While things get more complex, it’s still possible that the White Sox can move players via trade even though the trading deadline has passed.
This has to happen via waivers, a complicated process that looks like it’s becoming more and more common each passing year.
Basically, the White Sox put a player on waivers, and teams can submit claims on that player. If he’s claimed by one or multiple teams, the Sox have the choice to work out a deal with the team who has the worst record in their league that submit a claim (if no AL team claims, they work one out with the worst claiming NL team), or they can simply pull him off waivers. If no one claims the guy, the Sox can work out a trade with anyone. MLBTR does a terrific job of explaining the process in more detail here.
The White Sox and other teams have made used of this over the past few seasons. In 2009, the Sox used this to both buy and sell. At the beginning of August, the Sox claimed Alex Rios from the Blue Jays, giving up no players but agreeing to pay the rest of his contract. Later that month, they sent Jim Thome to the Dodgers and Jose Contreras to the Rockies in separate deals for minor leaguers we never heard from again. Waivers is also how one of the most memorable trades in baseball history happened, as the Red Sox and Dodgers completed a mega deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett across the country.
Given how bad the White Sox are this season, they are prime candidates to move some guys via waivers. The market for needs will become clearer as the month wears on, and teams could become more desperate.
With that in mind, here are the top five candidates for the White Sox to move via waivers:
1. Alex Rios
This shouldn’t come to much of a surprise to anyone, as we all know how much the White Sox wanted to move him in July. However, whether it be due to his dip in production since the early months, the money he’s owed over the next two seasons, or the fact that he lacks hustle at times, nobody was willing to part ways with the kind of return Rick Hahn wanted for the right fielder.
Hahn and his crew are probably thrilled that the Sox can move people via waivers for the sole purpose of moving Rios. After acquiring Avisail Garcia, it’s clear that they want him to be a part of the starting lineup sooner rather than later, with the latest option certainly being Opening Day 2014. Even though the Sox are toying with him in center field in AAA right now, he seems ticketed for the corner outfield. That can’t happen if Alex Rios is there through next season.
So, to get Garcia on the field, it seems as if all the team really needs to do is deal Rios. They couldn’t deal him in July because teams weren’t willing to pay his contract AND the Sox wanted a steep return, but the more Garcia dominates AAA (went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI last night, raising his average to .379) and the tighter the division races get, the more likely common ground is to be found with some team.
Since Rick Hahn’s trade deadline actions indicate he may want to spend some money this off-season, I’ll be surprised if Alex Rios isn’t moved via waivers this month.
2. Alexei Ramirez
Alexei Ramirez is another name we heard about the White Sox trying to move before the deadline. We know the White Sox and Pirates discussed both Alexei Ramirez and Alex Rios down the stretch of the deadline, and we heard Rick Hahn say a last-minute deal that was in the works fell through.
The teams and players involved in that were unspecified, but considering the interest Rios and Ramirez drew during the month of July, there’s a good chance they were involved. Also, since a lot of teams that are interested in one guy have a need in the other guy’s position (take the Pirates, for example, Rios and Ramirez just seem like a convenient trade package.
We all know the story of Alexei this year average up, power down, defense has been very shaky. However, teams will take a look at his average and defensive metrics and see a shortstop that can certainly help them. Plus, he deal runs through 2015 with a team option/buyout for 2016, so someone looking for a permanent fit there could take a look at Ramirez.
That same contract could scare teams away, though, so I can’t put the odds of Alexei leaving over 50 percent. However, he’s probably has the second highest odds of being moved via waivers after Rios.
3. Alejandro De Aza
Sox fans seem to be incredibly frustrated with Alejandro this year despite him having the highest OWAR on the team (1.8). It’s because of the strikeouts, as he’s a leadoff hitter striking out exactly one time per game. However, a .274 average, 13 home runs, 45 RBI, and .330 OBP are certainly respectable numbers.
While he’s miscast in the leadoff role and miscast in center field, De Aza can definitely help a team with an opening in left or right field (ideally left) and hit somewhere between 6-8 in the order, as he’s hitting .339 with runners in scoring position. Think about it, he’s a leadoff hitter on-pace to knock in around 70 runs. That’s pretty productive.
The Sox may want to hang onto him since he’s arbitration eligible for likely two more seasons, and nobody from the minor leagues aside from Avisail Garcia appears ready to take over a starting outfielder’s role. However, that team control is the same reason why teams would have interest in De Aza.
For the Sox to move him, it would take a decent haul from someone else. However, he will definitely be put on waivers, and the Sox will probably at least listen to what teams have to say, even if making a deal isn’t in their plans.
4. Adam Dunn
Adam Dunn has that contract that is ugly through next season, but this is a guy who has hit over .270 since the beginning of June, amassing 13 home runs and 38 RBI in the process. That’s impressive production for someone on a horrible team. His WAR is still pretty pathetic (-0.4 according to ESPN.com), but a lot of that is due to the fact that he’s been playing awful defense at first base.
That matters because no team in their right mind would deal for Adam Dunn to play him there five times a week. Dunn would be a perfect fit for a team needing a power-bat in the middle of the order down the stretch, playing designated hitter and getting a start every week or two at first.
I don’t see him going anywhere just based on the amount of $$$ he’s owed through next season, and this move would be more about cash relief for the Sox rather than return-based. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if teams look at Dunn if they become desperate for left-handed power down the stretch or if someone loses a key bat due to injury.
5. Matt Lindstrom
Bullpen arms have always been the most fascinating thing to me in the game. We hear about how much they are a “dime a dozen” and could be easily replaced over an off-season, but it’s also arguably the most important part of a ball club when it comes time for a pennant race.
That’s why teams would want Matt Lindstrom. He’s a veteran bullpen arm that’s been around for a while now. You know what you are going to get. He will have his rough stretches (like he’s currently in), but over the course of a season, he’ll have an ERA between 3-4 and be a solid seventh, maybe even eighth inning guy.
It’s also why I think the Sox may want to hang onto him for now. Going into next year, you’d like at least one known commodity back there other than Addison Reed. Nate Jones will be in next year’s bullpen, but he’s had a rough season and no one’s sure how he will bounce back. Bullpens are a crapshoot, but after Lindstrom and Jones, it’s really a crapshoot with all of the young guys in AAA.
I certainly would not rule out the possibility of the team moving Lindstrom. I just think if the Sox were going to deal him, it would have been before the deadline. Now, they could be best served hanging onto him moving into next season, especially if Hahn plans to make additions before 2014 Opening Day and tries to compete. Again, you’d like to have a known commodity back there.