White Sox should be well positioned as sellers in MLB trade market

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SEATTLE — At first glance, at 17-49 entering the opener of their four-game series Monday against the Mariners, the White Sox don’t have the appearance of a roster for contending teams to raid before the trade deadline July 30. But the Sox do have trade chips, including prime pieces on the position-player side (All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr. ) and on the pitching side (left-hander Garrett Crochet). In right-hander Erick Fedde, who took a 3.26 ERA into his start Monday, they have a starter who would bolster many rotations. And there are other assets: reliever Michael Kopech with his electric arm in the bullpen; outfielder Tommy Pham, a proven hitter with recent World Series experience; and perhaps Paul DeJong, who leads the Sox with 12 home runs and is third among major-league shortstops behind Gunnar Henderson and Corey Seager. Looking for a left-handed bat off the bench with pop? May the Sox interest you in outfielder/first baseman Gavin Sheets? Looking for a left-handed bat off the bench with pop? May the Sox interest you in outfielder/first baseman Gavin Sheets? As general manager Chris Getz looks to pick up the pieces of the recent failed rebuild orchestrated by Ken Williams and Rick Hahn, his aim is to stack a farm system that has climbed from one of the worst in baseball to something worth watching, especially at Double-A Birmingham, from where right-hander Drew Thorpe has been plucked to make his big-league debut Tuesday. The Sox’ rotation at Birmingham is getting some attention with left-hander Noah Schultz (0.77 ERA), who jumped to No. 9 in Baseball America’s most recent rankings, as well as left-hander Ky Bush (1.98 ERA), right-hander Mason Adams (2.12 ERA) and left-hander Jake Eder (4.55). The Barons are the best team in the Southern League, shortstop Brooks Baldwin is leading the league with a .356 average and is second with a .911 OPS and catcher Edgar Quero was named its player of the week Monday. Thorpe, the Sox’ No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, came to the Sox from the Padres in the trade for right-hander Dylan Cease this spring. Quero, the Sox’ No. 4 prospect, came from the Angels in the trade for right-handers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez that Williams and Hahn made last season. Outfielder Samuel Zavala and pitchers Nick Nastrini, Jairo Iriarte and Eder round out the top 10. All of them came in sell-off deals in the last year. The sell-off is still going. With Crochet and Robert, Getz holds the cards in what will be a sellers’ market, with 11 teams at .500 or better entering play Monday and seven more within one or two games of the break-even mark. Both players have years left on their deals and are not overly expensive. Getz could ask for the moon, particularly for Robert. Crochet, who will turn 25 this month, is making $800,000 this season and won’t become a free agent until after 2026. And Robert, 26, is under club control through 2027 (with $20 million team options in 2026 and 2027), so Getz is under no pressure to trade them. Both warrant caution for buying teams, however. His superstar possibilities notwithstanding, Robert’s injury history would be something of a concern. And Crochet’s journey into the unknown of innings limits in his first season as a starter is something for contenders to weigh. Crochet leads the majors with 12.25 strikeouts per nine innings and is 5-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his last eight starts. When it was reported last week that the Padres were showing ‘‘strong interest’’ in Crochet, the reaction around baseball was a collective: ‘‘Of course they are. Who wouldn’t be?’’ The Sox’ front office has this going for it: It has good working relationships with the Padres, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, Rangers, Mariners, Diamondbacks and Braves. It doesn’t mean anything is imminent, but it doesn’t mean nothing is, either. ‘‘You’ve got to be where your feet are,’’ manager Pedro Grifol said Monday. ‘‘To execute a major-league trade, there’s a lot of things that have got to go right. You don’t just pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, we’ll do this for that,’ and that’s it. It takes a little bit of time. And sometimes things happen quickly and sometimes it takes a long time. Sometimes things are ready to go and they break down. ‘‘Don’t worry about trade rumors because nobody knows exactly what’s going to happen unless you’re Chris Getz and maybe a couple of guys right next to him. Even then, at that particular time, you don’t know how the other side’s going to react and respond and if everything works out.’’

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