Chris Sale has suddenly become one of the White Sox veteran leaders.
Last year saw the trades of Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton and Alex Rios. This season, it's been Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza. And Sunday, Adam Dunn was dealt to the Oakland A's. By this time next month, Paul Konerko will be playing his final games in a White Sox uniform.
That leaves Sale as one of the longer-tenured White Sox. And though it's likely a role he'll accept and do well in, he's obviously not thrilled do see Dunn, who he called his "good buddy," go.
"It’s never fun seeing your buddies walk out the door," Sale said. "Knowing his situation and never being able to achieve the ultimate goal, I’m just happy for him he gets to possibly achieve that goal of going after a championship."
[MORE WHITE SOX: Konerko hopes Dunn gets to experience playoffs with A's]
The A's are right in the hunt for a playoff spot, and Dunn, who has never made the postseason in his 14-year career, could join them in October. That's what Sale, Konerko and plenty of others were happy about with the trade.
But it's also a reminder that the Sox are not in that position. Though they could be soon, and in trading veterans, general manager Rick Hahn and Sox brass have cleared the way for a younger generation with big expectations. That, Sale agreed, shows that the Sox mean business about reaching the level of a contender like the one Dunn was just shipped to.
"We’ve obviously seen that before this happened that they are really putting their foot forward and trying to make a run at this in the next couple of years," Dunn said. "It’s going to take some time, but just play this one out and keep fighting."
[MORE WHITE SOX: After White Sox, Adam Dunn ready to start 'new chapter' with A's]
Sale will have a chance to see Dunn again real soon. The A's visit U.S. Cellular Field in just one week's time. If Sale gets a chance to go against Dunn, don't expect it to be a super-serious matchup.
"That will be fun," Sale said. "I don’t know if I could not smile while pitching against him."