Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 6/12/12

The Chicago White Sox are one of baseball’s biggest surprises. While the team didn’t have high expectations entering the season, they currently have a .5 game lead in the AL Central. And with the Detroit Tigers currently struggling, the White Sox could find themselves buyers at the trade deadline. If they hope to stay in the playoff race, they might want to look at upgrading third base.

Though many of the players on the White Sox are off to surprising starts, third base has been a huge problem. The team has produced just -0.9 WAR at the position, the worst mark in all of baseball. Due to the team’s refusal to define themselves this off-season, the team entered the year with Brent Morel as the starter.

Morel’s performance as a rookie was underwhelming, but some analysts hoped that a strong September was a sign that he had figured things out. That hasn’t been the case. Before injuring his back, Morel was one of the worst offensive players in the league. Morel looked absolutely lost at the plate, striking out 31.2% of the time. Behind that terrible strikeout rate, Morel hit just .177/.225/.195 in 125 plate appearances.

When Eduardo Escobar failed to impress in 56 plate appearances, the team signed Orlando Hudson to replace Morel. Hudson — who was cut by the San Diego Padres in May — hasn’t been much better. Hudson has done little to show that he’s the answer at third this season, hitting just .182/.274/.309 with the White Sox. But unlike Morel, Hudson no longer provides solid defense.

For a team in the race, their lack of production at third base could be their undoing. The Cleveland Indians are just .5 games out of first, so every win is crucial. Upgrading at third could be the difference between making the playoffs, and watching them from the couch. Since the White Sox have no legitimate replacements in the farm system, they will likely be scouring the trade market for available third basemen.

It’s still early enough in the season where few teams are in full-on selling mode, so it’s unclear who might be available next month. That said, there are many people who belief Kevin Youkilis could be on the block. With Will Middlebrooks holding his own in the majors, and Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz first and DH, the Red Sox don’t have a need for Youkilis. And while he’s struggled this season — hitting just .231/.314/.372 — he would be a major improvement over the White Sox current options. Trading for Youkilis also comes with some risks. He’s 33-years-old, injury prone and a poor defender at third. If he fails to reach his previous levels of offense, he’ll be nothing more than a $6 million drain on the payroll. But Kenny Williams is no stranger to taking risks.

The real question is whether the White Sox have anything to offer. The team has one of the worst farm systems and baseball, and few players with favorable contracts. While pitching has been the strength of the team for the past few seasons, the White Sox find themselves very thin in the rotation. John Danks and Gavin Floyd have both regressed, and Phil Humber’s spot is in jeopardy. The White Sox could consider dealing one of their relievers, but the bullpen has been below-average this season. Unless Hector Santiago can turn things around, the team might be stretched if they deal away Matt Thornton or Jesse Crain.

Offensively, the team has little to offer. They’ll want to keep most of their starters, and the other players on their roster just aren’t desirable. The team could try and dangle former first round pick Jared Mitchell — who is having a solid season after injuries hampered his development — but it would be foolish to deal years of control of Mitchell away for just a half-season of Youkilis. And since the team has so few impact players in the minors, they may want to hold Mitchell now that he’s finally producing.

But that’s never stopped Kenny Williams in the past. Even though it looks like the White Sox don’t have a lot of tradable assets, Williams has routinely surprised analysts at the trade deadline. And more than any other general manager, Williams is willing to take significant risks for a shot at the playoffs. Even if Youkilis isn’t the answer for the White Sox, you can bet Williams won’t stand pat at the deadline.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg expected to return next week

WATCH: Footage surfaces from Tim Tebow’s baseball workout

Teddy Bridgewater suffers serious knee injury at practice?

EON Sports strikes VR partnerships with Miami, PSU

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mike Tyson accused of stealing ice cream treat at U.S. Open

Calvin Johnson to join DWTS, sister says he ‘can’t dance’

Eagles rookie nixes anthem protest after talking to agent

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

Teddy Bridgewater injury puts Vikings' plans up in the air

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

Vontaze Burfict on Steelers: ‘I don’t give no f—s about them’

Alistair Overeem: Brock Lesnar will never return to UFC

Top five Heisman Trophy candidates for 2016

Five young NFL players set to explode in 2016

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The hottest MLB pitchers headed into September sprint

West-ern Literature: How Kanye's fans find meaning in between the lines

Madden 17's live commentary tackles Kaepernick controversy

Kanye West, Saint Pablo Tour and the anti-celebrity

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker