Standings in early May mean very little when it comes to the July 31st trade deadline. A team could get off to a hot start, than fall flat on their face due to injuries or players coming back down to earth. Through the first 35 games of the season, the Chicago White Sox are 18-17, but only three games out of first place in a decrepit American League Central.
In a rebuilding season, contending for any significant period time should be seen as an accomplishment. Especially a team like the White Sox who have overcome a dismal bullpen and a plethora of injuries, being relatively close to the top of the division after a month should be seen as a success. What would happen though if this success continues? What if the White Sox found themselves in playoff contention at the end of July when teams start reeling and dealing players?
Most fans would say that the Sox should go for it. The organization has not made the playoffs since their early departure from the postseason in 2008. In Paul Konerko’s last season on the Southside, fans would love to at least Paulie a chance to finish on top. While October baseball would be outstanding for the franchise, the risk that going for it would have on the future is just too high.
In any trade that the White Sox would have to make for quality major league talent at the deadline, they would have to get rid of young players on the rise. That is how the give and take of the MLB trade deadline works. With not much quality in the system after the top tier players, the Sox would have to get rid of players that they consider faces of their franchise. For example, speedster Micah Johnson would draw incredible interest due to several organizations like the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees being in desperate need of a second baseman. Young arms like Erik Johnson and Daniel Webb would garner significant interest because teams salivate at the thought or acquiring young flamethrowers. With general manager Rick Hahn wanted to build up a minor league system in an organization that had one of the worst the past eight years, trading these guys away would hamper the future.
Hahn should not shy away from trading anybody during the deadline if the Sox are still in the race. Twenty seven year old Gordon Beckham has proven that he provides nothing offensively. Trading him away to a team thirsting for an upgrade at second, would be consider a valid decision. Beckham is not a part of the White Sox rebuilding plans. Guys that are, should not be dealt for rental players.
As the Midwest finally begins to heat up, the Sox bats continue to be on fire. The offense has led the team to a surprising start in 2014. If the pitching can turn it around and stay healthy, there is a solid chance that the Sox can still put a run together to sneak into the playoffs. Shocking the baseball world without giving away budding talent, would be beneficial not just for the present, but also for the future.
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