Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox Could be Trade Partners Again
By Noah Wright
Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade. But the possibility that they could line-up on another deal remains likely.
The first domino of the a potential fire sale by the Pittsburgh Pirates fell on Friday. This domino fell when the Bucs sending outfielder Jarrod Dyson to the Chicago White Sox for $243,000 in International Bonus Pool money.
This gives the Pittsburgh Pirates the right to spend $243,000 more this upcoming international signing deadline. While it doesn’t seem like a lot in terms of how much MLB players sign for, it is a very impactful amount for how much international prospects sign for.
Are the Pittsburgh Pirates and White Sox done making deals with each other this upcoming deadline? If the White Sox are still in the market like rumors have suggested, this probably isn’t going to be the last time we hear these two teams meet for a trade.
The White Sox could definitely use another starter in their rotation. We all know that Lucas Giolito is pitching like an ace. After the no-hitter against the Pirates on the 25th, the former top-3 prospect has a 3.09 ERA, 2.70 FIP and 1.01 WHIP. Though he has a 10% walk rate, Giolito carries a 34.1% strikeout rate, and 0.6 HR/9. ERA estimators love him as well with a 3.10 xFIP, 3.43 SIERA and 3.26 DRA.
One of the White Sox most unsung heroes of their season has been 2015 American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel. He’s pitched a total of 43.1 innings, and has a 2.70 ERA, 3.25 FIP and 1.03 WHIP. Though the soft tossing lefty has a strikeout rate of just 14.9%, a current career low, he has a 5.8% walk rate, just 0.2% higher than his career best, and 0.4 HR/9. He’s also in the top 79th percentile of exit velocity, and, according to FanGraphs, is putting up his lowest exit velocity since his 2017 season.
Though top prospect Dylan Cease has put up a decent 3.13 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, he’s gotten bit by the long ball a decent number of times, surrendering 7 in his 31.2 innings. Cease currently holds a 5.97 FIP, 5.56 xFIP, 5.40 SIERA, and 7.13 DRA, so he has gotten pretty lucky this year. While obviously, he is 24, and should improve as this is his first 31.2 MLB innings, the rest of the White Sox rotation does not inspire much confidence. Carlos Rodon has been on the IL since early August. Reynaldo Lopez has an ERA at 9 exactly, and a FIP over 7. Gio Gonzalez has an ERA above 5, and a FIP just below 5 at 4.98.
Currently, it’s a three team battle for first place in the American League Central, and the White Sox need to make a move in order to stay within that race. Getting another starter should be on their to-do list, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have two starting-capable options that have already garnered interest from the Toronto Blue Jays. That being Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl.
Williams has only really had one bad start this year, which has inflated his surface numbers. Entering the 26th, Williams had a solid 3.70 ERA, 4.22 FIP and 1.35 WHIP through his first 24.1 innings of the year. He also had a solid 1.1 HR/9, 21.7% strikeout rate and 7.5% walk rate. Overall, he was a slightly above average pitcher until giving up 8 runs in 6 innings on Wednesday. In an article earlier this week, site contributor David Slusser estimated that he is worth a 45 grade guy, or a few 40-grade prospects.
Kuhl has also been really solid this year as well. Currently, he holds a sparkling 2.52 ERA, and 1.0 WHIP through 25 innings. But ERA estimators haven’t been all that kind to him. He currently has a 5.47 FIP, 4.99 xFIP, 5.06 SIERA, and 4.69 DRA. Right now, it would make less sense to trade Kuhl over Williams, speaking that he just came off Tommy John surgery, and might not be at peak value. Still, if Ben Cherington gets offered what he’s looking for in Kuhl, then don’t be surprised if he’s traded.
The White Sox have already shown interest in Lance Lynn, Robbie Ray and Dylan Bundy, showing that they want to bolster their rotation. With the Pirates pretty much willing to sell on anything, the White Sox and Pirates might converge on a deal to send one of the Pirates’ starters to Chicago. Plus with the Sox having an above average farm system per FanGraphs, the Pirates probably would be able to get back Williams’ or Kuhl’s full value.