There are logical arguments to be made for trading either or both. That’s an argument for another day. However, while Rick Hahn indicated at this week’s GM meetings in Orlando that the White Sox are in no rush to part with either of them, their respective values on the trade market are going to be a source of speculation throughout the winter. So with that in mind, here are a three teams who could, hypothetically, feel the need to acquire one of them.
- The Colorado Rockies have always seemed like the most obvious landing spot. During the White Sox Winter Purge of 2016, they were rumored to be interested in making a deal for him, but instead foolishly threw $70 million over five years at Ian Desmond — who had never played first base before — and he promptly put up a 73 OPS+. The Rockies made the playoffs anyway, because baseball. Desmond’s contract and the Rockies seeming unwillingness to part with prospects would be a hang up, of course, as would the presence of prospect Ryan McMahon, a third baseman who is blocked at third by some guy named Nolan Arenado. The Rockies’ desire to acquire Abreu would ultimately depend on how willing they are to go “all-in” after a surprising playoff appearance in 2017.
- The Seattle Mariners got similarly poor production out of their first basemen in 2017. They entered the season with a first base platoon of Danny Valencia and my large adult son Dan Vogelbach, and after that flopped they acquired Yonder Alonso, who fell back to worth after a surprisingly All-Star worthy first half in Oakland and is now a free agent. The Mariners have the longest active playoff drought in baseball and Dealin’ Jerry DiPoto is about the only general manager out there more active than Hahn, but the major hangup here would be Seattle’s barren farm system.
- The Boston Red Sox got a surprisingly productive season out of Mitch Moreland at first base in 2017, but he’s a free agent and the team is starving for power. The Red Sox, of course, are recently familiar trading partners with the White Sox. They’re also a rich team that may be more apt to spend their money on the market instead of parting with more prospects. That’s not to say Dave Dombrowski wouldn’t, if he and Hahn found a mutual agreement. But the odds seem long.
- The Oakland Athletics have already been rumored to be interested in Garcia, a move that would seem logical in a “nobody ever knows what the hell the A’s are thinking” sense. Oakland has been in “Are they rebuilding? OK they’re definitely rebuilding. But maybe they’re trying to win now, too?” mode for a few years now, so all bets are off in guessing what Billy Beane could be up to.
- The Toronto Blue Jays are seemingly set to watch Jose Bautista leave in free agency, an outcome that would leave a gapping hole in right field. Garcia would be a logical replacement if they’re willing to part with prospects. With Kendrys Morales entrenched at DH despite a poor 2017, however, there wouldn’t be another spot for Garcia in the event that his already shaky defense continues to be an issue.
- The San Francisco Giants are coming off a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year in a season where many had them pegged for the playoffs. With the likelihood that they move Hunter Pence out of a full-time role, right field would be a spot they would presumably target to upgrade as they look to put 2017 behind them. The Giants, like the Red Sox, seem more likely to upgrade their roster with money rather than via trade, and a National League landing spot is less ideal for Garcia given his DH-ness. Besides, could you imagine him patrolling that right field?
There are other potential landing spots, of course, but IF Hahn finds himself inclined to move either player, the market is likely the biggest obstacle to overcome. I mentioned in both the Red Sox and Giants bullet points that those teams are more likely to upgrade their positions of need with money rather than via trades, but the same could be said for most any team.
Abreu and Garcia both hold value of their own, of course, but why trade valuable prospects for them when you could throw money at a Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana, Logan Morrison, Lorenzo Cain, Jay Bruce, etc.? Because of both the market and, in Abreu’s case, his non-quantifiable value to the clubhouse, the odds are that both likely stay in Chicago. But if teams fall short of their goals in free agency, things could change quickly.
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