"Jun 30, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza (30) hits a single against the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. The Indians beat the White Sox 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports“An day like this might just help solidify or validate some ideas in the head of Rick Hahn.”"
Muttered after a Michael Brantley sacrifice fly put the White Sox behind 4-0 in the first inning of the nightcap of their disastrous Friday doubleheader, this vague and tepid opinion on the looming South Side fire sale is notable only because it came out of the mouth of Hawk Harrelson.
Hawk’s comments are not tracked for their insight, but for their representation of the final layer of Sox optimism. Disgust comes easy to Harrelson, but rarely is it directed towards a specific player rather than simply the fates.
For it to bubble out during a rough inning for Jose Quintana who, if not a bright spot, certainly avoids blame most of the time, and include tacit approval of a plan that acknowledges the White Sox don’t have the talent on hand to be a factor in any kind of playoff race, confirms the team’s amazing achievement–they’ve disillusioned the permanently deluded. They’ve turned a man willing to sign on for any carrier of well-meaning mediocrity to the point of pining for players to get shipped out.
Of course, changes in tone have been less restrained from the rest of the voices on the White Sox. Robin Ventura fielded questions on whether Dayan Viciedo would be demoted to Triple-A after his awful and lackadaisical Friday performance (and terrible season), Doug Padilla’s piece on Sunday’s game was titled “Sale can’t tell friends from enemies” to skewer his teammates for their lack of run support, Phil Rogers is providing updates on what Andy Wilkins is doing because he thinks we’ll need it, Mark Gonzales is retweeting jokes from Tom Fornelli about the Sox having a top-five draft pick next year and Dan Hayes referred to the team as “immensely underachieving” in the introductory clause in a sentence like it was nothing
As out of town scouts descend on U.S. Cellular Field to pick clean the bones (check out Alex Rios and his month-long slump and awful body language!), a particularly brutal season-long five-game losing sets in and cartoonish examples of futility like “Chris Sale goes winless in June” emerge, even the disciplined professionals are starting to discuss the White Sox in the only terms that are honest to their nature–as a failure that’s run its course.
The White Sox have put off more subtle hints to retreat and purge their depreciating major league talent supply that this sort of undeniable complete collapse, where going forward full steam sounds worse than scrapping it all, was the inevitable finale.
At this point, continuing on any illusion of trying to win with the current group is an unfitting for anyone involved. It’s no good for Rios, who is mired in a slump, giving away at-bats and just flat-out irritated at the plate. It’s no good for Jake Peavy’s, who’s been grinding his teeth for meaningful games to pitch in for most of his career. No good for Robin Ventura, who’s shuffling between undesirable options aimlessly, no good for Chris Sale certainly and it’s threatening to be the death of Hawk Harrelson.
Simon Castro was promoted to replace Brian Omogrosso on Saturday. Omogrosso allowing nine runs might have played a factor, if only because it tired him out, but the move also represents the only measure the Sox have taken to explore the fruits of the work they have been putting in since the end of the 2011 season. Castro certainly isn’t overqualified for a major league role, but he’s new and its better to explore what a new team could be rather than further demonstrate what this current version is not.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan