throws in the mid-90s and is having a career year, and the Sox will have little use for a set-up man for the rest of this season. Many good teams in both leagues have issues with their bullpens, and Crain is very getable.

Total rumors: The Tigers, Reds, Cardinals, Dodgers and Braves are all monitoring Crain. The pitcher nearly signed with the Rockies in 2010 and thinks that it would be fun to play for the Red Sox. Both those teams are interested in Crain, too.

Totally fake trade: From ESPN's Dave Cameron: "White Sox trade reliever Jesse Crain to the Red Sox for shortstop Deven Marrero." Marrero would be a better prospect than newly-acquired Jacobs, but not an elite guy.

Likelihood of a trade: Very high. Crain strained his right shoulder in June and has been working his way back since. But, the injury isn't considered significant, and even if Crain isn't moved by the deadline, it's almost a guarantee he'll be traded in August.

ADAM DUNN


Why he might be traded: Dunn has been good at the plate this summer. He had a .991 OPS in June and a .887 OPS this month, with 12 homers combined. He's walking more often and striking out a little less. A team that needs a lefty bat could do worse.

Total rumors: Tampa Bay might be a good fit for Dunn because the Rays need offense from their DH spots.

Totally fake trade: From some guy on Twitter: Pirates trade Jose Tabata and Tony Sanchez for Adam Dunn. Call it in!!

Likelihood of a trade: Low to moderate. Despite Dunn's hot play, Dunn is owed $15 million next year, which is a lot for a soon-to-be 34-year-old 1B/DH who only hits for power and might only get a .800 OPS.

EVERYONE ELSE


Why they might be traded: It all goes back to chance to improve the team for the future. The Sox have been described as "open for business" and the Hahn said he's been getting a rush a phone calls about trades.

Total rumors: Alexei Ramirez could be included in a Rios trade to the Pirates.

Totally fake trades: From another guy on Twitter: Angels trade Mark Trumbo, C.J. Cron or Peter Borjous for Jose Quintana and Addison Reed. [Throws hands in air].

Likelihood of trades: Moderate. The Sox would want a decent haul for Addison Reed, Nate Jones, Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham. Conversely, Matt Lindstrom and Alejandro De Aza could be gotten for a cheaper price. And if the Sox waive John Danks and some team actually claims him, Chicago would strongly consider letting him go for nothing in return (and save $42 million over the next three years).

CHRIS SALE


Why he might be traded: He's an ace, one of the best pitchers in the league, and he's only 24 and under team control through 2019.

Total rumors: Sale isn't going anywhere. He's untouchable.

Totally fake trades: From yet another guy on Twitter, corroborated by an ESPN Dallas writer: White Sox trade Sale to Rangers for Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. Good luck with that.

Likelihood of a trade: Very low. Hawk Harrelson has said that no one should be considered untouchable, and he's right. The Sox think that way, too. It just means they won't be shopping Sale around, and it will really take a lot to get them to part with Sale. They have a phenomenally talented young lefty locked up through the rest of the decade. Sure, there are dumb teams in the league that could very well make the Sox reconsider their "untouchable" stance, but that is highly unlikely. But not impossible.

 
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