The trade deadline in some ways reflected how the 2022 season has played out for the Chicago White Sox.
There was a general expectation that the Sox would make a move or two on Tuesday to help them in their quest for a third straight postseason appearance.
But the Sox couldn’t close any more deals.
“Frankly, we’re disappointed that we couldn’t do more to improve this club,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “You saw a year ago at this point, you’ve seen for the last few years, possibly the last two decades, that it’s our nature to try and improve this club any chance we get.
“And unfortunately we couldn’t line up with some of our other potential targets. Anyone who feels a level of frustration or disappointment, I’m right there with you.”
The Sox improved to 52-51 with a 9-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field. There have been times when it feels like the team is turning a corner, only to step back.
The Red Sox are two games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central and the second-place Cleveland Guardians are one game behind.
The Sox added to their bullpen on Monday, Acquiring left-hander Jake Diekman from the Boston Red Sox. But they didn’t address an offense that has been consistently inconsistent in run production, or in any other area.
“It was a different market this year,” Hahn said. “I don’t know if it was a by-product of having more playoff teams than in the past or a by-product of the wild-card round being best-of-three instead of a coin toss game that kind of led sellers to Be a bit more aggressive in terms of your selling prices.
“There were some players that people thought were probably going to be moved that ended up not being moved for some reason, which is an individual team choice. But I think the overall market was seller-friendly and we didn’t line up.”
Hahn said that “the track record of the organization shows that we are not afraid to make deals.”
“We’re not afraid to be aggressive, we’re not afraid to have a priority list and go to the bottom of the list and at some point set the right and appropriate price for the trade,” he said. “At no time during this process did I feel like we were holding onto prospects in any way, that we weren’t being reasonable. We were asked for a lot of our premium prospects in exchange for rentals that didn’t exactly line up from our perspective or didn’t make sense not only for this team, but for the future as well.
“Sitting in this chair, you have the responsibility of today, but also the responsibility of tomorrow. And sometimes those two can be in conflict, especially when it comes time to discuss trades or take on future financial obligations. But I do think our track record shows that when there is an opportunity to improve the present, we take it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any additional opportunities beyond Jake Diekman in the last couple of days.”
Diekman, who has a 4.23 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 30 walks in 38⅓ innings, is tied for 11th in the American League with 44 appearances.
“There are probably four, six outlets that I would prefer to have back,” he said. “Just being super consistent and hitting your spot and missing on the right side of the plate. Remove them and I feel great. When I attack, I know what kind of shooter I am.
“My goal is to throw as much as possible. I feel like you earn your paycheck that way. If they want to shoot me 70 times, then do it.”
The addition of Diekman to the 26-man roster was one of six moves the Sox announced Tuesday.
They also reinstated center fielder Luis Robert from the 10-day disabled list; returned third baseman Jake Burger from his rehab assignment, reinstating him from the 10-day IL and sending him to Triple-A Charlotte; sent pitcher Davis Martin to Charlotte; claimed pitcher Tobias Myers from San Francisco Giants waivers and assigned him to Charlotte; and sent pitcher Vince Velasquez on a rehab assignment to Charlotte.
Robert had been in IL retroactive to July 19 with blurred vision.
“Most importantly, the symptoms have disappeared; otherwise we wouldn’t be promoting it the way we have,” Hahn said. “Fundamentally, I think I was suffering from the effects of a virus, probably not a very satisfying way of putting it. But the reality is that he had a couple of vitamin deficiencies that we have been able to address that have been linked to the cause of his symptoms and thankfully those symptoms have resolved.”
In a season filled with IL travel across the roster, Hahn is hopeful of getting the core healthy and productive together.
“The fact is, we still believe a lot in this group that’s inside this clubhouse right now,” Hahn said. “We think they’re very capable of playing better baseball than we’ve seen in the first couple of months and that there’s a potential championship team there if they get to their accustomed levels of performance.”
For the second month in a row, Sox starter Dylan Cease was named the American League Pitcher of the Month. Cease went 5-1 with a 0.76 ERA and 40 strikeouts in six starts in July. All three runs he allowed were solo home runs.
The right-hander is the first pitcher in franchise history to win the award twice in the same season.
Cease is 11-4 with a 2.01 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 21 starts this season.