By Bruce Levine—
ORLANDO, Fla. (670 The Score) – With baseball’s Winter Meetings officially underway, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has two big chips that he can offer to teams in need of power and flexible contracts.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and outfielder Avisail Garcia can be obtained by a team that would be willing to give up their best prospects. Hahn has had a continuous flow of in-person and phone conversations with opposing clubs since the first week of November.
“I don’t think the interest level has changed,” Hahn said. “I think the interest level has been rather high for the past 53 weeks. We have had some of these conversations going back a year-plus on trying to add to this critical mass of young players that we are trying to accumulate for the long term.”
While the White Sox look to add more prospects to their farm system, the Red Sox could again be an ideal match. A year after they traded Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two others for Chris Sale, the Red Sox could be interested in acquiring Abreu.
Boston president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski must add power bats to a lineup that had trouble hitting home runs during a season in which home run records were shattered. The Red Sox figure to kick the tires on free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, who rose to stardom with the Royals and will likely command a five-year deal in excess of $100 million.
The bidding for outfielder J.D. Martinez will likely be even more drastic. Martinez hit 45 home runs in 2017, and agent Scott Boras started the bidding price tag at $200 million on him. With all that in mind, reports are that the Red Sox may now turn to the trade market for the power bats needed, which would bring Hahn and the White Sox into the equation.
The Cardinals and Giants could also make sense as trade partners for the White Sox. These two clubs lost out on slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, and each needs a power shock after missing the playoffs last season. Abreu would help make both clubs contenders in divisions that are difficult to win.
“I do think with the (Shohei) Ohtani situation resolved and the Stanton situation over, you are starting to see more movement in the market,” Hahn said. “That is affecting not only the free agents but also trades. I am not sure it’s being back at the Winter Meetings or the two other factors that are creating greater dialogue. There is certainly a higher level of potential trades here now that we are down in Orlando and all together.”
With another rebuilding season awaiting, the White Sox have the luxury of waiting out the winners and losers in the free-agent market battle. Timing is everything, and time seems to be on their side.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.