10 biggest trades in White Sox history

December 1st, 2021

CHICAGO -- During Ken Williams' 12-year tenure as the White Sox general manager, he acquired 171 players in 72 trades involving the Major League roster. So picking the 10 biggest trades in franchise history could be increased to 20 or 30 based on the current executive vice president's work alone.

And current general manager Rick Hahn has followed that same maverick path, only with a rebuild focus over the past three years. Some of those deals changed the franchise for the better. Some didn't pan out as planned.

Those many choices mean a deal sending Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. from the Reds to the White Sox didn't make the final 10. The same holds true for the White Sox acquiring Juan Uribe from Colorado and Jeff Samardzija from Oakland or the acquisitions and eventual trades of Jake Peavy and Nick Swisher.

Here is a look at the biggest 10 for the White Sox.

1. Landing the top prize

White Sox got from Mariners: RHP Freddy Garcia, C Ben Davis
White Sox gave up: C Miguel Olivo, OF Jeremy Reed, IF Mike Morse
Date: June 27, 2004

Garcia was one of the top trade targets leading up to the 2004 Deadline, with the White Sox making a better offer than the Yankees to finish the acquisition. Garcia was added to help a team competing for the American League Central title in '04, but when Garcia agreed to a three-year extension 10 days later, the White Sox locked down a key component of their World Series championship rotation. Garcia pitched seven scoreless innings in the clinching 1-0 victory over the Astros in Game 4, after basically guaranteeing victory in the White Sox clubhouse before the game's first pitch.

2. Sale(ing) to Boston

White Sox got from Red Sox: INF , RHP , OF , RHP Victor Diaz
White Sox gave up: LHP Chris Sale
Date: Dec. 6, 2016

White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf once said the only untouchable player he had trade-wise wore No. 23 for the Chicago Bulls. That fact was proven true when one of the greatest pitchers in White Sox history was moved to Boston to begin the team's rebuild. Sale's excellence continued, finishing off the 2018 Red Sox World Series title by striking out the side in the ninth in Game 5 against the Dodgers. Kopech will miss '19 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Moncada fanned 217 times in his first full season. But both players have limitless potential, with Basabe moving quickly through the system.

3. The King's new court

White Sox got from Reds: 1B Paul Konerko
White Sox gave up: OF Mike Cameron
Date: Nov. 11, 1998

Konerko was traded twice during the 1998 calendar year, but once he reached Chicago, the first baseman found a home where he would reside and excel for the next 16 years. Konerko had 439 home runs and 1,412 RBIs, had his No. 14 retired and had a concourse statue in his likeness dedicated at Guaranteed Rate Field. He served as the most recent White Sox captain and was as big of a force in the community as his great impact on the field.

4. Sly as a Fox

White Sox got from Philadelphia Athletics: 2B Nellie Fox
White Sox gave up: C Joe Tipton
Date: Oct. 9, 1949

Tipton hit .204 with 11 extra-base hits during his one season covering 214 plate appearances in 1949. In trading for Fox, the White Sox obtained a future Hall of Famer, the '59 AL Most Valuable Player Award winner for a team losing to the Dodgers in six in the World Series and one-half of the franchise's all-time great double-play combinations with fellow Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.

5. Young arm arrives

White Sox got from Cubs: RHP Jon Garland
White Sox gave up: RHP Matt Karchner
Date: July 29, 1998

The Cubs were in postseason contention and needed veteran bullpen help in Karchner. In the process, the White Sox picked up one of their rotation staples with a devastating sinker for almost a decade and acquired a key piece in the 2005 World Series championship push.

6. Crosstown future changer

White Sox got from Cubs: OF , RHP , INF Bryant Flete, INF Matt Rose
White Sox gave up: LHP
Date: July 13, 2017

This deal might go down as a historically beneficial move for both sides. The Cubs probably wouldn't have reached the National League Championship Series in 2017 or made the playoffs in '18 without Quintana, but the White Sox acquired a pair of rebuild cornerstones in Jimenez and Cease.

7. Reshaping a champion

White Sox got from Brewers: OF Scott Podsednik, RHP Luis Vizcaino, player to named later (Travis Hinton)
White Sox gave up: OF Carlos Lee
Date: Dec. 13, 2004

Williams and Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox general manager and manager at the time, wanted to reshape their roster after falling short against the "piranhas" from Minnesota in 2004. So they traded a homegrown power bat in Lee to add speed at the top of the order in Podsednik and a bullpen arm in Vizcaino. The money saved in the deal also allowed the White Sox flexibility to add second baseman Tadahito Iguchi via free agency to further complete the championship puzzle.

8. A titanic acquisition

White Sox got from Yankees: RHP Jose Contreras and cash
White Sox gave up: RHP Esteban Loaiza
Date: July 31, 2004

Loaiza was the AL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2003, but he didn't have close to the same effectiveness in '04. Contreras was facing similar struggles for the Yankees. But the White Sox got the best of the deal, with Contreras posting career-best numbers in '05 and starting Game 1 in all three playoff series. He continues to work for the White Sox on the Minor League side.

9. Sosa goes North

White Sox got from Cubs: OF/DH George Bell and cash
White Sox gave up: OF Sammy Sosa, LHP Ken Patterson
Date: March 30, 1992

On July 29, 1989, the White Sox acquired Sosa, Scott Fletcher and Wilson Alvarez from Texas for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique. That trade worked out decently, but the move sending Sosa to the Cubs wasn't as impactful. Bell drove in 112 during the '92 season and contributed to the '93 division title, but Sosa hit 545 of his 609 career home runs over 13 years with the Cubs, topping 60 on three occasions.

10. Thanksgiving surprise

White Sox got from Phillies: DH Jim Thome and cash
White Sox gave up: CF Aaron Rowand, LHP Daniel Haigwood and a player to be named later (LHP )
Date: Nov. 25, 2005

Thome and Rowand are first-class baseball talents and first-class people overall, but the move caught some by surprise after Rowand's major contribution to the 2005 World Series title. Thome provided a powerful left-handed bat in the middle of the order, hitting 42 homers in '06 and 134 homers over parts of four seasons with the White Sox, including the long blast off Nick Blackburn to beat the Twins, 1-0, in the '08 AL Central tiebreaker game known as the Blackout Game.