The White Sox certainly have their needs as baseball's nonwaiver trade deadline approaches -- like a middle of the order slugger who preferably bats left-handed -- but the most attainable need remains a right-handed reliever.
With Sergio Santos now the closer and Jesse Crain the only right-hander available for late-inning duty before the ninth, a one-inning pitcher who throws from the right side isn’t only desired, it might still fit into a budget already stretched as thin as possible.
Right-hander Brian Bruney has emerged to somewhat dispel that notion, so reaching out to get just any righty isn’t want the club needs. Getting a right-handed reliever to mimic what Crain is doing could go a long way toward making a very good bullpen great.
Anything less than that isn’t needed because that level would be Bruney. That back-handed compliment isn’t meant as a knock, but it does seem as if the White Sox still aren’t convinced that Bruney has what it takes for important late-inning situations.
Bruney hasn’t allowed a run in seven outings this month (5 2/3 innings), but the White Sox lost five of those games and one was a blowout victory so it’s not as if the spotlight was at its brightest in those outings.
Bruney earned a hold in the July 1 victory over the Cubs, and on June 29, he earned a victory over the Rockies. Going back even one outing further he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Nationals.
So the bar has been set. Bruney has been effective of late so unless the White Sox can land somebody better than what he has to offer, then don’t bother with a deal for a right-handed reliever.
It doesn’t seem as if Tony Pena is about to help any time soon. Early Wednesday the right-hander was placed on his second rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte only to experience elbow discomfort later in the day. He will be re-evaluated Thursday. Pena has been on the disabled list since May 29 with elbow tenidintis.