White Sox trade infielder Jake Burger to Marlins

Burger hit 25 home runs for the White Sox to go with a .214/.279/.527 hitting line with an .806 OPS in 88 games.

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White Sox infielder Jake Burger was traded to the Marlins Tuesday.

White Sox infielder Jake Burger was traded to the Marlins Tuesday.

John E. Moore III/Getty Images

ARLINGTON, Texas — The White Sox sell-off ran hot into the final hours before the deadline Tuesday with the unexpected trade of Jake Burger to the Marlins for left-handed pitching prospect Jake Eder, a Double-A pitcher who was the Marlins’ fourth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

With all the pitching the Sox dealt away before the trade deadline — Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Reynaldo Lopez, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Keynan Middleton — they need to replenish pitching depth at all levels of the organization.

Middleton fetched High-A reliever Juan Carela from the Yankees after the Burger trade, and the Sox also picked up Triple-A right-hander Luis Patino from the Rays for cash considerations.

Burger has had a breakout season in his first full year of regular playing time, slugging 25 homers — tied for third in the American League. He has a .214/.279/.527 hitting line and an .806 OPS in 88 games. Burger was also a fan favorite on a team whose number of popular players has dwindled since the Sox’ rebuild began in 2016.

But there the Sox stood on deadline day, having to feel good about a group of accumulated prospects while the team was falling to 43-65 with a 2-0 loss to the Rangers. It was salve on a wound, which, to a disheartened fan base, has become numb to the pain of suffering through a rebuild that produced two playoff appearances with no series wins.

“When we won the division in ’21, it certainly was not on our radar that we were going to be divesting within the next year and a half,” general manager Rick Hahn said Tuesday. “Was it possible [things could go this bad]? Yeah. It’s baseball.”

The baseball got so bad that offers for shortstop and former batting champ Tim Anderson and 2022 Cy Young runner-up Dylan Cease were listened to on Tuesday. The Sox were seeking a knock-the-socks-off return for Cease, who was asked, “Still here?” by a teammate an hour before the deadline.

“It was kind of a wait-and-see moment,” Cease said.

Burger, meanwhile, flew under the radar. Hahn called it “a strict baseball deal.”

“We dealt from a position of relative strength, in terms of right-handed power, and we were able to acquire one of the finer left-handed pitching prospects in the game,” Hahn said. “Pitching was a priority over the last few days . . . with multiple high-caliber arms coming into the organization, which is going to serve us well over the long term.”

“It’s been a long journey with the organization,” said Burger, his voice cracking as he reflected on his comeback from a devastating Achilles injury and fighting through depression issues that followed. “A lot of good memories, a lot of bad memories. I’m grateful to the White Sox’ organization for believing in me when it didn’t seem like a lot of other people believed in me.”

Burger, a first-round draft pick in 2017 (11th overall), has played second base in recent days after third baseman Yoan Moncada returned from the injured list. Simply put, there was no obvious place for Burger to fit on a roster with designated-hitter types aplenty.

“Going back three weeks in the draft, this entire month has been about putting the Chicago White Sox in as good a position as we can going forward,” Hahn said. “Based upon what we were able to do in this year’s draft and what we’ve been able to do at the deadline, the organization is much, much stronger for ’24 and beyond. Precisely what that looks like in terms of the big-league level in ’24, let’s get to the end of the season and assess everything.”

Contending is “probably” what the front office is planning, Cease said.

“So I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Right-hander Jesse Scholtens, trying to stake a claim for a role in 2024, pitched six innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 3.07. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six.

Lefty Andrew Heaney had 11 of the Rangers’ 16 strikeouts against the Sox, who had three hits.

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