Chicago White Sox

MLB Rumors: What Red Sox want from White Sox in potential David Price trade

MLB Rumors: What Red Sox want from White Sox in potential David Price trade

With David Price reportedly on the trading block, the Chicago White Sox are rumored to be one of multiple teams in play as a possible destination for the left-hander.

But if the Boston Red Sox are hoping to part ways with the remaining $93 million attached to Price, they may have to lower their expectations of the return in such a deal.

Peter Gammons of The Athletic revealed what Boston has asked Chicago for in trade talks, and the asking price is alarmingly high. In addition to salary relief, the Red Sox want top prospects Andrew Vaughn and Nick Madrigal.

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Vaughn (a first baseman) and Madrigal (a second baseman) are the league's 21st and 40th ranked prospects respectively, according to MLB Pipeline.

The two sides being far apart on a deal isn't surprising. Even with left fielder Andrew Benintendi involved, that offer likely is a non-starter for the White Sox. Especially considering they already traded for outfielder Nomar Mazara earlier in the offseason.

Price would almost certainly help the White Sox's pitching situation, though it doesn't make sense for them to part ways with coveted prospects while taking on the 34-year-old's salary. So if this is an example of what the Red Sox front office has been asking from teams in trade talks for Price, they may have to go back to the drawing board.

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J.D. Martinez is officially on the clock, and here's where he could end up if he opts out

J.D. Martinez is officially on the clock, and here's where he could end up if he opts out

Let the J.D. Martinez countdown begin.

With the World Series officially over, the Red Sox DH now has five days to decide if he'll opt out of the final three years of his contract and become a free agent.

Because the Red Sox have no plans at the moment to offer him anything more than the $62.5 million remaining on his deal, he's expected to opt-out and see what the market might bear.

The question he and agent Scott Boras must ask, though, is what kind of interest he'll realistically generate. Luckily for them, we're here to help!

Thanks to Martinez's unique set of skills (and weaknesses), narrowing the field is easier than you might think.

For one, let's just throw out the entire National League. Martinez can play the outfield in a pinch, but it's hard to imagine anyone committing three or four years of big money for him to play there every day at age 32, with some back troubles in 2019.

That leaves the American League. He's as good a DH as the game has seen since David Ortiz, and even in an era when teams seem disinclined to devote major resources to the position, Martinez's impact on an offense means he'll have suitors. It just probably won't be as many as he deserves.

Playing the process-of-elimination game in the AL doesn't leave too many teams standing.

First off, there's money. Martinez's contractual demands -- three years and $75 million feels like the floor -- should take half of the league out of contention.

That means the Rays, Indians, Tigers, Royals, and A's. I'd add the Orioles to the list, because what's the point? And if the Red Sox are intent on cutting costs to drop below $208 million, then we should put them here, too, as ludicrous as that sounds.

Next up: teams with DHs. The Twins just picked up Nelson Cruz's option, so they're out. Same goes for the Angels (Shohei Otani) and Astros (Yordan Alvarez). Unless the Rangers can find a taker for Shin-Soo Choo's $21 million salary, then they lack an opening, too.

I'd argue that the Yankees should be on this list, thanks to uncertainty over Giancarlo Stanton's ability to stay healthy, as well as no shortage of internal candidates to share at-bats: Gary Sanchez, Mike Tauchman, etc. . . . The Yankees so desperately need starting pitching, it's hard to imagine they'd make Martinez a priority, but the Red Sox are nonetheless uneasy that New York could end up being stealth bidders to create a monster offense.

So who's left? The Blue Jays, White Sox, and Mariners.

The Blue Jays intend to spend this offseason, but after trading ace Marcus Stroman to the Mets, they're desperate for pitching. They can't be entirely discounted, though, because their young core of children of former big leaguers -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio -- could use not just a mentor, but an alpha in the middle of the lineup to let them develop without carrying the load.

Martinez would be that guy, but the Jays won't win anything without more pitching. That's where their resources will likely be directed.

The Mariners have signed massive free-agent deals before, be it Adrian Beltre or Robinson Cano. They also reportedly tried to acquire Martinez from the Tigers in 2016, so there's a history of interest. But it's hard to see how Martinez, who turned 32 in August, fits the long-term plans of a team that just won 68 games and isn't close to contention.

That leaves one team, and it's the most intriguing of the bunch: the White Sox.

Like the Jays, Chicago boasts a promising young core built around AL batting champ Tim Anderson, former Red Sox farmhand Yoan Moncada, and slugging outfielder Eloy Jimenez. Martinez could fill the mentor/alpha role described above.

Like the Mariners, the White Sox have shown an occasional willingness to spend in free agency. Just last year, they made a legitimate run at Manny Machado before he signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres.

The White Sox are close, thanks to one of baseball's best farm systems. Martinez's arrival would dovetail nicely with the integration of top prospects like outfielder Luis Robert and second baseman (and Dustin Pedroia clone) Nick Madrigal.

