Jul 25, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy (44) pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

State of White Sox rumors less than a week before deadline


From an analysis standpoint, trade rumors are problematic and I hate them. Here’s some incomplete and very possibly inaccurate information–REACT!

But in losing the first three games of the week to the Detroit Tigers in lifeless fashion, the White Sox didn’t just resemble a team that deserves to get gutted at the trade deadline, they’ve looked like one that needs the brutal purge to move forward. They’re not nearly good enough at baseball to succeed while their attention is split.

Robin Ventura has the best “sick of this” demeanor in the business and it’s in full display right now.

“I’ll be glad when it turns August.”

He’s only echoing the sentiments of his bandied-about players, like Alex Rios, who has admitted anxiety about his possible departure, along with Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain, who  have also spoken about their desire to stay in the past, and Alexei Ramirez, who could really use a tidy excuse since his season-long fielding error problem is in overdrive this week.

Rios

He models as less of a potential offensive weapon-for-hire as an average outfielder who can fill a black hole in the lineup. As much has been made about the Pirates needing an upgrade in their outfield corner, Rios hasn’t done much to demonstrate why he’s better than Jose Tabata recently, which is why a team that’s anticipating being raked over the coals by MLB like the Texas Rangers are with Nelson Cruz, seems to be moving with more urgency.

Then again, Kenny Williams was “spotted in Altoona,” the home of the Pirates’ Double-A team, where Gregory Polanco and Alex Dickerson reside. The Sox are combing through the depths of the Pirates’ minor leagues. What a time to be alive.

Though, admittedly, either one of those two would be the start of a fine return package.

Rios has been hitting .269/.317/.366 since June 1, or if we want to get extra unfair, .248/.294/.335 over his last 52 games. He hasn’t been doing the Sox any favors in boosting his market value for a long time.

Crain

Crain had a “minor setback” in his most recent bullpen session, which is a major setback when there’s only a week before the trade deadline. He’s going to enter the waiver trade scene in August–assuming that he recovers enough to be moved at all.

Every contending or pseudo-contending team wants bullpen help and is convinced they can afford it. Even the 2011 White Sox reached out for some relief help, despite it being the last thing they needed. The

Suitors are going to disappear as needs are filled in the next week and 5-6 weeks of a player is not worth and dreams of a B-level prospect are likely gone. The Sox are going to have to deal with whatever team wins the waiver claim and make due, which shouldn’t be hard given how little the Sox will be able to command. ALL is not lost. Just most.

It’s in line with the rest of the season.

Peavy 

There was bit of importance in Peavy’s Thursday start against Detroit. Ironically, after his trade value was “destroyed” by his rib injury, he enters the deadline with arguably the most momentum of any of the Sox trade candidates. The Tigers were hardly the ideal opponent, what with their top-ranked offense and all. Miguel Cabrera‘s absence was huge, but this is a lineup that gave Peavy fits down the stretch and gave rise to notions that his pitchability isn’t enough to tame top offenses. He’s failed to record a quality start against Detroit in his last four times facing them.

It went…ok.

Anyone in attendance saw the control and the two-seamer that Jake’s name is made off of, they also saw his home run problems and his unparalleled ability to remain in the game too long. Six innings and two earned runs (with one home run) would have looked nice, seven inning with three earned (with two dingers) would have still been fine. Seven-plus innings with four runs, ending on a home run from Brayan Pena tastes pretty sour.

If nothing else, Jon Heyman has our back. And is pushing the Red Sox to do something. 

Wednesday night, Scott Merkin brought up Will Middlebrooks as a name Boston was considering sending over for Peavy. Since Middlebrooks scuffled to the point of being demoted, it would seem like he would have to play a role similar to what Mike Olt brought to the Matt Garza package. Then Alex Speier of WEEI in Boston shot down the report. This is trade rumor season in a nutshell. A rumor that doesn’t make a lot of sense on its own, which is then quickly denied.

As of Thursday morning, Buster Olney had the Sox giving Peavy the Gavin Floyd/John Danks treatment of asking for the moon and acting unsure. That easily fits into “posturing” narrative.

Jul 25, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez (10) steals second base as Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) makes a late tag during the first inning at U. S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Ramirez

So it turns out, people might not want a shortstop hitting .283/.308/.353 who would be plus-fielding if he wasn’t on some sort morose error-binge?

The 14 teams who are getting worse offensive production from their shortstops are possibilities. But that group includes the Braves, Rangers, Pirates, Royals, Angels, Yankees and Cardinals. The Rangers and Braves have young guys they’re committed to, the Yankees are trying to be thrifty and probably haven’t given up on Jeter reclaiming the position, the Angels and Royals have to realize they’re terrible and the Pirates are doing alright with Jody Mercer at the moment.

The Cardinals only have Pete Kozma and have plenty to draw from even if Carlos Martinez is very clearly not on the table for the sake of moderately improving a non-crippling problem. I’m starting to worry that the Sox hopes of crawling out from under $23 million during a second-straight mediocre season from Alexei are going to go for naught.

De Aza

Rarely is Alejandro directly quoted by the press, so his anxieties are not known, nor is it known if he’s aware of Jon Morosi putting him on… 

…and taking him off the market.

Just going from a pure performance perspective, it’s a wonder why De Aza isn’t getting the attention that’s been devoted to Rios. He’s hitting .279/.336/.440 and while he’s not brilliant in the field and doesn’t have the arm for right, the regularity with which he’s played center gives him more defensive utility than most outfielders available.

He has two more years of arbitration available and has recovered very nicely from his rough start to come to his current .277/.334/.438 batting line, making the only question whether or not the Sox view him as a movable asset, or a useful bridge to provide production at or near the top of their lineup over the next two seasons. Given the paucity, or complete absence of mentions of De Aza, he’s probably not being aggressively shopped, which is a status he shares Addison Reed, being both fungible and useful down the road.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan