TCS Morning 5: White Sox could be swayed to trade a bad player

1. The encouraging part of the Dan Hayes' report that the White Sox are open to trading Avisail Garcia is that it shows the White Sox are aware of what we are seeing on a daily basis, that Garcia is: currently awful, showing no progress, and an increasingly poor bet to put things together offensively to a degree that will overcome his mounting shortcomings elsewhere.

Hayes even has an anonymous scout saying the Sox are very frustrated with Garcia, and empathy is a life-affirming feeling.

The downside, and more darkly funny side of this report is that the Sox are "open" to trading a bad player. They will listen to offers on a bad defender, relegated to an outfield corner, with a hyper-aggressive approach, a huge vulnerability to well-placed inner-half velocity (like, a permanent one), and whose value is mostly tied into huge raw power that he taps into about, oh, two days per month? Start the bidding at "whatever post-hype guy eating a roster spot that you've grown sick of."

Trading Garcia is the way to go. He's young and could fetch a similar struggling prospect that the Sox could turn around, but the Sox posturing like they need to be wooed to part with a guy who can't defend and is easily picked apart by high-level pitching is going to get goofy.

2. It already sort of is. The ability of the Sox to shop Avisail is being couched on them having options with Trayce Thompson, which...hey now.

I really like Trayce Thompson. We all do. His debut was among the most fun any Sox positional prospect has had in several years. Which is kind of like being regarded as the funniest guard at the POW camp. He hit really well, flashed a lot of fun tools, and can, if nothing else, defend his position, and run really fast around the bases without falling or pulling his hamstring. I'm 100% on board with playing him over Avisail as both a win-now and a long-term decision. He has inherent flaws but at least has shown the faintest whisper of a plan for how to transcend them, as well as showing actual in-game MLB skills in a few areas. 

That said, having him off the bench is not some "embarrassment of riches" scenario. He's projected as a fourth outfielder, and has been since he hit Double-A. Right-handers with good breaking stuff are likely to wear him out on an expanded tour of the league, he'll hit for an appallingly low average, and will hope to run into 20 bombs and play his butt off in right field to make his game palatable. 

A great Sox team has him coming off the bench, pinch-running, defending the final three innings, playing twice a week, slapping some first-pitch fastballs out the park and torching lefties, and wreaking havoc in tantalizingly small doses. But Trayce is a starting option because the Sox don't build great teams, they try to cobble together good ones and hope everything breaks right. Trayce could be starting because something else has gone horribly wrong, and that something is Avisail.

3. Jose Abreu and Chris Sale have been announced to appear at 2016 SoxFest.

Just them.

No one else yet. Hmm...

I don't find this salacious, I'm just sad about possibly losing Quintana.

4. Speaking of those two, they also fetched the only MVP votes for the Sox. Chris Sale grabbed a lone seventh-place vote, and Jose Abreu got an eighth-place vote. Sale is an MVP candidate if you just add up the fWAR and then fill out your ballot accordingly, whereas Abreu obviously got the benefit of the afterglow of his staggering 2014 and solid counting stats.

Neither one was close to being the problem with the 2015 White Sox, but since they're likely to be leading another 'Stars & Scrubs' roster in 2016, the Sox will need both to have significantly better seasons to be competitive. Which might just be saying that they need them to have healthy seasons free of odd, nagging leg ailments.

5. The real anniversary is not for another five days, but I'll forget by then. Five years ago the White Sox traded Aaron Rowand and Daniel Haigwood to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for 35-year-old Jim Thome and Gio Gonzalez. At the time it fit in with a questionable Sox tradition of swapping homegrown two-way centerfielders for plodding sluggers, but it's taken a different role in Sox history since then.

Thome, fresh off an injury-plagued 2005, hit .288/.416/.598 with 42 homers in 610 plate appearances in 2006. Paul Konerko's 2010 and Jose Abreu's 2014 were superior, but that was the last time the Sox fielded an offense that finished in the top-5 in wRC+ in the American League. Also, Jim Thome and John Danks basically won them the Game 163 in 2008 by themselves, which is pretty much the most important White Sox win between the 2005 World Series and present day. 

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