By Scott Lindholm-
(CBS) As the White Sox prepare to open their season against the Twins on March 31, they have several roster decisions to make and may also be open to some trades.
Here’s a few candidates who could be shopped, from most likely to be dealt to possible-but-difficult.
OFs Alejandro De Aza or Dayan Viciedo
Viciedo will likely be the starting left fielder and De Aza the fourth outfielder. De Aza can play all three outfield positions, pinch run and be a left-handed bat off the bench. Viciedo hits for power and has a decent arm in left field, leading all left fielders in throwing out runners on the bases in 2013, but he’s considered defensively challenged at best. If a deal is made, chances are the White Sox would receive little in return beyond emptying a roster space and allowing Jordan Danks more playing time.
SS Alexei Ramirez or 2B Gordon Beckham
I highly doubt both would be moved, and I’m not all that sure either will. There was interest in Beckham last winter from the Blue Jays but never went much above the rumor stage. Ramirez, despite tying for the league leadin shortstop errors, is considered a good defensive shortstop. Beckham likewise could be a good second basemen for teams that can afford to bat him ninth, and moving one or both would open up playing time for some combination of Marcus Semien, Leury Garcia or Micah Johnson. Unless something changes, odds are at most one of the young players will break camp with the White Sox.
INF Jeff Keppinger or DH Adam Dunn
These two would be extremely hard to move due to their contracts, but they’re still candidates if the White Sox want to free up a roster spot.
Keppinger is signed through 2015 for $8.5 million, and Dunn is on the last year of his contract and due $15 million. If the White Sox were to eat major portions of these contracts and accept next to nothing in return, they could be traded. I also think the likelihood of the White Sox releasing either of these players, at least in the beginning of the year, is remote, but don’t rule out anything as the season progresses, especially after the July 31 trade deadline.
Sometimes trades are made just to clear space for the next player up, and anything received in return is a plus. If De Aza is traded and the White Sox receive a minor league player in return, perhaps the value will be opening more playing time for Danks and seeing what he can really do. There’s little reason to put any of the White Sox young talent on the roster and start their arbitration clocks unless they’re going to get enough playing time to show what they can accomplish, and trading some of the veteran players could open up chances to see what the next level of talent can do.
It will be very interesting to see what general manager Rick Hahn can accomplish as he potentially shops these players. It’s one thing to say “They should trade X” and another to actually find a willing partner and receive value in return. There’s little pressure on Hahn to make these moves, but to field a team much different than last year’s requires them.
Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottLindholm.