The Hot Stove is anything but right now, and despite Rick Hahn pulling of a reasonable swap of Jake Peter for two interesting relievers and replacing Peter with Jose Rondon, I am getting bored.
Since the Sox aren’t going to be players in the FA market until its dried out and the “bargain” arms are available, the only thing we can hypothesize about are trades. Sadly, we also hit a bit of a road block here too since the only MLB trade assets we really have for sale are Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu, who both appear to be going nowhere. However, after the Jake Peter trade, I had an idea. What if we traded from a minor league surplus (I.e Jake Peter being our 4th 2B/UTIL INF type) to go get something more interesting, even if the value difference isn’t that great long term (I.e not prospects for immediate returns type trades). And here is my idea
The White Sox should trade for Corey Ray
I have long dreamt off the White Sox making a move for Corey Ray, ever since they drafted 10th in 2016. For those who don’t know, Ray is a product of the much lauded White Sox ACE program, where they help grow the game of baseball on the Southside of Chicago and keep kids out of trouble. Ray then went on to star for Jackie Robinson West (RIP), Simeon and Louisville, a favorite program of one Nick Hostetler. After failing to get hometown kid Nick Burdi in the Rule 5 Draft my heart is aching for a nice storyline, so lets go check in on Corey Ray.
What the Sox have working for them
- A talented minor league system to trade from
- The Brewers have a surplus of OF prospects with Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips in the MLB and Monte Harrison, Keston Hiura* and Tristen Lutz in the minors, along with last year’s OF’s Ryan Braun, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana.
- The Brewers have already supposedly shopped Santana, so the idea of trading an OF is clearly in their head
- Rick Hahn and David Stearns surely have a solid working relationship after last year’s beneficial swap of Anthony Swarzak for Ryan Cordell.
- The Brewers biggest area of need is pitching, followed by maybe a desire for a 2B (Neil Walker is a FA and Jonathan Villar was terrible last season). The White Sox have a plethora of possible 2B and pitching prospects.
- Corey Ray was pretty awful last year in High A, so the Brewers may be inclined to cut bait
What the Sox have working against them
- Corey Ray was pretty awful last year in High A, so the Brewers may not want to sell low
- These kind of deals are rare
- The White Sox already have Luis Robert, Luis Gonzalez, Blake Rutherford, Alex Call, Micker Adolfo, Luis Alexander Basabe and Jameson Fisher likely competing for AB’s for Winston Salem at some point in 2018.
- The Brewers likely don’t care that Corey Ray is an ACE graduate and aren’t any more likely to trade him because of it
- The White Sox already have a 2016 1st rounder who struggled last year in his first full season of pro ball and will need consistent OF AB”s at High A this year (Blake Rutherford).
A possible deal?
*Before I start, we should discuss Ray’s value. He is currently MLB Pipeline’s #59 Overall Prospect and #2 Brewers prospect, but that is almost certainly going to change when the new list drops at the end of January. For context, Baseball America’s new Brewers top 10 has Ray as the Brewers top 10, and therefore certainly not in the top 100. So the White Sox don’t need to go dealing Alec Hansen to get Ray.
So looking at what the Sox have working for them, and what they have working against them, I have come up with a list of relevant trade targets that could entice the Brewers to send Corey Ray back home.
- One of our High A OF’s: In order to free up AB’s, maybe sending the Brewers one of Luis Gonzalez or Luis Alexander Basabe to replace Ray on their A+ CF depth chart would start a trade.
- One of our AA/AAA/MLB type arms we have waiting in the wings for depth. Here, maybe a Jordan Stephens, Jordan Guerrero or Spencer Adams could entice the Brewers, who could feasibly need a 5th starter or bullpen help this year, as they hope to build off last year’s near WC berth.
- Something from our MLB Bullpen. Maybe a combination of Juan Minaya and Joakim Soria gets David Stearns thinking? The Brewers bullpen could surely need some more help as they attempt to stay within Budget and compete with the Cubs.
- Yolmer Sanchez: Insurance in case Jonathan Villar is terrible again at 2B, and a perfect bench body for a playoff team. Plus, for the small market Brewers, he still has 4 years of ARB control left. (If they so desired, no reason these couldn’t be Sally or the new acquired Rondon I guess)
- Carson Fulmer/Dane Dunning: Fulmer provides the 2018 Impact out of the bullpen Dunning wouldn’t be able to, but Dunning probably has the higher ceiling. Both these guys seem to be held in pretty similar regard to Corey Ray right now as a prospect.
So, looking at that list, here are the 3 trades I think make most sense, in order.
3) Luis Gonzalez and Jordan Guerrero for Corey Ray.
This one may be a little to light, but Gonzalez might not be all that far behind Ray right now as a prospect and Geurrero provides some value as a possible LHP out of the bullpen or at the back of rotation in 2018.
2) Yolmer Sanchez for Corey Ray
This one is interesting, as I think Sanchez would be a really nice acquisition for the Brewers. The question is if the Brewers are willing to give up on Ray’s potential for a guy who’s clearly a UTIL INF or maybe fringe starter on a playoff team. Similarly, the White Sox would be left with a last second FA signing or trade to cover 3rd for the foreseeable future, and only really have Jake Burger in the pipeline to possible take over one day, and he is a long way away.
1) Carson Fulmer for Corey Ray
A swap of 1st round picks. The Brewers give up on the Carson Fulmer:SP experiment and move him into their bullpen for the next 6 years next to Josh Hader and the White Sox get their man. This feels like a fair trade value-wise for both teams, and makes sense for the Brewers. The question is are the White Sox willing to move on from Fulmer for a chance of greatness from Ray, especially when Fulmer is one of the few SP options they have in 2018. Much like Yolmer, there is real no replacement for Fulmer on the 2018 roster, so they are taking a bit of a chance trading Fulmer for Ray.
*I would do all 3 of these trades, I just want Corey Ray*