Not surprisingly, Paul Konerko was right. Again.
Before leaving U.S. Cellular Field on Sunday and traveling to Cleveland, the White Sox’ longtime captain cautioned against expecting a flurry of trades heading up to Wednesday afternoon’s nonwaiver deadline.
“You just don’t see the trades like you used to, for a lot of different reasons,” Konerko said. “There will probably be some; maybe we make one or two, I don’t know.
“But it’s not like normal compared to like what it was five years ago or 10 years ago. I have a feeling that this is the way it’s going to be.
“If you know the business side of it a little bit and if you just know some things on the inside and pay attention to it, people are just really holding on to their young prospects. They don’t want to make deals where they give those guys up.”
And so Wednesday came and went with White Sox general manager Rick Hahn failing to make a trade, specifically for right fielder Alex Rios.
While he’s an obvious fit for the upstart Pirates, it’s equally obvious Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington was not going to part with a high-ceiling prospect such as starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, center fielder Gregory Polanco or shortstop Alen Hanson to get Rios and the roughly $18 million he’s owed through next season.
“We were willing to do something stupid,” Huntington told reporters. “We did not want to do something insane.”
Hahn said he was close enough to a deal with an unspecified team to give Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf a head’s up as Wednesday’s deadline approached.
“In the end, we couldn’t quite get to an agreement,” the first-year GM said. “They wanted something a little different right at end, and we weren’t prepared to do that.”
Late Tuesday, Hahn did manage to move starter Jake Peavy and the $20 million-plus he’s owed through the 2014 season to the Boston Red Sox in a three-team swap that sent promising outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox from the Detroit Tigers.
The White Sox also got three low-level minor-leaguers from Boston, including 20-year-old Francelis Montas. The right-hander was 2-9 with a 5.70 ERA at Class A Greenville this season, but his fastball tops out at 100 mph and he had 96 strikeouts (and 32 walks) in 851⁄3 innings.
Hahn also traded injured relief pitcher Jesse Crain to Tampa Bay for future prospects Monday, and he sent reliever Matt Thornton to Boston for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs on July 12.
So there you have it — three trades for a last-place White Sox team that has been trying to subtract players for weeks.
“I don’t think I’ve expressed disappointment,” Hahn said on a conference call Wednesday when asked if he wanted to make more moves. “The only disappointment I feel right now is with the fact that you take a step back sometimes from these conversations, obviously all of which are in sell mode, and the disappointment I feel in that we aren’t sitting here trying to add guys as we are more accustomed to doing, and we hope to get back to doing in the not-so-distant future.”
In 2009, then White Sox general manager Kenny Williams traded Jim Thome to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jose Contreras to the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 31. And, as Hahn pointed out Wednesday, the Red Sox and Dodgers made a huge trade on Aug. 25 last season.
Waiver deals can get done in August, so don’t be surprised if Rios, Alexei Ramirez or other Sox players are wearing different uniforms in September.
“Just because the deadline passes doesn’t mean there won’t be further deals,” Hahn said. “It just means the opportunities that presented themselves now didn’t make sense from a baseball standpoint for us to close on.”
As for Garcia, the No. 2 prospect in Detroit’s system, he’s heading to Class AAA Charlotte and will get a look in center field. Garcia also can play right.
Hahn said Garcia is likely headed to the White Sox soon, and once he arrives, Rios and current center fielder Alejandro De Aza figure to be sitting and watching if they are not traded first.
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