Melky Cabrera

A Matt Kemp trade makes no sense for White Sox, but what about other available DH options?


A Matt Kemp trade makes no sense for White Sox, but what about other available DH options?

The White Sox aren't going to trade for Matt Kemp.

There's no inside info to support that declaration, but come on. Why in the world would a rebuilding team give up anything to bring aboard a 33-year-old who is owed an outrageous $43 million over the next two seasons?

FanRag's Jon Heyman proposed the White Sox as a possible landing spot for Kemp, who has nowhere to play in the Los Angeles Dodgers' crowded — not to mention contending — outfield. He acknowledged that the likelihood of a trade is low, which is pretty obvious, but connected the two parties because of the White Sox earlier reported interest in adding a designated hitter before the 2018 campaign gets going.

The way this free-agent market has moved means there are plenty of options available should the White Sox want to go down that road. And if the Dodgers can't find a trade partner to take Kemp off their hands, they could just flat out release him, adding him to the group of free agents still looking for 2018 homes.

Taking his contract out of the equation, Kemp undoubtedly becomes more attractive. But would he be the most attractive option out there? He played in just 115 games last season, slashing .276/.318/.463, though he showed some power potential with 19 home runs — not to mention the homer he hit against the White Sox in this spring's Cactus League opener. But only 45 of his 64 RBIs last year came from driving in someone besides himself for the 72-win Atlanta Braves. Granted, he's just two seasons removed from hitting 35 homers and driving in 108 runs in 2016.

Is Kemp an upgrade over the guy currently slated to get the majority of the at-bats at designated hitter? Matt Davidson bested Kemp in the home-run department last season, smacking 26 of them, the second most on the team after Jose Abreu's 33 roundtrippers. But Davidson had some glaring holes in his offensive game last season, most specifically when it came to getting on base. He had a .260 on-base percentage last year and walked just 19 times in 118 games. Kemp wasn't much better, walking only 27 times in his 115 games.

If Kemp is the lone alternative, why deprive Davidson of the chance to prove himself worthy of future consideration? After all, this White Sox team isn't expected to compete for a championship in 2018. Plus, Davidson already has five hits, two homers and two walks in 12 spring plate appearances.

But Kemp isn't the lone alternative. Because baseball's offseason has extended deep into spring training, there are a bunch of options out there, even if few of them really get White Sox fans' revved up about the possibility of them coming to the South Side. Here are five unsigned guys: Adam Lind, Mark Reynolds, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Carlos Gonzalez.

Lind had a .362 on-base percentage in a reserve role for the Washington Nationals last season. Reynolds hit 30 homers and drove in 97 runs for the Colorado Rockies. Cabrera has familiarity with the White Sox and bashed out 30 doubles in 2017. Bautista was not good in his final season with the Toronto Blue Jays but is just two years removed from posting a .366 on-base percentage and three years removed from a 40-homer season. Gonzalez also had a down year in 2017 with the Rockies but has a heck of a track record and is just two seasons removed from 100 RBIs and a .298/.350/.505 slash line in 2016.

It would figure that any of those guys would be an improvement over what Davidson gave the White Sox in 2017. But the same point made in regard to Kemp applies to most of those guys, as well. These would all be short-term moves for a team in long-term mode. Only one of those five names, Gonzalez, is under 33 years old (and he's 32). What does adding Reynolds or Bautista for 2018 do for the White Sox and their much-discussed plan to build a perennial contender? What does taking at-bats away from Davidson and giving them to someone in their mid-30s accomplish? Perhaps it makes the White Sox more competitive in 2018, but none of the available free agents seem to be a big-enough impact bat to push the White Sox into the postseason.

The best-case scenario, given what the White Sox are expected to do this season, is that adding one of these veterans would provide a potential midseason trade chip. And that could be valuable, depending on how the addition would perform in the season's first half. But remember the White Sox had Cabrera and traded him last year, acquiring a pair of prospects who aren't exactly among the most buzz-worthy in the farm system.

The good news is that there's really no wrong answer considering how the offseason has played out league-wide. If the White Sox want to add a veteran bat, there's likely a bargain to be had. Any move would be a low-risk one considering the White Sox expectations.

Any move except a trade for Kemp.

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

White Sox players grateful for quiet trade deadline: 'Kind of nice that it's over'

The trade deadline passed on Monday and all was quiet in the White Sox clubhouse.

While nearly every other team in baseball furiously attempted to make last-minute deals before the 3 p.m. (CST) nonwaiver trade deadline, the White Sox remained silent. Though there had been a few rumblings of possible moves the past few days, none surfaced involving White Sox players on Monday.

And for the first time since the All-Star break there was a relative sense of calm within the clubhouse. Monday’s tranquility was not the byproduct of a decision by the White Sox front office to stand pat but rather because of the flurry of trades Rick Hahn completed the previous 17 days. Those five deals removed involved seven members of the White Sox 25-man roster and has had players living with their heads on a swivel for almost a month. After one final trade sent Melky Cabrera’s trade to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday, the remaining group was admittedly happy to see the deadline pass.

