Whatever aspirations the White Sox had in mind, this isn’t it.
Nearly three years into a roster revamp that has seen countless additions, the White Sox aren’t satisfied with their lot in life.
They thought they’d be competing for an American League Central title at this point. But as they head into the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the 46-48 White Sox are in the midst of another dip on a wild rollercoaster ride of a 2016 campaign that has seen them reach tremendous highs and excruciating lows. So as the nonwaiver trade deadline nears, general manager Rick Hahn said before Thursday’s game that the White Sox — who are seven games out of the wild-card race and 10 back in the AL Central — would consider anything and everything to improve.
“We looked to get ourselves right as quickly as possible,” Hahn said. “There was a spurt this season where it looked like it worked. As we sit here today, we’ve been wrestling with being a couple games over, a couple games under .500 for the last few weeks.
“We’re mired in mediocrity. That’s not the goal, that’s not acceptable, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish for the long-term.”
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How open-minded the White Sox would be remains to be seen.
Multiple reports have surfaced in the past 24 hours with teams inquiring about the availability of pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. One report suggested a team offered the White Sox “a king’s ransom” in exchange for Sale and they declined.
Hahn said Thursday he wouldn’t discuss any specific speculation. But he did add that the White Sox have ruled out the possibility they would acquire any short-term rentals for 2016, that the team has proven unworthy of that kind of acquisition. Hahn also said the idea of trading off assets under control for the long-term (i.e. Sale and Quintana) “might be a little extreme.”
While the White Sox will listen to offers for anyone, Hahn noted that the market is mostly reduced to competitive teams at this point, which means more prospect-laden packages than ones involving current major leaguers. With a shortage of pitchers available in free agency this offseason, the White Sox might be better suited to wait until they have a better pool of buyers to choose from if they were to consider a major move.
Either way, Hahn and the White Sox intend to listen. The team has even left the door open for a full rebuild, something they have tried to avoid, if it makes sense. That openness extends throughout the front office to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Hahn said.
“Jerry is very open minded to all the options in front of us,” Hahn said. “This isn’t the first conversation we’ve had about this or the first period of time in which we’ve talked about the notion of a more extensive or longer time horizon, is the way I would put it. We’ve had these conversations going back to 2013, about whether now is the right juncture to do it. That’s based upon not only the talent we have under control, but the talent we have coming and what’s available via trade or free agency. Over the last couple of seasons we have not elected to go that route. We’ve instead been focused more on the immediate term future. At this point in time, I’d say there’s a very open-minded approach, not just from Jerry, but from the entire front office about what is the most prudent course to get us on an annual basis to where we want to be.”