The White Sox made another big trade Tuesday night.
And then they dropped an unexpected bombshell.
“I suppose I buried the lead when I failed to mention that Yoan Moncada will be in uniform tomorrow,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said shortly after discussing his latest big trade late Tuesday that sent closer David Robertson, third baseman Todd Frazier and right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Yankees for outfielder Blake Rutherford, the No. 30 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, and left-hander Ian Clarkin, outfielder Tito Polo and right-hander Tyler Clippard.
The Moncada announcement and unexpected multiplayer trade — Frazier and Robertson were expected to be dealt in separate deals for limited or modest returns — capped a flurry of activity in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline as the Sox shift their rebuild into an even higher gear. The process began in December with the trade of Chris Sale for four Red Sox prospects, including Moncada, the No. 1-ranked prospect in baseball.
Moncada is a fleet power hitter who bats from both sides of the plate. His arrival has been much anticipated, to say the least.
“He still has some work to do,’’ Hahn said. “He’s still very young, but we feel he’s ready for that next challenge at the big-league level.’’
Moncada, 22, was batting .282 with 12 home runs, 36 RBI, 57 runs, 49 walks, 17 stolen bases and a .377 on-base percentage in 80 games with Class AAA Charlotte. He struggled when the Red Sox called him up last September, one reason why the Sox were patient in calling him up.
“There’s going to be growing pains here; he’s not a finished product,’’ Hahn said. “There is still going to be an element of development that will happen in Chicago.’’
The Sox are also calling up right-hander Brad Goldberg from Charlotte to fill out the pitching staff and will use Clippard (4.95 ERA, one save) in late-inning situations.
The trade was the Sox’ second major deal for prospects in six days and fourth since they embarked on an aggressive rebuilding mission in December. The Sox dealt Jose Quintana to the Cubs on Thursday for four prospects.
Frazier is in the last year of his contract, and Robertson has one more after this season. Without Kahnle, though, who is eligible for arbitration next year, the deal wouldn’t have been made, Hahn said. Kahnle, 27, is having a breakout season with his 2.50 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 36 innings.
“We made the determination that bundling these three players was the best way to maximize our return on any transaction,” Hahn said. “This trade brought back the most quality as opposed to spreading our assets across multiple deals.
“Blake Rutherford has been high on our evaluation list since he was taken as a first-round choice by the Yankees as an amateur,” Hahn said. “Clarkin gives us another highly rated first-round selection [33rd overall] from the draft, Polo is a Class AA outfielder who has shown he can get on base and Clippard provides us with a veteran bullpen option for the rest of this season.”
With the addition of Rutherford, the Sox now have 10 of the top 100 prospects in baseball, according to MLB.com, the most in the majors. All are in the top 68.
Frazier was informed that a deal was in the works and was announced as a healthy scratch a half-hour before the game.
“The fans have been great,’’ Frazier said after the Sox’ 1-0 loss to the Dodgers. “Chicago has been awesome. It’s on to my next journey.’’
Robertson is under contract for $13 million next season and was arguably having his best season of three with the Sox. He owns a 2.70 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 11 walks in 33„ innings.
But it’s out with the old and in with the new. Look for Moncada to be in the lineup when the Sox play the Dodgers on Wednesday night.
“It’s time for Yoan to get that opportunity to take that next step,’’ Hahn said.
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