Jake Burger trade to Marlins divided White Sox front office: sources originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Ahead of the trade deadline, the White Sox shook up their roster with multiple trades, particularly with several of their most valuable pitchers, but the Burger one took some fans by surprise.
The Sox traded Burger to the Miami Marlins for their No. 4 prospect, left-handed pitcher Jake Eder.
It was the person behind the trade that makes the move even more stunning.
“Kenny [Williams] made that trade,” Ryan McGuffey said on NBC Sports Chicago’s “White Sox Talk Podcast.”
We learned, as McGuffey also reported, that Williams had the authority to steer trade decisions with two teams, including the Marlins. That’s what gave him the power to send Burger to South Florida, despite a strong season with the White Sox.
Williams worked with now Marlins general manager Kim Ng when she was the assistant director of baseball operations for the White Sox between 1990-96. Williams was a scout in 1992, then the director of minor league operations in 1995. That may not be the reason Williams had overriding power, but points to the strong relationships he has with Marlins’ brass.
According to McGuffey, Rick Hahn was reluctant to trade Burger. Burger is a homegrown South Sider, as the White Sox drafted him with their first-round pick in the 2017 MLB draft. He suffered two Achilles injuries early in his career but made his way back to the big leagues and endeared himself to fans in the process.
“It’s a difficult move to make,” Hahn said after they traded Burger. “Hopefully that illustrates what we think of Jake Eder. We by no means entered this deadline period thinking, ‘All right, we got to find a home for Jake Burger.’ We needed to be compelled to do that. And Eder, we think, has a chance to be a very special arm and help many White Sox teams for a long time going forward.
“He’s a tremendous kid, and we’ll miss him, and we’ll be rooting for him.”
This season marked a massive step forward in Burger’s career. His bat was electric and his power was a constant-threat at the plate. While Yoán Moncada suffered injuries at third base this season, Burger filled in phenomenally, earning a consistent spot in the starting lineup.
The White Sox held a great affinity for Burger, as Hahn mentioned. But his trade to the Marlins appears to be an unfortunate product of the dysfunctional front office the White Sox possessed.
“The dysfunction between Kenny and Rick. That was the Jake Burger trade,” Chuck Garfien said on the podcast.