|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.|