The Giants had been “kicking the tires” on the idea of trading for De Aza, said a person with knowledge of the team’s plans. Instead, the Giants acquired former White Sox prospect Michael Morse on Thursday.
De Aza is expendable now that the White Sox acquired outfielder Adam Eaton from the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tuesday’s three-team trade that also included the Los Angeles Angels. The deal cost the White Sox left-handed starter Hector Santiago, as well as a player to be named later.
The White Sox intend to start Eaton in center field and bat him in the leadoff spot, costing De Aza his regular position. If De Aza isn’t traded, he would either be a fourth outfielder, or possibly would split time in left field with Dayan Viciedo.
As an arbitration-eligible player, De Aza is set to make in the area of $4.4 million in 2014 and would be the highest paid outfielder on the roster. Trading him would be the logical option as the White Sox have started to lower payroll while also adding young high-ceiling players like Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu, along with Eaton.
De Aza posted decent numbers this past season with a .264 batting average and a .323 on-base percentage, hitting 17 home runs with 62 RBIs. He also stole 20 bases. But he struggled defensively and was one of the worst base runners in the American League.