AL Central trade roundup: White Sox, Tigers come out ahead


AL Central trade roundup: White Sox, Tigers come out ahead

For the White Sox and Tigers, the last month or so of baseball's summer trading season was fairly busy and, potentially, fairly successful. Neither Minnesota nor Kansas City did much selling, while Cleveland stood pat. A complete team-by-team recap of how the AL Central landscape changed -- or remained the same -- leading up to Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline follows:

Chicago White Sox

Added: 3B Kevin Youkilis, RP Brett Myers, SP Francisco Liriano
Subtracted: INFOF Brent Lillibridge, INF Eduardo Escobar, SP Zach Stewart, SP Matt Heidenreich, SP Blair Walters, SP Pedro Hernandez

The verdict: Kenny Williams and the White Sox front office came away as one of baseball's biggest winners at the deadline, as the Sox were able to address three needs by giving up a pair of utility players and four pitchers who, while at various stages of their careers, were expendable. Most analysts don't see the White Sox farm system as having a ton of talent, but Williams added three good players without subtracting from whatever talent is in the minors. That's impressive.

Detroit Tigers

Added: 2B Omar Infante, SP Anibal Sanchez, No. 37 pick in 2013 draft
Subracted: SP Jacob Turner, C Rob Brantly, SP Brian Flynn, No. 73 pick in 2013 draft

The verdict: Detroit may regret trading the 21-year-old Turner, who entered the year as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. But Sanchez is an upgrade for their rotation in the short-term, and with the fast-improving Doug Fister the Tigers' top three starters (including Justin Verlander) look very solid. Infante is another upgrade, as Detroit got little offensive production out of their second baseman prior to the deal. He also adds a plus glove to an infield that features plenty of questionable defenders.

Cleveland Indians

Added: INFOF Brent Lillibridge, 1BOF Lars Anderson
Subtracted: RP Jose De La Torre, SP Steven Wright

Nothing much to see here. Lillibridge is hitting .170.213.182, while Anderson -- once a top prospect in the Red Sox system -- had a .774 OPS in his third go-around with Triple-A Pawtucket. Cleveland was rumored to be listening to offers on outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but hung on to him as the deadline passed Tuesday afternoon. Entering Tuesday, the Indians were 50-52 and five games out of first place. Nobody really knows if they're contenders or not, and by standing pat, they kept with that theme.

Kansas City Royals

Added: SP Jeremy Guthrie, RP Donnie Joseph, SP J.C. Sulbaran
Subtracted: SP Jonathan Sanchez, RP Jonathan Broxton

The verdict: Joseph and Sulbaran are a decent enough return for the Royals, who needed a few more arms in their minor-league system. Joseph is the prize here, as the lefty has struck out 68 with 17 walks in 52 13 relief innings between Cincinnati's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. The Guthrie-for-Sanchez swap was a junk-for-junk deal. Kansas City also didn't deal away Jeff Francouer, meaning top prospect Wil Myers -- who just belted his 32nd homer of the season -- is still blocked in the majors.

Minnesota Twins

Added: INF Eduardo Escobar, SP Pedro Hernandez,
Subtracted: SP Francisco Liriano

The verdict: The Twins hung on to all their valuable pieces -- Josh Willingham, Denard Span, Justin Morneau, Glen Perkins -- except Liriano, the return for whom was fairly low. The Reds were reportedly interested in Span, and the Dodgers apparently made a late run at Perkins, but ultimately the Twins barely did anything. And while that may seem odd for a team in last place, Minnesota's played good baseball since mid-May -- not good enough to jump back into the playoff race, but maybe good enough to offer hope for 2013.

How Tim Anderson's new glasses could benefit him at the plate

How Tim Anderson's new glasses could benefit him at the plate

Though he only has worn them for one game, Tim Anderson had been preparing to break in his new glasses for several weeks.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria said Tuesday evening that Anderson recently purchased new corrective lenses after he asked for additional testing beyond what teams normally offer. Though he’d recently worn the glasses around the clubhouse and in batting practice, Anderson didn’t break them in until Monday night. The second-year shortstop homered for the first time in nearly a month Monday and finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs in the club’s loss to the New York Yankees.

If the glasses help Anderson’s vision at the plate, the White Sox are all for it. Anderson entered Tuesday’s game hitting .253/.278/.377 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 285 plate appearances.

“The ball can travel anywhere from Shields' 69 miles per hour curveball to Chapman's 100 miles per hour fastball,” Renteria said. “It's very important to be able to see the baseball. It's obviously a split-second decision. It's very dangerous to be in there and not be able to see the ball. If that helps him, if that's a part of continuing to move forward, I hope that's part of what helps clear him up.”

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Anderson said after Monday’s game he plans to wear the lenses the rest of the season, though he didn’t think the glasses make a huge difference. Still, the fact he homered after going 96 plate appearances in between round-trippers didn’t escape third baseman Todd Frazier, who made a joke suggesting Anderson downplayed the significance. Anderson said he’s spent several days recently adjusting to the glasses in preparation for the game and wears them at bat and in the field.

“I’ve been using them in BP,” Anderson said. “Trying to get used to them.”

Renteria said players get their vision checked every spring. Anderson’s request for additional screening isn’t out of the ordinary, Renteria said.

“Timmy just told us he wanted to get his eyes checked, so he did,” Renteria said. “Obviously, he's wearing the glasses that he wears now. He's trying to get comfortable with them. He'd had them for at least 2 1/2 weeks, 3 weeks. But he's kind of been hesitant to put them on. I know (Todd Steverson) spoke to him. He's going to use them, feel comfortable with them, start using them in the workouts and BP.”

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.