Today's breaking news is that the White Sox have traded top prospects Gio Gonzalez, Ryan Sweeney and Faustino De Los Santos for A's OF/1B Nick Swisher.
Swisher is a great addition to a lineup that desperately needs an OBP boost. He's young, he has 30 HR/100 RBI power potential, and he walks ALOT.
The problem, of course, is that he doesn't play a position of need (CF) and that his two primary positions are filled by some fairly talented gentlemen (Konerko, Dye).
Sweeney will never be the player Swisher is, so his inclusion is inconsequential. The question then, is what kind of pitching did Kenny give up?
De Los Santos will be a setup man in the immediate future, with the potential to close. While the Sox bullpen could use an arm like his, if you have the opportunity to trade a relief pitcher for a hitter the caliber of Swisher, you don't hesitate. So if we stop at Sweeney/De Los Santos, this deal is a no-brain winner for the White Sox.
Unfortunately, we don't stop there. Gio Gonzalez has the potential to be a front-end starter in the near future, maybe as soon as the second half of 2008. A LHP with a low-mid 90's fastball and possibly the best breaking ball in the minors, Gonzalez led the Southern League in Ks and was 4th in ERA last season. Kenny Williams would have been better served giving up John Danks than Gonzalez.
The good news is that Swisher gives the lineup flexibility. While he normally has played RF and 1B, he's certanly a better option in LF than Carlos Quentin, who may end up starting at AAA because of this trade. He also becomes the de facto 1B of the future, however, due to losing Cris Carter in the Quentin trade, and that future may be sooner than you think.
There were rumblings in October that Paul Konerko might end up in Anaheim for a package starting with Nick Adenhart and Casey Kotchman. While the Sox no longer have a need for Kotchman, they do need a CF, and Anaheim just happens to have a CF who can lead off in Reggie Willits.
As the trade stands now, I give the current edge to the White Sox, although Gio Gonzalez has the potential to make them regret the deal. This trade certainly makes me feel better about the Quentin deal, which relieved us of our only true 1B prospect. Swisher >>> Carter, Quentin >> Sweeney.
The optimist in me sees a much deeper White Sox lineup. The pessimist sees a bare cupboard in the minors. Williams has 2 months to finish a work in progress. Joe Crede still needs a new home.