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Hot Stove Mailbag: Should The White Sox Trade For Mitch Haniger?

I started constructing this blog at 1:00pm CST on 12/9 and fully expected to be writing my balls off with different moves going down in the baseball world today and so far…

… crickets.  It sucks.

*UPDATE*

Strasburg inks with the Nationals.

Can now look at Cole getting something around 8/$300MM you’d think.  Jesus Christ that’s so much money for a SP.  Hopefully he signs with the Angels because fuck the Yankees.

Anyways, I figured I’d open up the inbox to White Sox Stoolies near and far to answer their piping hot Hot Stove questions.  Typically when I do these blogs I get a billion emails asking the same questions, but the submissions this week were very good.

The first one wasn’t a Hot Stove question, but the favorite question I received, so we’ll start there:

Hey Dave quick question regarding Luis Robert.  Do you think he will have growing pains when he gets to the major league level.  If so, will they be similar to the growing pains Eloy faced at the beginning of the year last year.  And my favorite toy I got for Christmas as a kid was probably xbox360 when it first came out.

– Mike Wallacefan

Great question Mike Wallacefan.  I watched a LOT of his MiLB season online last year, probably a good 60-70 games of his.  He is a freak of nature athletically; you cannot teach his frame/size/speed combo.  He looks as if he was handcrafted by God himself.

That said, I have made it no secret that I do expect Robert to experience struggles as soon as he does get called up, whenever that may be.  You can read my unabridged thoughts of him here.  The TL/DR is that I think he is too pull/swing happy right now and pitchers will attack him with breaking pitches out/off the plate.  His sheer talent has allowed him to succeed against MiLB pitching thus far in spite of having a somewhat flawed approach.

Now I do think he’ll adjust and adjust quickly, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if after 100 plate appearances in The Show people are freaking out because he’s striking out at a 35% clip.  Big League pitchers (obviously) have sharper secondary pitching and will make him prove he can either lay off the outer half shit or work oppo with it.  Once he does do that, it’ll be bombs away, as he’s a true 30/30 threat.  I just think there will 100% be an adjustment period before he does so, which is fine.  Let’s not forget he’s only 22 and has only had ~1.5 full seasons worth of at bats in pro ball.

Dave,

Not good to think about, but who do you expect regression from this year?

– Trey

This is an easy one – Tim Anderson.  He and Yoan were 1-2 in BABIP in 2019, but their batted ball profiles are very different.  Yoan Moncada pisses on the ball with the very best hitters in baseball – will he hit .315 next year?  Maybe, but most likely not.  Though with another year under the belt for him, I think his power output will continue to improve and he’ll be a perennial all star moving forward.

Anderson had average exit velocities across the board last year, so one could say he was really lucky.  If he hits .270/.325 with 20/20 next year, that’s fine.  Just don’t expect him to defend his batting title with another .330+ batting average.

Why don’t the Sox ship off some prospects for Mitch Haniger?  Fits the window.

– Trevor B

Mitch Haniger is on my “all underrated players” list.  He’s a stud, though he was hurt most of last year.  If the Sox did attempt to trade for him, they’d be buying low.  I don’t see the rebuilding Mariners wanting to trade one of their best assets while his value isn’t as high as it could be.  Unless someone blows them away this winter, I don’t see him moving prior to the 2020 deadline.  He has 3 years of club control left and if healthy, is a 4+ fWAR threat YoY, and will only be turning 29 in about 2 weeks.  I’d love him, I just don’t see it working out in terms of a trade right now.

I’ve seen Ozuna floated around and I’m not really thrilled at that idea for our RF so outside of him who is a realistic RF the Sox can go after or someone you’d like to see?  Castellanos, Puig, etc.

– Kevin D

I would tend to agree on Ozuna, especially in comparison to Castellanos.  I have always loved Castellanos dating back to his time with Detroit.  He reminds me of Kris Bryant at the plate – power to all fields, their swing paths are extremely similar, and they both generate tons of loft on contact with the baseball.  Detroit is an awful hitters park which suppressed his stats throughout his career, and I think he would rake at the G Spot.  I truly think his best days as a hitter are ahead of him and in a vacuum, I’d take him over Ozuna all day every day.  But…

… He’s a Boras client.  He’s looking for a massive payday.  We’ve seen that movie before with regards to Boras and the White Sox.  I do think he’d be a great fit in RF for a year or two, but not holding my breath.  I think Ozuna is probably a more realistic target at this juncture, though I’d love to be wrong here.

