|The White Sox shipped outfielder Aaron Cunningham to the Diamondbacks for second baseman Danny Richar in a rare prospect challenge trade.|
|Cunningham ranked just behind Ryan Sweeney and Josh Fields among Chicago’s positional prospects entering the year, and he had done nothing to discredit that ranking this season. Though the 21-year-old went unnoticed and undrafted out of high school, the White Sox were rewarded in their investment of a sixth-round pick in 2005, as Cunningham has done nothing but hit since leaving Everett (Wash.) Community College. He came into the year with .301/.381/.460 numbers, and he batted .294/.376/.476 with eight home runs and 22 stolen bases for high Class A Winston-Salem this season. Hitting comes easy to the muscular, compact Cunningham, but at times he’s a bit too aggressive at the plate. Though he runs and throws well, Cunningham already is limited to left field because he gets poor jumps and lacks throwing accuracy.
The Diamondbacks had added Richar to their 40-man roster in the offseason, but with second basemen Alberto Callaspo and Emilio Bonafacio ahead of him on the minor league depth chart, he was considered expendable. The lefthanded-hitting Richar, 24, has settled in at second base–earning Southern League all-star honors there in 2006–after seeing time at shortstop and third base early in his career. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Richar has gotten a little bigger each season, and his bat has improved with the added strength. He was hitting .285/.348/.479 with eight homers and 20 doubles for Triple-A Tucson at the time of the trade.
|In Richar, the White Sox bought themselves insurance against Tadahito Iguchi leaving as a free agent–and the indignity of being forced to start Pablo Ozuna–but the price they paid was steep. A lot can happen between high Class A and the majors, though, and as a righthanded-hitting left fielder, Cunningham will have to hit his way to Arizona, an organization not exactly light on athletic, young outfielders.|