White Sox general manager Kenny Williams didn't bring a World Series championship to Chicago–the city's first since 1917–by standing still.
His aggressive streak continued just two days before Christmas with a trade made for Baseball America readers. The White Sox acquired lefthander John Danks and righthanders Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner from the Rangers in exchange for righthander Brandon McCarthy and outfielder David Paisano.
McCarthy, a gangly 6-foot-7, has spent most of the last two seasons in the majors but is still just 23. He broke in during Chicago's 2005 run to the World Series championship, posting a 4.03 ERA in 67 innings over 12 games (10 starts). Working primarily in relief in 2006 (he made just two starts), McCarthy was less effective, posting a 4.68 ERA and allowing 17 home runs in 85 innings.
McCarthy works off a low-90s fastball that touches higher velocities, and while he's gained 15 pounds since signing he still has some projection in his frame. His curveball and changeup are solid average major league pitches as well, with his change grading above-average at times. To that end, he was more effective against lefthanded hitters (.197, six homers) than righties (.270, 11 homers) in 2006. His biggest problem has been elevating his stuff and giving up too many home runs. He's allowed one every five big league innings, a ratio that held just as true away from cozy U.S. Cellular Field as it did at home in 2006. Still, the Rangers expect him to occupy a spot–at a low cost, since McCarthy isn't arbitration-eligible–in their reshaped rotation alongside fellow righthanders Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla.
Paisano, 19, has yet to play in the U.S. A righthanded hitter, he's a Venezuelan who batted .338/.430/.477 with 20 extra-base hits (no home runs) in 195 at-bats in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2006. He ranked second in the league in batting and on-base percentage and led the league with seven triples.
Baseball America recently ranked Danks, 21, as Texas' No. 1 prospect. He earned that spot because he's a young lefthander who has reached Triple-A and throws three average-to-plus pitches. His four-seam fastball sits at 90-92 mph and touches 94, and his curveball can be a plus pitch when he commands it. Most encouraging, he has an easy delivery he repeats and baseball aptitude. That has allowed him to pick up two new pitches as a pro, a changeup that at times is his best pitch, as he throws it with good speed and with tumbling action, and a two-seam sinking fastball to get quicker, more efficient outs.
The White Sox also receive Masset, 24, who was dominating this winter in the Mexican Pacific League as a closer. An alumnus of Tommy John surgery in high school, Masset has a plus fastball that has hit 98 mph at times. He has a hard mid-80s curveball and also uses a changeup and cutter. His erratic command short-circuited his starting career and makes him more likely to be a setup man than closer, at least in the near-term.
Rasner, 20, is the cousin of Yankees righthander Darrell Rasner and ranked second in the minors with 16 losses in 2006. Still, he ranked as the Rangers' No. 30 prospect due to the sink and armside run his 90-92 mph fastball possesses. At times, his heater touches 94. His slider and changeup are both raw.