As the trade deadline looms, questions arise about what the White Sox will do.
The deadline begs a plethora of questions, but mainly -- what position will the Sox address?
It seems probable that general manager Rick Hahn will at least make one move to enhance the roster before the deadline ends. The club sits at 49-49 and three games back on the Minnesota Twins in the tight-knit AL Central division.
So, what does the team think they need the most right now?
Addressing the pitching staff seems to be the most crucial aspect to support in this moment. The bullpen is definitely below-average in the MLB.
The evidence reared its ugly head when the bullpen gave up three runs in the last three innings (two in the ninth) to give the Colorado Rockies a walk-off win in the team's last game. Joe Kelly's injury during the game proposes more reason to acquire bullpen pitching too.
Statistically, the pen ranks toward the lower-third of the league. They rank 20th in ERA (4.07), 20th in WHIP (1.33) and 19th in walks (152). Given some of the underwhelming performances of some of the starters, the bullpen is only making things worse.
According to reports, however, the Sox understand the issue and are working hard to resolve the problem. Reports from MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand say that the White Sox, Guardians and Twins are "among the most aggressive teams in the pitching market right now."
"According to one executive from a potential seller, 'They all think they have a shot and are trying to get better,'" Feinsand writes.
What does this mean for the Sox?
The name "José Quintana" has been attached to the club in terms of forming a reunion. Mychal Givens of the Chicago Cubs is another name that has been receiving interest and would make a great fit in the bullpen.
Hahn made it clear to the media that the bullpen is an obvious need.
“No GM in baseball, whether they are in it or not, ever feel they have enough pitching,” Hahn said. “We are certainly not immune to that. Primarily, (we have needs) because Aaron Bummer has been absent for a while. And we hope he returns at some point, but it's not a guarantee. I think bullpen is our most obvious need.”
The White Sox traded for bullpen pitching at the last deadline, acquiring Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera from the Cubs in exchange for Nick Madrigal, Codi Heuer and minor league prospects. It would be an ideal outcome to retain the minor league prospects they currently have in tact, considering the Sox' farm systems is one of the worst in the league.
What's more, the report proves that the division title will be a dogfight. While it was reported the Guardians were shopping Shane Bieber, they still hope to improve their pitching staff too. The Guardians and Twins rank 13th and 18th in pitching staff ERA, respectively.
As the deadline comes closer to the Tuesday, Aug. 2 date, the suspense thickens regarding the Sox' thinking. One thing's sure, change needs to come sooner rather than later as games left to play near closer to zero.