Rebuilding teams a step ahead this offseason

November 7th, 2017

While the public focus has turned to offseason free agency and who was or wasn't tendered a qualifying offer prior to Monday's deadline, the Tigers and White Sox have already done their heavy lifting.

They are among seven teams that embraced a rebuild within the past year and began their look toward next year (and beyond). They dealt established big league players, many of whom are now headed into free agency, for players who beefed up the quality of their farm systems with the hope they will have an impact in the big leagues before long.

THE WHITE SOX began last December with the trade of Chris Sale to the Red Sox, and by the time they had completed the wheeling and dealing, they added not only , a year ago ranked the No. 2 prospect in baseball who in early August stepped in at third base in the big leagues, but four of their current top five-ranked prospects and a total of nine players who fit into the top 22.

The Red Sox do have contract control of Sale for two more seasons, but in addition to acquiring Moncada, the White Sox added their current No. 2-ranked prospect, right-handed pitcher , and No. 17-rated center fielder , along with right-handed pitcher Victor Diaz.

The Cubs have control of left-hander for three more years, but in return the White Sox landed left fielder , their No. 1-ranked prospect, and No. 5-ranked , a right-handed pitcher, along with second baseman Bryant Flete and first baseman Matt Rose.

And in dealing third baseman to the Yankees, right-handed reliever to the Brewers (both players became free agents last week) and arbitration-eligible left-hander Dan Jennings to the Rays, the White Sox acquired, among others, outfielder Blake Rutherford, their No. 4-ranked prospect, first baseman (No. 11), center fielder (No. 16) and left-hander (No. 21).

THE TIGERS did part with , one of the game's elite pitchers who is signed through 2019, but they knew they had to rebuild their structure, and even though they agreed to pick up $8 million of Verlander's salary each of the next two years, the Astros did pick up $20 million annually.

More than that, in return the Tigers acquired three prospects who rank No. 1 (right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez), No. 5 (outfielder Daz Cameron) and No. 7 (catcher ) on a Tigers prospect list that also was enhanced. Not that the Astros are complaining in light of the role Verlander played in the team claiming the first World Series championship in its 56-year history.

The Tigers also acquired ninth-rated Isaac Paredes, who came from the Cubs in the deal for now-free-agent catcher Alex Avila and pitcher , and shortstops (No. 15) and Sergio Alcantra (No. 24) who were part of the package from the D-backs for outfielder J.D. Martinez, another free agent. And in the Cubs deal, the Tigers also acquired , who had been a top-rated Cubs prospect coming into the season but lost his rookie status after joining the Tigers' big league roster Aug. 7. He hit .330 the rest of the season.

THE A'S didn't have any pending free agents to deal, but in return for right-hander going to the Yankees, they added center fielder , who ranks No. 3 among the A's prospects, No. 4-rated , a shortstop, and right-hander , who is rated No. 10. In dealing and to the Nationals, they not only acquired reliever Blake Treinin, whom they control for three more seasons, but also lefty Jesus Luzardo, who ranks No. 6 in their system, and third baseman , who ranks No. 14.

THE METS dealt , , , and , each of whom are now free agents. The return included adding four right-handed pitchers to their top 30 -- No. 21 , No. 22 Stephen Nogosek, No. 28 Jamie Callahan and No. 30 .

THE RANGERS dealt current free-agent right-hander and catcher , neither of whom fit into their future plans. In return for Darvish, they received from the Dodgers No. 2-ranked , a second baseman; No. 19 A.J. Alexy, a right-handed pitcher; and No. 29 Brendon Davis, a shortstop. The Rockies dealt them center fielder Pedro Gonzalez, ranked No. 20, for Lucroy.

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THE MARLINS began their salary reduction in advance of new ownership, shipping pitcher to the Mariners and AJ Ramos to the Mets. In return, they added six prospects, five of whom rank among the top 22 in the organization.

They acquired center fielder Brayan Hernandez, ranked No. 8; right-handed pitcher Brandon Miller, No. 19; and right-hander , No. 22, in addition to right-handed pitcher Lukas Schiraldi, the son of former Red Sox pitcher Calvin Schiraldi, from the Mariners for Phelps.

In exchange for Ramos, the Mets sent them right-hander , ranked No. 6, and center fielder Ricardo Cespedes, who is rated No. 23 in the organization. The Marlins also sent arbitration-eligible Tom Koehler to Toronto for right-hander Osman Gutierrez, who was ranked No. 28 in the Blue Jays system prior to last season.

AND THE PHILLIES filled some voids by dealing Pat Neshek to the Rockies for a package that included shortstop Jose Gomez, ranked No. 16 in the Phillies system, and right-handed pitcher , ranked No. 30. They also picked up left-hander McKenzie Mills, ranked No. 21, from the Nationals for .