By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The heavy lifting of player acquisition is over for the White Sox now. Since early last December, they’ve acquired 18 new prospects by trading off nine big league players.
With the non-waiver trade deadline passing Monday afternoon, most of the activity will be over. The only manner of moving more players off the White Sox roster would be through the complicated waiver process in August.
The beginning of a long rebuild can be painful for a front office, fan base, coaches and the 25-man roster, but the White Sox are welcoming it. Notably, some will be happy that trade rumors will die down with the deadline passing.
“I guess for the guys, things will be settling down a bit more now,” manager Rick Renteria said. “As far as what will transpire, it doesn’t mean nothing more can be done. Obviously to this point, most of the major action has taken place.”
The White Sox still have a handful of veteran pitchers they’d be willing to deal in August. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez would seem to be the most likely candidate, as he could potentially serve as a long reliever on a contending team. Chicago is also willing to deal right-hander James Shields, right-hander Mike Pelfrey and left-hander Derek Holland, but their prolonged inconsistencies mean contending foes would be unlikely to be interested.
The move that hit the White Sox the hardest was the trade of outfielder Melky Cabrera to the Royals on Sunday. He was viewed as a clubhouse leader, and others will have to step in to fill that role in the coming years.
“As I told Melky, he has been outstanding for this organization,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Not only what he did between the white lines but also what he did in the clubhouse. He is a great ambassador of the game and a very passionate player. He will be missed. That said, we have made no secrets. This is about preparing ourselves for the future. With the move, we were able to pick up another couple interesting arms for the organization.”
Playing out the string of the 2017 season will take on different meanings for different players. For the next crop of core White Sox talent, it’s about developing and accumulating big league experience. For others, it may be a showcase for rival clubs and their next job.
More heavy lifting will occur for Hahn and the front office this offseason as the rebuilding continues.
“This was our mission,” Hahn said of his team’s flurry of trades. “This is what we set out to do. This is what we felt was the right thing for the long-term health of the organization. We have a plan now achieving what we set out to do. That said, you do have to respond to the market. You need to be able to find fits. Thanks to the hard work of our scouts and the fellows in the front office, we have been able to get things done as the opportunities have arisen.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.