Will struggling White Sox buy or sell at the trade deadline?

As of July 7th, the Chicago White Sox currently sit 5.5 games back from first place in the American League Central. The White Sox currently have a record of 39 wins and 41 losses.  The trade deadline is August 2nd this year due to a delayed start to the season.

White Sox disappointing first half of season

At the start of the season, the team won it’s first three series of the season against the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, and Tampa Bay Rays.  After that, the injuries began to pop up left and right to starters and bench players alike.   Next came a 7 game losing streak that really set the team back right out the gates, (more on this later).

Nevertheless, there has been some high moments on the season.  3 key highlights from the season thus far are sweeps against the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and the San Francisco Giants.  Unfortunately, the team has played .500 baseball at best this year, which is no where near what anyone expected.

Buying or selling?

Although the trade deadline is less than a month away, the White Sox might still be undecided on what approach they will take.  There are 12 games remaining before the all-star break, all against the American League Central.  With 3 games against the Minnesota Twins now behind them, they are off to a 1-2 start during this crucial 15 game stretch versus the AL Central.  How the team performs in this stretch will be the key factor in determining whether the White Sox want to buy or sell this year.

As of now, the White Sox have struggled against their own division.  Specifically, against the top two teams in the division, the Guardians and Twins, the White Sox have a combined 2-9 record.  No bueno.  With 4 games coming up against the Guardians and another 4 versus the Twins, the opportunity to improve is right in front of them.  Sitting at 5.5 games back of first, the standings could look vastly different in two weeks, for better or worse.

Possible trade partners

The White Sox still have plenty of holes on their roster they need to patch.  Acquisitions like Vince Velasquez did not pan out at all.  Dallas Keuchel was DFA’d and Michael Kopech recently had a flare up in his knee and has not looked as good as he did before the incident.  Not to mention, Kopech will likely hit a wall soon as his innings pitched continue to increase.  The Cincinnati Reds will be selling pitchers like Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, according to reports from Bob Nightengale.

Pitching is always a necessity in the big leagues so it couldn’t hurt to listen.  Another is the Oakland A’s Frankie Montas who the White Sox have been linked to in the past.  Montas exited his last start early, supposedly due to shoulder inflammation.  Josh Harrison has really stepped up in the past month.  Alongside with Leury Garcia, it is not likely the White Sox look for a replacement at second base.

The outfield depth is another hole that was poorly patched in the offseason by acquiring A.J. Pollock.  HIs performance has been about average.  The real problem is the constant use of infielders in the corner outfield positions.  The White Sox have too many DH/First base options on their team as currently constructed.  Outfielders like Ian Happ and Anthony Santander of the Orioles are possible targets here.

if the White Sox end up selling at the deadline, it would mean accepting that the rebuild was a failure.  It could also mean the team’s window to compete for a championship is closing fast.  General manager Rick Hahn has certainly made many questionable moves in recent years.  Free agent signings have produced lackluster results far too often, and investing so much money in the bullpen for 2022 has not worked out.  This could lead to a period of huge turmoil on the south side after waiting years and years for the rebuild.

However, if the White Sox can rattle off some wins in this tough division stretch and gain some ground on their division rivals, Hahn will surely be aggressive to improve the team at the deadline.  The White Sox have yet to play their best baseball and now would be the time to do it.

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