Once again, with help from my friend Danny (@papa_gleyber25), we look at what could have been for three franchises. All instances are hypothetical and based on what-ifs and on players who proved to be valuable following stints with their first teams. This is not to say these teams are not good now or that keeping, retaining, or securing each player in these lists was 100% possible in reality.
Before we move on, can you guess this one out of the next two teams that really could have had it all and more?
In this case, talent was never in question. The team isn’t even in question. Their the AL Central’s best by nine and a half games as of writing this. Their first basemen are one of the strongest players to step on the field and just won MVP. They have had sensational rookie outfielders two years straight. Their trade deadline saw them acquire just more and more power, diversity, and strength.
So, how exactly could The Chicago White Sox have come out so much better right now? You’d seriously have to add some of the top hitters in the game to improve on guys like that. Well…about that…
In 2016, Rick Hahn and his White Sox were staring a playoff birth in the eyes near the trade deadline when they decided to go and get big game James. Yes, the once-solid closer turned starter turned fly ball merchant James Shields. They made this move by giving up two prospects. One being career WAR -.4 Erik Johnson.
Superstar and son of a former major leaguer Mr. Fernando Tatis Jr. In just a short time he has become one of the faces of baseball let alone the Padres franchise. He has a career WAR of 12 in just 2 short years. Highlight reel defense on top of major moonshots Tatis improves any team at all. Eating 31 million dollars was sour enough but Shields’ stats with Chicago coupled with the departure of a superstar sting all the same.
He won a world series with the Nationals before turning 20. Imagine if the electric, exciting and silly lefty didn’t replace Bryce Harper as the face of the franchise? It almost happened. When being scouted and showcased, Soto was eager to sign for an MLB team.
The White Sox along with the Padres had aggressive offers for Soto’s services. The White Sox were expected to sign with Soto when a rival scout had announced a deal claiming to have beaten the offer anyone else was going to give to Soto. The truth in the matter was nothing was set in stone, but other suitors were then driven away. This rival was from the Nationals, and let’s just say the rest is history.
Don’t worry south side fans, the worst of the pain is over with.
But, just in case you forgot or blocked it from your memory, Omar Narvaez just became an NL All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers. All he cost the Mariners to receive him (and subsequently ship away to the brew crew) was a skillful but aging Alex Colome who’s had an up and down career, to say the least. They also once had Marcus Semien but it doesn’t seem plausible they would have his services as far as 2021 is concerned, for many reasons.
That being said, a dangerous lineup could have been deadly. Up the middle at short, you have Tatis Jr flipping balls to contact specialist Tim Anderson. On the corners, you have former #1 overall prospect, Yoan Moncada, at the hot spot and 2020 MVP Jose Abreu at first. An undeniably incredible outfield would see Luis Robert (another #1 overall prospect at one point) in center. To your left-field side you would have Juan Soto and to the right Eloy Jimenez. Catcher and DH would be split between Narvaez and Grandal.
This isn’t considering their 2021 trade deadline players as well. This team could be good for years but one really needs to wonder, are they ever going to be as dominant as they could have been?