Sox funk continues, trade seems more and more necessary

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Home cookin' couldn't heat up the Chicago White Sox.

Maybe a trade can.

After a 1-5 road trip through Houston and Pittsburgh, the South Siders returned to their namesake and found that a getaway-day win in Pennsylvania two days earlier didn't solve all their ills, the same old troubles staring them in the face.

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Five innings of three-run ball from Carlos Rodón didn't make much of a difference, as the White Sox once more saw how little margin for error there is of late for a starting rotation that's carried this team through an avalanche of injuries and kept it in first place in the AL Central.

Yasmani Grandal stayed hot, but aside from his absolute moonshot of a homer, the White Sox offense was mostly quiet against the visiting Seattle Mariners, in "blink and you'll miss it" mode for much of the night in a 9-3 loss.

"The game was a struggle," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said.

All that struggle made La Russa's pregame evaluation of the work the White Sox front office is doing ahead of next month's trade deadline seem a little more urgent, or at least more applicable.

"The way they built this roster is exactly what they're doing now," La Russa said in response to a question about Rick Hahn & Co. looking to improve a banged-up roster in the coming weeks. "They've been making phone calls and keeping staff abreast of possibilities. ... Fans should understand that if there's something that's reasonable, they're going to try hard to make it happen.


"You have to repeat 'reasonable.' End of next month is not as appealing as it would be right now to get help. If there's something that makes sense, they're going to try to make it happen."

Yes, the White Sox could use some reinforcements right now, well before July 31, the absence of Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, Adam Eaton and Adam Engel becoming more and more difficult to ignore with each of the last week's offensive slumbers. Yermín Mercedes' white-hot start seems like ancient history, and as the team grows increasingly reliant on bench players to provide offense on a consistent basis, runs have become fewer and farther between.

They're 1-6 in their last seven games, averaging just over two and a half runs per game during that span.

Even after Friday's game, talk of potential injuries — of the far less significant variety than those that have impacted the White Sox to this point — dominated La Russa's postgame media session, as he speculated that slumping MVP José Abreu is playing through soreness and updated that Yoán Moncada rolled an ankle.

With more typical baseball ailments now affecting the few supposedly healthy members of the White Sox core, the need for reinforcements could be as dire as ever.

Hahn has vowed not to waste what he called a "sacred" chance to win the World Series and to be aggressive in making necessary augmentations to what was originally built as a championship roster. But timing is everything, the old saying goes, and this, rather than a month from now, might be the time to strike to help a team devastated by injuries.

That's easier said than done, of course, as Hahn has pointed out when impact players typically become available. There's a reason deals get made on deadline day and not throughout June.

But it's right now that things are going badly for the White Sox. And though it's certainly possible this is just one of those sour stretches, the White Sox know they will be without Madrigal for the remainder of the season. They know Jiménez and Robert, who they're hopeful will return before season's end, will still be out a while longer.

How much better can they expect things to get while their big boppers remain in recovery mode?

"Every team has stretches where they struggle, whether it’s offensively, defensively, pitching," Rodón said. "And I think right now, it seems like we’re struggling both ways.

"We’ve just got to get out of this funk and move on from it."

The best way to help might be to call in the cavalry.

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