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Inbox: Who is White Sox likeliest trade chip?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers questions from fans
MLB.com @scottmerkin

Between now and the non-waiver Deadline, if you had to rate a player's chance of getting traded between 1 and 5, how would you rate Jose Abreu, Luis Avilan, James Shields and Joakim Soria? And why?
-- James, Highland Park, @ChiSoxJames

If 5 is the most likely to be traded and 1 represents the least likely, I would rate Soria and Avilan a 4. I would rate Shields a 3 or 2 and Abreu a 1. I still don't believe the rightfully high value the White Sox place upon Abreu will be matched by opposing teams, but quality late-inning relievers such as Soria and Avilan will be in demand.

Between now and the non-waiver Deadline, if you had to rate a player's chance of getting traded between 1 and 5, how would you rate Jose Abreu, Luis Avilan, James Shields and Joakim Soria? And why?
-- James, Highland Park, @ChiSoxJames

If 5 is the most likely to be traded and 1 represents the least likely, I would rate Soria and Avilan a 4. I would rate Shields a 3 or 2 and Abreu a 1. I still don't believe the rightfully high value the White Sox place upon Abreu will be matched by opposing teams, but quality late-inning relievers such as Soria and Avilan will be in demand.

Assuming a spot in the rotation opens up after the Trade Deadline, who will be the first in line to fill the void? Michael Kopech? Jordan Stephens? Maybe Carson Fulmer?
-- Antonio, Chicago, @Squints1914

Go with Kopech (ranked No. 2 in the team's farm system by MLB Pipeline). Remember it's all about Kopech being deemed ready for the promotion by the White Sox, whether or not there's an opening. But that time should come soon for Kopech, who has 20 strikeouts vs. two walks over his past two starts. Fulmer appears to be following a reliever's path at this point for Triple-A Charlotte.

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Is there a greater than zero chance a big-name superstar comes to the South Side in free agency?
-- Joe, Milwaukee, @jnez50

Without a doubt. Per Cot's Contracts, the White Sox have $10.9 million in pre-arbitration payroll commitments going into 2019, a mere $4.5 million in '20, and $7.25 million in '21, so they have plenty of room to maneuver. Those superstars need to want to come to the South Side, but the White Sox are putting together an impressive young core as a selling point. Bryce Harper or Manny Machado would obviously make any team considerably better, but the White Sox don't have to add one of those two to necessarily make a sizeable difference.

How long do we wait until Yoan Moncada's mistakes are not attributed to his inexperience? There are a lot of 23-year-olds in the world expected to perform. When do you predict he'll be in the All-Star Game?
-- Darrin, Carlinville, Ill., @CoachDeNeve

You can certainly wait more than 141 games, which is Moncada's total played with the White Sox entering Friday's series opener in Seattle. From start to finish, he has not had an overwhelming 2018 season.

But Moncada's underwhelming season still includes 19 doubles, 12 home runs, five triples, 41 RBIs and 47 runs scored. He's also hitting .356 with a .453 on-base percentage over a current 12 game on-base streak. There would be greater reason for concern if some of the same basic mistakes, basic issues offensively or defensively, still are occurring next season.

If, and it's a big if, general manager Rick Hahn got bowled over in a deal for Abreu, how badly might that affect guys like Moncada and Luis Robert in their development and feelings toward the organization?
-- Roger, @comedyoferrors

Moncada has talked about the great bond forged with Abreu, and although they haven't played together aside from Spring Training, Abreu has a similar positive influence over Robert (ranked No. 3). But both young players are professionals and understand the business. They would prefer to eventually win with Abreu, but they would get through without him.

Which White Sox prospects should we expect to see before September? In September?
-- Jeff, Indianapolis, @IndyJeffrey

I would think Eloy Jimenez (No. 1), assuming he stays healthy, and Kopech before September. Players such as Fulmer, Aaron Bummer and reliever Ian Hamilton (No. 18) would be a few players to watch for after Sept. 1.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox