Nobody expected the Chicago White Sox to suddenly start winning games, but then again, this is major league baseball. The trade deadline is nearing, which means Rick Hahn and his White Sox staff have decisions to make. After all, this magical winning streak could suddenly turn south.
With Tuesday night’s victory over Boston, the White Sox are only 3-and-a-half games away from wildcard berth number two. Detroit, who has been adamant in letting the world know they’re keeping David Price (for now), has an elimination number of 59. The White Sox do not have an elimination number, but lack several components in order to be considered a serious contender. Jeff Samardzija again pitched stellar, which both boosted his trade value and made Hahn wonder whether adding another arm could help them keep pace with other teams stockpiling trade deadline talent.
At least three other sub-.500 teams are either entertaining trade deadline moves, or have already made them. Toronto has made the most significant splash, but the Texas Rangers are expected to make a serious run at Cole Hamels. So, why aren’t the White Sox shopping for talent during this six-game winning streak?
Short answer? Too many variables and salary constraints.
Chicago has an average roster age of 28.3 years. Not that a mundane statistic like age factors into a buying decision, but the Sox definitely don’t need more father figures. Adam LaRoche, 35, is experiencing his worst batting slump in his 11 years of service, not counting his shortened 2011 with Washington. He’s solid when all cylinders are clicking, and was brought on last winter to provide leadership and hopefully a repeat of his 2014 campaign. It hasn’t panned out, which is costing $25 million dollars through 2016.
John Danks is at the tail end of his five-year, $65 million contract. Since signing this ridiculous agreement, he’s averaged an insane 5.47 ERA. There’s nobody sane willing to eat that kind of contract money given his severe performance issues. So, the White Sox are stuck with him through 2016 unless they DFA.
The only logical way Chicago could buy even mediocre names would involve eating an entire contract of the player they receive, because quite honestly, the White Sox don’t have draft picks to move. Or at least none they’d care to move, because they have to assume they’ll end the season no better than 81-81. Houston, the Halos, and other teams more readily-equipped to make a run simply have deeper lineups and more financial wiggle room than the White Sox.
Watching the Southsiders rattle off six straight has undoubtedly exciting, but the reality of this run is just that: it’s a run. The once burgeoning trade market has slimmed down considerably, and with other teams placing massive price tags on available players for the purpose of rebuilding their organization, it’s unrealistic to expect Rick Hahn to buy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he has to sell, either.
The last two days of trade deadline movement should definitely be exciting. Just don’t expect the White Sox to open their wallets, as doing so would be more futile than fruitful.
[Photo by Jim Rogash / Getty Images]