One trade deadline gone and another less-climactic one on the way, we sit at a point in the White Sox season at which we truly are looking ahead to 2014.
I've written before of the oddity of an uncompetitive year for a team that generally hangs around until September.
But with the nonwaiver deadline passed, Jake Peavy, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton gone, and the possibility that Alex Rios is dealt before the end of this month, the most important thing the organization can do is move forward. Really, it's the only choice they have.
Usually, at this juncture, as the focus shifts to the "next," one common request I'm given from fans and friends alike is to think of a positive reason to watch this team right now.
And it's a fair request. A team nearly 30 games under .500 with a stagnant offense and shoddy defense is a sour cocktail, and one that isn't very appealing. So why should you watch?
Young starting pitching
The jewel in this crown is Chris Sale, who is easily one of the top 10 starters in the American League (which probably is selling him short) and one of only eight starters with a sub-3.00 ERA.
He absolutely dominates left-handed hitters, and the righties aren't doing all that well, either. What's most entertaining about watching his starts is the frequent look of bewilderment on the faces of opposing hitters.
Guys like that don't come around often, and the Sox are fortunate to have one at the age of 24. Sale is just getting started.
And let's not forget about Hector Santiago (25) and Jose Quintana (24) who are also in the beginning of what appear to be strong pitching careers. The three have pitched extremely well in 2013 but unfortunately suffer from some of the worst run support in the game.
That leads to a lot of losses and no decisions, of little fault of their own.
Andre Rienzo also is one to watch following 2 very good starts to begin his big-league career. While he's not Peavy, he does have the tendency to be a bit animated on the mound. Definitely not boring.
While Dayan Viciedo has not put together a particularly good season overall, his last month is closer to what we're looking for from him (.295 average with 4 homers and 10 driven in).
It's far from perfect, but it's something. For a free swinger like Viciedo, it still would be nice to see a better on-base percentage.
Gordon Beckham's 2013 resembles more of what we thought we'd get from him when he was called up for the first time in 2009, though we've seen a dramatic drop in power, which could be attributed to wrist problems all year.
With these two, I'll be watching to see just how much more they will continue to develop. It's good to be reminded that sometimes some players need more time than others.
It's summer. It's baseball. You get it for six months of the year, then it's gone. Enjoy it while you have it.
•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.