Could Big Hurt revive hurtin’ offense?
Wednesday was another day for the White Sox, and with it came another loss.
It was also another day closer to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, and it’s likely going to be a busy time for general manager Rick Hahn.
On Tuesday, Hahn admitted he’s been getting plenty of phone calls from rival GMs already sensing big troubles with the last-place Sox (29-40).
Hahn’s counterparts undoubtedly see a team with a big payroll ($119.6 million, the eighth-highest in baseball) and poor attendance (21,929 per game average, 24th lowest in baseball).
They see a White Sox team that still ranks last in the American League with 250 runs following Wednesday night’s 7-4 loss at Minnesota, and they also see a team that has committed 49 errors in 69 games. Last year, the Sox led the AL with the fewest errors, 70 in 162 games.
Give Hahn some credit for being as patient as possible and giving the White Sox every chance to get it turned around, but the simple fact is they’ve gone 5-16 since battling back and reaching the .500 mark (24-24) on May 26.
Given the futility, Hahn is likely asking himself some tough questions.
Is finding a new hitting coach on his to-do list?
Hitting coaches are always the first to go when the offense goes through an extended drought like the Sox. Is it time to cut ties with Jeff Manto midway through his second season on the job?
If Manto is fired, does new assistant Harold Baines stay on? Does Class AAA Charlotte hitting coach Brandon Moore join Baines on the South Side?
Or, does the harder-edged Gary Ward get another crack? Ward is back in the minor league system at AA Birmingham, and he was the White Sox’ hitting coach from 2001-03.
Orrr ... is it time to give Frank Thomas a shot? The best hitter in franchise history doesn’t have any professional coaching experience, but neither did Robin Ventura before he was hired as the Sox’ manager prior to the 2012 season.
In July 2011, after having his statue unveiled at U.S. Cellular Field, Thomas was asked if he’d like to return to the Sox as hitting coach.
“We’ll see,” said Thomas, who does some TV work on the White Sox’ pre- and postgame shows. “One of these years, you never know. I’m happy right now. I’m getting to spend a lot of time with my kids, something I didn’t get to do for 20 years. I’m getting ‘me’ time, but I am a little anxious to start doing something.”
Against the Twins, the Sox’ offense did manage to rally back from a 7-1 deficit on Dayan Viciedo’s RBI single in the seventh inning and Adam Dunn’s 2-run single in the eighth.
But in the end, the White Sox couldn’t overcome a rare poor start from Chris Sale (5-6), who allowed 4 runs on 8 hits in 2 walks in 5 innings while throwing 101 pitches.
Sale, who has lost four straight outings, took a hard Oswaldo Arcia grounder off his left side in the second inning, and he also collided with Pedro Florimon while covering first base in the second. Brian Dozier followed Florimon with a 3-run homer.