“It was tough,” third baseman Matt Davidson said. “Just everybody. You didn’t know what was going to happen any day. It was so random.

“It’s kind of nice that it’s over and for the most part this is going to be the clubhouse for the rest of the year.”

In all likelihood, this will be the White Sox roster the rest of the season.

There could be a few additions in the way of Triple-A players who are promoted. Rick Renteria reiterated on Monday that some of the club’s top pitching prospects are close to arriving in the majors. There also could be a few more subtractions if a contending club found one of the team’s veteran pitchers to their liking.

But the bulk of the White Sox roster has already been systematically ripped apart through a series of trades.

“It always happens so fast,” infielder Tyler Saladino said. “(Sunday) Melky was just walking through giving people hugs. Blink of an eye, something else happens. But you’re five minutes away from team stretch so you don’t really have time to think about it. You just say your goodbyes and your well-wishes and move forward.”

“You process it, but it’s not a lengthy process.

“Everything happens pretty fast around here.”

The upheaval of the 25-man roster began July 13 with a five-player deal that sent Jose Quintana to the Cubs. Five days later, the White Sox packaged Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson in a deal to the New York Yankees. Anthony Swarzak followed them on Wednesday when he was traded to Milwaukee. Dan Jennings was traded on Thursday to the Tampa Bay Rays and finally Cabrera was dealt to Kansas City on Sunday.

Now the White Sox are left with a roster full of inexperienced parts, including a bullpen that includes only one pitch from the Opening Day roster (Jake Petricka). The loss of so many key players will unquestionably lead to some trying times over the final two months of the regular season.

“It’s a good chance for those guys to get some experience,” Saladino said. “But it can be challenging because we’re very young at a level of game that requires a lot of experience.”

Once surrounded by a veteran crew, Petricka and newcomer Tyler Clippard are the only relievers with more than one year of service time. Petricka likened the massive turnover as something similar to when a series of moves is in made concurrently in the minor leagues. But, he also contends that the last two weeks has been different.

“I haven’t been a part of something like this,” Petricka said. “We’ve just got to prove it. It is a great opportunity for everyone. We’ve just got to go out and do our job and show we all belong and we all know we do.”

Melky Cabrera understands White Sox trade, even if he doesn't like it

Melky Cabrera understands White Sox trade, even if he doesn't like it

The rebuilding White Sox continued to load up their farm system on Sunday with a trade that sent Melky Cabrera to the Kansas City Royals.

The White Sox received prospects AJ Puckett and Andre Davis in return, and also picked up half of Cabrera's $5.1 million remaining salary.

Cabrera, who signed with the White Sox in 2014 as a free agent, repeatedly stated that he would like to stay in Chicago for the long term but understands it's part of the business.

“Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this because I love the city, I love the team,” Cabrera said through a translator. “But at the same time you are seeing what’s happening around the team with all the moves, just try to block all those things, but I knew it was a possibility for this to happen.”

Cabrera is headed to familiar territory in Kansas City. The 32-year-old outfielder played with the Royals in 2011, where he had his best statistical season by setting career-highs in home runs (18), RBI (87), and hits (201).

This season, Cabrera has been excellent, recording 13 homers and 56 RBI while slashing .295/.336/.436. In three seasons on the South Side, he racked up 39 homers and 219 RBI but was just as valuable to the team in the locker room.

“As I told Melky this morning, he has been outstanding for this organization since he put on this uniform, not only for his performance in the white lines but for what he did in the clubhouse,” Hahn said. “He’s a great ambassador for the game, very enthusiastic, passionate player and he’ll be missed. That said, as we’ve made no secret about, this is about preparing ourselves for the future.”

The White Sox added a pair of young arms in Puckett and Davis. Puckett was the Royals’ second round pick in 2016 while Davis – a southpaw – was selected in the eighth round of the 2015 draft.

Puckett was the Royals’ No. 13 rated prospect, according to the MLB. With the White Sox, he sits at No. 25. The 22-year-old went 9-7 with a 3.90 ERA in 20 starts this season with Class-A Wilmington. A 23-year-old Davis went 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA with Class-A Lexington.

"With today’s move we were able to pick up another couple interesting arms," Hahn said. "Puckett, the Royals’ top pick last year, a second-rounder, strong pitchability, three pitch mix, commands the ball both sides of the plate, clean delivery. He’s a guy that’s good to add to our mix of young arms. Davis is a lefty that could project for the starter role or the relief role."

Since December, the White Sox have traded nine players off their big-league roster.

Those trades – along with draft picks – has revamped a White Sox minor league system which currently ranks one of the best in the league.

Hahn said that he has been pleased, but not surprised, with the returns from those players.

"This was our mission," Hahn said. "This is what we set out to do. This is what we felt was important for the long-term health of the organization. We had a plan. That said, you need to respond the market. It’s not always the easiest thing to get across the finish line."

By the time the trade deadline is over on Monday, more moves could be made.

“It’s not 3 o’clock Monday yet,” Hahn said. “We’re going to keep on with our conversations and see if they lead anywhere.”