For the first time since 2007, the White Sox can't talk themselves into pretending they're contending. Unlike 2007 -- when Mark Buehrle and Jermaine Dye could've been shipped out -- there's really nobody in the sale bin with considerable emotional pull.
(This excludes Chris Sale, who is not in said sale bin despite the coincidence, but a locked, climate-controlled glass case in the back. Please ask Rick Hahn for assistance; wear a monocle and ascot to increase your chances of being taken seriously.)
(This also excludes Paul Konerko, because the combination of a steep decline and a back injury should kill all interest.)
The presumably available Sox have been solid citizens and held their own, but they don't have a stake in a quick turnaround -- or they may obstruct one. 2007's fire sale only shipped out Tadahito Iguchi and Rob Mackowiak. This purge could be colder, as well as purgier.
Six-hit game aside, the architecture enthusiast has been mired in a slump since the start of June. His rut has made tempting trade offers difficult to come by at this point, according to Jim Bowden (whose interpretations of trade rumors I don't necessarily trust, but hey):
The Chicago White Sox have been shopping almost all of their players, but so far they have been extremely disappointed in the offers they've fielded for right fielder Alex Rios. However, with very few bats available they should still do fine, as teams always get a bit more desperate right before the deadline.
The Rangers are one potentially interested team, as ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett says Jon Daniels tends to prefer acquiring players with some contract certainty. He wonders if the Sox would take a lesser haul for more contract relief, but unless the Sox have a hunch Rios isn't right -- or think that he's somebody whose production will go down with the ship -- it seems like Rick Hahn could wait until the offseason. With a poor free agency pool, Rios' remaining contract (one year plus a club option) might look more appealing compared to the open market.
Mark Gonzales says the Sox should have enough interested bidders to ask for specific players and not eat any part of the contract.
Gonzales also included Peavy in that assessment of Rios, but he has to prove he's healthy first. I'm guessing we're going to see plenty of shots of scouts in the stands when Peavy makes his start on Saturday against Atlanta.
The Sox's other injured trade candidate wasn't able to throw with confidence last week, so he used his All-Star trip to New York as a vacation. If he is able to return for good before the deadline -- and resembling his previous form -- he'll have plenty of interest, with the Rockies (link), Red Sox (link), Braves and other teams monitoring the situation.
Crain's spectacular season has overshadowed another perfectly cromulent right-handed reliever in Lindstrom. Everything about his situation, from his numbers to his contract (the remainder of $2.3 million, plus a $4 million club option for 2014 or $500,000 buyout), suggests a team could do worse if they miss on a bigger name.
Enthusiasm should be tempered, because Lindstrom is a veteran of the trade route. In fact, he was in the same boat with Baltimore just last season. He performed in line with his contract (although a finger injury cost him some time), which had that same $4 million option for 2013 (except with a $200,000 buyout), but the crowded Orioles bullpen made him expendable. The Diamondbacks bit -- but only for Joe Saunders, in an excess-for-excess deal.
Before that, he was the lesser part of a 2-for-1 deal between Colorado and Baltimore better known as a starter swap (Jason Hammel for Jeremy Guthrie). That he can be retained past 2013 gives an interested team some flexibility, but the Sox's best offer might be a change-of-scenery candidate unless he's packaged with someone else.
Unlike Rios, Ramirez has resuscitated his stock over the last month or so, hitting .331/.340/.426 over his last 31 games and settling down defensively over the last two weeks. But the rumor mill has been mum on him, and the Sox don't have anybody knocking down the door for up-the-middle playing time, although that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
It's all quiet here, which is to be expected. He's still got three years and $42.75 million on his contract after this one. He's been a pleasant surprise so far, but decent performances shouldn't be a bonus at that price.
If only he could stay healthy! Here's a highlight reel of his rehab stints in Charlotte: