DETROIT -- Trade rumors are flying and while belief in the clubhouse is the White Sox aren’t in need of a makeover, general manager Rick Hahn seems to think otherwise.
While he sees individual value on the team’s 25-man roster, Hahn knows this season’s formula hasn’t worked. Even after a season-best offensive performance on Tuesday, and with 18 games left against the Detroit Tigers, Hahn believes his team needs to be retooled in some fashion, though he won’t get into specifics until after any moves are made.
But it’s clear on a day when several prominent players were named in different rumors that Hahn has fully embraced his role as a salesman. Hahn spoke to four beat writers on Wednesday night with the caveat no questions be asked about trade rumors or the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
“We’ve earned that record,” Hahn said. “You’ve seen the way we’ve played. We sit where we sit in the standings because of our performance. Looking at these guys right now, to say we should be contending, there is strong evidence of their performances against that right now.”
Last month, long before he was willing to concede, Hahn opined the White Sox would be very popular were they to become sellers. Evidence has begun to surface those assertions are correct.
On Wednesday, a Boston Globe report suggested the Boston Red Sox have interest in three White Sox relievers: Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thorton and Addison Reed. Others have opined that outfielder Alex Rios would be a good fit for several teams, including the Texas Rangers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. And a Fox Sports report said given the nature of the pitchers available on the trade market, the White Sox should at least consider trading Chris Sale because of the perceived package they’d receive in return.
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So what would the White Sox receive in return?
Ten days ago, Hahn told reporters if he decided to sell he’d be on the lookout for “high-impact, premium talent.” He’s interested in starting pitching and “talent up the middle.”
One team recently found Thornton, who has a $6 million club option for 2014, could be had, but the White Sox were “asking for a lot.” Asked to describe a lot, the source said “high-end prospects.”
That and an ESPN report on Wednesday that suggested the White Sox are asking for “major-league ready or near-ready prospects in their trade talks” meshes with what Hahn said last month in Minneapolis.
“If we get to the point of looking to add or subtract, it’s going to be based upon what we’re able to receive in return and it being at a certain level that makes sense for us long term,” Hahn said.
White Sox pitcher John Danks doesn’t think the team needs a massive overhaul and believes this season’s failures are as much about bad luck as anything. He likes the makeup of the club and would prefer no changes were made. But at the same time, Danks understands why trades most likely will occur.
“I would feel good about taking these same 25 guys into April 1 next year,” Danks said. “I’d like to chalk this one up to a collective bad year, but I guess that’s why I’m not a GM. We have put Rick in a tough spot. We understand that. Things are most likely going to happen, but that’s something we can’t really worry about.”
Just how many moves are made remains to be seen.
Clearly an upgrade is needed for an offense that has failed to score at least four runs in more than half its games and has been shut out nine times.
The team also could stand to improve play at its premium positions (catcher, shortstop and centerfield)
But one facet in which Hahn might not make as significant of cuts is with the team’s pitching staff.
“We do feel that you have to start with the pitching,” Hahn said. “You are going to compete in this league with the pitching and we do feel we have the nucleus under control for a while going forward that is going to help us compete. The bulk of our struggles this year have been on the offensive side. That’s something we are going to have to improve.”