White Sox’ sell-off continues as Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly are traded to Dodgers

Reliever Kendall Graveman was sent to the Astros.

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The White Sox continued to sell, sending starter Lance Lynn to the Dodgers on Friday.

The White Sox continued to sell, sending starter Lance Lynn to the Dodgers on Friday.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After four months of miserable baseball that seemed to stretch on forever, the White Sox are selling off players faster than they can call up replacements.

Two days after Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez were dealt to the Angels on Wednesday night, three more members of the Sox’ pitching staff were traded to contenders before the game Friday. Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly will join the National League West-leading Dodgers, and reliever Kendall Graveman was traded to the defending champion Astros for the second time in his career.

In the wake of this turnover, the Sox called up relievers Sammy Peralta and Declan Cronin from Triple-A Charlotte and shifted Touki Toussaint to the rotation Friday night, but they still have two open roster spots to account for even assuming starter Mike Clevinger is activated from the injured list Saturday.

But that hardly matters anymore for the Sox, who are 42-63 after their 3-0 victory against the Guardians.

“Those guys have earned the right to be in the postseason, and that’s where they’re headed,” manager Pedro Grifol said of his departing players. “Unfortunately, we’re not headed there right now.”

In return for Lynn and Kelly, veteran outfielder Trayce Thompson will get a third stint with the Sox. But the real focus of the package is starting-pitching prospect Nick Nastrini, 23, and reliever Jordan Leasure, 24, both right-handers at the Double-A level in the Dodgers’ vaunted farm system.

Sox general manager Rick Hahn expressed hope that Nastrini’s four-pitch mix will lead to a midrotation future, if not more, thanks to the athleticism that rival scouts have credited for his rapid development. Leasure, who has a 3.09 ERA and close to a 40% strikeout rate on the season, will be promoted to Charlotte upon arrival.

For Graveman, the Sox received Triple-A catcher Korey Lee, who was a 2019 first-round pick and the college roommate of Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn at Cal. Lee competed for a major-league roster spot with the Astros in the spring but was viewed as being behind rookie catcher Yainer Diaz offensively. He is rehabbing from an oblique strain.

“Andrew Vaughn and I had a conversation earlier today about Korey and about his potential fit and makeup, and Andrew had nothing but very positive things to say,” Hahn said. “Very strong catch-and-throw type. Good leader on the field, high energy.”

Lee and prospect Edgar Quero, who was acquired Wednesday, address the lack of catching depth in the organization, especially after Yasmani Grandal’s contract expires after this season. While he and Leasure have walk troubles that scouts point to as possible speed bumps, Nastrini represents a possibly near-major-league-ready option for rebuilding a rotation that faced an uncertain future even before the team dealt 40% of it in three days.

Every prospect acquired by the Sox in this blitz has been at Double-A or higher, but Hahn said the team had A-ball targets in their trade discussions and explained the near-readiness of their trade returns as a result of those players being easier to project and agree upon in value.

Still in the fog of trying to pull off more deals, Hahn declined to clarify the direction of the team indicated by these trades. He did, however, find time to smooth things over with Lynn, who openly asked for more communication on the process Thursday.

“They told me as much as they could, and I thank them for that,” said Lynn, who said they discussed waiving his no-trade clause. “Rick’s been good to me.”

Left with a roster starved for pitching talent and light on bodies, Grifol was more definitive on how he sees his team’s future.

“A rebuilding situation, I don’t think that’s where we’re at,” Grifol said. “The next two months are critical for where we want to be next year at this time. We want to be here, right here at this podium the next time, doing the opposite: welcoming guys in as opposed to sending guys out.”

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