One of the biggest questions on the south side of Chicago just might be this: Who are the White Sox trade targets? Or, perhaps, should the White Sox even be considering making a major deal or two? Or, finally, should GM Rick Hahn keep his powder dry and see how the next few weeks play out? These questions are very prominent in the minds of many Sox fans. How Hahn and the Sox management answer them will no doubt determine the outcome of the 2021 season.
White Sox Trade Targets: How Did They Get Here?
The White Sox started preseason training camp with high hopes for the 2021 season. They had bolstered their pitching staff with the additions of starter Lance Lynn and closer Liam Hendriks. They also welcomed back top prospect Michael Kopech to the staff. They added veteran outfielder Adam Eaton to fill a void in right field. With other key returning players, the Sox appeared poised to make a run at a World Series.
Then, late in spring training, Silver Slugger winner Eloy Jimenez suffered a serious shoulder injury. Adding insult to injury (literally), his likely backup Adam Engel went down with a hamstring injury. So the Sox were scrambling to fill the outfield. If that weren’t enough, Gold Glove centerfielder Luis Robert suffered a serious hip injury on May 2nd. His injury has thrown the outfield into a downright crisis, one that manager Tony LaRussa has managed rather well to this point.
But Wait, There’s More!
The outfield has stabilized to a point, aided by key contributions from such players as Andrew Vaughn, Billy Hamilton, and Leury Garcia. Additionally, there is some hope that Jimenez or Robert, or perhaps both, may return later this season. So, the outfield may be able to hold its own. However, the infield may be a different story.
This week Nick Madrigal, who seemed to be coming into his own, suffered a serious hamstring injury while trying to beat out a ground ball. While his injury is just the latest in a string of devastating injuries to key players, it just may be the one that forces the Sox to consider looking outside the organization for help in their quest for a deep playoff run. That may ask the question: Who are the White Sox trade targets?
The reason Madrigal’s injury may be the tipping point is that Garcia has been a key utility player for the Sox, all over the field. However, with Robert and Jimenez still on the shelf, and now with Madrigal down, the Sox risk having to use their utility player on a virtual full-time basis. While he and Danny Mendick figure to share second base, neither possesses the skill set to be a full-time player. So, second base is suddenly an issue.
Potential White Sox Trade Targets: Second Basemen
The focus here is on second base, as we have discussed potential outfielders in a previous column. Since Madrigal’s injury, several names have been floated in the local media. One of those is Adam Frazier of the Pirates. He is a solid second baseman who is having an excellent season. He also bats left-handed, which would be a big plus on the South Side. Frazier would be a solid addition. However, the Pirates would almost assuredly ask a king’s ransom for him, and the price may be more than the Sox are willing to pay.
Another NL second baseman that may be available is Ketel Marte of the Diamondbacks. He is also enjoying a solid season, although he has been limited by injuries. He would be a solid addition as well, although he has a longer contract, which may not be attractive to the Sox. Madrigal has been penciled in as the franchise’s second baseman, so Marte’s contract may be a deterrent. Not to mention that the Diamondbacks, like the Pirates, will have a high asking price.
Both Frazier and Marte may be on the short list of White Sox trade targets. Yet, is there another name out there?
The Surprise Candidate?
While Frazier and Marte may well be White Sox trade targets, there is a sleeper candidate whose name has not been mentioned yet. He may not have the same appeal as the other two, but, he would be a solid fit for the 2021 season. Our darkhorse candidate is Jonathan Schoop, currently of the Detroit Tigers. He plays a solid, if not spectacular second base, and is a quality hitter.
While his numbers are slightly lower than those of Frazier and Marte, he would likely come at a much lower price. He also is a free agent at the end of the 2021 season, which again will lower the cost. The Tigers are in rebuild mode, and Schoop would seem to be one player they will not need going forward.
It is possible that none of these White Sox trade targets will come to the South Side this year. The Sox may not make any major deals, disappointing their loyal fans. That remains to be seen. Who knows, maybe Robert, Jimenez, and Madrigal will all make miraculous recoveries. Hahn appears willing to be patient for now. However, should he decide to pursue a veteran second baseman, Schoop just might be the right guy for this team.
Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports!
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images