CHICAGO -- One day after it was reported the Chicago White Sox were interested in fielding trade offers, it seemed as if the offense was the only group that felt a sense of urgency.
On Thursday, cbssports.com’s Jon Heyman noted rival executives in saying the White Sox had started the process of finding suitors for some of their players, including Jesse Crain, Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez and even Jake Peavy, who is on the disabled list.
The hitters seemed to stand up and take notice with five runs in the first inning, four more in the fifth and an aggressive approach at the plate in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians.
Digging deep didn’t seem to happen on the pitching side, although Hector Santiago, Brian Omogrosso and Ramon Troncoso have not been mentioned in any trade rumors. Santiago started and gave up five runs in the first inning. Omogrosso came on in the third inning and gave up nine of his own runs before he was pulled. Troncoso gave up five (four earned) in 2 2/3 innings.
The White Sox limped away with a 19-10 defeat, matching their most runs scored in a game but giving up a season high in the process.
Manager Robin Ventura was trying to go as long as possible with Omogrosso, knowing that salvaging his bullpen so early in a doubleheader could help a long day from getting even longer.
As a former player, Ventura knows all too well what the trade-rumor season can do to a player.
“If your name comes up, it is a distraction to a degree if you are a player that you specifically are targeted,” he said. “There are rumors flying around. We are pros and you have to be able to handle it. That’s part of the game. The focus is still coming out here trying to win this game, whether that stuff floats out there or not. You can’t control that stuff.”
Ventura is a manager, not a life coach, but he is sympathetic to the situation players are put under at this time of the year.
In the end, though, the players put themselves in this spot with an uninspired brand of baseball. For the last month they had been playing teams mostly under .500, but came away with only an 11-19 record in that stretch.
Now the schedule only gets harder, which makes it no surprise that the White Sox are moving forward with plans to sell off their assets and try to add to a farm system generally considered among the weakest in baseball.
“The number is the number,” Ventura said, about the White Sox’s 32-43 record entering play Friday. “That’s what is disappointing. You have to be able to come out here and turn that feeling around as far as where that number is now. You want to reverse it. Again, it is disappointing. You put that behind you and it becomes effort and concentration.”
Knowing trade talk was in the air, Santiago was the first pitcher to try and show effort and concentration.
“You try not to think about it,” he said about breaking up the team. “You hear stuff and hear trades and this guy is moving here. But you try not to worry about it. You go out and play ball and hopefully the next game is a little better than what happened here in this game.”