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White Sox Fri Jul 27 2012
The White Sox used the tagline "All In" a season too soon.
The organization used the slogan last year in White Sox promotional materials. All in. As we saw, All In didn't amount to much, as the Sox finished 79-83, well out of first place.
This year - specifically, right now - the battle cry should be "All In." The Sox are currently in the thick of a bizarre dog fight with the Detroit Tigers in the race for the AL Central crown. I use the word bizarre because it feels that neither team wants it. The Tigers are finally now over .500, but they're a team that the Sox just gave away three wins to this past weekend. Each team needs something, and the Tigers may have addressed that with their recent acquisitions of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
The Sox? They can use a top-notch pitcher. Specifically, Zack Greinke. As was announced Thursday, the Brewers will be dealing their ace before the July 31 trade deadline. This is an opportunity for the White Sox to jump in.
Chicago has two things going for them. First, Greinke, whose contract ends at season's end, has just about come out and said that he will be testing free agency this winter. The team that trades for him most likely will be getting a rental. This works for the Sox - they were not expecting to compete in 2012 anyway, so pushing the rebuilding process back a year will not be a big deal. Other teams may be hesitant in trading for Greinke for the "rental" reason. Squads that are interested, like Texas, Atlanta and the LA Angels, have a good shot at signing him outright in the winter without having to give up any assets.
Back to the Sox. With all the veterans this team has, and with all the career years Chicago is getting from everyone, it's highly unlikely the 2013 Sox (assuming everyone returns) will be anywhere as good as this year. It's simply the law of averages. This year, Alex Rios, AJ Pierzynski and Adam Dunn have been marvelous offensively, Paul Konerko is hitting over .330, and Jake Peavy has been a stud every fifth day. For next year, the chances of those guys declining to a degree rise significantly, especially since all five will be 32 or older next season. Not that a decline is guaranteed, but the odds aren't favorable for the Sox.
Basically, 2012 should be Kenny Williams' focus. Past this year is the great unknown.
That's in large part due to the White Sox 30th-ranked farm system. But... that's the second reason why the Sox should go all-out for Greinke. On the surface, this makes no sense. Wait, they can entice Milwaukee in a trade BECAUSE they have a bad farm system?
Precisely. It could allow Chicago to be creative and to take chances in what they offer to Milwaukee. Really, every young player in the organization not named Chris Sale or Addison Reed can be expendable. The Brewers can name their price for Greinke, and the Sox can match it, especially if the Brewers want multiple prospects. So what if the Sox give up too much? Their farm system is already at the bottom!
By being aggressive, GM Ken Williams can jump onto the chance to acquire a top of the rotation pitcher. Other teams may be concerned about having to give up their highly rated prospects that they've built their farm system on in exchange for a pitcher that might only be on the team for two and a half months (at the most). Neither aspect of that should faze the Sox.
Bringing in Greinke (or any top pitcher on the trading block in the next few days) will make the Sox significantly better. They can have a top-heavy rotation with Jake Peavy, Chris Sale and Greinke/whoever they trade for, with surprise rookie Jose Quintana and Gavin Floyd filling it out.
Naturally, it's not certain that the Brewers are interested in what the Sox potentially have to offer. But if they are, the White Sox should go for it and not look back.