As the days until the non-waiver trade deadline dwindle, the names keep popping up; Danys Baez, Aubrey Huff, Billy Wagner, and A.J. Burnett are all guys who the White Sox have been reportedly interested in. The problem, however, is that half of these players are on teams who believe that they still have a shot at the postseason.
A big reason why Williams has been pushing the Phillies is the growing concern about closer Dustin Hermanson's lingering back problems. Twice this season, Hermanson has had to miss games because of the back, and the hope is a third incident won't come in crunch time, or even worse, during the postseason.
It's unfortunate that this year's market seems so tight -- an arm like Wagner's would make the Sox' bullpen the strongest in the American League.
Minor thoughts: Seeing as though the Sox probably won't subtract from their major league team in a trade, I thought I'd take a look at how some of the kids are doing on the farm.
Note: I left this to strictly players from Charlotte (AAA) or Birmingham (AA).
Brandon McCarthy: McCarthy has posted a 4-7, 4.69 ERA down at the bandbox of Charlotte. While the ERA might seem a little high, it is steadily going down from the 5.50 ERA that he posted in May. Some positives is that McCarthy's K-rate is still sky-high, striking out almost 11 batters per nine. I realize his stint in the majors wasn't very encouraging, but McCarthy remains a top prospect, especially if his ERA keeps dropping.
Brian Anderson: Anderson has been on a hot-streak as of late. He has raised his batting average to .297, while posting an OPS of .854. Sox fans remain a little dissappointed that he is striking out twice as much as he is walking, yet the power and defensive ability is encouraging. Anderson will probably have a shot to help the team come September, when the major league roster will expand.
Ryan Sweeney: Sweeney struggled to show power early on in the season -- just 12 extra base-hits in the first three months of the season. However, he seems to be showing a little bit more, as he has already seven extra base-hits in the month of July. While his OPS is a little low (.716), he is playing in a notorious pitcher's park at Birmingham. And, he doesn't seem to be getting fooled very often -- just 37 strikeouts in over 300 at-bats.
Chris Young: Young hasn't played in a few weeks, as he's been nursing a strained muscle in his side(???). He remains one of the few 'untouchables' in the Sox' minor league system (in my mind). His month-by-month improving K/BB ratio, along with his mammoth power, has many Sox fans excited about his future.
-Joe Borchard is currently posting a .257/.328/.467 line at Charlotte. I doubt that he figures in the Sox' future outfield, but hopefully his trade value is rising. Hey, Jim Bowden -- would you like another toolsy outfielder?
-Charlotte reliever Jeff Bajenaru continues to prove that he's ready for the show -- he has 14 saves, 65 K's in 54 2/3rds, and is posting a nice 1.15 ERA.
-Speaking of Alex Escobar, the guy he was traded for -- Birmingham outfielder Jerry Owens -- is currently posting a .325/.386/.389 line. I doubt that he'll ever be a star, but it was still a nice move by Kenny Williams.