By Bruce Levine-
(CBS) — The White Sox may not be the aggressors in any trade talks that are going on, but they won’t back away from any possible deals that make sense. With just 10 days left until the non-wavier trading deadline passes, clubs are lining up to inquire about three of the team’s starting players.
Shortstop Alexei Ramirez, second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Dayan Viciedo have all been scouted by numerous teams in search of adding some punch for the final two months of the season.
General manager Rick Hahn won’t back away from the questions about his players, but there’s a warning flag when you approach him on who he will move.
“It certainly is a very fair question,” he said. “However, not one I am going to answer, which I think you can understand. Look, we are not what we need to be, we know that. We are realistic about where we are today. We are realistic about where we are likely to be over the next 10 weeks or so.”
All that Hahn said is GM-speak for telling all who are interested that the White Sox are open for business. They will consider a transaction that makes sense for now and the future.
“We aren’t going to force it,” Hahn said. “There is no urgency to make any moves at this time. It will be dictated on the right fits, and what the return is going to be.”
Hahn will most likely have to field offers this next week from Toronto, Cincinnati and Atlanta for Beckham. The problem with this situation, though, is that Beckham has gone into a horrible slump, hitting around .150 in his last 100 at-bats.
Scouts are having a tough time convincing their bosses that a deal would help the second baseman pop out of his hitting funk.
“We always liked Beckham, and we need a good player there right now, ” one top talent scout said. “Now, I tell my GM I believe in the player and he asks me, ‘When will he hit?’ What am I supposed to say?”
Ramirez has been on the radar of Pittsburgh since last July. The Pirates made an offer to the White Sox last year that was turned down. Jordy Mercer is the 27-year-old shortstop the Pirates like, but he would have to be a part of any deal for Ramirez, who has a favorable contract a for a big-market club but may be too rich for Pittsburgh (making a prorated $10 million for 2014, $10 million in 2015 and a $10 million team option year in 2016).
Viciedo has been on the Mariners’ wish list for two years. The price will be a quality pitcher if the Sox are expected to budge. Seattle also has left-handed hitting, which Chicago covets. The White Sox are hesitant to deal a 25-year-old power hitter who has under-achieved the last two seasons after hitting 25 home runs in 2012.
Many National League teams are locked in close playoff races. Some will fall by the wayside, but maybe not before the deadline for non-wavier deals passes, so the high demand could remain.