With a few weeks to go until the trade deadline, little is certain about what the White Sox will do. Jeff Samardzija has a litany of possible suitors, but he and other trade chips could wind up staying put depending on how the Sox fare in the coming days. No matter what happens, however, White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams told Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports that the team won’t be holding a fire sale.
“It’s important that we not lose sight of what our organization goal was, and that was to give us the best three-year window. And we’re not going to abandon that completely with only three months to play,” Williams said. “I think [Rick Hahn’s] done one hell of a job. Everyone wants to put the blame on [manager] Robin [Ventura], too, but all he can do is put the players in position to succeed. They’re the ones who have to look in the mirror and execute. If we do anything, it will be consistent with trying to maximize this three-year plan or window that we set out originally.”
After today’s loss to the Orioles, Chicago owns a 36-43 record and sits last in the AL Central, 10 games back of the first-place Royals and 5.5 games behind the last wild card spot. It’s not an ideal spot by any stretch, yet given the crowded American League standings, the White Sox are just be a hot week or two away from being right back in the hunt.
While it may be a bit too early to start selling yet, Williams said he’s open to at least hearing any trade proposal. Teams can even pitch trades for ace Chris Sale, but it’s extremely unlikely that anything will happen on that front.
“We’ve always had that mind-set that we will listen to anyone who wants to make an offer for our players,” Williams said. “How else do you know what the value is? Something may bowl you over. But we can’t envision anything happening along those lines.”
While Sale is locked up on a team-friendly deal that could run through the 2019 season, Samardzija is a different story, as he’s set to hit free agency this winter. Nightengale mentions that “every club with an urgent pitching need” has expressed an interest in Samardzija, and that the Blue Jays in particular have “strongly pursued” the righty.
If Samardzija signed an extension to remain on the south side, that would obviously change things. “We just have to get some sort of indication it’s possible or not to sign him. We have to also see if it’s realistic given our resources and the other obligations we have,” Williams said.
That said, a midseason deal seems very unlikely with Samardzija so close to the open market. While he stressed that “by no means does it take the White Sox off my list” if he hits free agency, Samardzija seemed eager to take control over his playing future.
“I worked hard to get to this spot in free agency. I just want to sign with a team that is competing every September with a chance to be playing in October,” Samardzija said. “Look, I don’t hold bad blood or grudges against anybody. I understand how the business side works. Front offices have to do what they have to do. But I also need to protect myself and make sure I’m in a situation where I can win for a long time.”