HOUSTON — General manager Rick Hahn last week suggested the White Sox will be active before the trade deadline “if the juice is worth the squeeze,” and manager Tony La Russa this weekend said he’s confident the front office is “going to do all they can” before the July 31 trade deadline to ensure the roster is equipped for a second-half and postseason push.
“And we’re confident that they’re going to look at the talent and the character [of potential acquisitions],” La Russa said. “Last year, they had a culture. They got tired of losing; they started winning. My point is, they’re going to try to add wherever they think they should add, but it’s going to be a combination of the talent and the character.”
During the abbreviated 60-game season, chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, vice president Ken Williams, Hahn and manager Rick Renteria met with seven veteran players the day before the Aug. 31 deadline. The players came away knowing no more additions were coming.
The players and Renteria wanted more than outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who was acquired for international-bonus-pool cash Aug. 28. The rotation was thin, but Hahn said he didn’t want to part with top prospects and wanted the young players to experience a pennant push, and by the time the Sox got to the postseason as a wild card, they had two trustworthy starters. They were ousted by the Athletics in the first round.
“We’ll see,” Hahn said when asked about upgrades last week.
The rotation is now five deep and, three poor starts against the Astros notwithstanding, has been perhaps the best in the majors, but the bullpen has room for improvements, and the every-day roster has been ravaged by injuries to Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. Jimenez and Robert might return by August or September.
The Sox rolled into Houston with a 43-25 record and left at 43-29. Perhaps the sweep was an eye-opener.
As Hahn said, the team has made it clear since spring training that the World Series is the goal.
“For the next several weeks, we’re going to find out a lot more about what our own internal options are capable of doing, those that are active, what those on the IL might be capable of contributing in the second half,” Hahn said, “as well as a greater understanding of what the market is in terms of who’s available and what the cost is to address those holes.”
La Russa shuffled the lineup to no avail, moving Yoan Moncada to second and Jose Abreu to third while batting Brian Goodwin fourth. The Sox had three hits.
“When you get beat three times, why not do something different?” La Russa said.
Yermin Mercedes was dropped to eighth. He was 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts this week.
“He’s concerned,” La Russa said. “He was on such a high, and as it’s been getting away from him, you start searching.”
La Russa said Mercedes has been pulling his head off the ball.
“He’s working with [coach] Frank [Menechino], and [Abreu] talks to him,” La Russa said.
Right-hander Jose Ruiz, who exited Saturday with a sore knee, seemed OK riding an exercise bike Sunday but was not available, although La Russa was hopeful an injured-list stint would be avoided. Leury Garcia (sore knee) sat out after playing Saturday.