While the White Sox were idle on Thursday night, the Oakland Athletics shut out the Seattle Mariners, which means the White Sox now have the American League's worst record in terms of winning percentage.
There's small solace in the fact that the White Sox (along with the Royals) have played the fewest games. The Sox are three games ahead in the loss column of Oakland, two ahead of Boston, and one ahead of Seattle. That's about the only thing keeping their playoff percentages from starting with a "0," as they have nine teams between them and the second wild card spot.
Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs both give the Sox a 2 percent shot, so cue the "Dumb & Dumber" quote:
That's right: The Sox are looking at their playoff odds and taking big gulps indeed.
The rumor mill remains mostly quiet. That's partially because the White Sox weren't considered sellers at the start like the Reds and Phillies. Teams have been scouting them for parts since April, so the sources are more entrenched on those fronts.
Moreover, the Sox' best assets aren't exactly the shiniest at the estate sale. Jon Heyman summed it up pretty well:
Players Who Could Be On The Move: Jeff Samardzija isn't having the year he had last year and this time he's only a rental, but scouts still mostly love him, and he should be quite popular. First baseman/DH Adam LaRoche is producing decently compared to the rest of the lineup, though the extra year on his deal may limit a possible take. (He probably should be elsewhere; "I don't get why he's DHing there, he's their one above-average defensive player," one rival said).
So I'm guessing it'll be a lot like the 2013 deadline, when injuries to Jake Peavy and Jesse Crain forced the Sox to wait until the last 10 days to make their moves. Peavy rebounded well enough. Crain ... well, tip a 40.
Proposed Trade: Samardzija to the Jays for catching prospect Max Pentecost, a No. 1 pick a year ago.
This idea sounds encouraging at first glance, because the Sox could use catchers. Then you look at his stats from last year and see that he drew two walks over 109 plate appearances which, OK. He still fared pretty well in his pro debut, which ended with a wrist issue.
Then you notice that he hasn't played in 2015, and that's because he's had two surgeries on the same shoulder, the second coming in February. And that's when you think that the Sox might be able to do better with a compensation pick that Samardzija would be worth.
(Of course, if the Sox intend to make a run at retaining Samardzija after the season, it might make sense to deal him for something, if only to pick up a mildly interesting player they didn't have before at no real cost.)
In news that should surprise nobody who has been watching, Chris Sale picked up the American League Pitcher of the Month Award for June. His 77 strikeouts were the most in a single month since 1977, when Nolan Ryan struck out 87 that June.
Melissa Mayeux, the 16-year-old shortstop from France who became the first woman ever added to MLB's international registration list, is a pretty good interview. At least if you speak French like Louis Bien does.
St. Louis fans were hoping that the Cardinals' alleged hacking into the Astros' database was the act of rogue interns or other low-level employees. Alas, this goes all the way up to their scouting director, Chris Correa, who reportedly didn't offer the most valid of excuses for his involvement in the scandal:
Correa has admitted hacking into a Houston database but only to determine whether the Astros had stolen proprietary data, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
Given that it's the Cardinals, I've seen a lot of instinctive responses saying "hire him!" Besides the potential of criminal charges and a lack of overall integrity, two other key reasons this is a bad idea:
- It's his first year in that role.
- More than anybody, scouting directors are relied upon for their foresight.
- Bill Stoneman is in it for short haul with Angels - LA Times
- You can be the future GM of the Los Angeles Angels - SBNation.com
Speaking of uninspiring responses, Bill Stoneman the former-and-now-current Angels GM on taking over for Jerry Dipoto, who suddenly resigned due to conflicts with Arte Moreno and Mike Scioscia:
"Hopefully I have the energy to do it and my mind still works well enough to do it," Stoneman said.
Jose Fernandez came back from Tommy John surgery, picked up a win with a quality start, and also hit a 404-foot homer off Matt Cain.