White Sox not looking at the big picture just yet

White Sox not looking at the big picture just yet
June 2, 2014, 10:15 am
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Whether he's running out a ground ball or approaching the daily grind of the season, White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton isn't looking up.

The White Sox are a .500 club about a fourth of the way through the season, sitting 4 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central and 1 1/2 games behind New York for the second Wild Card spot. A difficult 10-game stretch begins tonight in Los Angeles, with three-game sets against the Dodgers and Angels before a four-game series against Detroit in Chicago.

It's a stretch that could go a long way swinging the season between contending and retooling. But Eaton is choosing to avoid the big picture and not worry about anything more than what's directly in front of him.

"I don't even know what day it is," Eaton said prior to Sunday's 4-1 win over San Diego. "Half the time I don't even know who we're playing until I go down to the video room to see who we're playing. The days all kind of run together. If I looked at the calendar, and if we had 100-plus days left -- which I think we do -- I'd almost cringe and melt. It's very overwhelming to look at."

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The big picture stuff isn't what players are concentrating on -- that's why the "taking it day by day" cliche is so prevalent. The big picture stuff is what general manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox front office is looking at.

And while the White Sox have played some solid baseball so far, it's still too early for Hahn and the White Sox to determine if this club has a real chance of winning in 2014.

"The opportunities to win are sacred," Hahn said Sunday. "If we are in a position where we feel we have a real chance to win, we will address whatever needs we feel exist at that time to enhance those chances.

"At the same time, we are not going to do anything that’s going to compromise our longer term goals that we’ve talked about for about a year in terms of putting us in a position where we can win on an annual basis. We don’t want to jump up and make one playoff appearance and then drift back away for the next several years. We want to be in position to contend annually."

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Hahn mentioned the White Sox have "some areas of depth" in the organization they could pull from and not compromise those long-term plans to win (with Marcus Semien being optioned to Triple-A, the White Sox have a glut of infielders in Charlotte: Matt Davidson, Carlos Sanchez, Micah Johnson and now Semien).

The White Sox core has come into focus in 2014, with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia all under team control through at least 2018. On Thursday, the White Sox have the third pick in the MLB Draft, giving Hahn & Co. a chance to add another piece to the current or future core.

Over the next two months, the White Sox will make a decision about whether that core -- minus Garcia, but plus guys like Dayan Viciedo, Alexei Ramirez, Adam Dunn and John Danks -- has what it takes to make the playoffs this year. Either way, the long-term plan will remain in focus.

While Eaton and his teammates aren't necessarily taking stock of where they are, the season's first two months have fostered a certain confidence in the clubhouse. Perhaps, when it's time to look at the standings in August or September, they'll still be in it.

"We just never capitulate," Sale said. "We're always fighting, we're always getting after it by any means necessary. We're never backing down."