That said, all the big shot national guys like Heyman/Rosenthal/etc. have said the White Sox have stayed in touch with him, so never say never.

PS – no thank you on Puig.  He’s Avi Garcia statistically with more flair.  That and I’ve heard him and Abreu never got along and he’s a dickhead in the clubhouse.  Pass

Dave,

If the Sox end up acquiring the 2SP + RF combo, what kind of additions to the bullpen will be addressed?  With $9 million committed to Herrera, will they be willing to spend more money on the back end pen pieces in a season that competing for the division will be a stretch?

– Brett K

I’m in the minority here, but I think Herrera can rebound in 2020.  His fastball velo was still top tier last year, his command just sucked.  If he is still sitting 95-96 and touching 98-99MPH like he was last year, he can be an effective reliever.  Not worth his contract, but not a liability every time he takes the mound. The variance YoY for relievers is more extreme than other positions, so I’m not *too* worried about him at this juncture.

I’d also look for them to take a few flyers on the relief market a la Dellin Betances.  Low risk/high reward guys.  They can find good arms for not a lot of money via trade/free agency.  The bullpen should be one of the last things we as fans have to worry about heading into 2020.  It will be fine IMO.

WSD,

Who’s the biggest/best pitcher you could see the White Sox trading for?  Thor?  Kershaw? (Though I doubt he goes anywhere, NMC)?

– Tom M

Brian Bilek of Future Sox has said that there is one or more players currently on the 40 man that have been made available in a trade for an upper echelon player.  Who that player(s) is, not sure, but to me Reynaldo Lopez and Dylan Cease make sense.  Lopez was bad last year, but still has a lot of untapped potential.  Cease is young AF, throws 100 with great secondary offerings and has a ton of team control.

If Cease is the headliner for a trade, you can expect a very good piece in return.  He flashed TOR potential in his first cup of coffee in the league last year.  I would spooge my pants if the Sox landed Thor, and with only 2 years of team control left, Cease might just be enough to headline a package for him.  I’d then look to extend Thor immediately.  This is all just conjecture at this point, but the point is a Cease package would return a stud.

Hey Dave,

A lot of people are talking extensions for players like Madrigal and Robert (unlikely), are there any pitchers you would try to extend?  Cease and Dunning come to mind.

Thanks,

John

I’ll bullet point this one out:

– I’d start Madrigal in Chicago this year and not worry about an extension.  I don’t think he’ll light the world on fire and wouldn’t worry about the 7th year of control right now.  What I think he’ll be is a steady, fundamentally sound player that is the perfect glue guy.  Superstar?  No, though I hope I’m wrong.  But I don’t see him getting *that* much better than he is right now.  His ceiling is limited

– Robert truthfully might take an extension.  He got ~$26MM, but you gotta factor in two things there: taxes and a finder’s fee.  Cubans more or less have to be smuggled out of the country by ‘buscons’ and that figure can range anywhere from 20-40% of their signing bonus.  So… Robert might only have like $5-10MM left in actual money.  Maybe, just maybe, he’ll take a contract similar to Eloy’s, which would be fantastic.

– Cease and Dunning: Cease has already been approached by the White Sox to take an extension and they obviously haven’t agreed to one.  Dunning I wouldn’t mess with yet until he’s got MLB innings under his belt.

What I’m worrying about right now is getting Moncada and Giolito locked up for as long as possible, as soon as possible.  Moncada could be on his way to a $200MM+ deal down the road and Giolito, should he pitch like he did in 2019, could net some ‘fuck you’ money as well.  If Hahn inks either of these guys long term, build a statue for him right now.

With the Strasburg signing, we’re fully underway with the winter meetings.  Hopefully I’m writing a blog in the next 24 hours on some major acquisition by the White Sox.  Everyone and their mother is talking about how aggressive the Sox have been…

… so let’s close some deals.  Couldn’t be more excited to be a Sox fan right now.  Big things on the near horizon.