White Sox

Could the White Sox actually deal for Greinke?

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Could the White Sox actually deal for Greinke?

According to a report Monday, the White Sox "have Zack Greinke on their radar." Whatever that actually means is up for interpretation, as it could lie anywhere on the spectrum from kicking the tires to legitimate interest.

Greinke has been fantastic this year, posting a 3.57 ERA with a 2.55 FIP in 20 starts. The White Sox saw first-hand how good the righty can be during his days in Kansas City, and he also threw nine shutout innings at U.S. Cellular Field on June 22.

The first question that has to be answered regarding the Greinke sweepstakes involves Milwaukee's willingness to punt 2012 in order to improve a lagging farm system. The Brewers are five games under .500 and well behind Pittsburgh for the second Wild Card spot, with five teams separating them from the Pirates.

Milwaukee, reportedly, will have a tough time keeping Greinke around after his contract expires at the end of the season. That, however, doesn't necessarily diminish Greinke's trade value, as the Brewers can still reap draft picks if Greinke signs elsewhere in the offseason. They don't absolutely have to trade Greinke, but if the right offer comes along, they'll likely take it.

Even for less than half a season of Greinke, he's likely to command a fairly high return, and the Brewers would be smart to look at getting a top prospect given their farm system entered the year in the bottom five of most rankings. With plenty of interest in Greinke and the draft pick option in Milwaukee's back pocket, prying him away won't be easy.

Of course, if everything goes right, the White Sox may not need Greinke. The White Sox need three of these four pitchers to come back healthy and effective or stay effective: Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Philip Humber and Jose Quintana. If 75 percent of them are viable major-league starters for the rest of the season, the Sox will be fine. And if Dylan Axelrod pitches like he did Monday in Boston, they may only need half.

That's not to say the White Sox shouldn't pursue Greinke, because he'd be an upgrade for every team in baseball. But do they need him? Maybe not.

Plus, the White Sox haven't made a major deadline splash for a half-season rental player under Kenny Williams since the first Carl Everett trade in 2003. Freddy Garcia was signed to an extension upon coming to Chicago in 2004, Jake Peavy had 3 12 years left on his deal when the Sox got him in 2009 and Edwin Jackson had a season and a half remaining in 2010.

There are still two weeks remaining until the trade deadline for something to happen, either in Chicago, Milwaukee or elsewhere around baseball. Maybe the White Sox have legitimate interest in Greinke, or maybe they're just doing their due diligence.

We should have an answer two weeks from today.

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

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USA TODAY

ESPN.com ranks White Sox MLB's worst rotation

On Wednesday morning, ESPN.com released their rankings of all 30 MLB team's starting rotations. The rankings were a nod to the current structure of the rotation, as well as how they were likely to perform in the future. And that is why the Chicago White Sox being ranked dead last in the league is somewhat alarming. 

Overall, the White Sox rotation is 28th in WHIP and 29th in strikeouts. 

Lucas Giolito is currently the team leader in wins with four, but his ERA sits at an unsightly 7.19. James Shields has been decent in spurts, but a general lack of run support has limited his effectiveness. Carlos Rodon has been a mixed bag since returning, but was able to reach the seventh inning in his last start. This is encouraging considering that he hadn't made it that far in any of his previous three starts. And Reynaldo Lopez continues to rack up quality starts—much like Shields—but has two wins to show for it. 

Veteran players like closing pitcher Joakim Soria and Shields are sure to be hot names on the trade market, and that could go a long way towards bringing in additional prospects to build up the White Sox farm system, and lead to a much improved rotation in the future.

So the White Sox obviously deserve to be ranked lowly until they can groom their minor league starter prospects into MLB-ready staff members, something that looks like it could take longer than originally expected. Flame-throwing top prospect Michael Kopech is still amassing high strikeouts numbers, but he is walking over six batters per outing, showing an obvious issue with control. 

White Sox fans can take their mind off of ESPN ranking the team's rotation 30th in the league by turning their attention to Eloy Jimenez. He has been absolutely crushing it in Double-A Birmingham, and will likely be making his debut with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights on Saturday. That game will be live on NBC Sports Chicago. So sit back, relax and look forward to the future, wherever it may take White Sox faithful. 

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Ask Us Anything Part 2

In Part 2 of "Ask Us Anything" we answer the following questions: Who will be the biggest free agent the White Sox sign this off-season? What are the chances they trade Avi Garcia before the deadline? What's your assessment so far of Luis Robert?  Who's on your all-time busted prospect list? Is Omar Vizquel the next White Sox manager? Would the 1994 White Sox have won the World Series if there wasn't a strike?  What's the long term plan at third base? These questions and many more on this edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast.

If you missed Part 1 of 'Ask Us Anything', you can listen to the full episode here 

Listen to the full Part 2 of 'Ask Us Anything' at this link or in the embedded player below: