White Sox’ biggest trades of winter meetings

From Bill Veeck’s flurry of deals in 1975 to the 2016 Chris Sale trade, Sox have made headlines.

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White Sox pitcher Chris Sale was traded from the White Sox to the Red Sox in December, 2016. (AP)

White Sox pitcher Chris Sale throws against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit in 2016. (AP)

AP Photos

You remember the winter meetings. Where the baseball world gathers in one warm place for several days to talk shop, do business, make trades and announce free-agent signings.

The Sox had center stage as recently as 2016 with a pair of blockbuster deals, including moving one of their best pitchers of all time, Chris Sale. They have had their share of historic moments in winter meetings history, such as in 1975, when general manager Roland Hemond, working for new owner Bill Veeck, set up a table in the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, with a sign that read, “Open for business.” Within three days, they made six trades involving 22 players, dealing Jim Kaat and Bill Melton and acquiring Ralph Garr and Clay Carroll, among others. Those were the last winter meetings before free agency.

Like everyone else in the game, the Sox were blacked out the last two seasons.

But after COVID-19 canceled the 2020 meetings in Dallas and a lockout canceled 2021 in Orlando, the meetings return next week in San Diego.

Will the Sox make the front page? Here’s how they made news in past winter meetings:

Dec. 6, 2016, National Harbor, Md.

In the biggest deal of these meetings and one of the biggest in memory, the Sox kicked off a rebuild by dealing five-time All-Star Sale to the Red Sox for four prospects, including infielder Yoan Moncada — the No. 1 prospect in baseball, per Baseball America — right-hander Michael Kopech, outfielder Luis Basabe Jr. and righty Victor Diaz.

The next day, the Sox kept it rolling, sending outfielder Adam Eaton to the Nationals for right-handed pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning.

Giolito became an All-Star, Lopez has had mixed results and Dunning was traded for Lance Lynn.

Sale and Eaton went on to help their teams win the World Series.

Dec. 6, 1984, Houston

Hemond sent 1983 Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt and minor-league pitchers Kevin Kristan and Todd Simmons to the Padres for 20-year-old minor-leaguer Ozzie Guillen, who would become the 1985 American League Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove shortstop, a three-time All-Star and manager of the Sox’ 2005 World Series champs.

The Sox also got utility player Luis Salazar and pitchers Tim Lollar and Bill Long. It was considered a bold move at the time for Hemond, but Hoyt had struggled in 1984 and battled drug issues and was out of baseball by 1987.

Dec. 13, 2004, Anaheim, Calif.

In a trade that helped shape the 2005 champs, GM Ken Williams dealt power-hitting left fielder Carlos Lee to the Brewers for the swifter, defensively better Scott Podsednik and reliever Luis Vizcaino. Podsednik stole 59 bases, made the AL All-Star team, finished 12th in MVP voting and hit a walk-off homer in Game 2 of the World Series against the Astros. The deal also saved about $6 million in payroll, providing flexibility for the Sox to sign second baseman Tadahito Iguchi.

Dec. 10, 1976, Los Angeles

The Sox traded Firemen of the Year Rich “Goose” Gossage (1975) and Terry Forster (’74) to the Pirates for outfielder Richie Zisk and right-handed pitcher Silvio Martinez. It was part of Veeck’s rent-a-player plan, acquiring players known to be highly motivated in their last season before free agency. Zisk would help lead the South Side Hit Men, who won 87 games, with 30 homers and 101 RBI in 1977, one of the most fun in Sox history. Gossage became a Hall of Fame closer, having his best seasons with the Yankees and Padres.

Dec. 11, 1973, Houston

Not every Hemond trade was a good one. After fading Cubs star Ron Santo became the first player to use 10-and-5 rights (10 years of experience, five with same team) to refuse a trade to the Angels, he accepted one to the Sox, who sent Steve Stone, Steve Swisher, Ken Frailing and a player to be named (Jim Kremmel) to the Cubs. With Bill Melton locked in at third base, a disgruntled Santo was relegated to DH duty and second base. He didn’t get along with manager Chuck Tanner and Dick Allen and hit .221 with five homers and 41 RBI. At 34, it was the last season of a Hall of Fame career.

Dec. 2, 1971, Phoenix

In what is viewed as a franchise-saving deal, Hemond, who was the player personnel director, acquired disgruntled slugger Allen from the Dodgers for Tommy John and infielder Steve Huntz. Allen would lead the Sox to a 92-win season and almost to an AL West title, winning the AL MVP award and giving the Sox a needed bump in attendance.

An hour later, Hemond also pried starting pitcher Stan Bahnsen from the Yankees for infielder Rich McKinney. Bahnsen won 21 games in 1972.

Dec. 4, 1957, Colorado Springs, Colo.

In a deal that came as a shocker to Sox fans, popular future Hall of Famer Minnie Miñoso was shipped to Cleveland with infielder Fred Hatfield for future Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn and outfielder Al Smith. Wynn won the Cy Young Award in 1959 after winning 22 games and helping the Sox reach the World Series. Smith also contributed to that team.

“I’m the happiest guy in the Broadmoor Hotel,” Cleveland manager Bobby Bragan said. “If I had to name the six or eight most exciting players in baseball, Miñoso would be one of them.”

At the 1959 meetings in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Sox reacquired Miñoso and three others from Cleveland for Norm Cash, John Romano and Bubba Phillips.

Worth noting

Pitchers Billy Pierce and Don Larsen to the Giants for Eddie Fisher, Dom Zanni and Bob Farley in 1961; Keith Foulke and Mark Johnson to the Athletics for Billy Koch and Neal Cotts in 2002; Cy Young winner Jack McDowell to the Yankees for minor-leaguer Keith Heberling and a player to be named (Lyle Mouton) in 1994.

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