Levine: Trading Deadline Creates Tension For White Sox Players
(CBS) — With countless “deals on the table” around Major League Baseball, the uncertainty of where a man and his family will be on Aug. 1 weighs heavy on players.
White Sox players such as Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Dayan Viciedo and John Danks have all heard the rumors about teams looking at them as possible trade pieces. The family issue was a bone of contention when Dunn was traded the first time in his career from Cincinnati to Arizona.
Now, Dunn is in the last leg of a four-year deal that is paying him more than $16 million in 2014. He doesn’t seem worried about getting moved this time around.
“My wife handled everything,” he said of his first move. “We had a little baby, and I was concerned about them traveling without me from Cincinnati to Phoenix. The changing of teams was easy compared to getting them settled. It was a ton of work for her, a lot more than it was for me just playing every day.”
Some players like Beckham are beaten down by a horrible slump, as well as the constant trade rumors swirling around him. Paul Konerko understands what his teammate may have in store for him.
“If you get traded by the team that drafts you, it can be tough,” Konerko said. “There is always a soft spot for that team in your heart because you envision yourself doing all the great things in your career with that team.”
Konerko was once dealt twice in a four-month period — first from the Dodgers to the Reds and then ending up with Chicago in November 1998 for Mike Cameron.
“I was traded twice in six months. You learn real quick this is a business,” Konerko said. “This is a tough business and tough game. The trades really hardened me up. If it happens to any of the people here, you must keep in mind that somebody really wanted you and that is a positive.”
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said over the weekend that he doesn’t have a mandate to move players off of this 25-man roster by the deadline. That said, there is a surplus of middle infielders coming through the team’s system, and that makes Beckham appear to be expendable.
“This is part of the gig,” Konerko said. “You have to be able to block out a lot of things and take the field and do the job. I think it shows. Other teams see the value in him. Gordon came up and did everything right away. That set the tone for what it (his career numbers) should look like. A lot of times other teams will look at him and say he is a winning player. Maybe he doesn’t have the glamorous stats that he put up right away when he came up. That has not happened as much as he wanted it to. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a productive player on a playoff team.”
Konerko is correct in stating that other teams don’t look at Beckham as a failure but as an outstanding defender who can help you win games on a daily basis. Numerous scouts have said they believe Beckham could use a change of scenery after too many years of putting pressure on himself in Chicago.
Of course, not every player that is traded feels departing remorse.
“For me, getting traded was great,” says outfielder Adam Eaton, who came to Chicago last offseason in a trade for Hector Santiago. “I am totally comfortable now, so I feel I can’t have a better place to be. I did put pressure on myself and knew the expectations of the White Sox that worked to my advantage.”
The deadline is 3 p.m. CST on Thursday, July 31.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.