White Sox

Four names emerge as White Sox trade candidates

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Four names emerge as White Sox trade candidates

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Rick Hahn has hinted that hed have to be creative in order to address the White Sox roster needs this offseason, though hes not sure what direction that will exactly take.

Hahn spent the first two days of the general manager meetings in exploratory mode.

Though Hahn has unearthed potential trade partners the past two days he doesnt expect any finalized deals before he returns to Chicago on Friday. Hahn also noted he has listened to offers on anyone on the roster in order to gather more information on other teams needs.

Hahn wont divulge names, but four rival executives said they believe the White Sox are open to trades of second baseman Gordon Beckham, outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Dayan Viciedo and starting pitcher Gavin Floyd.

At the very least we have had good conversations with other clubs and a good sense of how our guys might fit to address some of their needs and how some other players out there might address ours, Hahn said. They will lead nowhere or maybe will lead to some three-way deals in the coming weeks, but at the very least weve got a real good sense of whats out there and how our guys fit. I think you have to at least hear a team out. You never know where it may lead.

The White Sox arent likely to part with a Chris Sale-esque player unless they are overwhelmed. But Hahn said he wouldnt drop the untouchable tag if a club asked about a particular players availability because he can use the opportunity to flesh out what their priorities are and why theyre asking about that player and maybe it leads to something else.

With needs at third base and another at catcher -- most likely a backup for Tyler Flowers -- Hahn has discussed several players on his current roster in potential deals.

Both Beckham and De Aza, who earned 520,000 and 495,000 in 2012, respectively, are arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason and due raises.

Even though hes under team control and not arbitration eligible, Viciedos contract stipulates he must earn 80 percent of the 3.5 million he pulled in last season, which equates to 2.8 million. And Floyd, who will earn 9.5 million, could be a luxury if John Danks rehab stays on schedule and returns by spring training.

With Floyd and eight others signed, the White Sox have already committed 89.25 million toward next season. The team is expected to operate on roughly the same payroll it did last season (97.6 million), Hahn said. All of the above appears to mean Hahn has several trades to make in order to satisfy the clubs need at third base while also managing its payroll needs.

If the White Sox need to relieve a big chunk of salary, two executives believe outfielder Alex Rios contract --- which guarantees him 26 million through 2014 and includes a 13.5 million option for 2015 --- would be much easier to move after he rebounded in 2012. Neither is certain the White Sox have made Rios available, however.

And with almost the entire offseason to go, Hahn hasnt reached that point.

We have a lot of work to do, but we have a lot of time to do it, Hahn said. Theres a couple of moves we want to make. Well just have to wait and see when they present themselves. We may well have to move Player X to create room for Player Y, but we havent got that point yet.

White Sox free-agent focus: Michael Brantley

White Sox free-agent focus: Michael Brantley

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

White Sox fans know Michael Brantley all too well.

Brantley spent the first decade of his major league career as a Cleveland Indian and faced off against the South Siders on a regular basis. For the most part, he did quite well against them, the owner of a .280/.326/.418 slash line, 12 home runs and 59 RBIs against them in 116 games. So the best reason for the White Sox to sign Brantley this winter might be so they don’t have to pitch to him anymore.

Seriously, though, Brantley has put together a quietly strong big league career to this point. He’s slashing .295/.351/.430 in his career with a trio of All-Star appearances under his belt and a top-three AL MVP finish from 2014. There are certainly bigger names on the outfield market — Bryce Harper and A.J. Pollock come to mind — but Brantley would be a nice fit just about anywhere.

The main concern with Brantley is his health. He played in just 101 games over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. But he played in 143 games in 2018, a positive sign.

The White Sox don’t need an outfielder like Brantley, necessarily. They’re not expected to contend for a championship in 2019, and the outfield is perhaps the deepest area in their minor league system. If they’re content to keep playing the waiting game in 2019 while all those prospects develop into the team of the future, the outfield would figure to stock itself over the next couple seasons. Eloy Jimenez, the team’s top-ranked prospect, figures to reach the majors early on next season and would figure to command an everyday corner-outfield spot. Brantley played all but seven of his games last season in left field, the same spot where Jimenez spent most of his time in the minors.

But the White Sox current major league outfield leaves a lot to be desired, with subpar offensive seasons from Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico and Avisail Garcia in 2018 and Daniel Palka seemingly best suited for a DH role. Brantley would be an obvious upgrade from an offensive standpoint.

Plus, Brantley would bring some veteran experience to a very young team and could act in a mentor-type role among position players that James Shields was able to fill among starting pitchers last season.

But Brantley is also 31 years old, and it would be a worthwhile question to wonder whether he would align with their long-term plans.

Like with any potential signing, the White Sox have the financial flexibility to make a Brantley addition work. But it seems there are more pressing needs that need addressing and additions that could make a greater long-term impact.

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White Sox reportedly trying to trade Avisail Garcia

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USA TODAY

White Sox reportedly trying to trade Avisail Garcia

Is the Avisail Garcia Era about to come to an end on the South Side?

According to a report from MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, the White Sox are trying to trade Garcia away. Feinsand added that there's a belief the White Sox could even non-tender Garcia in the absence of a trade.

Garcia came to the White Sox in the three-team Jake Peavy trade at the 2013 deadline. Yes, Garcia's been with the White Sox for more than half a decade. He didn't break out until 2017, though, batting just .257 in his first three and a half seasons with the White Sox. Then came the All-Star campaign of 2017, when he hit .330 and reached base at a .380 clip, ranking among the league leaders in both categories.

Last season, though, Garcia was hampered by a knee injury that bothered him from Opening Day on, with his hamstring sending him to the disabled list on more than one occasion. He slashed just .236/.281/.438 in 93 games, though he did set a new career high with 19 home runs.

The injuries made it very difficult to forecast what Garcia's long-term future with the White Sox might be, preventing him from being able to prove he could repeat those All-Star numbers. With one year of team control remaining, the White Sox have options. They could try to deal him this winter, as is being reported, or they could try to trade him during the season.

General manager had this to say about Garcia at last week's GM Meetings:

"We've been talking about Avi for a long time now, and I think we know him as well as anybody about what he's capable of doing when he's fully healthy, as well as some of the challenges created by the health issues for him," Hahn said. "With one year currently left of control, we're having conversations right now about how best to proceed."

With the White Sox expected to bring top prospect Eloy Jimenez, who played mostly left field in 2018, up from the minors early next season and their reported interest in free-agent right fielder Bryce Harper, there could be a desire to open up corner-outfield spots for more productive offensive players.

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