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MLB Trade Rumors: White Sox are sellers, should Yankees be buyers?

Chicago is having a!


The White Sox look to be deadline sellers now that it's clear they aren't going anywhere this season. If they do look to trade off their assets, the Yankees could be buyers in order to upgrade their roster for the rest of the year.

More: Trade Deadline Coverage

The most interesting pieces that the White Sox have are Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez, while Paul Konerko could also be useful.

Rios has hit .284/.344/.472 this season, which amounts to a 119 wRC+. By comparison, Yankees' outfielders, as a whole, have a .257/.309/.394 batting line and a 89 wRC+. He could be an every day player if he continues to hit both lefties (124 wRC+) and righties (117 wRC+) at an above average rate. The Yankees do have Zoilo Almonte, but, even if he is for real, Rios would be more than the platoon player that Zoilo looks to be.

A trade for Rios would help the 2013 Yankees, but also the 2014 team and possibly the 2015 team. He makes $12.5 million next season and has a $13.5 million (a trade ups it to $14 million) team option for the year after that. The Yankees could always buy him out of the last year of his deal for $1 million, so they're certainly not stuck with him for two and a half years. The problem with another longer term outfielder is that they already have to deal with Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki in 2014, however, with Curtis Granderson leaving, there is room on the roster.

Acquiring Alexei Ramirez would be a little more drastic, considering he is under contract through 2016. He makes $9.5 million next season and $10 million each for his last two seasons, with a $1 million buyout for 2016. That's a lot of money to devote to a 30+ year old shortstop with very little offensive capabilities. But consider this: the Derek Jeter-less Yankee shortstops have put up a .222/.287/.275 batting line and a 53 wRC+ in 2013, while Ramirez has hit .277/.304/.343 for a 70 wRC+. They have also assembled a 1.4 UZR/150, while Ramirez has a 9.7 UZR/150 in 2013.

Obviously, Jeter is supposed to be back this season, but what if he can't field his position now that his ankle is made of metal? If he needs to see significant time at DH and the Yankees want to make a run at the playoffs, Jayson Nix and his .249/.313/.301 batting line cannot be their everyday shortstop. Eduardo Nunez is still around, despite his horrible season so far, but would the organization feel comfortable giving him the starting job when Jeter's contract is up after the 2014 season? The one time he put together a full season (2011) he only managed to hit .265/.313/.385, which is a 88 wRC+, which is essentially Ramirez's career line: .276/.315/.403 for a 88 wRC+. His defense has been terrible, despite an improved throwing ability this season, but he could only hit .200/.290/.275 before going down with an injury.

The Yankees have Nix under team control through 2016 and Nunez through 2018, however, the cheaper option isn't always the right one. Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan highlight the 2014 shortstop market, but Jeter is supposed to be here. The 2015 offseason has J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie, and Hanley Ramirez available, so the Yankees could make do for a year before looking to fill in the gap. If the White Sox pay enough money, it could be worth taking on Alexei Ramirez just so the Yankees know what they're getting at shortstop. He won't hit very well, but his defense is going to be great. Longterm contracts might not be the solution and it would only make sense if the Yankees don't have to take on a lot of money.

If Mark Teixeira needs season-ending wrist surgery the Yankees can not continue to have Lyle Overbay as their only first base option if they want to compete. Paul Konerko is in the last year of his contract and could retire at the end of the year. If the White Sox take on a portion of the $13.5 million owed to him, he could be an upgrade at first base against lefties. Neither Overbay or Konerko are having particularly good seasons for a first baseman (.243/.287/.437 vs. .253/.319/.373), but they could work perfectly together in a platoon; Overbay has a 111 wRC+ against righties and Konerko has a 142 wRC+ against lefties.

Chicago could also be looking to trade Jake Peavy, Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, and Gordon Beckham, but only one of them could be worth acquiring. The Yankees have no use for a league-average starting pitcher, right-handed middle reliever, or a second baseman, but they could use a lefty.

This season lefties have hit .296/.311/.432 off Boone Logan, meanwhile Matt Thornton has kept them to a .149/.220/.348 batting line. If they were to acquire Thornton, it would have to be similar to how the Yankees used Logan and Clay Rapada in 2012; Matt Thornton can't pitch to right-handed batters (.349/.449/.476), but Logan can (.235/.306/.438). Thornton is signed through next season at $6 million and if the White Sox take on a portion of that salary, it could be much closer to the $3.1 million Boone is making this season. This deal would ensure the Yankees have a lefty option out of the bullpen in 2014 after Logan leaves as a free agent, though cheap internal players like Francisco Rondon, Josh Spence, and Jeremy Bleich might be the better way to go.

The only move I would endorse is trading for Alex Rios because he's actually been a good player, would be relatively cheap after the White Sox pay for some of his contract, and won't tie the team down because of the buyout. Ramirez might not be a good fit for really anyone and Konerko would be good, but it might not be worth acquiring a platoon first baseman.

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