White Sox, Frazier begin second half with more trades looming
The 38-49 White Sox have the worst record in the American League. They almost got no-hit by a rookie on the last day before the All-Star break. They rank 29th of 30 teams in quality starts and 26th defensively, according to Fangraphs.
They had one All-Star, Avisail Garcia, who took a 1-for-30 slump into the midsummer classic Tuesday.
Paints a bleak picture of the product on the field, no?
It only got worse when No. 1 starter Jose Quintana was traded to the Cubs Thursday. Former All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier and closer David Robertson are on the block, too. Outfielder Melky Cabrera is in the final year of his contract and would also be available in a trade for a prospect, and with every contending team seeking bullpen help, Tommy Kahnle and Anthony Swarzak could be dealt.
While most Sox fans seem to be standing behind the front office’s rebuilding effort and are encouraged by the sizable influx of prospects into the farm system, the players on the current roster are dealing with the inevitable.
“The trades are going to be happening soon,’’ Frazier said last weekend, before the Quintana deal. “But I don’t think anybody is worried about that till the time comes.’’
The time could be drawing near for Frazier, whose contract is up after the season. A cleanup hitter whose triple crown numbers (.213 average, 16 homers, 44 RBI) are all over the board, Frazier has played sound defense, owns a .335 on-base percentage and has a .923 OPS since June. Frazier hit 35 homers for the Reds in 2015 and 40 with the Sox last season.
The Red Sox and Yankees could both stand to use some pop at the hot corner, and Frazier is the most obvious option for an upgrade, especially for the Red Sox.
“It goes without saying we’re examining the third base situation very closely,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy told CSNNE.
On Friday, the Red Sox designated third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who is in the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract, for assignment. For now, the Red Sox forge ahead with a platoon of Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin.
The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.
To know Frazier, a veteran clubhouse leader, and to see him enjoy interacting with teammates is to believe him when he says he likes playing for the White Sox.
“This team is great, man,’’ he said. “I’ve really enjoyed playing with these guys. They put an effort out you don’t really see with a [losing] team like this.
“We’re playing for each other, no matter what the score is. That’s how we’ve been — it looks like we’re down and out and we never really are.’’
But playing for a contender? Nothing wrong with that.
“There you go,’’ Frazier said. “If that [a trade] does happen, hopefully it is a contender. But I can’t think about that because I’m playing here in Chicago and I love playing in Chicago.
“I talk to my agent a lot but nothing is really brewing right now. It’s your livelihood and you want to know what’s going on but at the same time you have to control what you can control. I’m not [general manager] Rick [Hahn] or [chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] or anybody up there so I can’t speak for them. So I keep playing the game.’’
NOTES: The Sox reinstated right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (shoulder) and infielder Tyler Saladino (back) from the disabled list Friday. They fill the roster spots vacated by Jose Quintana and outfielder Willy Garcia, who was sent to AAA Charlotte Monday.
*After ranking second with 95 quality starts (six innings or more with three earned runs or less allowed) in 2016, the Sox are second to last with 29. Sox starters have pitched to a 5.82 ERA over the last 45 games with only 10 quality starts during that stretch.
*The Sox have 44 home games remaining and 31 on the road, including two at Wrigley Field against the Cubs July 24 and 25.
*The Sox open a three-game home series against the Mariners Friday night. The Sox have won 23 of the last 30 against the Mariners at home and are 41-18 overall since 2010.