Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Troubling Trade Rumor

From those crazy cats over at mlbtraderumors.com: White Sox interested in Schmidt.

Let's get a few things straight as a precursor. First, the rumors presented at that site aren't exactly certainties. If they hear a mumble, they post it. After all, these are the folks who suggested that outrageous A-Rod swap.

Another thing is that there is no guarantee San Francisco, in the midst of a pennant race, is willing to part with a Top 8 pitcher. Schmidt's name has been toss around since Opening Day, but to me it would seem that he would fetch a hefty price should GM Brian Sabean decide he's expendable.

Don't rule out anything with Sabean. He is, after all, the man who dished Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski.

This is a tricky trade for the White Sox. Surely they'd like to add another reliable arm to their rotation, since Javy Vazquez, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, and even Mark Buehrle aren't performing to expectations. In fact, as things stand now, I'm surprised Brandon McCarthy hasn't usurped Garland's spot. But apparently that's now how Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen roll.

The trade, as suggested, would put Schmidt on the South Side in exchange for McCarthy and rookie centerfielder Brian Anderson. The White Sox would then turn around one of their surplus pitchers for a centerfielder. But that may be looking too far into the future, since I'm not quite sure Williams would pull the trigger on this deal.

Okay, so the White Sox are in prime position to repeat. They have roughly the same pitching staff and an enhanced offensive attack. Problem is, the pitchers of last year aren't performing like they did during the championship run. Buehrle, Garcia, Vazquez, and Garland all have ERAs over 4.00, with the latter three near or above 5.00. Ergo, the presence of a top of the line pitcher would help immeasurably (note: the word immeasurably is used figuratively, for you statheads out there).

My only question: why would Williams dish McCarthy when he may in fact be of service right now? His ERA is close to Buehrle's, and his peripherals are better. I can't see dishing him before giving him a shot to crack the rotation.

But, let's just say Williams is set to make this deal happen. He has Schmidt and no centerfielder. In reality, the only guy who's going to fetch a decent lawn roamer is Garcia. The question remains, however, of who is willing to take on a 30-year-old pitcher making $9 million? Possibly the Yankees or the Red Sox, but neither have a center fielder to give. Perhaps a three-way trade with Atlanta, with Andruw Jones heading to Chicago. While the Jones to Chicago rumor has made its rounds, I still have a hard time seeing anyone ponying up the anticipated asking price.

When it all boils down, I just don't see this making enough sense for the White Sox. To trade your top young pitcher and your rookie centerfielder for a 33-year-old rental seems a bit of a reach. There is always the possibility that the Sox can ink Schmidt following this season, a la Freddie Garcia, but that's far from a certainty. I'm willing to bet that Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman are ready to put a few zeros on an offer this off-season.