The MLB trade deadline is still several weeks away, but a few teams have already been active. And as it gets closer, that activity will increase. There’s little question the Chicago White Sox will be involved, but what might come as a surprise is how active they could be.

When they signed players like Paul DeJong and Tommy Pham, it was clear they would most likely be mid-season flips. DeJong has said in radio interviews that the two of them fully expect it. But as the White Sox have struggled mightily through the first 4o percent of the season, the list of possible trade candidates might be growing.

As ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported last week, the White Sox have not shut down the chance that they might even deal Garrett Crochet and Luis Robert, Jr:

“The worst team in baseball is open for business. Outfielder Tommy Pham might be the most certain player of any to be dealt, but there are no sacred cows on the South Side. Yes, the White Sox are willing to deal center fielder Luis Robert Jr., who is expected to return from a hip injury this week and is signed through 2027. Yes, the White Sox are willing to move right-hander Erick Fedde, who has been excellent in his return to MLB after a one-year sojourn to South Korea and is signed through 2025. Perhaps most notably, yes, the White Sox are willing to trade left-hander Garrett Crochet, whose conversion from the bullpen to starter has been one of the great success stories of the early season and who is a free agent after the 2026 season.”

Passan mentions others, but if the Sox move both or even one of Crochet and Robert, Jr. their 17-48 season is going to get only worse, and the timeline of the organization’s rebuild gets much longer.

There are significant hurdles to moving either player, but as Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin reported on June 4, the Padres have expressed interest in Crochet. The two teams exchanged Dylan Cease and a bevy of prospects in March, and the Padres have pitching needs with Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish on the injured list.

That said, Crochet is under team control until 2027 and quite cheap for the White Sox; he’s currently making $800,000 and has two more years of arbitration left. Robert, Jr.’s situation is a little different because the White Sox signed him to a pre-arbitration extension in 2020. His contract runs through the 2027 season with club options worth $20 million for both of the final two years. He’s guaranteed $12.5 million in 2024 and $15 million next year, but the White Sox might be incentivized to avoid the $2 million buyouts for 2026-2027 if they don’t want to pick up his option. That could be a motivator for trading him now.

But again, moving either of these players would signal a much more lengthy rebuild than Sox general manager Chris Getz initially planned for, or at least told fans would transpire.

The more likely scenario at this point, even as they are on track to have the worst 162-game season in baseball history (a title the 43-119 Detroit Tigers of 2003 currently boast), is that the Sox hold on to Crochet and Robert, Jr. and do their trading from other areas of the roster. DeJong and Pham are good candidates, along with Erick Fedde and his two-year $15 million contract, and reliever Michael Kopech could garner some attention. Kopech moved to the bullpen during spring training and has 37 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings pitched so far this season. Interested teams could keep him and his triple-digit fastball in the bullpen or explore moving him back into the rotation, where he’s spent the majority of his major league tenure. Either way, Kopech will almost certainly be a part of trade discussions this summer.

The White Sox will be worth keeping on eye on as the trade deadline approaches. They will undoubtedly be active, but if they are open to trading even their best players, Chicago could disrupt the July market.

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