Another domino fell Thursday, as the Rockies completed another step in their perpetually slow, baffling dance. After signing Gerardo Parra, they were stuck with four left-handed outfielders, and decided to deal the cheapest (and maybe best?) one of them for a closer. Corey Dickerson goes to Tampa for Jake McGee — an excellent closer. An excellent closer whom the Rockies undoubtedly hope will give them the edge in their battle with San Diego for 4th place in the NL West next year.
This matters because it likely takes Carlos Gonzalez off the trading block, and removes yet another possible RF solution that had been bandied about for the White Sox. All offseason we’ve been watching as possible options got taken off the table — Alex Gordon, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, and now one of the main trade candidates, all gone.
I have bellowed and rendered my garments plenty on Twitter already regarding how I feel about the White Sox approach to spending and free agency, particularly on the heels of miraculous, problem-solving win-now moves like the additions of Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie.
Dexter Fowler is the obvious candidate remaining among the free agents. I trust friend of the site Mau Rubio’s assessment that he is an average defensive CF more than I trust defensive metrics. Given that, it would mean moving Adam Eaton to RF (which has been rumored to be a goal of the organization this offseason), which would be a massive upgrade in right and possibly a defensive upgrade in center depending on how you feel about Eaton’s glove. Meanwhile, Fowler would replace Avisail Garcia with his career .363 OBP as well.
If there is one lesson that the White Sox have taught me repeatedly it is to lower my expectations. Let’s say they don’t want to sign Fowler — for baseball reasons, to maintain profit margins, or to cling to a draft pick that I think they shouldn’t overly worry about. Okay fine.
What else is out there?
Austin Jackson — It’s easy to forget he only turns 29 this coming Monday. His bat has eroded at a terrifying rate, and Steamer projects him to his an Avisail-ish .259/.317/.376 next year. That said, he doesn’t cost a draft pick, doesn’t really have a career platoon split at all, and his glove would be a huge upgrade over Garcia. Once I got past my fury at having whiffed on this entire class, this is still something that could improve the team at its biggest area of weakness. There’s reason to believe the team can compete in 2016, so that might be worth doing, especially given how horrid the defense was last year.
Marlon Byrd — He’s been hanging in there as pretty much a Power Only option for the last couple years. He definitely belongs in the majors, and he is part of the enormous club of “Dudes Who Are Almost Certainly Better Than Avisail.”
Ryan Raburn — Purely a lefty masher, although I suppose it would remove the chance that a division rival signs him and somehow beats Chris Sale single-handed 3-5 more times a season. Would fill a need in tandem with LaRoche.
Delmon Young — Young could platoon with LaRoche, I guess? Jeeze how bad is this getting…
Alex Rios — Please sign Dexter Fowler.
Every organization values players differently — particularly prospects — so it’s *really really* dangerous to propose specific trades. Rather, I’m going to try to identify possible targets/partners more so than proposing anything in particular.
For example, prior to today, the Rockies were an obvious candidate, as they clearly had an extra outfielder.
The Brewers have both Ryan Braun and Khris Davis and are one of the few teams that are obviously punting on 2016 before Spring Training even starts.
The Dodgers seem to have extra outfielders, and maybe there’s a fit there — but it is strange to think of the White Sox trading them an outfielder and then later trading back for another. Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Scott van Slyke all have their virtues and their faults.
Oakland has Josh Reddick, who is in his final year before free agency, and was better last year than I had realized. He’s entertaining — power, big arm — but his contact ability seems to come and go. I suppose the Rays might also have a spare outfielder having brought in Dickerson, but they love platoons and re-jiggering their roster a lot, as well as the fact that they aren’t into losing trades.
IN SUM: I entered this exercise hoping to reassure myself that there are a lot of options out there other than Fowler. Instead I made myself even more anxious. On the plus side, almost everybody is better than Avisail. On the down side, it wouldn’t be the first time that the White Sox refused to add a major league caliber piece on their biggest flaw.
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