What will White Sox’ front office do? ‘You trust in them,’ closer Liam Hendriks says
‘‘You’re going to get in trouble as a player if you try to play GM,’’ Hendriks said.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — While the White Sox stand pat — at least for now and perhaps longer than you might like — the American League Central gets better around them.
The Twins’ addition of free agent Carlos Correa was a stunning attention-grabber, and the Sox’ clubhouse took notice. And while the presence of a $35 million-a-year player — arguably the best shortstop in the game — doesn’t make the Twins the Sox’ equal on paper, it will make the defending AL Central champion Sox’ work a little more challenging 19 times this season.
‘‘Definitely a shock,’’ said Sox left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who was teammates with Correa on the Astros. ‘‘He took that leadership role and ran with it. He is nothing short of one of the best players on the field, if not the league. He’s going to make an immediate impact.’’
The Sox, in fact, see improvement from all four division rivals.
‘‘There’s different dynamics in the Central,’’ Sox closer Liam Hendriks said. ‘‘The Twins made some moves to get better. Detroit’s done the same thing. We’ve done the same thing.’’
‘‘The Central will be more competitive,’’ Sox manager Tony La Russa said.
The Sox have added Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly to the bullpen and replaced Cesar Hernandez with Josh Harrison at second base on a team first baseman Jose Abreu stopped short of calling the best he has been on.
‘‘One of the most talented teams I’ve been around,’’ he said Saturday.
If players want to see general manager Rick Hahn add to it, perhaps with another starting pitcher such as Athletics left-hander Sean Manaea in a trade or left-handed-hitting outfielder Michael Conforto in a dwindling free-agent market, they’re not saying publicly.
‘‘You’re going to get in trouble as a player if you try to play GM,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘We’re not going to request a player; it’s not going to end well. You take what you can. But I do know when you make moves in the middle of the season, it can completely change the attitude in the clubhouse. But in the offseason, you let it play as it is.’’
As it stands right now, the Sox have enough to win the AL Central. They might not have enough to beat the Dodgers in the World Series, but they could be in a better position to assess that before the trade deadline July 31.
‘‘Sure, there’s always moves you can make,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘But you run out the first 80 games and say: ‘OK we have deficiencies here or there; let’s see what we can address and push the needle the most.’ From all the conversations we’ve had with the front office, this is our time, this is our window.
‘‘Our job is to get ready for the season, and it’s theirs, too — whether it’s with the current guys we’ve got or a couple of different pieces they add. You trust in them to have the interest of winning a championship.’’
Hendriks knows this. When he was on the Blue Jays in 2015, the team added Troy Tulowitzki, David Price and LaTroy Hawkins at the deadline.
‘‘We walked in that day, and you would have thought we hadn’t lost a game all year,’’ he said. ‘‘And we were a .500 team.’’
Hendriks also said any addition would have to fit in. He likes that the Sox’ front office checks with players about how those they’re targeting would mesh in the clubhouse.
‘‘It’s refreshing knowing they actually [care] about the clubhouse vibe,’’ Hendriks said. ‘‘You can have the best lineup in the world, but if they don’t mesh well, you’re never going to win. A championship team will always be a team of champions.’’
Correa will fit in with the Twins and make them better, but he is ‘‘just one more guy we have to get out,’’ Keuchel said. ‘‘But we have a really good staff, and I’ll take our guys against anybody.
‘‘It’s going to be a competitive division. There are going to be two or three teams at the end that are going to duke it out, but I like our chances.’’