Levine: White Sox Relievers Are Attractive Trade Bait

By Bruce Levine–

CHICAGO (CBS) — We’ve been on the Jose Quintana trade watch now for almost seven months.

Since its Winter Meetings blockbuster trades of ace left-hander Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton, the White Sox front office hasn’t pushed the button on another trade of significance.

That may change soon.

“I believe you will see more trade activity over the next few weeks,” general manager Rick Hahn said Wednesday. “It has been pretty quiet leading up to the draft. I feel it will be fairly rampant throughout the game, not just here. We are certainly looking forward to engaging with clubs and see where that leads.”

While fans and media types wait for the eventual deals of Quintana and closer David Robertson to happen, might there be other less obvious players dealt? In what darkened corners of the White Sox clubhouse can opposing general managers find a diamond in the rough or a difference-maker?

Three bullpen arms come to mind if you are paying attention to the White Sox pitching staff. How many baseball fans know the names Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Kahnle and Dan Jennings?

Those three relievers have carried a big innings load of innings pitched in first one-third of the season. And the workload is a labor of love.

“We are all out there supporting each other trying to get outs,” said Kahnle, who’s drawing All-Star consideration with a 1.42 ERA and an eye-popping 44 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. “We definitely feed off of each other. We help each other out and try to support the whole group.”

Chicago’s bullpen has been the glue that has held games together as several members of the rotation have struggled. The 31-year-old Swarzak has been around the league and brings some excellent perspective for young relievers.

“We have a consistent work habit with our group,” he said. “I believe everyone is starting to realize the hard work you put in off of the field is going to pay off for you on the field. The one thing I have noticed about our bullpen guys is everyone is working hard when nobody is looking.”

Swarzak has a 2.70 ERA and 0.93 WHIP that scouts have taken notice of as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline sits about six weeks away. He has some advice for his teammates as the deadline nears.

“This game is all about performance,” he said. “If somebody wants you elsewhere and they tell you your time is up here, hopefully, you do that job somewhere else. If they do say it’s time to move you, then you hope you land well somewhere else. The best advice I can give a young kid is not to listen to the rumors.”

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

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