That’s the word from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. The White Sox are open to parting with younger regulars like Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Dayan Viciedo and Gordon Beckham and they’d certainly be willing to move Adam Dunn and John Danks. But ace Chris Sale is unavailable, as is 10-and-5 guy Paul Konerko.
Heyman doesn’t indicate whether that’s Konerko’s preference or the team’s. Konerko has full no-trade protection because of his veteran status. From a performance standpoint, there wouldn’t seem to be a whole lot of reason for the White Sox to keep him. He’s 37, struggling this year (.253/.319/.373 in 249 AB) and he’s a free agent at season’s end.
The White Sox most likely to be traded are relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton. Crain, one of the AL’s best relievers so far this year, is a free agent at season’s end and will probably want another costly three-year contract. Thornton’s contract includes a $6 million option for next year that the White Sox probably won’t want to pick up.
Closer Addison Reed would also be in demand and could bring more in return than anyone else on the White Sox roster, Sale excepted. However, since he’s not going to be a free agent until after the 2017 season, the White Sox would have to be blown away to move him.
The White Sox offense doesn’t have as many intriguing options for potential deals. It is, after all, the AL’s worst offense so far this season. No one on the team has an .800 OPS, though Rios is close at .794. He’s owed a reasonable $12.5 million next year and either $13.5 million or a $1 million buyout in 2015, giving him a fair amount of trade value. He can block a deal to six teams.
It’s hard to imagine the White Sox finding takers for Dunn or Keppinger. Ramirez wouldn’t be a bad pickup for a team in need of a shortstop, but the White Sox have always seemed to overvalue him. Plus, he’s due to make $19.5 million between 2014 and ’15. The White Sox would be selling low on Viciedo, so they’ll probably keep him and hope for the best. Beckham is a more interesting case, since he has hit fairly well in limited action while not sidelined by a broken hamate this year (.309/.340/.383 in 28 games). He still has some upside remaining, but he’s probably going to make about $4 million next year and the White Sox have Carlos Sanchez as a possible second baseman of the future.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.
Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!
Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.