The trade deadline came and went Monday without the White Sox making a deal to bolster their pitching staff.
The Sox, who opened a three-game series against the defending American League Central champion Twins on Monday night in Minneapolis having won 11 of their previous 13 games and were tied for first place with the Indians in the division, like what they have. So they will pursue what would be the franchise’s first division title since 2008 with the players on their current roster.
General manager Rick Hahn seems to think they have enough, and with a young core under contract control for years to come, the Sox are even more confident about next season and beyond. And with that, no top prospects were traded for immediate help.
“It came down to not wanting to do anything that was going to compromise what we’re excited about over the better part of the next decade around here,” Hahn said.
With young talent blossoming all over the diamond, the Sox are enjoying a breakout season. They had been linked to right-handers Mike Clevinger and Lance Lynn and other starters who would have bolstered a rotation that includes Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez, but it seems the Sox weren’t serious bidders on the last day.
Barring a collapse, the Sox should make the expanded 16-team postseason field. But an additional starter would have tightened their grip and made them more dangerous in the postseason. It seems they’re banking on left-hander Carlos Rodon, recovering from a sore shoulder at Schaumburg, to be that new addition.
“We are going to have this young group go through a pennant race,” Hahn said. “This young group ideally will be competing, knock on wood, deep into October. Those are invaluable experiences for young guys.”
The Sox had a franchise-record 53 home runs in August with a game to go, a run differential of plus-42 that ranks second in the majors and starting pitchers who owned a major-league-best 2.55 ERA over the last 29 games.
It’s not that they don’t have needs, though. Reliever Aaron Bummer is on the injured list, and his status is unclear for September. Gio Gonzalez went on the injured list with a groin strain over the weekend. But right-hander Dane Dunning pitched five hitless innings Sunday against the Royals in his second consecutive good start as a major-leaguer.
“The [rotation] has done a great job,” Hahn said. “Dane Dunning has staked his claim to a spot in the rotation, Lopez is climbing his way back and Carlos Rodon had a nice outing yesterday in Schaumburg and is a potential option for us in the not-too-distant future.”
Clevinger, who has two years of contract control left after this season, was traded from the Indians — in and of itself a gain for the Sox — out of the division and to the Padres. And Lynn drew some early interest from the Sox and others but stayed with the Rangers.
The Sox did make a trade Friday, acquiring outfielder Jarrod Dyson from the Pirates for international-signing bonus-pool money. Hahn explored other rental-type acquisitions, “but the pricing didn’t work out beyond the Dyson deal.”
Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams, Hahn, manager Rick Renteria and seven veteran players met Sunday, Hahn said. Hahn said he came away reassured the clubhouse culture and chemistry, which could have been affected with the addition of Clevinger, are good.
The players left the meeting knowing it could be on them to finish the job in September and beyond.
“Either direction that we went in, they passed their opinions and were made aware of the conversations going on, and we wanted them to be able to chime in,” Renteria said.
“They’re learning to control what they can control. Right now, if there is no change, it’s them, and they’re going to find a way to get that done.”