When asked if he had a few minutes to talk Thursday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn texted back: “Sorry. Today’s not a good day.”
The response was understandable, even expected, because Hahn has got to be one of the busiest GMs in baseball these days.
While he’d rather be trying to pry veteran talent away from opposing teams to bolster a playoff push, Hahn reluctantly finds himself on the other side.
The big question is, does Hahn continue waiting on the Sox to turn it around and make a move in the AL Central — baseball’s worst division?
For as all-around bad as the White Sox have been over the first three months, they’re still a manageable 9 games behind the Tigers (42-35), who were swept at home by the disappointing Angels this week.
In an odd bit of scheduling, the Sox have yet to play Detroit this season. From July 9 to Sept. 22, they have 19 games against the Tigers.
Speaking to reporters in Minnesota on June 18, Hahn was guardedly optimistic.
“We do have a fair amount of time left to get this thing right,” the White Sox’ GM said. “We’ve been saying that for a while now, and it is obviously time to get going if we’re going to make that run. We’re still halfway through June. We aren’t halfway through the season yet. We haven’t played the first-place team in our division yet.”
The Sox proceeded to get swept by the lackluster Twins before winning two of three at Kansas City and splitting a two-game interleague series against the Mets at home earlier this week.
In Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss to New York at U.S. Cellular Field, the White Sox’ offense managed nothing against Mets starter Shaun Marcum, who entered the game with an 0-9 record and 5.76 ERA.
The Sox also played another sloppy defensive game, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez’s 13th error of the season allowed 2 unearned runs to score.
Teams that don’t hit or catch the ball are hard to watch, and White Sox fans are tuning out in droves this year.
That’s why rumors are rampant that Hahn is open to trading any player on the 25-man roster but ace starting pitcher Chris Sale and closer Addison Reed, who are both midway through their second full seasons with the Sox.
According to CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman, rival general managers said 37-year-old captain Paul Konerko is also unavailable.
Konerko, who missed both games against the Mets with a sore back, could veto any trade because he is a 10-5 player (10 years in the majors, five consecutive years with current team). There’s been speculation the Yankees have inquired about Konerko.
Signed through the current season, Konerko is batting .253 with 7 home runs and 30 RBI.
Relief pitcher Jesse Crain is also signed through the current season, and the right-hander’s 0.52 ERA should bring the White Sox one or two promising prospects in a trade.
Right fielder Alex Rios, Ramirez and relievers Matt Thornton and Matt Lindstrom also appear to be generating trade interest.
Keep an eye on starting pitcher Jake Peavy, who threw for the first time Wednesday since landing on the disabled list June 6 with a rib fracture.
Peavy, who is 6-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 11 starts this year, signed a two-year, $29 million contract with the Sox before the season.
“I’m going to do all I can do to get healthy and my intentions of getting healthy are to pitch here in Chicago and help this team win,” Peavy said Wednesday. “I do understand the possibility of being moved if I am healthy or I’m not healthy, and that’s something I leave up to the hands of Rick Hahn and his staff. I will do all I’m asked.”
ŸAccording to Scouting Baseball.com, the White Sox are going to agree to terms with Dominican Republic outfielder Micker Zapata when the July 2 international signing period opens.
Only 16 years old, Zapata is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and has impressed scouts with his big power.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.