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.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Knicks announce they have parted ways with Phil Jackson

Mike Trout progressing towards return before All-Star break

There's nowhere for Chris Paul to go

Mother Nature stops Tim Tebow's St. Lucie debut

Carson Palmer not sure if 2017 will be his last NFL season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Spurs, Clippers among teams interested in Andre Iguodala

Vanderbilt players shot while trying to get teammate’s phone back from thief

Would adding George, Hayward make Celtics a super-team?

Kevin Durant congratulates Russell Westbrook for earning MVP honors

Colts QB coach: Andrew Luck should not be double-digit INT guy

Jim Kelly praises Sean McDermott, throws shade at Rex Ryan

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

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

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

2016-17 NBA Awards: The Disappearing Act Award for player who came up small

Getaway Day: Welcome back to the world, AL Central

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