Fortunately, we have some news to discuss given how poorly Wednesday and Thursday’s games panned out against the Twins. On the very last day a player can be traded—to make a team’s playoff roster or otherwise—Miguel Gonzalez threw a quality start against Minnesota before being traded to Texas. In return, the White Sox receive Ti’Quan Forbes, who is currently hitting .221/.276/.304 in High-A.
Forbes was taken by the Rangers in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft out of high school. Traded within a week of his 21st birthday, Forbes is evidently toolsy enough to inspire positive reviews out there even with his rather dreary production at the plate. At this stage he seems to be a glove only third baseman. If you are saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, that’s not a thing in the majors is it?” that’s because you’re right, it’s not. Perhaps there’s one scout in the White Sox organization who saw some of what got Forbes popped in the second round still in there somewhere.
Gonzalez was never going to bring back much—his stuff and peripherals seem to suggest he is always on the brink of becoming completely ineffective, and he’s under contract for all of the month of September. But the guy is approaching 900 innings of 106 ERA+ ball under his belt for his career, has always outperformed his peripherals, keeps churning out quality starts since returning from the DL, and would help pretty much any team in contention. The Rangers are still vaguely in the Wild Card hunt and Gonzalez represents a modest upgrade on the back of their rotation.
Indeed, before the Twins rallied against the August version of the 2017 White Sox Bullpen, it was looking like not trading for Gonzalez was going to cost them. Minnesota needs every win down the stretch to keep their unlikely playoff bid alive, and they’re giving starts to…well, guys who aren’t as good as Miguel Gonzalez.
No matter what Forbes winds up doing—assume it will be nothing—Gonzalez’ acquisition was an unmitigated triumph. Claimed off waivers, he pitched the best ball of his career for a 2016 White Sox team that desperately needed the innings, and gave another 130+ innings of 100 ERA+ to a 2017 team that desperately needed the innings.
The White Sox are starting to promote significant pitching prospects to the major league rotation and there are more approaching on the horizon. Still, as you may have heard, pitching prospects and young pitchers are fickle things in terms of health and performance, and it never hurts to have competent veterans around to help pick up the slack, particularly if they’re afforadable. To that end, it might make sense for the White Sox to pick Gonzalez back up on a modest contract this winter to help protect the rookies again.
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