Jerry Crasnick fired up the hot stove with a tweet vague enough to signal something huge.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 4, 2018
Smaller trades usually don’t have that kind of rollout, so a lot of the speculation on Twitter circled around Matt Kemp.
Instead, it was a different kind of big trade — a three-teamer with the Royals. When the smoke cleared, the White Sox received left-handed reliever Luis Avilan and cash from the Dodgers and Joakim Soria from the Royals. Their contribution to the deal? Sending Jake Peter to the Dodgers.
As for the other participants, the Dodgers received Scott Alexander from the Royals, and the Royals received pitcher Trevor Oaks and Erick Mejia from the Dodgers.
I’ll have more on this trade later, as I have a snowy commute home ahead of me, but the immediate response is that the White Sox acquired two credible major-league relievers for the short term. Soria is making $9 million with a $1 million buyout for 2019. He isn’t what he used to be, but he turned in a decent season for Kansas City last year. He walks more guys than he used to, but he at least he stopped giving up homers in bunches the way he did in 2015.
Avilan is a situational lefty with massive splits (.571 OPS vs. LHB; .826 OPS vs. RHB), and used as such (46 innings over 61 appearances). He contributed a 2.93 ERA to the Dodgers’ cause in 2017, but he was pushed to edge of the bullpen picture later in the season, perhaps because of the quality of contact allowed. Still, he’s a real lefty reliever who gives cover to bullpen prospects like Aaron Bummer or Jace Fry, and the Sox didn’t have that kind of guy before.
Peter seems like a rosterable player at some point in 2018, but the White Sox hadn’t prioritized him, either with a September call-up or protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. With that history as context, it’s not a surprise the White Sox dealt him. Now the hope is that he isn’t another Chris Taylor.