Like the Yankees, Chicago should probably be focusing its resources on pitching, but that's going to be a competitive market. The Martinez Sweepstakes, by contrast, could end up being a much quieter affair, which makes the White Sox, at least from this standpoint, the best fit to land him in free agency.

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One team has all the pieces to sign J.D. Martinez in free agency — the White Sox

One team has all the pieces to sign J.D. Martinez in free agency — the White Sox

If J.D. Martinez opts out of his Red Sox contract, as many of us expect, the natural question is where he'll land.

When I wrote about this six weeks ago, before we knew that ownership wanted to drop below the $208 million luxury tax threshold, I assumed the answer would be Boston. Four years, $100 million, lock down your All-Star DH and middle-of-the-order weapon for the long haul.

Now that we understand John Henry's motivations to cut costs, though, a Martinez opt-out must be viewed as a farewell, and the Red Sox are probably rooting for it at this point, just to simplify their offseason math.

If that's the case, a closer look at Martinez's potential landing spots yields a clear logical favorite — the White Sox.

Keep in mind, this is a purely academic exercise. We don't know if the White Sox are prioritizing offense this winter, given the woeful state of their entire pitching staff beyond All-Star right-hander Lucas Giolito.

But if there's a team that checks the most boxes, it's Chicago. The White Sox are blessed with one of baseball's best farm systems, which means they'll be able to offset the cost of a big-ticket free agent with cheap young talent. They have a glaring need for a veteran slugger and leader to augment their impressive young core of batting champ Tim Anderson, former Red Sox farmhand Yoan Moncada, and slugging left fielder Eloy Jimenez. And as their failed 2018 pursuits of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado suggest, they're willing to drop big money on a free agent.

Add it all together, and a strong case can be made that Martinez will be calling the south side of Chicago home come April.

First, it's instructive to play the process-of-elimination game. The 32-year-old Martinez overcame back issues this season to hit .304 with 36 homers and 105 RBIs. Though technically able to play outfield (he made 38 appearances in 2019), it's hard to imagine a team signing him long-term to play him there full-time. Anything's possible, but let's cross the entire National League off his list.

When accounting for cost, contention window, and positional need, most of the American League disappears, too (as we laid out in August). We're basically left with the White Sox, Blue Jays, and Mariners.

Toronto expects to have $50 million to spend this winter, but president Mark Shapiro acknowledged the team's one glaring need in the Toronto Star.

"I think on a global level, it's moving from competing to winning," he told the paper. "Certainly, when you look at where the needs are on our team, it doesn't take a whole lot of in-depth analysis that starting pitching is probably our greatest opportunity to make those leaps."

Devoting half of their offseason budget to DH doesn't make a ton of sense, although a case can be made for Martinez mentoring a lineup that includes exciting youngsters Vladimir Guerrero Jr.,  Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio. I guess we shouldn't discount the Jays entirely, but directing their resources towards starting pitching, especially without former ace Marcus Stroman, seems their most likely course of action.

With the Mariners, who knows? They could use upgrades all over the roster after winning just 68 games, and they've shocked us before, landing All-Stars Adrian Beltre and Robinson Cano on long-term deals. But it's hard to find a motivation for them to add Martinez at this point in their rebuilding arc.

The White Sox, though, make sense. They could use a veteran to guide the aforementioned trio, and there's no debating Martinez's clubhouse impact on young stars Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts in Boston. An intense student of hitting, Martinez encouraged Betts to attack early in the count during an MVP 2018 (although he fell back into some bad habits this season) and helped convert Bogaerts to the cult of launch angle, resulting in an underrated 2018 and a breakout 2019.

If White Sox GM Rick Hahn is looking for someone who can show his youngsters the way, he won't find a better option than the bilingual Martinez, and that's before we even consider his biggest impact, which would be in the middle of Chicago's lineup.

During a lost 2017 without David Ortiz to anchor the order, virtually every young Red Sox hitter regressed. Once Martinez arrived in 2018, though, Betts, Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi felt free to do their thing without the pressure of carrying the offense. They considered themselves table-setters in service of Martinez, and even if it wasn't reflected in their respective WARs, to a man they labeled Martinez the most important bat in their lineup.

He could fill all those roles in Chicago, and at a fraction of the $250 million the White Sox reportedly offered Machado last winter. Martinez merely needs to beat three years and the roughly $62 million remaining on his deal to justify opting out, and Chicago could beat that total with any number of three- or four-year offers.

After seven straight losing seasons, Chicago believes it's a year or two away from contention. Baseball America rates the farm system as No. 3 in the game, Anderson and Moncada are budding superstars, and Giolito is a legit Cy Young contender, alongside hard-throwing right-handers Michael Kopech, who's due back from Tommy John, and Dylan Cease.

What the White Sox need are veterans to help them make the leap. That's exactly what Martinez did in Boston, and he could easily duplicate the feat in Chicago.

Perhaps his decision will be as easy changing socks.

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