CHICAGO -- Injuries, struggles and an overall disappointing start have the Chicago White Sox sitting at a fork in the road just seven weeks into the 2013 season.
On one hand, general manager Rick Hahn sees the expected scenario where the team is adding to the roster at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. On the other, he admitted Monday that selling off some assets for young talent could end up being the ultimate direction.
Are the White Sox prepared to be sellers if the team is nowhere near expectations in July?
“There’s always that possibility, but we’re 42 games in to the season at this point, and we are a long way off from making any definitive change in direction towards selling guys off, as you put it,” the first-year GM said. “Is it possible? Sure. But the marching orders now, for our scouts, haven’t changed from what they were at the end of spring training, which is to look for players who we feel can help the 2013 team get stronger and be in a better position to win a championship.”
This homestand could turn out to be somewhat like the trade deadline as the White Sox are set to add some major league talent to the fold. John Danks could be back as soon as Friday to face the Miami Marlins, and Gordon Beckham could be back from his absence before the White Sox head for the West Coast on May 31.
Danks hasn’t played in a big league game in over a year after having surgery on his left shoulder and Beckham is on a minor league rehab assignment after breaking a bone in his left hand a little over one week into the season.
“Everyone deals with injuries; it is a test of depth for everyone over the course of a long season,” Hahn said. “At the same time, we’re not making any judgments on this team until we have everyone we can reasonably expected to have everyone back, back healthy playing and give this team a chance to play at the level they’re capable of playing.”
Judging the roster still will take time, though, as Danks and Beckham round into form physically while also finding camaraderie with their teammates.
“I don’t think it’s fair to those guys, especially somebody like John who has been out of the big leagues for a while now,” team captain Paul Konerko said. “…With Gordon, he was playing good ball before he went down and for his sake hopefully he can get back and keep that going because I felt like he was making some strides. Defensively he’s great, we all know that, but he was swinging the bat well and hopefully he can pick up where he left off.”
The White Sox went 4-3 on their just-concluded road trip to Minnesota and Anaheim, Calif., and while their record could have been better, the feeling isn’t one of disappointment, but promise that things are finally headed in the right direction.
The defense is much improved since manager Robin Ventura made everybody do some extra work last week, and things on offense look better, especially with Adam Dunn looking more comfortable in the batter’s box.
Improvement is still anticipated form the bullpen, which appeared to be a team strength at the end of spring training.
“There’s definitely been improvement (and) an improvement, offensively,” Hahn said. “We’ve played sounder defense the past six games or so. It’s nice to see that return closer to the level of offensive performance that we expected to see. And we’re getting close to getting a few guys back, health-wise, and hopefully we’ll continue this roll we’re on now and hopefully be able to add a few reinforcements in the coming days.”