CHICAGO -- Here’s a look at the Top 5 Winter Meetings moves in White Sox history:
1. Acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik, right-handed pitcher Luis Vizcaino and first baseman/outfielder Travis Hinton from the Brewers for left fielder Carlos Lee
Dec. 13, 2004
There were rumblings of the White Sox interest in Scott Podsednik on the second day of these Winter Meetings in Anaheim. But it wasn’t until the Winter Meetings were coming to a close that this deal was executed. In fact, White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams, who was general manager at the time, spoke of the acquisition at a press conference in front of only a handful of reporters still remaining.
Podsednik was one of the many pieces added to reshape a 2004 White Sox team that came close to the postseason but was knocked down by key injuries suffered by Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez. Podsednik picked up 59 stolen bases in ’05, scored 80 runs and had a .351 on-base percentage at the top of the order. It was not uncommon for Podsednik to reach base to start a game, steal second base, move to third behind a Tadahito Iguchi grounder to the right side and then be driven home for an early lead.
Luis Vizcaino became a valuable middle reliever for the White Sox, an unsung hero in ‘05 who threw 70 innings in 65 games.
Carlos Lee hit 60 home runs over two seasons with the Brewers. But the White Sox used the Podsednik move as a major step to a 2005 World Series championship.
2. Acquired right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo López from the Nationals in exchange for outfielder Adam Eaton
Dec. 7, 2016
This No. 2 choice and the ensuing No. 3 selection really should be viewed as a deadlock. They are both examples of two trading teams getting what they needed at different levels of their competitiveness. The Nationals won the 2019 World Series title with Adam Eaton’s assistance, while the White Sox added three hurlers who already have propelled them into the postseason.
Many pundits were shocked at the return received by the White Sox, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo pointed out at National Harbor, Md., how his club was trading from a position of depth. Lucas Giolito had a miserable 2018 season but has since become one of the premier starting pitchers in the American League, throwing a no-hitter against the Pirates in ’20 and striking out 325 over his last 249 innings. Reynaldo López posted a 3.91 ERA over 188 2/3 innings in ’18 but has struggled his past two years with a possible bullpen destination on the horizon. Dane Dunning had a solid ’20 debut in his return from Tommy John surgery and will be in the rotation mix for ’21.
3. Acquired third baseman Yoán Moncada, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe and right-handed pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz from the Red Sox in exchange for left-handed pitcher Chris Sale
Dec. 6, 2016
Chris Sale wanted to win, and he wanted to win with the White Sox. But one of the best pitchers in franchise history was going to bring back the biggest return at National Harbor to start the White Sox rebuild. Sale not only won a World Series championship with the 2018 Red Sox but also struck out the side in the ninth inning of the deciding Game 5 and fanned Manny Machado for the final out.
Washington was rumored to be the Sale frontrunner the night before the trade, which is interesting in that the Nationals followed the next day with the Eaton deal. Yoán Moncada produced an All-Star-caliber campaign in 2019 but struggled in ’18 and ’20, although ’20 could be tied to Moncada testing positive for COVID-19 during the intake process and never really getting back to absolute full strength. Michael Kopech is ticketed as a frontline starter during this planned competitive window, although the hard-throwing right-hander has not pitched in a regular-season big league game since 2018 after dealing with Tommy John surgery and opting out of last season.
4. Acquired right-handed pitcher Early Wynn and outfielder/third baseman Al Smith from the Indians in exchange for outfielder Minnie Minoso and infielder Fred Hatfield
Dec. 4, 1957
The White Sox received the 1959 Cy Young Award winner in Early Wynn and helped push the organization to a World Series appearance in that ’59 season. Al Smith was a major contributor, hitting 85 home runs with a .789 OPS over five seasons in Chicago, including 17 homers and 55 RBIs in ’59. The White Sox reacquired Minnie Minoso two years later in a seven-player deal that sent Norm Cash to Cleveland.
5. Acquired outfielder Carlos Quentin from the Diamondbacks in exchange for first baseman/designated hitter Chris Carter
Dec. 3, 2007
Williams came up with a famous quote regarding this trade in that the team wasn’t looking for a player like Carlos Quentin but looking for “the Carlos Quentin.” That quote also led to shirts featuring that exact quote being sold at the ballpark.
Quentin was the 2008 AL Most Valuable Player favorite going into September. He had a .288/.394/.571 slash line, 36 home runs, 96 runs scored and 100 RBIs when he fractured a bone in his right wrist Sept. 1 after punching the bat following a foul ball during a game in Cleveland. Quentin missed the rest of the season and the AL Division Series against the Rays. Quentin hit 107 home runs with an .857 OPS over four years on the South Side.