'Mired in mediocrity,' White Sox open to anything at trade deadline

'Mired in mediocrity,' White Sox open to anything at trade deadline

Whatever aspirations the White Sox had in mind, this isn’t it.

Nearly three years into a roster revamp that has seen countless additions, the White Sox aren’t satisfied with their lot in life.

They thought they’d be competing for an American League Central title at this point. But as they head into the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, the 46-48 White Sox are in the midst of another dip on a wild rollercoaster ride of a 2016 campaign that has seen them reach tremendous highs and excruciating lows. So as the nonwaiver trade deadline nears, general manager Rick Hahn said before Thursday’s game that the White Sox — who are seven games out of the wild-card race and 10 back in the AL Central — would consider anything and everything to improve.

“We looked to get ourselves right as quickly as possible,” Hahn said. “There was a spurt this season where it looked like it worked. As we sit here today, we’ve been wrestling with being a couple games over, a couple games under .500 for the last few weeks.

“We’re mired in mediocrity. That’s not the goal, that’s not acceptable, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish for the long-term.”

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How open-minded the White Sox would be remains to be seen.

Multiple reports have surfaced in the past 24 hours with teams inquiring about the availability of pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. One report suggested a team offered the White Sox “a king’s ransom” in exchange for Sale and they declined.

Hahn said Thursday he wouldn’t discuss any specific speculation. But he did add that the White Sox have ruled out the possibility they would acquire any short-term rentals for 2016, that the team has proven unworthy of that kind of acquisition. Hahn also said the idea of trading off assets under control for the long-term (i.e. Sale and Quintana) “might be a little extreme.”

While the White Sox will listen to offers for anyone, Hahn noted that the market is mostly reduced to competitive teams at this point, which means more prospect-laden packages than ones involving current major leaguers. With a shortage of pitchers available in free agency this offseason, the White Sox might be better suited to wait until they have a better pool of buyers to choose from if they were to consider a major move.

[MORE: White Sox sick bay: Austin Jackson, others several weeks away from return]

Either way, Hahn and the White Sox intend to listen. The team has even left the door open for a full rebuild, something they have tried to avoid, if it makes sense. That openness extends throughout the front office to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Hahn said.

“Jerry is very open minded to all the options in front of us,” Hahn said. “This isn’t the first conversation we’ve had about this or the first period of time in which we’ve talked about the notion of a more extensive or longer time horizon, is the way I would put it. We’ve had these conversations going back to 2013, about whether now is the right juncture to do it. That’s based upon not only the talent we have under control, but the talent we have coming and what’s available via trade or free agency. Over the last couple of seasons we have not elected to go that route. We’ve instead been focused more on the immediate term future. At this point in time, I’d say there’s a very open-minded approach, not just from Jerry, but from the entire front office about what is the most prudent course to get us on an annual basis to where we want to be.” 

How to watch, stream White Sox vs. Yankees

How to watch, stream White Sox vs. Yankees

The White Sox take on the New York Yankees on Tuesday, and you can catch all the action on CSN and live streaming on CSNChicago.com and the NBC Sports App.

First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Today’s starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.69 ERA) vs. Luis Severino (5-3, 3.30 ERA)

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Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

Last-place White Sox ready to trade, but only if the right offer arises

That the White Sox lost their fourth consecutive game doesn’t change the big picture plans of the franchise, which probably — but not definitely — will involve making at least one trade before the end of July.

Before the White Sox lost, 6-5, to the New York Yankees Monday at Guaranteed Rate Field, general manager Rick Hahn met with the media and delivered the same message he’s had since trading away Chris Sale and Adam Eaton in December. The White Sox are open for business, and would like to make a number of moves to further bolster their farm system, but won’t make a trade if they don’t receive what they view to be a fair return.

“Would I be surprised (if we didn’t make a trade)? No, because I try not to be surprised by the dynamics of this market,” Hahn said. “Would I be mildly disappointed? Sure. We are here to try to improve this club.

“We feel we have certain first and desirable players that would help other clubs and may fit better on their competitive windows then they do on ours right now. And we intend to be active each day in trying to further accomplish what we set out to do a year ago at this time.

“But do we have to do it? No. That would be using an artificial spot on the calendar to force decision-making. That would be the last thing we need to do. We need to take a long term view of what we are trying to accomplish.”

Hahn didn’t name names, but Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson could be short-term fixes for contending clubs. Jose Quintana, who will start Tuesday against the Yankees, remains the team’s most valuable trade chip despite a 4.69 ERA that sits over run higher than his career average.

Frazier homered Monday and entered the game hitting .262/.351/.524 since Memorial Day. Cabrera similarly has found success after a slow start, slashing a healthy .324/.375/.482 in his previous 34 games before picking up two hits in four at-bats Monday. And Robertson, who’s been linked to the relief-starved Washington Nationals for months, has 41 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings with 11 saves.

“We want to be able to do as much as we can in our power to get this team to where it needs to be,” Hahn said. “Yes, there’s an element of competitiveness involved in that. There’s an element of patience involved in that. But at the end of the day, we have to — we get paid to be prudent in our decision making. We have to make the right decision.”

In the meantime, the White Sox looked the part of a rebuilding team with the worst record in the American League on Monday. Starter David Holmberg struggled, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings — but only two of those runs were earned thanks to errors by Holmberg, Frazier and Matt Davidson.

As the Yankees took advantage of those miscues with three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings, Jordan Montgomery retired nine consecutive White Sox batters and went on to cruise with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The White Sox – as they’ve done quite a bit this year – still showed fight late, battling back in the ninth inning.

Tim Anderson ripped a three-run home run in the ninth inning off Yankees left-hander Chasen Shreve to bring the White Sox within two. Joe Girardi quickly turned to Aroldis Chapman, who allowed a run when Jose Abreu doubled home Melky Cabrera. But the tying run was stranded on second when Avisail Garcia grounded out and Frazier flew out to end the game.