New York Yankees fans thought things would pick up after the Anthony Rizzo signing, but apparently that was more of a foregone conclusion than anybody could’ve imagined. Rizzo wanted to remain in New York and the two sides agreed on a fair number to make that a reality.
By no means has that snowballed anything. It’s likely we’ll all have to wait until the Winter Meetings for that to happen. The free agent market usually comes into focus by then, as does the trade market.
A couple of deals have gone down, like the Blue Jays sending Teoscar Hernández to the Mariners and the Mariners trading Kyle Lewis to the Diamondbacks (aka, just GM Jerry Dipoto doing his usual “stuff”), but nothing that’s really defined the state of affairs.
There are far bigger trade candidates out there than Hernández and Lewis, which proves more legwork needs to be done by opposing GMs in assessing the proper value. Chicago White Sox GM Rick Hahn is likely one of those in the information-gathering stage due to his team’s complicated situation.
Are the White Sox legitimate contenders? They just put forward one of the most disappointing campaigns in recent memory for a roster with high hopes, and now they stand to lose two key contributors in Jose Abreu and AJ Pollock. Might Hahn be ready to conduct a re-tool, since this iteration of the roster has yet to prove anything of note?
Could the Yankees link up with the White Sox for a trade or two?
Chicago has quite a few players entering contract years in 2023. Yasmani Grandal, Liam Hendriks, Lance Lynn, Tim Anderson, Joe Kelly, Jake Diekman, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are among those who could hit free agency. All of Hendriks, Lynn, Anderson, Kelly and Diekman have team options for 2024.
In the specific case of Hendriks, who’s a very good closer, might the White Sox view him as an easily tradable asset? He’s a closer entering his age-35 season making $14.33 million with a $15 million team option for 2024. Is that something the team really needs at the moment, especially with Kelly, Lopez and Kendall Graveman also able to handle back-end bullpen duties?
Yankees beat writer Chris Kirschner of The Athletic (subscription required) thinks this should be right up both teams’ alleys, since New York has the assets to offer a struggling White Sox team.
Kirschner alluded to general manager Brian Cashman’s comments about looking to improve the bullpen after a shady end to the 2022 season, in addition to the fact that all of Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green and Miguel Castro are hitting free agency. And how about this trade package?
"“The Yankees could send the White Sox Gleyber Torres and Clarke Schmidt in return for Hendriks, who’s owed $14 million in 2023 and has a $15 million club option for 2024,” Kirschner wrote. “Chicago would get a second baseman to pair with Tim Anderson in the middle of its infield and Schmidt, who’s good enough to be a starter but the Yankees don’t have room for him in their rotation right now, so they could package those two for one of baseball’s best relievers. That would give the Yankees an excellent back-end group with Hendriks, Holmes and King for innings seven through nine.”"
The White Sox are losing second baseman Josh Harrison to free agency and badly need a capable defender/bat up the middle, in addition to another versatile pitching option if Hendriks were to leave. It’ll save them a few million, too.
Chicago made a similar deal to this last offseason with the Dodgers when they sent Craig Kimbrel (who was making $16 million) to LA for AJ Pollock (who was making $10 million with a $5 million buyout on his 2023 option). If they can improve on the position player side of things, get young, and elevate some other promising bullpen options who are cheaper, the Sox might be willing to go the same route this offseason and help the Yankees do the exact opposite.