In a somewhat shocking turn of events, the Chicago White Sox became sellers last night. Facing the ugly prospect of a six game deficit with just over one month to play, the White Sox chose flight over fight.
In separate moves just before the waiver deadline last night, Chicago dealt RHP Jose Contreras to Colorado and DH/1B Jim Thome to the Dodgers.
The loss of Contreras won’t ultimately damage the club, in fact if Chicago can find another starter, there is a good chance that this deal improves the White Sox this season, as Contreras has been brutal for much of the season. Unless he’s facing the Tigers, of course. Thome’s departure is the one that should grab your attention.
Even at his advanced age of 39, Thome has been a valuable presence in the heart of Chicago’s order. Moving him to Los Angeles will result in more at bats for someone, probably Josh Fields. That doesn’t look like a good thing. After all, Fields was supposed to be the everyday third baseman, but lost his job to prospect Gordon Beckham, as he couldn’t hit enough to justify a starting role.
Even sitting behind two teams in the division, and in the middle of a grueling road trip, Chicago had a chance to make up ground. They still have five more games against the Twins and six more against Detroit.
Realistically however, in order to catch both teams ahead of them, they would have had to win just about every one of those games. Chicago now sits four games under .500. They have dropped seven of the first eight games on their current 11 game road trip.
For all intents and purposes, the AL Central was a two team race before these deals were made. The only thing Chicago did yesterday was make it official.