In the midst of New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli’s hot start to spring training, trade rumors began to surface involving the Chicago White Sox and the Bronx Bombers. With reports confirming the White Sox’ interest in the 28-year-old catcher, speculation has begun over whom Chicago would give up in the deal.
The most likely candidate would be second baseman Gordon Beckham. Since Robinson Cano’s signing with the Seattle Mariners, it has been known that the Yankees are desperately seeking a viable option at second. Their choices right now at the position are offensively challenged Brendan Ryan and an aging Brian Roberts. While the Yankees would get their second baseman of the future in Beckham, who has more pop and a better glove than both Ryan and Roberts, the trade would not make sense for the White Sox. Yes, Cervelli’s career slash of .271/.343/.367 is much better than those of Tyler Flowers (.200/.279/.372) and Josh Phegley (.206/.223/.299). However, the main reason for the White Sox to stay away from deal has to do with the upcoming MLB draft.
Multiple reports have Alex Jackson, a catcher from Rancho Bernardo HS (CA) going to the White Sox at No. 3 in June’s draft. Jackson is advanced mechanically with a short arm action and quick release. While the projection of him being solid defensively is appealing, it is what he brings offensively that makes him a perfect fit for the White Sox.
Jackson has incredible pop for someone his age and is projected to hit 30 home runs a season if his progression continues. His ability to hit to all fields demonstrates that he is not as one dimensional offensively like Flowers and Phegley. A backstop with superior offensive and defensive skills is what the White Sox have been lacking since they lost AJ Pierzynski to free agency.
While Beckham has become expendable due to the emergence of Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien, trading him to upgrade a position you can tinker with through the draft is not the best move. General manager Rick Hahn should be open to trading the second baseman out of Georgia, but only for the right piece in return.