The White Sox are telling teams that they’re willing to trade any player on their roster who is under team control for less than four years, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (subscription required). Chicago GM Rick Hahn has already spoken of wanting to pursue longer-term assets this offseason, while earlier reports have suggested that Hahn has been open to trading almost any of his current players.
The list of White Sox players with less than four years of club control remaining includes Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie, David Robertson, Jose Abreu, James Shields, Zach Putnam, Avisail Garcia, Miguel Gonzalez, Jake Petricka, Dan Jennings and ace Chris Sale (whose deal contains club options for 2018 and 2019 that look like no-brainers to be exercised). Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton and Nate Jones are all technically under contract for less than four years as well, though their deals all contain club options for the 2020 season and, for Eaton and Jones, options for 2021.
It remains to be seen if the Sox are planning to embark on a full-scale rebuild, though as Olney notes, other teams are becoming and more convinced that Sale will be traded this winter. “And once you trade him, why would you stop there?” one evaluator asks Olney rhetorically. As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes pointed out in his preview of the White Sox offseason, however, the franchise has previously tried to both rebuild and reload at the same time, and the Sox could try to do so again rather than start from scratch.
There’s obviously quite a bit of talent in the aforementioned list of players, so Chicago could look to just deal one or two of those names to free up some payroll space for further moves. (The arbitration-eligible likes of Lawrie or Garcia could also be non-tendered to save some more cash.) Building on what the anonymous evaluator told Olney, it would only be clear that the White Sox are embarking on a major roster shuffle if a building block piece like Sale, Quintana or Eaton is traded.