Approaching the end of July, we're sitting at what is truly an unfamiliar place for those of us who have been closely following the White Sox.
In the past, certainly, we've wondered about deadline deals, and this year we do the same. The difference is that now we're left to speculate where some of the team's best players are heading.
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While you may have thought that White Sox version 2013 didn't have enough to compete with the likes of a strong Detroit team going into the year, for me anyway it wasn't expected they would be so far out of first place as to remove any doubt about what direction they would go.
Yet, that is their reality with about a week-and-a-half before July 31, and this is the week we'll likely see more movement. What is almost assured is the Sox will make another trade. What is not assured is just who and how many.
Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Jesse Crain, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Lindstrom, Addison Reed are the commonly mentioned candidates. I do believe one of them will go, but I'm not yet convinced we'll see multiple departures.
Though the roster has almost completely turned over since the championship season (only Paul Konerko remains), this still feels like the closest this organization has been to a directional shift in the last eight seasons.
As a fan, it's sad, yes. You'd like to think your team will always compete. You never want to assume they'll live through a period of concession.
But the White Sox may just be at that point.
However, there is one other possibility: The Sox, barring an exceptional return for one or two guys, hold on to all of their starting pitchers with the idea that they still can "rebuild" their position talent while keeping a decent, relatively young pitching staff in tact.
Were they to trade Peavy, they certainly would bring back value, but that value could be diminished following his stint on the disabled list.
Yes, Peavy is healthy now, but in negotiations, interested clubs will use the injury past to minimize what they think they should surrender in a deal.
Trading him could help the team's future, but just how much is not clear. The team isn't obligated to ship him off if the yield isn't to their liking.
Were they to hang on to Peavy, he'd be their sole 30 plus-year-old starter in 2014.
The Sox will not be the division favorite next year, but with good pitching, well, who knows? Maybe they could at least make it interesting.
Now, I'm not suggesting the Sox refrain from trying to go younger because there could be an outside chance of making a run next year. Rather I'm saying the Sox still probably could execute what they want to with or without trading Peavy.
Their best bet for impact will be to move someone such as Rios (perpetually healthy) or Ramirez (attractive contract). Or even Chris Sale, who would bring the best chance at a massive haul of premium prospects.
At this point, though, it doesn't look like the Sox are interested in that.
This should be an interesting week.
•Chris Rongey is the host of the White Sox pregame and postgame shows on WSCR 670-AM The Score. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisRongey and at chrisrongey.com. Subscriber Total Access members can email him questions each week via our online link.