Spiegel: Some moves for White Sox after they concede

  • He hasn't hit well this season, but White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has played good defense of late and could draw some attention at the trade deadline.

    He hasn't hit well this season, but White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez has played good defense of late and could draw some attention at the trade deadline. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/23/2015 7:00 PM

What a horrific White Sox season.

What a miserable, relentlessly unfulfilling few months it has been, after an off-season that was so well-intentioned. It was a winter praised far and wide, both here, and nationally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

That praise has only served to make reality more depressing.

I interact with White Sox fans who invested emotionally, watched hopefully, and had their optimism crushed fully. They are forced into a decision:

Now what?

Jim from Lockport has turned to rooting for losses and a better draft pick. He insists it's not that bad.

Derrick has tried this new thing he calls "not watching them anymore." He says it's going great.

Mike has turned his focus to Bears football. He'd rather think about potential mediocrity than obvious failure.

Several Sox fans have admitted that they have begun to focus on "that blue team." It can be rewarding to let go of tribalism in pursuit of entertaining, meaningful baseball.

I've written here about what I see as deep seated problems within the organization. Since then we've seen an awkward muscle-up by Kenny Williams to claim responsibility, an admission of power limitations by Rick Hahn, and the revelation of a "three-year plan" that was news to most of us.

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What we have not seen is a concession, and moves to make the most of the rest of the schedule for the betterment of the big picture.

It's time.

Here's how we'll know when the White Sox have conceded:

• Jeff Samardzija will be traded, for what I expect to be a position player who can be slotted in fairly quickly. Maybe it's a catcher from Toronto, or a left side of the infield player from the Kansas City Royals. I think the Sox organization would still rather aim for ready-made big leaguers instead of prospects they can develop. Regardless of whether that has worked well or not, that has been the model.

• Alexei Ramirez will be traded/gifted to a team that needs a defensive shortstop. He's played better defense lately, and someone could use a capable shortstop. Get what you can. Anything.

• Tyler Saladino will play short, and may own the spot until Tim Anderson is ready to take it. Saladino has shown a capable grasp of basic fundamentals, and an ability to make adjustments at the plate. It's refreshing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Jose Abreu will be placed on the disabled list for as long as he needs in order for that hand to function best. This has been a dispiriting stretch to watch, and many close to the team don't believe he's healthy.

• Micah Johnson will be called up and given another shot at second base. He has an OPS of .870 with 24 steals and 7 home runs since going to Charlotte. Give him the best coaching and biggest spotlight you can over the rest of his year.

• Instead of spacing out the days between starts for Carlos Rodon to maximize an innings ceiling, he will be given a stable schedule of pitching every fifth day. This will help him develop the rhythm and habits he needs to progress. When he reaches a point where they've seen enough (somewhere around 150-170 innings I bet), he will then be shut down in full.

These are some things I would do:

Erik Johnson should get some big league starts. Matt Davidson could get a September chance to hit big league pitching. Self-evaluate as best you can.

A full tear down is just not happening. Melky Cabrera, Zach Duke and David Robertson are on three-year deals. Major assets like Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Abreu are on incredibly team-friendly contracts that are more sensible to keep than trade.

The owner and the team president are not going to preside over a rebuild, nor let the GM do so. So it'll be another off-season of tweaking and "middling it," trying to strengthen the bottom 20 players on the roster.

Good luck. They'll need it.

• Matt Spiegel co-hosts "The Spiegel & Goff Show" 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday on WSCR 670-AM. Follow him on Twitter @mattspiegel670.

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