Nothing is certain, but don’t count on James Shields being the last in-season acquisition the 2016 White Sox make.
While the club has stalled out and been hurt by its current 6-17 run, the White Sox won’t punt their season with 65 percent of the schedule to go as evidenced by Saturday’s deal for Shields.
The White Sox feel as if they have addressed one of their more pressing needs by adding right-handed stability to their rotation in Shields.
But White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is also quite certain the addition of a starting pitcher won’t solve all his team’s issues (see: left-handed bat and bullpen). He began moving the club in this direction with the release of John Danks last month, and it sounds as if Hahn is prepared to continue adding to his roster to make the White Sox a more complete club.
“There are other areas of need on this roster potentially over the coming months, and while the rotation was certainly a very important one — and frankly one we felt was going to be fairly difficult to address in the coming weeks leading up to the trade deadline given the supply and demand out there — we felt it was an important one to move on early,” Hahn said. “But it’s not the only need we see on this roster, and whether it’s from a prospect standpoint or an economic standpoint, we do feel like we are in a position over the coming weeks and months to augment the roster if the opportunities arise.”
Based on how the Shields’ deal is structured, the White Sox have both the ability to take on salary from teams looking to shed it or trade prospects to make more additions.
Of the $14 million remaining on Shields’ current salary for 2016, the White Sox are only on the hook for $5 million, according to a baseball source.
Between Shields and Miguel Gonzalez, whose split contract pays him a maximum of $1.5 million this season, the White Sox have so far used $6.5 million of the $13 million saved when Adam LaRoche retired. That could come in handy as teams look to dump players over the next two months.
Either way, Hahn promises to be on the lookout, something he’s made clear since his team began the season with a 23-10 record. Hahn is hopeful the addition of Shields fires up the White Sox until he can make another deal.
“I think an acquisition like this does have an impact in the clubhouse,” Hahn said. “Not only from the standpoint of the players realizing that the front office is similarly focused as they are to do everything in our power to help them win as many games as possible this year, but also by adding a guy who has been through these battles before, a guy who has been a leader on successful clubs and the influence he can have when its in difficult stretches like we’re currently going through right now or crunch time when it comes time for the playoffs.”