Being normal for the time of year, there are many trade rumors going around. One tweet stirring up some interesting thoughts is an idea by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. He sees the Chicago White Sox being very good trade partners for the Dodgers. Chris Sale, Todd Frazier, Jose Quintana, and David Robertson are players that the White Sox would be willing to move in order to restructure, while Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, Jose De Leon, Willie Calhoun and Yasiel Puig are all players that the White Sox could have interest in.
First, let’s look at what this would do for the Dodgers. Facing Clayton Kershaw and Sale back-to-back would be most teams’ worst nightmares. After losing out on Zack Greinke and never having a true No. 2 starter last season, Sale would most certainly bolster a questionable pitching staff, giving both length in innings and the Dodgers the best one-two punch in the game. The 6’6″ lefty is coming off a year where he pitched over 200 innings, and had a 3.34 ERA. He has one year remaining on his contract, with an team option for 2018 and 2019.
Acquiring Sale would put quite a dent in the Dodgers’ deep reservoir of talent in the minors. In the summer, it was proposed that Julio Urias would need to be involved for any trade that included Sale. But Urias would not be included, as he has long been on the Dodgers no-touch list. The next pitcher in line would be De Leon. While De Leon started some games for the Dodgers last season, it doesn’t seem that would necessarily be the case in the upcoming season. He could, however, start for the back end of the White Sox rotation, or be in their minor league system and be called up sooner than he might be with the Dodgers.
The two players highest on the White Sox wish list may just be Bellinger and Calhoun. And who would blame them? Bellinger is a beast who has been tearing it up in the minors. He is fresh off 20 games in the Arizona Fall League, posting a .314/.424/.557 slash line, including three homers. Bellinger is the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez, and in two years or so could be a formidable presence at first base for many years to come. Calhoun also was sent to the AFL this year, and while his stat line was not as impressive as Bellinger’s ( .255/.300/.340/.640), he is a pure hitter with a very low strikeout rate. Calhoun plays second base, and the Dodgers might be more ready to trade him than Bellinger.
The outfielding part of this scenario includes Verdugo and Puig. Verdugo played for Double-A Tulsa in 2016, hitting .273 and hitting 13 home runs. He also was in the AFL this year, and while not posting great numbers while there, admitted to being tired. Yasiel Puig is off a well documented roller coaster season with the Dodgers, and has oft been mentioned in numerous trade rumors. But the White Sox have Adam Eaton already in right field, who is signed for four more years. It would be unlikely that Puig would replace him. And, as Josh Reddick recently signed a four year deal with the Houston Astros, the Dodgers are a bit limited in right field if he is traded.
Frazier was on the minds of many a Dodgers fan last season, when he was part of a three way trade with LA, the White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. Frazier would also be a free agent in two years, and is coming off a down season, batting only .225/.302/.464. If the Dodgers fail to re-sign Justin Turner, including Frazier in the deal could help ease that loss. Quintana is another left-handed pitcher that was mentioned. He started 32 games, pitched over 200 innings while posting a 3.20 ERA. He allowed 22 homers and struck out 181, while walking 50. He will be a free agent in 2019. Robertson pitched 62.1 innings of relief last season, while posting a 3.47 ERA with 37 saves and 75 strikeouts, and could potentially become a valuable piece to the back-end of the Dodgers’ bullpen.
While I would love to have Chris Sale to back up Kershaw, I think the White Sox would have to ask for the farm for their number one starter. Bellinger is a no-trade for me, and I don’t see Chicago accepting a deal for Sale if he’s not included. The same probably goes for Quintana, as it is such a slim year for starting pitching on the free agent market. But, they may take more prospects for Quintana as opposed to Sale if Bellinger is not included. As the teams share a spring training complex, they are well aware of the players on each other’s squads.
In the end, I don’t see a huge trade happening here. A pitcher of Sale’s caliber would require a lot in return, and the Dodgers front office seems to be keeping as much of their system in tact as possible while bolstering the existing roster. Frazier could be an option if Turner is not resigned. However, as the front office feels the pressure to win now, I would not rule anything out. I’m sure in the end I will be surprised by what this front office pulls off before spring training begins.