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updated: 7/18/2011 9:15 PM

More at stake for White Sox than division

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  • White Sox GM Ken Williams should have a lot on his mind right now -- including whether to trade fan favorite Mark Buehrle.

      White Sox GM Ken Williams should have a lot on his mind right now -- including whether to trade fan favorite Mark Buehrle.
    Associated Press

 
 

By the time the White Sox finish with Detroit a week from Wednesday, baseball will be four days from the trade deadline -- and GM Kenny Williams will have some serious decisions to make.

Assuming the Sox don't fall out of the race in the next 10 days, Williams is likely to make changes with an eye toward winning the A.L. Central and going deep in the postseason.

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But if the Sox go to pieces against the Royals, Indians and Tigers, Williams would have to consider cashing in on some marketable assets.

And Williams would have to begin thinking about his starting rotation, with the following knowledge:

•Mark Buehrle will be a free agent after the season.

•Edwin Jackson will be a free agent after the season.

•John Danks will be a year away from free agency after the season.

•Jake Peavy will be a year away from free agency after the season.

•Gavin Floyd is signed for 2012 and the team has a 2013 club option ($9.5 million).

•Phil Humber will be under control for four more years after this season.

Buehrle and Jackson would be nuts to even ponder signing an extension this late in the summer with a mediocre free-agent class in the offing, so it's possible Williams could be looking at a starting rotation next season of Peavy, Danks, Floyd, Humber and Chris Sale -- also knowing he has Danks and Peavy for only one more year guaranteed, excluding Peavy's $22 million club option for 2013.

Buehrle's been solid this season, so if the Sox haven't extended him by now you have to wonder why Buehrle would dream of it before free agency unless the Sox come up with a big offer.

From the Sox' standpoint, Buehrle's a huge fan favorite and another of Jerry Reinsdorf's kids, but he has been somewhat inconsistent since his great 2005 run from the regular season through the World Series, and his innings have piled up.

A trade, which Buehrle would have to approve, would automatically vest a 2012 option for $15 million, but considering he might be in line for a three-year deal worth $33 million (Ted Lilly money), perhaps a team like Cardinals would be willing to make such a trade.

Would the Sox and Williams even consider dealing Buehrle?

Not as we sit here today.

But the next 10 days could change their thinking.

World Cup

While late to the party, I really enjoyed watching Team USA through the last couple of matches of the Women's World Cup, but that was a horrible ending to what should have been a great story.

There's no getting around the fact that the U.S. squad choked away a certain victory in the final against Japan, a far inferior team.

Team USA had the game locked up late in regulation and an awful turnover led to Japan's tying goal. The same thing occurred late in overtime, when again the U.S. coughed up the lead, both times because they stopped forcing the play.

As for the penalty kicks, it couldn't have been a more embarrassing display if they were actually trying to lose the game.

That's the truth, like it or not. And here's the thing: If you want to be treated like a big-time sporting event, then you must accept the legit praise or criticism that comes with it.

It was a great run, and a healthy portion of the U.S. sporting public paid attention. U.S.-Japan set a worldwide tweet record, and ESPN's coverage of Sunday's final drew an 8.6 overnight rating in the U.S., compared to the British Open, which pulled a 2.6.

Unfortunately, for all the greatness of Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo, the U.S. gave away a title with a nation watching.

This isn't youth sports. They keep score in the World Cup. Someone wins and someone loses. Losing hurts and there's no cure for it.

But the U.S. women lost, and the fact is they should have brought home a title.

British Open

Speaking of chokes, Dustin Johnson is a great player and it seems inevitable that he'll start winning majors.

But for the third time in 13 months -- in the last six majors -- he gave away a major Sunday with a major blunder.

Only 2 strokes behind 42-year-old leader Darren Clarke -- who had never won a major -- and standing in the 14th fairway with a sure birdie (maybe eagle) opportunity on a par-5, Johnson hit his second shot out of bounds, leading to a double and an easy victory for Clarke.

Take away one swing and Johnson had a huge chance, but that seems to always be the case with him.

Seam stress

It looks like Chris Carpenter has a chance to be the Cubs' closer sometime down the road, which makes it all the more unfortunate that he was sent down over the weekend to make room for Carlos Zambrano on the roster.

It's just hard to believe there's some purpose to having Ramon Ortiz in the bullpen instead of Carpenter, who was told by Mike Quade that he hadn't done anything wrong to get sent back to Iowa (AAA).

Bull trap

NBC's Jimmy Fallon, on Spain's annual running of the bulls: "Or as bulls are reporting it, 'This week was Spain's annual chasing of the idiots.'"

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Tour de France stage winner somehow in 149th place."

And finally …

Omaha World-Herald's Brad Dickson, on former Houston pitcher Jose Cano throwing to son Robinson in the Home Run Derby: "He gave up 32 homers in three hours, so he still has the stuff to pitch for the Astros."

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.

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