Several miles away from the Blackhawks’ championship celebration Friday, the White Sox sifted through the remains of what appears to be a lost season.
Players and manager Robin Ventura reacted to Thursday’s news that general manager Rick Hahn has begun to listen to trade offers from contending teams, a position in which the White Sox expected themselves to be when the 2013 season began.
On Thursday, a major league executive confirmed a report from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman that said the White Sox have made everyone but Chris Sale and Paul Konerko available for trade.
Just a week earlier, Hahn said he wasn’t ready to raise a white flag and solicit trades. But since that point the White Sox failed to gain traction.
They headed into Friday’s doubleheader with a 32-43 record and trail the Detroit Tigers by nine games. As difficult as the news is, manager Robin Ventura didn’t seem to be surprised.
“The number is the number,” Ventura said. “That’s what is disappointing. You have to be able to come out here and turn that feeling around as far as where that number is now. You want to reverse it. Again, it is disappointing. You put that behind you and it becomes effort and concentration.”
The White Sox entered 2013 with high expectations and a belief they would make a push for postseason play.
With most of a 2012 squad that won 85 games and was in first place for 117 days back, the White Sox believed they had a strong enough pitching staff to compete with Detroit. The pitching staff has lived up to expectations despite injuries to three of five pitchers originally designated to be in the rotation. But the rest of the team has failed to produce how management believed it would.
The offense has averaged 3.7 runs per game and the defense has committed 55 errors after it made 70 all of last season.
Despite word a breakup is imminent, ace Chris Sale said he can’t focus on negatives with more than half the season left. He also still holds out hope the White Sox can rebound from their poor start.
“You don’t want to bury yourself down with negativity or the thought of something bad happening, losing your teammates and not only that, losing your friends,” Sale said. “Keep coming every day with the same mindset and hopefully we turn it around and hopefully we’re buyers by the end of this.”
Ventura said this is no different than the rest of the season: players are always available if the price is right. He just hopes his charges can help to avoid becoming distracted.
“You are a pro and you do whatever you have to do,” Ventura said. “If your name comes up, it is a distraction to a degree. There are rumors flying around. We are pros and you have to be able to handle it. That’s part of the game. The focus is still coming out here trying to win this game, whether that stuff floats out there or not. You can’t control that stuff.”
Adam Dunn doesn’t seem to think it will be an issue even though a number of players are mentioned in Heyman’s report. Those named include: Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Matt Lindstrom, Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, John Danks, Jeff Keppinger and Dunn.
The only players not on the list are Konerko, who can veto any trade because of his 10-5 status (10 years in the league, five with the same team), and Sale, who signed a five-year, $32.5-million deal in March that could keep him with the team through 2019.
“It shouldn’t (disturb us),” Dunn said. “That’s something you can’t control and there’s no use in worrying about things you can’t control. I don’t think it affects -- I can’t speak for everybody, but it doesn’t affect anything I’m out there trying to do.”