The word on the street is the White Sox are in the midst of a spending competition with the Minnesota Twins over free-agent starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Sure, this could be a smokescreen from either side. Perhaps the Sox could be after a top dog, like Stephen Strasburg, after a bombshell of news broke when the club handed out the largest contract in team history to noted dinger-smasher and pitch-framer Yasmani Grandal.
Now, the White Sox will likely primarily target free agents if Reinsdorf is, in fact, loosening the purse strings. However, there is one trade out there the Sox were rumored to have been in on last offseason, but it fell through because someone posted it on Twitter. Seriously. Here is the tweet from Jason Kinander:
The Sox can still pull off such a trade. In fact, they can even add a marquee name that would help the Dodgers shed some payroll. You know what that means: Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers should package together both Kershaw and Joc Pederson (a combined $39.5 million of salary) for Nick Madrigal, Dane Dunning, Jonathan Stiever, and Steele Walker. Yes, I am a proponent of winning now by acquiring talent for prospects. I received a TON of flack for my "the Sox should trade forKris Bryant" take.
If you can extend Pederson, this makes sense. The Sox are already linked to the Dodgers, having been rumored in discussions for a deal to acquire him last year. Let's not forget the most important piece of news: the Sox acquired former Dodger, Yasmani Grandal just last week. Could this be a bit of gamesmanship by Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn?
Grandal can catch, steal strikes for you, save a ton of runs, and hit taters. Most importantly, in this offseason, Grandal can attract tremendous pitching talent from across the league. That could include the likes of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, or Zack Wheeler. In this case, that could also include Kershaw.
For those that say Kershaw has fallen off, stop. Kershaw still pitched in 29 games last season and posted a 3.86 FIP with 3.4 fWAR, but do the Dodgers believe that to be worth $66 million for the next two seasons? That is the question. They could easily move that money off the books and get more production from Strasburg or Cole (the latter name loves the West Coast). They could replace Pederson with Nicholas Castellanos. It's more possible than people think.
Wheeler is fantastic, but why stop there? You can kill two birds with one stone in this fashion. The Sox desperately need a lefty in the rotation with Carlos Rodon sidelined until mid-July, and everyone knows they need pitching depth. Similar to the back end of the rotation, right field was a black hole on the South Side last season. Like when George Costanza's mentee, Steven Koren in the Van Buren Boys, doesn't want to stop at architecture but instead wants to be a city planner, the Sox should do the same. Reach for the stars, Sox fans, just like Steven did.
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