White Sox

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

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USA TODAY

Manny Machado is reportedly on the market, but here's why a trade makes no sense for the White Sox

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are reportedly shopping Manny Machado.

Commence freakout.

Baseball Twitter exploded Tuesday after The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Orioles are not just listening to offers for their star third baseman but actively offering him up to other teams.

Machado, of course, has long been desired by the White Sox fan base. A member of the outrageous 2019 free-agent class, Machado’s pending free agency and the lack of a highly touted stud prospect at third base has had rebuild-centric fans eyeing Machado as the free-agent piece that will propel the White Sox into contention. And obviously the idea of Machado playing alongside the likes of Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Eloy Jimenez and others is extremely alluring.

But while teams are apparently lining up here at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort to get a one-year crack at Machado, the idea of the South Siders making a trade simply makes no sense.

For one, the cost figures to be immense, with the Orioles surely hoping to get a haul of prospects back for a guy who’s been one of the game’s top hitters over the past several seasons. Do the White Sox have that minor league talent? Well, yeah, of course they do. But would they be willing to give up so much after only just accumulating all that talent? No. Why would they?

A trade for Machado — and only one guaranteed year of Machado, for that matter — would puncture holes in Rick Hahn’s carefully laid rebuilding plans.

Machado likely would rather test the free-agency waters than simply sign an extension with whichever team the Orioles would agree to a deal with. That way, he’s likely to get a far bigger contract — and you better believe that contract will be a really, really big one. The White Sox haven’t made a habit of handing out gigantic, lengthy deals. Machado could be the type of special player to change that strategy, but why take that risk before knowing how the rebuild will play out?

The common thinking is that the White Sox will be ready to compete come 2020, and it’s a good bet Machado knows that the team is set up for long-term success. But how can the White Sox know what the fruits of their rebuilding efforts will be by the end of next season? Why would they dedicate so many resources to one player when they don’t know what their needs will be? Even if every one of the highly rated prospects pans out, there will still be holes to plug, holes that might be unpluggable if the resources are spent on one contract.

Rosenthal’s report also included the nugget that Machado is hoping to move back to shortstop, the position he wants to play moving forward. While adding a player the caliber of Machado would obviously mean a team would make room for him, the White Sox are high on their own shortstop of the future, Tim Anderson.

But the bottom line in all of this is that a trade for Machado this week or this winter gets you one thing: Machado for the 2018 season, a season in which the White Sox are not expected to compete for a championship. Next winter, there will be more Twitter buzz about bringing Machado to the South Side, but that at least would only cost the White Sox money. Dealing away any one of the impressive group of prospects for one season of Machado is simply illogical.

If Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez spent 2018 in the majors, what would their production look like?

If Michael Kopech and Eloy Jimenez spent 2018 in the majors, what would their production look like?

It’s no secret that the White Sox and their fans are hoping to see both Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech in the big leagues in 2018. And according to one full-season projection system, it seems that the computers agree that both will be MLB contributors very soon.

FanGraphs’ Steamer600 projections forecast what MLB hitters would do over 600 plate appearances and what pitchers would do over 200 innings – and both Jimenez and Kopech are close to MLB-ready.

Jimenez, MLB.com’s 5th ranked prospect, is projected to provide a 1.9 offensive WAR and Kopech, MLB.com’s 10th ranked prospect, would account for 1.4 WAR over the course of a full season.

So what does that mean?

Here are some comparable MLB players from 2017 in offensive Wins Above Replacement for Jimenez:

Jackie Bradley Jr., BOS – 1.9 (541 PA) 

Jedd Gyorko, STL – 1.9 (481 PA)

Andrew Benintendi, BOS – 1.9 (658 PA)

Yasiel Puig, LAD – 1.9 (570 PA)

Salvador Perez, KC – 1.9 (499 PA)

Very solid company, considering those five players combined for an average OPS of .788. The Steamer600 projections peg Jimenez for a .770 OPS over 600 plate appearances.

The full forecast is as follows: a .267 batting average, an on-base percentage of .317 and a .453 slugging percentage to go along with 23 home runs.

Meanwhile, Kopech might be a bit further away from being an impact player with a projected WAR of 1.4 over 200 innings.

Here are some MLB WAR comparisons from 2017 for Kopech:

Julio Teheran, ATL – 1.6 (188.1 IP)

Lucas Giolito, CHW – 1.5 (45.1 IP)

Dellin Betances, NYY – 1.5 (59.2 IP)

Miguel Gonzalez, CHW/TEX – 1.5 (156.0 IP)

Greg Holland, COL – 1.4 (44.2 IP)

As you can see, the comparisons are not nearly as promising for Kopech as they are for Jimenez. The comparable range is mostly made up of late-inning relievers or middle-of-the-pack starting pitchers.

With a 100 mile-per-hour fastball and wipeout slider come the occasional control issues, and that is where the Steamer600 projections hurt Kopech the most, with a forecasted walk rate of 5.4 walks per 9 innings pitched.

The full forecast for Kopech includes a 4.84 ERA with 216 strikeouts over 32 starts with 32 home runs allowed. 

Whether these projections come close to reality or not, having Kopech and Jimenez on the Major League doorstep is sure to give the White Sox rebuild yet another boost in the coming season.

Don't call me Carlos: 'I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer'

Don't call me Carlos: 'I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer'

After a breakout season in 2017, don’t expect any more name changes from the man formerly known as Carlos Sanchez.

“Yolmer hit more home runs so I think I’m gonna stick with Yolmer,” said Sanchez in an exclusive interview from his Arizona home. “I’m the same person, but Yolmer worked good this year, so I’ll stay with Yolmer.”

After doing away with the name Carlos, the 25-year old infielder set career-highs across the board last year, slugging 12 home runs, driving in 59 runs while posting a .732 OPS.  

He ranked third on the White Sox in Wins Above Replacement with 3.5, trailing only Jose Abreu’s 4.7 and Avisail Garcia’s 4.5. In the three seasons prior, Sanchez totaled just 0.4 WAR in 201 combined games. 

And now, 2018 provides a new opportunity. Sanchez is expected to be the everyday starting third baseman, the spot he took over following Todd Frazier’s midseason trade to the New York Yankees.

With an elevated role comes a vigorous offseason schedule. He took only 20 days off after the regular season before starting to train for the upcoming spring. 

“I don’t want to work just on one thing. I want to do everything and that’s why I start training so early,” he said. “My speed. More power. Agility. A lot of things.”

Sanchez certainly isn’t the flashiest name in a White Sox infield that includes Abreu and the middle-infield tandem of Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson. But he knows his role on the team – being flashy off the field and bringing energy to the clubhouse. 

“If you go with a lot of energy to the game, a lot of things change,” said Sanchez. “That makes a lot of difference in one game. And one game can make a lot of difference during the season.”

But a 70-92 record by the White Sox certainly was not due to a lack of energy as much as a general lack of talent. That should change in 2018 – when fans can expect to see Moncada, as well as other names like Nicky Delmonico, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez play a full major league season. Not to mention prospects like Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech knocking on the door to the big leagues.

And that excites Sanchez.

“We’ve got really young players but really talented [players],” said Sanchez. “We have to get better, but I think we can do a lot of good things next year.”

Are there any young players Sanchez is specifically excited to see develop? 

“They’re all going to be really good if they keep working,” he said. “Moncada could be a superstar.” 

That’s exactly what the White Sox are hoping as well.