White Sox need to get streaking or else as trade deadline draws nearer

“Obviously, we’ve got big decisions to make by Aug. 1,” Sox GM Rick Hahn said.

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Pitcher Lucas Giolito has said he wants to stay with the White Sox for the remainder of the season.

Pitcher Lucas Giolito has said he wants to stay with the White Sox for the remainder of the season.

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Desperate times call for desperate . . . winning streaks.

The White Sox are 13 games below .500 after their 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday, just another day closer to the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

“Buyers or sellers?” is the question of the hour for a team trying to say it’s still in a division race after coming off losing a series to the 24-63 Athletics. The only reason deadline uncertainty might even exist is because of the poor division the Sox inhabit.

General manager Rick Hahn knows only a winning streak can make his and vice president Ken Williams’ and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s decision difficult. Without one, selling becomes a no-brainer.

“I’m not going to put a marker in the sand and say, ‘We need to rattle off 10 out of 14 or we’re doing this,’ ’’ Hahn said before the Sox gave up a lead in the eighth inning. “At the same time, we can see the calendar, we can see the games back. You want to have a reason to believe that this thing’s going to get right between now and Aug. 1.

“Obviously, we’ve got big decisions to make by Aug. 1.”

Hahn said players, manager Pedro Grifol and the coaching staff have assured him their priority “is getting things right here and figuring out a way for us to win the division and then do some damage in the postseason.”

“But we obviously have a fair amount of work to do still ahead of us,” he said.

Lucas Giolito, who pitched six innings of two-run, four-hit ball, said over the weekend he wants to finish the season with the Sox and try to win the division with the current group. Giolito (3.50 ERA), the Sox’ best starter, is eligible for free agency after the season, which makes him a trade chip, and a valuable one at that.

One player who will not be traded is 25-year-old All-Star center fielder Luis Robert Jr., whose three-run, 450-foot home run against Chris Bassitt in the sixth inning erased a 2-0 deficit.

“When he first came here, we could all see he was a superstar in the making,” Giolito said. “Now it’s happening live.”

But the Jays took the lead back at 4-3 against Joe Kelly, who walked Brandon Belt leading off the eighth, then served up an opposite-field homer to Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“Leadoff walks, the majority of the time, will get you,” Grifol said.

Tim Anderson tripled off right fielder George Springer’s glove with one out in the eighth, but Robert popped out and Eloy Jimenez flied out to short left, keeping the Jays in front. Coming out of the worst slump of his career, Anderson had two hits, giving him five in the last three games.

“I’ve been feeling good,” Anderson said. “Feeling more comfortable. Feeling a lot more healthy. Just trying to have good at-bats. We were close. We kept fighting, kept playing.”

Fighting is one thing. Getting wins is another. When it’s time to deal, the front office will have the task of knowing when to pull the trigger on trade offers for any other high-salaried veterans such as relievers Kendall Graveman and Kelly and starter Lance Lynn. Trade markets can be fluid, and the returns the Sox would get could tilt the buy/sell plan.

“Absolutely,” Hahn said. “In the end, we’re going to make a decision about what is best for the long-term health of the organization, with obviously the priority being placed on the here and now because this is the only year we can control. Ultimately, if you’re overwhelmed by a potential return, that may tilt your balance more toward the future than the present. If you don’t play at a certain level, that may tilt your focus more toward the future than the present.”

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