With the trade deadline quickly approaching, its officially #SpeculationSZN, the best time of the year. While David Robertson is most certainly the Sox most likely trade piece, SP Jose Quintana is easily their most valuable asset on the trading block. Much has been written about it, but with the Sox not planning to contend for at least 1.5 more seasons, and in turn hoping to lose as many games as possible while giving young players valuable reps, trading Quintana for a respectable package is paramount this trade deadline. Quintana himself will have to do his part and repair his value with a strong July, but if he proves himself the top starter on the market like many assume he will, the Sox need to move on from Q and make a deal.
The Question is, to who?
The Brewers have become a surprising buyer behind their fast start, paced by power hitting trio of Travis Shaw, Eric Thames and Ryan Braun, along with interesting young guys who have emerged as clear long term starters in Orlando Arcia and Domingo Santana. Many expected the Brewers to be one of the NL’s worst teams this year, and clear trade deadline sellers. Instead, the Brewers sit at 41-37 and in 1st place in the NL Central, with a 1.5 game lead over a Cubs team that just refuses to take control of the division. So the question the Brewers face is, do they buy or sell? Surely, trading young core pieces like Lewis Brinson and Josh Hader who are already up in the majors makes little sense, but the Brewers really need a couple of extra arms if they want to hold off the Cubs. Pushing all their chips in for 2017 seems foolish, so a rental like Yu Darvish serves no purpose, but with a low payroll their chances of signing a big name Free Agent starter seems unlikely, so the Brewers are going to need to push their chips in on a cost controlled starter at some point in this rebuild anyways, with Hader and Luis Ortiz looking like the only prospects likely to join Jimmy Nelson in the rotation long term. Similarly, the Bullpen has no real clear shutdown arm right now, and could certainly use a talent injection.
So, Why the Brewers?
Look at that 2nd team listed again. The Milwaukee Brewers, full of interesting young talent, are the immediate rival to the Chicago Cubs, and the best chance at interrupting a dynasty. The thought of the Brewers taking the division from the Cubs in 2017 and 2018 while the Sox suck warms my heart a little and makes up for some likely awful Sox teams with no chance at October. There is another reason though, a much more mature reason.
The Brewers have a glut of talented outfielders. Their current MLB team features veteran Ryan Braun, young guys Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton, as well as prospects Lewis Brinson (Brewers #1) and Brett Phillips. Their other top prospects include OF Corey Ray, OF Trent Clark and OF/IF Keston Hiura. This matches up well with the Sox needs, as their long term outfield depth is maybe 2017 breakout starters Avisail Garcia and Leurey Garcia, a 19 year old playing the DSL (Luis Robert), and a string of recent 3rd round college outfielders (Luis Gonzalez, Alex Call, Jameson Fisher). There is little doubt this system could use an injection of talented outfielders.
So what’s the Trade?
White Sox trade: SP Jose Quintana, RP Tommy Kahnle
Brewers trade: OF Keon Broxton, OF Corey Ray, 3B Lucas Erceg, RHP Marcos Diplan.
The White Sox return for two of their best long term pitching assets would include
CF Keon Broxton (27, MLB, 5 years of control remaining)
With the promotion of Lewis Brinson, it appears the 27 year old Broxton will be the odd man out in a Brewers outfield with Ryan Braun in CF, Domingo Santana in RF and Brinson now in CF. Broxton is still coming off a 2.1 win season in 75 games in 2016 and is in year 1 of arbitration, making him a real trade asset despite his 38% K Rate this season. He is far from a sure thing, but neither is Tommy Kanhle. Consider their inclusions a 1-1 swap. Broxton immediately becomes the White Sox starting CF and they can give him the extended audition he needs and won’t get with the Brewers, at least until Corey Ray is ready. Speaking of Corey Ray…
OF Corey Ray (22, A+)
Corey Ray is the perfect fit for a number of reasons, including
- He is a CF, a position of great need for the White Sox. He is a top 25 prospect for a reason, as the baseball reasons to acquire Ray are obvious.
- He played his college baseball at Louisville, a favorite program of the White Sox (See last two drafts).
- He is the most famous graduate of the White Sox ACE Program, a true point of pride for the White Sox organization. He would be the PERFECT face of the franchise along with new community advocate Tim Anderson and lifelong White Sox fan Jake Burger on the next great Sox team. Marketing Gold.
3B Lucas Erceg (22, A+)
Erceg was picked up in the 2nd round of the 2016 Draft to be their homegrown 3B solution, but their off-season trade of Travis Shaw has lessened their need for Erceg, as Shaw is young, cost controlled, and absolutely raking. So, the Sox go out and add Erceg to Jake Burger in their pipeline of hopeful Matt Davidson replacements.
RHP Marcos Diplan (20, A+)
Diplan has two 60 grade pitches, a fastball and a slider, and profiles as a possible shutdown high leverage reliever. The Sox would absolutely trot him out as a starter as long as they can, but between Diplan, Zach Burdi, Carson Fulmer, Dane Dunning, Victor Diaz, Jordan Stephens, Spencer Adams, Alec Hansen, Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech their is a no doubt strong starting 5 and bullpen in the White Sox future.