The White Sox indeed are open for business, a league source said on Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, a report by CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has begun to listen to potential trade offers for the team's players with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. A league source said Heyman's report is accurate.
As of last week in Minneapolis, Hahn said he wasn't ready to make his players available, that he wanted to give them every opportunity to rebound from a miserable June slump. While the White Sox have played .500 ball since Hahn made the statement, the team has struggled to show it can compete consistently as it did in 2012, when it spent 117 days in first place and won 85 games.
Hahn opined at the time that he'd be a popular man if and when he decided to make his players available. Reliever Jesse Crain and outfielder Alex Rios would be two of the best available at their positions, if not the best. Jake Peavy could also be an attractive piece for a contending team in need of a front-line starter and, even though he's slumping, shortstop Alexei Ramirez would provide an upgrade for some teams.
The exclusion of Konerko and Sale isn't a surprise. Konerko, who some see as a good fit with the New York Yankees after they lost Mark Teixeira to injury, is in the final season of a contract and could retire after 2013.
Meanwhile, Sale has been designated as the face of the franchise after he signed a deal that guarantees him $32.5 million through 2017 and could be worth $60 million over seven years.
Though the team has struggled, Sale has been one of its best players. He's 5-6 with a 2.75 ERA and has 104 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings. One source said if available Sale would bring back even more in exchange than when the San Diego Padres traded Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds in 2011 for four players because he's a left-handed pitcher and his team-friendly contract. In that deal the Padres acquired first baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal, starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and a minor league pitcher.
On Wednesday Peavy, who is roughly three weeks away from coming off the 15-day disabled list, said he understands the team's position but hopes to stay with the White Sox. Peavy signed a two-year deal worth $29 million with the club on Nov. 1 that includes a $15 million player option for 2015 that only vests if Peavy reaches certain thresholds.
"It's a reality," Peavy said. "I'll just tell you that I don’t want that to happen, that I want to pitch here in Chicago and I want games I pitch in to be meaningful and for us to get back in the thick of things."