White Sox seek to 'make strides' on field, ahead of Deadline

May 25th, 2024

CHICAGO – There wasn’t a White Sox player taking part in a 6-4 loss to the Orioles on Friday night at a rainy Guaranteed Rate Field who is considered untouchable as the Trade Deadline on July 30 gradually approaches.

Not for a team sitting a season-worst 22 games under .500 at 15-37, with seven losses in their last eight games. Not for a team in the early stages of its latest rebuild, with a burgeoning Minor League system now in the mix.

“That’s true. There’s some players on the team that I think make a little more sense than others,” said White Sox general manager Chris Getz prior to the setback. “As the season progresses or you head into the offseason, you’ve got to weigh your upcoming season, what you have in the farm system.

“Those types of things can change fairly quickly based on the needs you have internally. It’s got to match up with other clubs. But we’re open on players on our clubs, just because we know we’ve got to make strides to get back into a competitive team here at the AL Central.”

A veteran player such as outfielder Tommy Pham, who has added life to the White Sox following a 3-22 start, becomes a prime trade candidate for any sort of contending team. Pham played strong center field defensively Friday, while finishing 1-for-5 and having a home run taken away from him by center fielder Colton Cowser to finish off Craig Kimbrel’s 11th save.

Chris Flexen is another candidate, bouncing back from an 8.78 ERA over three starts to open the season and a trip to the bullpen to become a rotation piece. He also has an affordable $1.75 million deal for the ‘24 campaign.

After dropping his ERA to 4.29 in a win on May 8 at Tampa Bay, the right-hander has yielded 14 earned runs over his last 13 ⅓ innings and has failed to get through five in each of his last three starts.

“Just a poor job,” said Flexen, who allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings on Friday. “I continue to put our bullpen in bad situations and put the team in a hole. Tip of the hat to the team tonight for not giving up. Really battled back there."

Baltimore (31-18) grabbed a 4-0 lead in the fifth behind Gunnar Henderson’s 17th home run, but the White Sox scored three in the bottom of the fifth off Corbin Burnes. They tied the game on Andrew Vaughn’s seventh-inning homer to right-center against Yennier Canó.

Vaughn also drove home a run with a double to left-center, gradually fighting his way out of early-season offensive misery. The 26-year-old, who was the third pick overall in the 2019 Draft, figures to be part of this team moving forward.

The same holds true for All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr. and third baseman Bryan Ramos. Robert Jr. soon will embark on an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte to test his right hip flexor strain, and he could return by the upcoming series in either Milwaukee or at Wrigley Field.

Ramos dealt with a left quad strain, but he could be back with the team by Saturday. Meanwhile, Getz and his front office will try to add to the young core throughout the organization.

“We are excited about what we are building at the Minor League level, and we are going to look for opportunities to add to our Minor League group,” said Getz, adding how the fifth overall pick they hold in this year’s Draft will be another important piece. “We’ve got our pro scouts monitoring other clubs’ prospects closely at other Major League clubs.

“We’ve got our front office, our internal group here, that’s assessing what other clubs may have in a potential deal. And then it’s my job to stay close to other general managers to make sound decisions for our own club.”

An ongoing short-term goal for manager Pedro Grifol and his staff is to turn competitive baseball and solid comebacks into victories.

“It's gut-wrenching, but it's baseball,” Vaughn said. “We're going to give it our all every time we go out there."

“There’s fight all the way to the end,” Grifol said. “I’ve said it over and over about this club. This club wants to win games, they play to win. Obviously, we make mistakes here and there, but as far as the energy and the will and want to win, it’s there every day.”