White Sox

On a roll, White Sox could add before Friday's deadline

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On a roll, White Sox could add before Friday's deadline

BOSTON -- Whereas last week chances were strong the White Sox would trade Jeff Samardzija, it now appears they actually could add to their roster.

Two baseball sources have indicated Samardzija still could be available, albeit for an exorbitant cost. But as of Wednesday, it sounds as if the White Sox have shifted priorities courtesy of their six-game winning streak. Instead of selling, the White Sox, who began Wednesday 3 1/2 games out in the wild-card race, would more likely attempt to augment their roster prior to Friday’s 3 p.m. CST non-waiver trade deadline. Given the correct fit doesn’t disrupt the team’s chemistry, Samardzija and his teammates seem open to the concept of reinforcements for a possible postseason run.

“As long as you’re adding the right guys, I think it’s great,” Samardzija said. “You need to know your personality of the clubhouse and the guys you have in there and when you add the similar type personality guys, things usually work well.

“You’ve got to match up personalities and how does he fit into the team?

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“But if you hit it right, it can be a huge addition to a team.”

Based on previous comments by general manager Rick Hahn, the White Sox are likely in the market for low-cost pieces, though they also could add more expensive core pieces that fit in the team’s three-year plan. But Hahn has suggested he likely wouldn’t want a costly rental player headed for free agency.

With a strong starting rotation and bullpen already in place, the White Sox likely can focus on the offensive end, whose hot bats are the reason why the club has shifted strategies of late, not unlike many other teams. One type of bat they could explore would be a right-handed power hitter to come off the bench or start against left-handed pitchers. Mike Morse, who reportedly has been traded by the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, could be a fit as he’s a redundant piece on the Dodger roster. Boston’s Mike Napoli, a free agent after the season, might come with a low price tag, too.

[MORE: Rumors of trade not affecting Samardzija]

But Robin Ventura insists the White Sox will learn everything they can about any potential targets and how they’d fit.

“When you’re bringing a guy in, you’re careful and you want to know who it is and how they fit into your team,” Ventura said. “Other teams do that same thing. Depending on who they bring in, it changes the dynamic. It can change sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. So you’re careful about introducing people, especially at times like this.”

From the sound of it, the White Sox would overwhelmingly need the better end of a deal were they to trade Samardzija. One source said the price tag for the right-hander, who is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five July starts, is extreme, “probably too high.”

How much?

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The White Sox have asked for more than what the Cincinnati Reds received in return from Kansas City for Johnny Cueto, who nearly every evaluator and analyst has ranked ahead of Samardzija. But given their position in the wild-card race and that they could recoup a compensatory pick if Samardzija left in free agency, as well as get his services over their final 63 games, a National League source isn’t upset by the team’s stance.

“They’re forcing someone to wow them,” the source said. “The second wild card has really complicated things.”

Transitioning from sellers to buyers so quickly isn’t as big of a phenomenon in the clubhouse as it is outside, leadoff man Adam Eaton said. Though it took nearly four months to happen, the White Sox have begun to live up to their own expectations. But while they admit it's more fun to come to work, the team has handled its success the same way it handled the up-down nature of the first 90 games --- with an even-keel approach.

“If we add, great, if we don’t, we’ll continue to move forward,” Eaton said. “The season is funny, the season is very long and our production wasn’t there early. But guys are starting to hit their stride, pitching on the mound, relief and in the box. We’re happy to see it start coming out a little bit.”

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

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USA TODAY

Joakim Soria knows he is turning into a valuable trade asset for White Sox

No one knows better than Joakim Soria that the more successful he is as the White Sox’s closer, there is an increased likelihood that the veteran right-hander will be headed out of town at some point.

Soria has not only solidified the back end of the bullpen, the 34-year-old has emerged as perhaps the Sox’s most valuable trade asset to a contending team in need of relief help.

Over this last 14 appearances, Soria has not allowed an earned run and has converted all seven save chances with five hits allowed, two walks and 15 strikeouts.

“My body feels good and my arm feels good,” Soria said before the Sox defeated the Athletics 10-3 on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field. “I come to the ballpark expecting to pitch and … I try to be out there and help this team win.”

While the Sox haven’t done a whole lot of winning of late—Sunday’s win was just their second in their last 11 games—when they are victorious it’s accompanied by a Soria save. With the Sox’s rebuild in full swing, Soria understands that general manager Rick Hahn won’t hesitate to flip him in a trade.

“Players say they don’t think about it but you have to think about it,” said Soria, who was acquired from the Royals on Jan. 4 in a three-team trade also involving the Dodgers. “When you have a family with three kids and a wife you have to be prepared for everything. But it’s not like I come to the field thinking about that. It’s just God’s plan and whatever happens it’s a business and you prepare.”

Soria has 215 career saves, including 162 in seven seasons with the Royals, but hadn’t been a full-time closer since notching a combined 24 saves with the Tigers and Pirates. With the Sox, Soria won the closing job over fellow veteran Nate Jones in spring training and has been nearly unhittable in recent weeks.

Over his last 13 2/3 innings pitched, Soria has held opponents to a .109 batting average and sports a 2.89 ERA for the season. He has issued five walks in 28 innings and is averaging 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

The two-time All-Star has settled in nicely in a Sox clubhouse featuring a mix of veterans and promising talents. Soria has to balance that with the knowledge he might not be around as the season progresses.

“It’s something I can’t control,” Soria said. “I have a really good relationship with these guys and the chemistry with this team is very good. I can’t think outside of the box because (a trade) hasn’t happened yet. You have to keep focused and be ready for today’s game.”

Dane Dunning left minor league start with 'moderate' elbow strain

Dane Dunning left minor league start with 'moderate' elbow strain

Dane Dunning has been nothing but consistent since joining the White Sox organization in the Adam Eaton trade before the 2017 season.

He has performed well at three different levels in the minor leagues and has stayed healthy. That second part is currently in question after he left a start for Double-A Birmingham on Saturday with elbow soreness.

Dunning left in the fourth inning in what was developing into one of his worst starts of the season. He had four strikeouts, but also walked four and gave up two runs (one earned). The four walks matched a season high.

Here is how things went down on his final pitch:

It's too early for a full diagnosis, but Dunning is expected to have an MRI in the next few days. White Sox manager Rick Renteria talked about Dunning's injury before Sunday's game against the Athletics.

"I think everybody considered it a very moderate strain," Renteria said. "Nobody is at this point too concerned. They still have to re-evaluate more. We won’t know more until they get further evaluation and at that point everybody will know where he’s at. Right now he still has to be re-evaluated."

Dunning, 23, began the season at Single-A Winston-Salem where he posted a 2.59 ERA in four starts with 31 strikeouts against three walks in 24 1/3 innings. The Florida product then was promoted to Birmingham where he has a 2.76 ERA. In 11 starts with the Barons, Dunning has 69 strikeouts and 23 walks in 62 innings.

Dunning is one of the top pitching prospects in the White Sox farm system along with Michael Kopech and Alec Hansen.

Chris Kuc contributed to this report.