With an extremely critical offseason approaching on the South Side, the White Sox need to make some impactful moves. Free agency has been a struggle for the Sox, so going the trade route may be their best option to acquire talent that moves the needle.
Kris Bryant is better than every position player, except maybe Anthony Rendon in this free-agent class, and he’s two years younger. This is a sleeper candidate for the White Sox to fill the void in right field. The White Sox can trade with the Cubs. They got that off their back a few years ago with the Jose Quintana trade. The Sox right fielders slashed .220/.277/.288 with six homers. That’s… awful. We’re talking beyond multiple players below replacement level awful. Bryant appeared in 27 games as a right fielder for the Cubs in 2019, thanks to Joe Maddon constantly moving around position players. He can play out there, so anyone discounting experience should be quiet. In fact, Nick Castellanos is a BRUTAL fielder, and Marcell Ozuna hasn’t played right field since 2017. Ozuna is ALSO not the best fielder. Yasiel Puig is streaky. Why not take a chance on Bryant? He is far better than both of them.
Now the caveat to acquiring Bryant is giving up players for two years of control. I get it. It’s risky, and you are banking on Bryant to extend with you. To possibly mitigate that risk, the Cubs could extend Bryant and trade him to the Sox, who would then take on all of the money. You’ll also have Cubs fans screaming from the rooftops that they would never trade him. In my mind, that might not be the brightest idea if they cannot reach an extension with him to keep him on the roster. The Cubs have a depleted farm system as well, and a move like this would help both teams. With the emergence of one of their best prospects, Nico Hoerner, and the extension of David Bote, all signs point to “Yes” when fielding trade offers for Bryant. The Cubs want to shed payroll, and Epstein was quoted after this past season saying he wanted big changes for the Cubs. Well, Joe Maddon is the manager of the Angels now, so that’s another sign the Cubs are deviating from their 2015-2019 direction. The Cubs also need pitching, so that might be their focus, instead of their stud third-baseman/outfielder.
The Sox have room to part with minor league talent. I do not see them moving either Luis Robert or Nick Madrigal, but there is still depth that could make this move possible. This could be Andrew Vaughn, Dane Dunning, Steele Walker, Micker Adolfo, etc. There is depth. I know Hahn loves to say he wants “sustained success,” but I would argue a player of Bryant’s caliber does exactly that for you, especially if he gets an extended contract. Now, I am skeptical as to how much Bryant would yield if the Cubs extend him before trading him, but I think the two teams can work on a deal.
Finally, we all know the White Sox have been frugal on the free-agent front. Although, I do expect them to open their pockets slightly this offseason because Rick Hahn has a ton of pressure from fans and the baseball world. Outside of the organization, their other best and most realistic option is a trade. This would help them, and it’s a guaranteed plus going forward. Bryant will be 28 this upcoming season. He definitely has a few great years left in him. The Sox have a shot to plug a gigantic hole in their lineup and acquire a marquis future Hall of Famer. Get the job done, Hahn and company!
Featured Photo: Sports Illustrated