Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez were acquired as prospects in one of the first two big trades at the 2016 winter meetings the White Sox used to kick off a rebuild that was supposed to produce multiple championships.
Late Wednesday, Giolito and Lopez were packaged together for a 20-year-old catching prospect and minor league left-hander on a night the Sox lost to the Cubs to fall 21 games below .500 six days before the trade deadline.
That rebuild has flopped, producing two postseason appearances and no victories in either series in 2020 and 2021. The Sox were a .500 team last season, characterized by everyone in the organization as a huge disappointment. And then there’s this year.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had several weeks to get to that headspace,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “I’m certainly not going to lie, the idea where we’re at this point where guys like Giolito and López who we acquired back in ‘16 when we kicked off the rebuild in earnest are logically the guys that make sense to move, given their contract status. There’s an element of real deep disappointment that we’re at this point right now, that there wasn’t more postseason victories along the way as part of their tenure with the White Sox. But in terms of that, frankly, we have a job to do right now.
“I’ll have time come Aug. 2 to have a drink and a cigar if I want to wallow in disappointment, do it then. But now is not the time. Now is the time to continue to improve the future of this organization, and I think we did that tonight.”
Another full blown rebuild isn’t in the plans. Acquiring as much young talent they can for assets they would lose in free agency after the season is all the Sox can do.
Get ready for more losing baseball the rest of the season.
But first, get ready for more deals before the Aug. 1 deadline. Veterans Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Kendall Graveman and Keynan Middleton — none of whom distinguished themselves in Wednesday’s 10-7 loss — could be dealt. Other players could go, too.
“It’s impossible to prognosticate,” Hahn said after announcing the deal following Wednesday’s game. “I don’t think by any stretch we’re done. But until you line up on the actual deals and everything gets approved medically, et cetera, nothing’s done until it’s finally done. I could be back at this podium again tomorrow, or I could be not talking to you till Aug. 1. It’s hard to say.”
The top prize in the trade was a 20-year-old catcher, Edgar Quero, the Angels’ No. 2 ranked prospect. The Angels’ No. 3 prospect, left-hander Ky Bush, is also coming to the Sox’ organization.
“It’s certainly a long-term positioning on both these guys,” Hahn said. “Both [Quero] and Bush have the ability to contribute next year, we believe, but we’re certainly not going to rush their development. So far — [Quero is] an extremely young player at a high level, an advanced level — he’s performed very well, and the defense continues to make positive strides to match where he was offensively when he was in A-ball. Very optimistic about the development path for both these players but not quite ready to put a timeline on them.
“We’re looking to brighten the future of this club, and we’re not going to force a timeline in terms of the targets. We’re going to get as much talent and as high-caliber talent as possible. Talent that’s closer to contributing, certainly, is more appealing than talent that’s farther away. But just about every club’s going to feel that same way, so that’s nothing too unique.”