With the Chicago White Sox holding the worst record in baseball, they will undoubtedly be sellers at the MLB trade deadline. The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies have both shown interest in swinging a trade with the South Siders.

While the White Sox have plenty of trade candidates, relief pitcher Michael Kopech has been the focus of the Yankees and Phillies' interest. They're joined by the Kansas City Royals, who are also trying to add Kopech to their bullpen, via Bruce Levine of 670 The Score. In return for the relief pitcher, Chicago is said to be coveting controllable starting pitching.

Come playoff time, having a strong bullpen is crucial to success. New York and Philadelphia have been strong in the later innings, ranking third and ninth respectively with 3.19 and 3.55 bullpen ERAs. Kansas City hasn't had the same success, ranking 22nd with a 4.32 ERA. Whether good or bad, Kopech would be a strong addition to the trio or any bullpen in the major leagues.

Making the jump from the rotation to the pen prior to the 2024 campaign, Kopech has made 29 appearances on the year. He holds a 4.91 ERA and a 43/18 K/BB ratio. While Kopech's ERA is bloated, it comes from a pair of blow up appearances in which he allowed three runs. Over his 29 games, the right-hander has allowed two or more runs four times.

Strikeouts haven't been a problem for Kopech throughout his career. He has had three consecutive seasons with 100+ and he is looking to make it four. His move to the bullpen has made Kopech a more durable thrower. With walks being a major problem in 2023, the move has seemed to help alleviate the issue.

With team control through 2025, any acquiring club would be getting more than just one-year rental in Michael Kopech. He seems likely to be dealt as the White Sox continue their full scale rebuild. If/when Kopech is dealt, the Yankees and Phillies will be atop the list of interested teams.

Michael Kopech isn't a stranger to trades

Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Michael Kopech (34) pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at T-Mobile Park.
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Kopech's journey with the White Sox began when he was involved in a trade himself. Alongside Yoan Moncada and a pair of prospects, the right-hander was dealt to the South Side in the Chris Sale deal.

He was expected to be a future member of the rotation as was considered one of Chicago's best prospects. He ranked as high as the No. 2 prospect as recently as the 2019 season, via MLB Pipeline. After making four starts in 2018, Kopech settled in as a reliever in 2019 – posting a 3.50 ERA. He returned to the rotation in 2020, recording an impressive 3.54 ERA and a 105/57 K/BB ratio.

However, he couldn't follow it up in 2023 as Kopech had a 5.43 ERA and an American League leading 91 walks. Those struggles are what ultimately led the White Sox to move him back to the bullpen.

With the successful transition, Kopech has once again found himself as a highly regarded trade candidate. But rather than as a prospect, as someone who can help a World Series race now. Ultimately, Michael Kopech doesn't want to leave the White Sox. But he understands the situation Chicago finds themselves in.

“I don't want to leave the White Sox, but I understand where the team is at and what they're trying to accomplish. It helps a little bit that I've been traded before. I know what it's like to show up in a brand-new environment. It's kind of like being a new kid at a school.”

“It's a little different now because you are expected to do something right away to help your new club win. A fresh start isn't necessarily the worst thing, but my career has been about being with the Sox. If I am traded, I will do everything I can to contribute wherever I go.”