The White Sox would really like someone to drop them a hint.
Not only does a bitter 5-4 loss at the hands of Justin Verlander and the Tigers drag the Sox back to 4.5 games and 2 games under .500--an odd mixture of opportunity and abject failure--but back to pondering whether to take a drive at this division with a full TANK of gas, or take the league-wide swap meet that is the trade deadline as a chance to reshape at least the 2012 team into something with as little resemblance to the current iteration as possible. You know, Colby Rasmus in center, or Brandon Beachy in the rotation, with Chris Sale as the designated hitter, or whatever. Just make it different!
It wouldn't be that clear where to go first even if the goal was set. Jake Peavy's continuing endurance issues makes trading Edwin Jackson and reverting back to a 5-man look as dicey for the sh0rt-term as ever, Rios and Dunn consistently taunt Sox management to zap their playing time for the sake of the current team while risking their massive investment, and all the excitement that was generated by Alejandro De Aza getting called up, was deflated by the realization that Alejandro De Aza wasn't getting called up.
It seemed like Justin Verlander was trying to drop such a hint. He came from 2 strikes ahead to throw a home run to Adam Dunn that unhinged jaws across the South Side, hung a curveball to Konerko--who can't pick up his fastball--and in effect allowed the White Sox to post an exceedingly reasonable output for their pitching staff to hold up.
Yet still, the White Sox managed to come off like they could use one more competent bat or three, if only because I marveled at the Tigers, and how they lacked the multi-batter holes of every other AL Central team. Sure, it's very for Detroit noticeable when Verlander isn't pitching, but they had a half-decent chance of scoring every inning. Can you even imagine such luxury?
The FanGraphs piece on a possible White Sox fire sale didn't do much more than posit how much fun it would be for national baseball analysts if a mid-level contender called off the charade and committed itself to tactful yet ruthlessly fan-murdering purging of assets. If you have any attachment to the current White Sox roster, it's kind of a dark read. Still, it's almost exciting just to hear positivism about the White Sox 'future' along with terms like 'young talent' and 'quality prospects', even it's based on vague whispers about budget concerns.
As much as the 'All In' approach was supposed to be about a reckless pursuit of a division title, it was obviously counterbalanced with the understanding that the future after this season was pretty darn bleak. The aging roster being counted on to have one last hurrah would only be older after 2011, and in many notable instances getting paid more, with the seemingly permanent specter of a barren farm system hanging over any kind of effort to refurnish the roster.
Between eschewing aggression in promoting available outfield help, or Kenny Williams' oddly timed deference to Ozzie Guillen's twice-debunked theories on offense, some element of the reckless pursuit of a division title hasn't been there. The White Sox front office has operated with a lot longer view than the marketing team gave them credit for.
So, if the goods aren't going to be there, the Sox finding some way to finagle themselves out of their own roster suicide pact would be a welcome compromise. Anything other than this middle ground.