DETROIT -- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura had the lineup posted early outside the clubhouse doors and the names of all the usual suspects were written in black permanent marker.
There are no definitives when it comes to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but as the White Sox sat a few hours before moves were supposed to be completed, a sense of calm permeated the locker room that earlier in the month had an edge to it.
At one point well in advance of Thursday’s afternoon game with the Detroit Tigers, when manager Robin Ventura entered the clubhouse his presence elicited a mock warning alarm from a table that consisted of Alejandro De Aza, Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo.
It got a grin out of Ventura, who was not there to tap a player on the shoulder and tell him to pack his bag. Discussion of the morning’s trade between the Oakland Athletics and the Boston Red Sox was airing nearby on a television.
“I can mess with you guys, but I expect these guys to all be here,” Ventura said. “The lineup is the lineup today, unless something happens. I’ll find out then.”
Ventura’s plan to “mess with” the media, and perhaps some players, was to take the lineup card down and rewrite a new one with some names missing.
“It looks like (A’s general manager) Billy Beane had his coffee on early this morning; he’s doing most of (the trade activity). You can mess with the guys if you want to, but I’ll let the players do that. They like doing that to each other.”
John Danks was mentioned in rumors this month, with the New York Yankees possibly interested, but he warned up and took the mound in the first inning, lessening chances a deal was coming. Gordon Beckham, whose days seem to be numbered with a healthy amount of second base prospects in the organization, was in the lineup as well.
Ramirez, Viciedo, and anybody else who popped up in a rumor this month was on the field playing out the last hours before the deadline.
“It is what it is,” Beckham said about the deadline. “I mean, it’s just another day, you know. ... Yeah, it will feel good to get that behind us.”
It doesn’t mean the opportunities for deals are done. If the roster remains intact by the end of Thursday, there is always trade waivers in August. Beckham, Viciedo and even Adam Dunn could all be traded then, depending on teams’ stretch-drive needs.
But Thursday is the day that players always sweat the most.
“For them it would be good (to get past the deadline),” Ventura said. “Even for us, we’re just talking about stuff that’s all hypothetical and you don’t know what it really holds. Everybody is going to be happy to get by (this day).”