CHICAGO -- The White Sox reside in an interesting competitive position with the Trade Deadline approaching on Monday.
They have a current solid hold on one of the eight American League playoff spots, and depending on head-to-head results, the White Sox could challenge the Twins and Indians for the top of the AL Central. Something positive is definitely brewing on the South Side, punctuated by Lucas Giolito's first career no-hitter thrown against the Pirates Tuesday.
But the goal for this organization is sustained success, contending numerous years for division and World Series crowns, not just doing what it can to jump up and win during this 60-game campaign. So, general manager Rick Hahn will move forward with both goals in mind.
"We continue to be focused on the long term to get ourselves in the best position, not just this year, but the long term," said Hahn during a recent Zoom call. "By that I mean essentially in all probability depending on pricing, rentals are not where we are going to invest if we wind up doing anything. It would be more about something that would help us in '20 as well as '21 and beyond.
"Never say never. In the end, it's all going to come down to pricing. If there is a way to get better and we were comfortable with that exchange that only makes us better in '20, then we'll obviously consider [it]."
An important wrinkle to this year's Trade Deadline is that teams can only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pool (assigned either to the big league team or at the alternate training site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however. Additionally, scouts have not been allowed to attend games in person, so all assessments of prospects have been done based on provided video and data and past knowledge.
Buy, but not a rental. This season was targeted as the White Sox move from their rebuild to some form of contention, and the 60-game season hasn't changed that fact. But with the potent Sox offense in place, which has hit 28 home runs during a recent 7-1 stretch, they could have as good of a chance as any AL team to do something truly special in 2020. A rental only makes sense if the player greatly enhances the overall team projection over the final month and postseason without giving up a core piece. Chicago always has been aggressive under Hahn and executive vice president Ken Williams and will check out a number of different avenues even if nothing eventually materializes.
What they want
There aren't many glaring weaknesses on this team, or at the very least, there aren't a number of spots where the White Sox would clearly make a change. Nomar Mazara, who was sidelined at the start of the season with strep throat, has hit for almost no extra-base power as the team's right fielder. The combination of Mazara and Adam Engel seems to have worked effectively, but another outfield bat of impact could be a possibility.
Reynaldo López recently returned from the 10-day injured list (right shoulder soreness) and feels ready for 100-pitch efforts, while left-hander Carlos Rodón could be back from the injured list (left shoulder soreness) by early September, per Hahn. Bringing in another higher-end starter would help the team as much in October as it would in the final month, but starters with greater contractual control almost certainly would require a key young piece in return. Nonetheless, pitching should be the No. 1 target.
What they have to offer
Opposing teams might covet No. 2 prospect Andrew Vaughn, but the polished offensive product, who is currently at the team's alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill., will not be available. The White Sox have young relievers such as Codi Heuer, Zack Burdi and Matt Foster, not to mention a starter like López, who would draw interest. Maybe even third catcher Zack Collins would fit somewhere. But all these individuals are helping the White Sox in the present and should do so in the future, so it would have to be in return for a controllable talent.
Chance of a deal
Nothing will be forced by the White Sox, and they have options within their organization to help the team. If a deal works for the present and the future, it's a possibility for Hahn. As he has previously stated, the team can't overlook the only title they presently have a chance to win, which is 2020.