ANAHEIM -- When the right trade comes along, the White Sox won't wait for the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline to pounce. They proved that fact true by adding James Shields from San Diego on June 4.The White Sox figure to be in the market for another left-handed bat and
ANAHEIM -- When the right trade comes along, the White Sox won't wait for the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline to pounce. They proved that fact true by adding James Shields from San Diego on June 4.
The White Sox figure to be in the market for another left-handed bat and a hard-throwing reliever, leaving myriad possibilities. But the White Sox also will be weighing the cost of those potential moves, both monetarily and personnel given up, against the in-house help they already have.
"You sit there and start getting guys healthy, that becomes important," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's like adding guys. Until that happens, for our sake, we're just concentrating on today and the immediate future of who you got and how you come to the park and how you play.
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"That becomes hard to sit there and try to think about when you're actually playing that day. That's stuff for later on, that you know they're sitting there. You eventually have to figure out what you're going to do when they get back. But for right now, you let it run."
Justin Morneau moved his injury rehab assignment from Triple-A Charlotte to Double-A Birmingham, with Charlotte on its All-Star break. He could be close to a White Sox debut, providing that sought after left-handed bat.
A great deal of talk has centered around Zack Burdi and his 100-mph fastball following the Chris Sale path, with the right-handed reliever selected 26th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft potentially making the Major League jump during the same season. But top prospect Carson Fulmer, the eighth pick overall in the 2015 Draft, got the call first on Friday.
Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, Carlos Rodón and potentially even Zach Putnam are expected back from the disabled list, which doesn't preclude the White Sox from making another move or two. But the White Sox might not want to gut a developing system to pay that price.
If the White Sox are truly going for it all, they would figure out the asking price for the Rockies' Carlos González, try to talk it down a bit but settle somewhere around a package of Avisaíl García, No. 3 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, Spencer Adams and another Minor Leaguer in order to bring the left-handed power bat to Chicago. But a left-handed hitter such as Atlanta's Nick Markakis, who had a big pre-break weekend in Chicago, could be a solid addition despite a decided lack of power over the past two years. Garcia would be a moveable chip off the Major League roster.
WHAT ARE THEY PLAYING FOR?
Although their streak of consecutive series won ended at five straight with the home loss to Atlanta, the White Sox pushed themselves into the postseason-contention picture. They are looking for any sort of postseason berth, marking their first since '08, in this revamp-while-contending mode.
THE ROAD AHEAD
A six-game trip to Anaheim and Seattle to start the second half would seem favorable for the White Sox, considering the Angels have had a down year and the Mariners are in the same borderline-contention spot as the White Sox. But the team has not traditionally played well on the West Coast. The White Sox finish the season with four at home against the Rays and three against the Twins, but they have to survive 12 games against the Tigers, Indians and Royals in August and 16 more in September. And let's not forget four with the Cubs from July 25-28.
Morneau has not played a Major League inning for the White Sox, but his production figures to be an integral part of the second-half offense. The White Sox are short a left-handed bat, and while they don't figure to get the Most Valuable Player-caliber Morneau who tormented them with the Twins, his presence could serve as an important move without giving up anyone.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Burdi caught the eye of talent evaluators with his triple-digit fastball and his polish on the mound at Louisville. But it looks as if Fulmer could be up sooner than later. He found a comfort zone with his delivery tempo after an erratic start, fanning 46 in his last 35 innings, and could provide a bullpen presence.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.