In an extremely unfortunate turn of events, the Chicago White Sox have lost outfielder Eloy Jimenez for most of the 2021 season after a pectoral injury. The Brewers might be able to offer a solution to the South-siders.
David Stearns is never one to miss an opportunity.
After word came down that star leftfielder Eloy Jimenez tore his pec and would miss the next 5-6 months, David Stearns should’ve immediately placed a phone call to White Sox GM Rick Hahn, and perhaps he did.
The White Sox aren’t particularly deep in the outfield, and the injury to Jimenez exposes the lack of depth for that team. Jimenez is currently slated to be replaced by a combination of Leury Garcia and non-roster invite Nick Williams. That’s hardly an inspiring offensive combination for a team with World Series aspirations. It certainly won’t come close to matching the offensive output that Jimenez would’ve brought.
The Brewers, meanwhile, have a ton of outfield depth. David Stearns has accumulated so much outfield depth, he doesn’t entirely know what to do with it. Maybe he does, but there’s more guys than spots available.
As we get down to roster cut time, the Brewers have a couple of outfielders that are on the cusp of the roster, including Tyrone Taylor and Billy McKinney. Both of those two players have performed extremely well this spring, but both of them can’t make the major league roster.
The Brewers and White Sox could line up well on a trade to patch the hole created by Eloy Jimenez’s injury, and center a deal around out of options outfielder Billy McKinney.
Think about it, McKinney might be the 5th outfielder on this Brewers roster, not play very much, and could likely see a DFA happen at some point this season. Instead, the Brewers could trade him to the White Sox, where he’d start a lot in left field, and could keep his hot streak at the plate going.
The Brewers can then keep Tyrone Taylor and move him up and down throughout the year as needed since he has a minor league option remaining. They couldn’t do such a thing with McKinney since he’s out of options.
Here’s a speculative trade proposal that might work:
White Sox get: OF Billy McKinney
Brewers get: LHP Konnor Pilkington
In return for an outfielder the White Sox can put in as a patchwork fix in left field, the Brewers can snag someone like Konnor Pilkington, a crafty lefty type that has four pitches and, perhaps with some work with the Crew’s pitching development staff, could turn into something down the road.
The Brewers have shown a strong ability to develop pitching, and Pilkington has a pedigree as a high draft pick, but hasn’t lived up to that status since entering professional ball. Maybe a change of scenery would help.
McKinney is young and still has potential and perhaps with a chance to play everyday, he could live up to that potential. It was worth a shot when the Brewers claimed him last year, and after the injury to Jimenez, it should be worth a shot for the White Sox.
This spring, McKinney has hit .286 with four home runs and a 1.010 OPS. His strong performance makes him worthy of a big league roster spot, a spot that may not be available for him in Milwaukee, but would definitely be available for him with the White Sox.
You could switch Pilkington with any other low-mid level prospect in that White Sox system and come to a deal. It’s just a suggestion, but the Brewers have outfielders to spare and the White Sox need one badly. They won’t get any of the top four on the Crew’s roster, but McKinney can be a solid temporary fix.