The White Sox are the perfect trade partner for pretty much any contending team, and that’s been the case for the past calendar year. For a team as dreadful as Chicago, think about the valuable, controllable assets that have flowed through the system: Chris Sale, Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana, and Jose Abreu. Both Sale and Eaton were sold for quite a haul, and one would expect Rick Hahn to move more assets before their rebuild is complete. Let’s take a look at these assets; in particular, the targets are most likely Quintana, Frazier, and David Robertson.
Jose Quintana is the easiest to make the case for. For one, he’s signed to an incredibly cheap contract, just one more guaranteed year of $8.8 million with two team options for $10.5 million. That’s great regardless what you think of him. The question of course is this season, and whether that foreshadows some decline. One concern is that his command has gone totally out of the window this season:
Despite even that fact, he still has a 101 ERA-, which isn’t terrible. His peripherals are also much better—an 89 FIP- and 84 DRA-. Say what you want about his command, and that concern may be valid, but he is really, really good. Since 2012, Quintana’s FIP- is less than or equal to: Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester, and Cole Hamels. The asking price is likely too steep, but arguing that Quintana isn’t really that good just doesn’t hold water; he’s a top-thirty pitcher in baseball, and that comes at a price.
Frazier is another interesting trade piece, mostly because he was much more valuable a year or two ago. After putting together 9.3 fWAR in his last two years with the Reds, he’s been worth just 3.6 in his season-and-a-half with the White Sox. He could still be valuable, obviously; he’s still a league average hitter at a corner infield position with just a half-year of team control, so it’d be a relatively cheap rental. He may not be the flashiest player, but his cost/value ratio is probably better than Quintana as of today.
The last valuable piece for the Yankees is old friend D-Rob, and I might as well lay out the red carpet with the way the Yankees bullpen has been pitching. Since leaving the Yankees, where he had a stellar 150 ERA+, he has since put up a lesser 122 ERA+. That could be because he’s just a worse pitcher, or it could be because he has a lesser defense behind him—his DRA seems to show that his peripherals are still excellent. Worse or not, Robertson would be an excellent addition to a bullpen that sorely needs help. Just imagine Robertson in place of Tyler Clippard, and you have him for 2018, too.
On paper, the White Sox are a perfect match. Chicago is a rebuilding team and needs prospects, and the Yankees are flush with prospects. The Yankees are a team on the rise in need of corner infield, bullpen, and rotation help, and the White Sox have just that. The price might not be right in the end, but if one team is leading the pack in terms of likely trade partners, it’s the White Sox.