Rick Hahn, Kenny Williams and the White Sox front office either think you’re stupid or just don’t care. Definitely on that spectrum somewhere, closer to thinking you’re stupid.
The MLB’s new lone trade deadline came and went Wednesday afternoon with exactly one trade to file for Hahn, KW, and Co. No, they didn’t cash in on closer Alex Colome. Jose Abreu gets his wish to continue building on his 0.4 WAR in Chicago. John Jay is still here to amass AB’s for his free agent binder this winter. Welington Castillo remains at best the third most popular BEEF on the Southside (after Loaf #fromthe108 and the Italian Beef+Giardiniera pizza at Beggar’s in centerfield). The Sox, in fact, traded no one from any active roster at any level of their organization on Wednesday. So what the hell kind of trade did they make?
The Chicago White Sox at 46-58, good for eighth worst in the MLB, 13 games out in the wild card and 16 games behind Minnesota for the division, traded recently operated-on Nate Jones, $750k (to cover half Jones remaining salary) AND $1 million in international bonus pool money to the Texas Rangers for a couple of not-really-prospect pitchers that are highly unlikely to become the CWS version of the Fernando Tatis Jr. debacle. Joe Jarneski is 19, coming off of Tommy John and actually not atrocious thus far in the Arizona League. Ray Castro is 22 and pitching poorly in the Dominican Summer League. Wooooooooof.
The Sox are not good right now, but you can see some potential both on the horizon and in the here and now with players like Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Tim Anderson and Dylan Cease waiting for Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, and Andrew Vaughn to join them in Chicago. The system isn’t exactly stacked after those three, though, with a slow development year and/or injuries to most of the second and third tier prospects. They could have moved out any of the mediocre veteran players on the roster for literally anything and come out looking good, having added more overall talent to the farm. Maybe there really just were no takers for veterans on cheap, expiring deals…and if it’s about opening a 40-man spot, those same players can be stuck on waivers in August, which still exists, freeing up space for Robert and Madrigal. But then their service clocks would start, which is not the White Sox way. It’s all about control, you see.
Why, then, Rick Hahn thought it best to trade away roughly half of their remaining international bonus pool to jettison only $750k owed to a reliever on the 60-Day IL (that can simply have his option declined in the November) is beyond me and everyone else. $2 million on the international market is nothing to dismiss. Money that could have been used to bring in anywhere from one to a handful of very raw but very intriguing young talent to a system that the Sox front office is very clearly going to lean on a great deal going forward. Yes, the international signing system is incredibly messed up, with most top talents locked into hush-hush deals years before they’re even eligible or are straight up hidden from other teams. Looking at you, Detroit. Weirdos. Still, there are plenty of talented players still unsigned and more that could become available later in the signing period that lasts until June 15, 2020. This is an inexcusable waste of resources.
Rick Hahn gave the kind of quotes you could most easily expect him to spit after the deal, playing like he’s smarter than everyone in the room with a dig at the pre-deadline articles being wrong and trying to bump this as a cost saving move while adding “depth” to the system:
“(Jones) was not, I think, on anyone’s hit list or predicted in trades in the columns you’ve been writing, but we had the opportunity to add a little bit of depth to our pitching staffs in the lower levels of the minors as well as trade a little bit of economic savings as we move forward.”
In reality, this is about the guy signing his checks saving $1.75 million; the amount they won’t pay Jones and won’t spend on future talent. The roster space they opened on the 40-man won’t be used on Luis Robert. This had nothing to do with getting better at baseball.
“That money will be spent.”
That was Rick Hahn after the Sox finished second to San Diego for Manny Machado’s services. It apparently will not be spent on cheap, controllable talent. And you can bet if they won’t spend on that they won’t spend on the top tier players that hit the market. I foresee a lot of second place or worse finishes ahead on the Southside.