Though the White Sox surrendered three major-league ready players in Wednesday’s trade, Robin Ventura likes how his general manager has operated.
Despite making deals for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, Rick Hahn has managed to keep the cupboard partly stocked with some pretty solid goods. The White Sox have made a push to win now in the primes of Chris Sale and Jose Abreu, yet they’ve managed to retain top prospects Tim Anderson and Carson Fulmer as well as Carlos Rodon.
“Any time you’re giving up some prospects to get somebody like Todd and Brett, you’re trying to put your best foot forward for 2016,” Ventura said. “You’re not really looking that much further down the road. You’re not giving up everything. You still have some guys that Rick had valued very high that wouldn’t have made sense to do this trade. So he did have something in the back that we have some guys coming up that we feel can help us in different positions.”
[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]
The White Sox sent Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson to the Dodgers in the three-team deal that netted Frazier, a two-time All-Star. Of that group, Montas is considered the big prize as he throws a 100-mph fastball and has worked hard to develop his secondary pitches. Montas -- who entered last season as the No. 91 prospect in baseball -- followed a strong performance in the minors by posting a 4.80 ERA in 15 innings and striking out 20 for the White Sox.
But the “wild card” in the deal, according to one American League scout, is Thompson.
Thompson put himself squarely on the map (the White Sox even touted him as a potential everyday center fielder while in Nashville) with a stellar two-month run in Chicago that far outshined any of his recent minor-league performances. Though Thompson’s .295/.363/.533 slash line is much-improved over what he produced in the minors, many observers feel Thompson is capable of providing strong defense from all three outfield positions and hitting 20-25 home runs.
One AL scout calls Thompson Chris Young-lite. From 2007-11, Young averaged 23 1/2 home runs and produced 12.5 Wins Above Replacement.
No matter what he does in the future, the White Sox know Thompson’s value improved exponentially because of his 2015 performance. Short of Anderson, Thompson had been one of the most sought after position players in the organization this offseason.
“We saw all the improvements,” Ventura said. “He was a very good player for us. He came up and earned the right to play every day, and that’s why he played every day. I think other teams did their homework. I know the Dodgers did their homework on the three guys they’re getting. They can all do something at the big league level to help you win games.
“For Trayce, it’s just a credit to him of how far he’s come in a year to be able to be included in this.”