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White Sox Fri Aug 01 2014
Both Grantland and New York Magazine have run articles over the last few weeks that argue the NBA transaction periods (the trade deadline, draft and free agency period) have become more exciting and interesting to fans than the actual season, playoffs and championship. It's really hard to deny this, when Kevin Love trade rumors dominate ESPN every day.
This concept carries over a little into baseball, too. The offseason has a catchy nickname (the Hot Stove) and the trade deadline is a whirlwind of player movement. Nowadays, it's a whirlwind of rumors, conjecture and outright hoaxes, too. Here's what the last 26 hours and 37 minutes before the moment of yesterday's 3 p.m. deadline looked like from the White Sox's point of view. Well, mostly from their point of view.
12:23 p.m.: It's been a quiet run to the trade deadline so far in MLB, other than a few very small ancillary deals and the Jeff Samardzija trade at the beginning of July. Most of the current speculation revolves around the Rays' David Price and the Red Sox's Jon Lester. Lester is a free agent after this year while Price can pick his home in two years, and many teams are looking for pitching. The White Sox are not rumored to be in on any Price or Lester deal, of course.
12:35: Key passage from Tribune writer Colleen Kane's White Sox notebook:
As Thursday's trade deadline approaches, [Robin] Ventura reiterated the idea that the Sox will make a move only if they believe it is beneficial for their long-term plan. "If there's something that happens, it's something that's going to make us better down the line," Ventura said. "For us, we still have to concentrate on what we are doing today and make sure guys are playing for today."
As opposed to making a trade that makes the Sox worse down the line? But Ventura's right. The Sox did well over the last year by acquiring Major League-ready players that they can control for the foreseeable future (Avisail Garcia, Adam Eaton). That's how you rebuild when you have a so-so farm system.
12:44: WhiteSox.com's Scott Merkin did a nice job breaking down potential Sox trade candidates. My favorite line: "Dayan Viciedo has the potential to carry a team offensively." He left off "... for a few weeks in May."
12:46: Dan Hayes from CSN Chicago says that there were only a few scouts at Tuesday's Sox-Tigers game, and one said "It feels like I'm the only one here." My guess, as of this moment, is that no Sox players are dealt before the deadline. But don't stop reading!
1:32: The Indians trade Justin Masterson to St. Louis. So they're selling, but maybe it's just addition by subtraction (He has a -0.6 WAR this year). Knowing St. Louis it's almost certain Masterson will have like a 2.05 ERA and 10 K/9 for them the rest of the season.
4:43: Twitter has overall been a net positive over the last five years, but its flaws really show anytime pro sports teams are making an acquisition. First it was reported that the Orioles are closing in on a deal with the Red Sox for Jon Lester. Then it was reported that no, they're not close, but that they're still talking. Finally, it's reported that there is no sort of deal anywhere remotely close to happening.
9:29: During a break from the deadline madness for, you know, actual baseball, the Sox lose to the Tigers 7-2.
10:30: Hall of Fame Twitterer @FanSince09 orchestrates a prank on Lester and Phillies' outfielder Ben Revere. He gets his 5,000 followers to tweet at Lester and say congrats on being dealt to Philadelphia, and then he gets them to tweet to Revere to say that they were sorry to see him and Chase Utley go to San Francisco. Someone even takes it to the next level and changes Revere's Wikipedia page. Unclear if it tricks Lester or Revere, but it's an awesome effort regardless. Shows just how powerful social media can be, and how people just don't really have better things to do.
1:45 a.m: The Marlins have interest in John Danks. Then again, they've been reported to have interest in just about every available starting pitcher.
9:45: The first big trade is announced: Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes. The reaction seems to be that the A's made a huge risk, but Cespedes is actually not that much of a commodity to give up. He's a free agent after next year, and after a fantastic 2012 rookie year Cespedes has been just all right. He won the last two home run derbies and makes the highlight reel throws, but his OPS-plus last year was 103 and this year it's 114. He's also 28. Obviously he's good, but not a superstar.
10:22 The Sox play at noon to finish their series with Detroit, and Danks is starting. The trade deadline is at 3 p.m. Central time. It's a very interesting situation. If Danks comes off the mound early then something's up -- or he got shelled.
2:47 p.m.: Nothing has happened yet, other than the Indians trading Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals.
While FanSince09's antics are harmless fun, there's something a little more sinister with fake Twitter accounts that impersonate plugged-in reporters. ESPN analyst Jim Bowden is caught stealing trade scoops from one of these fake Twitter accounts. Bad times on both ends -- for the fake account and for the lazy Bowden who didn't think to actually report and check anything.
2:52: The Tigers acquire David Price, and Austin Jackson, who's sent to the Mariners in the deal, is removed from the game during Gordon Beckham's bases loaded at-bat. Steve Stone says he's never seen a traded player taken out in this fashion before. Jackson gives some daps and hugs and leaves to clean out his locker.
It just occurred to me, how weird is the concept of trading pro athletes? Jackson's been a Tiger since 2010, so I'm assuming he has a lot of friends on the team, and that he has a nice apartment or a house, and he might have a wife, a girlfriend and/or kids. He's been working with Detroit all year, striving to win the pennant with his teammates. But when David Price was available? Gone at moment's notice. Imagine if the company that employs you traded you somewhere without your consent. That would be all sorts of illegal, right? OK, I'm thinking about this way too much.
3:00: No trades for the White Sox. Well this was fun.
There's still the entire month of August, where the Sox could make trades after putting players through waivers. There is some precedence for this, as the White Sox both acquired and jettisoned Alex Rios in past Augusts. Watch out for the Sox to make a move or two this month-- or if things go like the last 26 hours and 37 minutes -- not.