Can the White Sox Capitalize on Recent Trades?
In the past two months, the Chicago White Sox have made two blockbuster trades and signed a few above average free agents that could help them make history. What they are doing, is very comparable to what the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs, did 3 years ago.
On December 6th 2016, the Chicago White Sox dealt all-star pitcher Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for the No. 1 prospect in baseball, Yoan Moncada, 105 mph throwing starting pitcher, Michael Kopech, and two others. One day later (on December 7th), the White Sox traded leadoff hitter and star outfielder Adam Eaton to the Washington Nationals, for MLB-ready prospect Lucas Giolito and the #38 MLB.com prospect Reynaldo Lopez.
The four major prospects that have been brought in will either have some big shoes to fill, or some big steps to create.
Yoan Moncada will probably finish the year in the major leagues at second base which is a hole for the White Sox right now, although he can play third base too, the Sox like him at second. Their current second baseman (Brett Lawrie) is declining and is losing bat speed. Moncada is a great replacement especially taking into account that Lawrie only has one year on his contract. Josh Lapping stated “Yoan has a good bat and is a slick fielder.” The White Sox do have a good second baseman in the minor leagues (Carlos Sanchez) who maybe could cause Moncada to move to third base.
Lucas Giolito has the biggest shoes to fill. The White Sox need him to become their number one pitcher like Chris Sale was. He has the potential and they need him to execute it. Sale was an All-Star/Cy Young caliber pitcher and Giolito needs to become that. With a 95+ mph fastball and nasty curveball, he should be able to accomplish what they need him to.
Michael Kopech is also a pitcher but unlike Giolito, he will be the first to put his feet in the water on his side of the table. What a guy like Kopech brings to a pitching rotation is not only velocity, but a mid-rotation threat like what the Cubs had with Kyle Hendricks this year. The White Sox have not had a pitcher like this before, but Kopech is the guy you want to have as the first guy like this, on your team.
According to a survey conducted at Coleytown Middle School, it is pretty safe to say, that Reynaldo Lopez, is not on the move anytime soon. He throws 99 mph and has a curveball and a changeup that get batters to swing out of their shoes. Lopez is, unlike Kopech. He is a pitcher the White Sox know how to deal with because they have had many pitchers like him in the past. Although he is new to the organization the White Sox will probably have a good plan to success set up for Reynaldo Lopez’ future in the south side of Chicago.
The White Sox overall plan for these four standout prospects will probably be to play out their contracts, negotiate a resign because they are potential franchise players, and then (if they can’t resign them) trade them for another All-Star caliber piece.
From the White Sox standpoint, their young players, including these four, are holding the team's future on their shoulders. If they are able to perform extremely well then the White Sox will be able to make a deep playoff/World Series run, because that is really how good their young guys can be. Carter Kelsey’s take on the trade for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech with the Red Sox: “The White Sox won the trade with the Red Sox. They don’t have a World Series winning team right now so they need to gather young guys. Yes they lost their number one pitcher (Chris Sale) and nobody will get close to Sale, talent wise, but they wanted someone to build a strong farm system around, and Yoan Moncada can be that guy. It was an even better trade because (current second baseman) Brett Lawrie and (current third baseman) Todd Frazier are on the decline.”