On the one hand, the White Sox have made just one playoff appearance since winning the World Series in 2005.
That was in '08, and the Tampa Bay Rays made quick work of the Sox in the first round.
Scouting reportWhite Sox vs. Atlanta Braves at U.S. Cellular Field
TV: Comcast SportsNet Friday; FOX Saturday; WGN Sunday
Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Pitching matchups: The White Sox' John Danks (2-6) vs. Tim Hudson (6-7) Friday at 7:10 p.m.; TBA vs. Paul Maholm (9-8) Saturday at 3:05 p.m.; Jose Quintana (4-2) vs. Mike Minor (9-4) Sunday at 1:10 p.m.
At a glance: The White Sox come out of the all-star break with an interleague series against the first-place Braves, who have a 6-game lead over the Nationals in the National League East. Greg Walker, the Sox' hitting coach from 2003-11, returns to the Cell as Atlanta's hitting coach. The Braves rank third in the NL with 415 runs scored. The White Sox rank last in the American League with 345 runs. Jake Peavy (rib fracture) is expected to come off the disabled list and start Saturday. Peavy pitched a rehab game for Class AA Birmingham on Sunday and allowed 1 run in 5 innings. Paul Konerko (back) started a four-game rehab assignment with Birmingham on Thursday night. The Sox last played the Braves in 2010, sweeping a three-game series at the Cell.
Next: Detroit Tigers, Monday-Thursday at U.S. Cellular Field
-- Scot Gregor
On the other, while there hasn't been much to get excited about on the South Side since Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Joe Crede, Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, A.J. Pierzynski, Bobby Jenks and Co. brought home the championship trophy for the first time in 88 years, the White Sox usually have trotted out competitive teams.
In 2006, the Sox followed up their World Series sweep of the Houston Astros with a solid 90-72 record. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Twins won the American League Central with a 96-66 record and the Detroit Tigers finished second and grabbed the wild-card with a 95-67 record.
In '08, the White Sox edged Minnesota in the Game 163 division tiebreaker, finishing the season at 89-74. They also posted winning records in 2010 (88-74) and last season (85-77), but stumbled into the all-star break this year at 37-55.
Sitting last in the AL Central as they begin the second half against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox obviously are off the competitive tracks this year.
Veteran relief pitcher Matt Thornton already has been traded -- to the Boston Red Sox -- and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn strongly suggested every player on the roster is available with the exception of pitchers who are contractually "under control."
That obviously means ace starter and All-Star Game winner Chris Sale is staying put, as are John Danks, Jose Quintana, Hector Santiago, Addison Reed, Nate Jones and possibly Jake Peavy, who is signed through 2014.
Look for more trades in advance of the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, and don't be surprised if a player such as Konerko is moved in August.
Here's the latest on the trade rumor front:
The all-star relief pitcher is still on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, but Crain should be activated at some point of the White Sox' homestand to start the second half of the season.
If Crain (0.74 ERA) shows he's healthy, look for a bidding war to ensue. The Red Sox are one of many teams that are interested, so there's a chance Crain could reunite with Thornton.
The Rockies also are in on Crain, but they reportedly are not willing to trade a prized minor-league prospect for a "rental" player." Crain's contract expires at the end of the season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates reportedly have pulled back their pursuit of Rios, who really hasn't done a whole lot since June 1 outside of going 6-for-6 against the Tigers last week.
The Texas Rangers, who seem to be linked to every trade rumor, do have a serious need for a right-handed bat. That's the main reason they rolled the dice on Manny Ramirez.
The White Sox could get a good prospect from the Rangers for Rios, namely shortstop Luis Sardinas or third baseman Mike Olt, who is struggling in the minor leagues.
You look at the .213 average and 108 strikeouts in 310 at-bats and figure the Sox are stuck with the 33-year-old designated hitter/first baseman.
But look at the numbers since June 1: Dunn is batting .285 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI.
Not too shabby, and maybe it's enough to interest teams such as the Yankees, Baltimore and Washington.
He is likely coming off the disabled list (fractured rib) to start Saturday against the Braves.
If Peavy is effective, he's likely to make a final start for the White Sox before the July 31 deadline. If he shows he's healthy, Peavy should attract plenty of interest from teams in both leagues.
He started a four-game rehab assignment with Class AA Birmingham on Thursday, and Konerko has to show interested teams such as the Yankees that his sore lower back is healthy.
He could veto any trade since he has 10-and-5 status, but that's not likely to happen. At 37, Konerko would jump at another chance to win a second World Series ring.