Though the White Sox have followed up a seven-game winning streak in late July with a 3-8 showing, GM Rick Hahn hasn’t yet thrown in the towel on the season, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “As we get deeper into August and if things don’t improve that is something we’ll have to take seriously but at this point we’re still having the same approach of looking for long term fits that could help this year and beyond,” Hahn told Van Schouwen.
Hahn notes that the despite the discouraging results of late, the Sox do have quite a bit of schedule remaining against teams that are currently ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. The Sox topped the Angels last night and have two more games against them in the current series. They’ll then host the Cubs for three and travel to Anaheim for a four-game set. Following that, Chicago has 10 straight games against the struggling Red Sox and Mariners to close out the month, so it does seem that there’s some reason for optimism based on the schedule.
Nonetheless, a six-and-a-half-game deficit when there are seven teams in better Wild Card standing is a tough obstacle for the White Sox to face, and their immediate schedule is a difficult one. Hahn didn’t speak as a man who would cling to the current course of action at all costs: “As for us in the front office obviously we have to be cognizant of where we sit in the standings and how each loss makes that road to the playoffs a little more difficult to travel down. So we’re aware of the situation and we’re aware of what potentially needs to be done in the coming weeks.”
Should the next nine games against contending teams go particularly poorly, the Sox will have a number of pieces they can look to market to other teams. Jeff Samardzija probably wouldn’t clear waivers, but the Sox could certainly put him through the process and see if they’re able to strike a deal with a claiming team. The resurgent Alexei Ramirez (.289/.316/.533 with five homers, four steals in 23 second-half games) could be of interest to teams looking for shortstop help. Catcher Geovany Soto and righty Matt Albers are also short-term pieces that could draw interest. Candidates to clear waivers due to their salary include Ramirez, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, John Danks and Melky Cabrera, as each has had his struggles his year (Cabrera, like Ramirez, has come to life as of late but is still owed $32.9MM through 2017).
On the flipside, if they’re able to get back into the Wild Card hunt late this month, the Sox have received scarce production from second base, third base and designated hitter this season, and they could use some left-handed relief help as well.