Over on the North Side of Chicago, the collective Cubs fan base held their breath waiting to find out the fate of Willson Contreras. There was suspension, high thrills, emotional goodbyes, and standing ovations.
On the Southside of Chicago, the collective White Sox fans hoped, prayed, cheered, and crossed their fingers that….anything would happen. Just anything. Jokes were sprayed across social media – “Did the White Sox not get the invitation to the Trade Deadline?” – “Did the White Sox miss a memo?” – “Oh no, the White Sox were left off the MLB group text!”
Anything did happen in that Boston sent over Jake Diekman for some bullpen support. Diekman looked fantastic on August 2nd with a slider that makes lefties and righties miserable. But Sox fans were hoping for more.
MLB.com’s Scott Merkin talked to White Sox general manager, Rick Hahn, about the quiet deadline activity and the conversation both enlightens and infuriates us. Hahn opened with, “In all candor, we’re disappointed that we weren’t able to do more to improve this club. You saw a year ago at this time, you’ve seen it for the last several years, arguably the last couple of decades, that it’s our nature to try to improve this club at any opportunity we have.”
Saying that the White Sox are disappointed in the outcome makes it sound like some type of outside force hampered them during the trade deadline. Like an act of weather made it impossible to do deals. It makes it sound like it was outside of the Sox’ control.
We don’t know what the White Sox were going after and what they had to offer. I don’t think we expected to get Soto, but Josh Bell should have been a viable option. Both Royals trade baits in White Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi could have been on the table. And some of the Boston guys like JD Martinez or Xander Bogaerts were supposed to be in play.
Willson Contreras was out there, Luis Castillo, and Frankie Montas all made it to another team as did Jake Odorizzi.
We don’t know if the price got too high for these guys, but something needed shaking up.
Hahn continued, “..Anyone out there who is feeling a level of frustration or disappointment, I’m there with you.”
It feels like Hahn didn’t know he was in charge and was supposed to do something. It was like he was a fan, just sitting at home, tweeting jibes at the White Sox front office and didn’t realize that those messages landed in his inbox.
Hahn had some good points in that the market might have been impacted by some of the new playoff rules. This year, there are more teams in the playoff and the Wild Card games are best of three instead of the sudden death, one and done game. Hahn insisted that management never made money an issue, but “I think the market overall was favorable towards the sellers and we didn’t line up.”
The White Sox have issues on offense and defense. Though they are tied with the Dodgers for third in batting average, the White Sox are 17th in slugging, 17th in Runs Scored and 17th in OPS. Not the World Series contender that was hoped. For pitching, the Sox are similarly 17th in ERA and 24th in WHIP. Not the number 3 rotation in the league that was expected. The White Sox could have used any kind of help possible.
“We feel they are very much capable of playing better baseball than we’ve seen over the first few months and that there’s a makings of a potential championship team in there should they get to their accustomed levels of performance,” Hahn said
Hahn’s feeling is that if the current players play better than we will win more games. I can’t disagree, but how is that going to happen. Everybody, including Hahn, agrees that injuries hurt.
“Finally getting closer to having the group, at least of the six core guys since 2020 that performed well together, we’re close to getting them all back together.”
Right after the All-Star break, Luis Robert went back on IL further cutting the team off from defensive and offensive production. If the injuries continue, the White Sox’ chances will not continue.
It is no secret that the White Sox believe in this lineup and this rotation. The White Sox were fairly inactive in the offseason and have replicated that at the trade deadline, despite the remarks that they really did try. White Sox fans are desperate for a deep playoff run and this roster used to be fantastic on paper. This year not so much. The wait and see approach could turn into a wait approach if nothing is seen.