Manager Rick Renteria lost his best starting pitcher Thursday, when the White Sox traded Jose Quintana to the Cubs for four prospects.
In the days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, more key pieces of the roster could be dealt.
But the expectations for those who remain on the South Side on Aug. 1 will not change.
“We’re privileged to be playing professional baseball at the major-league level,” Renteria said. “And if you don’t find the energy and desire to want to put it all out there every day, maybe this isn’t the place for you.
“All we can do is encourage them, try to continue to instill a desire to be the best professionals they can be. I believe that in that clubhouse, every individual is raising the bar.”
The last-place Sox lost for the fifth time in six games Saturday, a 4-3 defeat to the Mariners that featured a combined four errors and three unearned runs.
Renteria seemed to fulfill his part of the deal, showing energy and emotion while getting ejected for the sixth time this season.
He argued that Tim Anderson should’ve been given two bases after an error by Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. Renteria walked slowly out to second-base umpire Tom Hallion and calmly made his case before the two began arguing in each other’s faces.
“We all know he’s there for us and has our back,” said Sox starter Mike Pelfrey, who lasted only 4‰ innings. “We’re very appreciative of that, and as players, that’s the guy you want to play for. You want to go out and play hard.”
Renteria insisted he doesn’t walk onto the field with the goal of getting tossed, but it hasn’t typically taken long for him to say something that quickly results in his dismissal.
Either way, it was indicative of the emotion he expects from his players.
“If you see that they’re not going to be performing or giving you the energy they’re supposed to,” he said, “that’s my job to make sure it’s brought forth. And it’s their job to continue to pick each other up and hold each other accountable.”
Todd Frazier and David Robertson could be the next pieces dealt, making Renteria’s job that much more difficult.
The Red Sox reportedly are closing in on a deal for Frazier, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who said a deal “seems almost inevitable.” ESPN reported that talks with the Red Sox intensified Saturday.
Less visible pieces of the Sox’ roster — relievers Tommy Kahnle and Anthony Swarzak — might draw interest from around the league, too.
Renteria said the team spoke as a group Friday, and he told players to control what they can control and that they’ve got to keep moving forward regardless of how the personnel changes in the clubhouse.
Melky Cabrera seems to have taken that message to heart, going 4-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and a solo homer to lead off the first inning.
He said he wants to stay in Chicago, isn’t thinking about trade rumors and just wants to do his job.
“My focus is just to play baseball, come here every day and play the best way that I can,” Cabrera said. “I would like to stay here, but that’s not a decision for me to make.”
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