Konerko was asked if all the trade rumors have affected White Sox’s play: “Not really. We were shitty before the rumors”
— Scot Gregor (@scotgregor) July 28, 2013
This quote didn’t do much for me, to be honest. It’s hardly offensive, but I was far from desperate for someone to cut to the chase and really tell the truth about this 40-62 White Sox team. The team is dead and the players know it. I suppose it would be worrisome if they didn’t.
But it only lays bare the issue of this team. If passing through the stress of the trade deadline is irrelevant, all the more reason to shuffle the deck to knock the Sox out of a remarkably lifeless stretch that serves no purpose to the organization’s future. It’s a rare type of squad that’s even capable of a 16-38 stretch, it’s even rarer that such a group stays even partly intact afterward.
Already ahead of schedule of securing their seventh-straight season where they will fail to win 90 games, the White Sox could easily be accused of having spent some years standing on their rooftop with a garden hose while the wildfires races in, but they’re not preoccupied with assuring anyone that they recognize the reality of their situation.
Pitching the trade deadline as the end-all, be-all is hyperbole, but with contending teams looking to plug holes immediately, the Matt Garza package served as a quick reminder of the value to be had during this time period. Yet the White Sox have had the momentum on just about every trade candidate grind to a halt save for Jake Peavy.
The Sox take a fair bit of pride on operating below the radar, but what has emerged from the Peavy discussions is all the more distancing, since it has them–a team with a strong major league starting rotation with viable developing options in the minors–holding out for tons of pitching.
A’s not in on Peavy price(Gray, Russell & take on bearly $20M), ditto Boston, ditto Atlanta. Time running down
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 29, 2013
Value is all that actually matters and maybe minor league positions players in the White Sox organization isn’t the most exciting thing anyway, but it’s a jarring thing to hear alongside the daily bludgeoning of a brutally awful offense. Providing immediate answers to pressing issues is not what rebuilding brings, but progress of some kind would be worth rallying around.
Alex Rios has been savaging his trade value for the last two months, possibly to the point that the Sox would rather take the bet that the typically fickle right fielder can recover over the last two months and seem more appealing when he’s not in a full-on tailspin. But by and large, there’s a lack of indication that the Sox see this as the big chance to tear things down.
In a market where the Rangers are getting rumored about realizing the opportunity to move a proven closer, there’s no reports on Addison Reed. Justin Morneau is a trade candidate, when Adam Dunn has better numbers, especially recently. Alexei Ramirez‘s bat is on a two-year death spiral and is owed over $20 million still, and there might be teams that actually want him (along with money, probably, but still).
Three days before the trade deadline is hardly the time to lose nerve, but the glimmer of hope during a season as awful as this one, where the team bottoms out in so many demonstrative ways, is that the failure is so undeniable that sweeping purges of issues that have building for years is inevitable. Yet even now, there’s a disconnect between the armchair prescription of “tear it all down” and the front office view. Hopefully, it’s for a damn good reason.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan