The White Sox hope to turn things around quickly but in order to accomplish that kind of improvement they likely would need to part with some of their young pitchers.
Given what has already happened the past two months, no offseason move short of a Chris Sale trade would come as a shock in the clubhouse, said several of the pitchers who could possibly be affected on Tuesday.
On Monday general manager Rick Hahn said the club has significant work ahead and is likely to be active on the trade market in order to improve a team on pace for 97 losses. The quickest route probably means Hahn would have to dip into its pitching depth and none of his players would be surprised after the trades of veterans Jake Peavy and Alex Rios this season.
“Where we’re at, Chicago, I feel like they’re going to do stuff,” starting pitcher Hector Santiago said. “It’s not like they’re going to be like ‘Let’s bang that year, let’s forget about it and just come back with the same team.’ That’s not going to happen.”
What the White Sox expect to happen this offseason is for the phone to continue to ring with inquiries about their young arms.
The White Sox started to field calls from other teams in mid-June, which left them more than seven weeks to listen to offers. Hahn said his team was popular with its pitching depth a focal point of other teams’ interest. Even though it would pain him to do so, Hahn will continue to listen and may consider moving a pitcher or two.
“We heard a lot about our young pitching and I would suspect that would continue,” Hahn said. “We’re going to remain open minded about all of it. Again, it involves a strength and it might be a strength we can dip into a little bit to help augment some other needs. It’s not one we want to compromise too greatly because that is ultimately how we feel we’ll be able to compete.”
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With a bunch of hard-throwing rookies now in the mix, closer Addison Reed is aware he could be targeted. Santiago’s name was thrown around enough he figures he could be dealt as well. “How many lefties can you keep in a rotation?” Santiago said.
Because the club is so young, Reed thinks the White Sox would target more established players in any deals they make. He also wouldn’t be surprised if the club makes several trades.
“The group we have right now is real young,” Reed said. “You can go on with a bunch of young guys, but if you want to really contend you gotta have one or two guys that can kind of show how to go about it. If there was one move or if there was seven moves I wouldn’t be too surprised.”
Manager Robin Ventura is too focused on the rest of the 2013 season to pay attention to the offseason. But he also knows how busy Hahn stayed and suspects it could be an eventful winter.
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“We have to figure out a way to move forward and get better as quickly as possible,” Ventura said. “I don't know if he’s going to be talking about those things right now. .... But you could see moves being made. Even though our record was what it was, there were still teams that wanted guys on our team.”
The White Sox expected a few moves to be made in July but it was the trades of Rios and Peavy that opened players’ eyes that anything could happen. Reed thought the Peavy trade signaled anybody could go while Santiago thought the Rios move, where the White Sox dealt their best offensive player, was the one. With the team having shown willingness already and an unfinished product, both expect more of the same.
“At the trade deadline everybody’s name was coming up and everybody was ready to go,” Santiago said. “They’re probably going to move some people but I don’t know how much of a different team it will be. But they definitely are going to do work for sure, there’s no doubt about it.”