By Mark Gonzales, Chicago Tribune reporter
9:25 PM EDT, July 26, 2012
The time between now and the 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline Tuesday will seem like an eternity to the White Sox and the remaining contending teams seeking pitching help.
But the issue for general manager Ken Williams and his staff remains the same: How much of the future are the Sox willing to give up for a better chance to win the American League Central and advance in the playoffs?
Earlier this week, Williams acknowledged he was engaged in conversations, but the cost of landing a short-term upgrade seemed prohibitive — especially because the players being asked for have made substantial contributions to the Sox's run at the division title.
"The cost would be too great for a couple of months," Williams said as the Sox prepare to open a three-game series Friday night against another starter-seeking team — the Rangers — in Arlington.
"And in a couple of cases, the guys who have been asked for are achieving even more than the guys you're bringing in. But the reputations of those guys that you bring in, the name recognition, is what you'd be paying for — but not the true production. It makes it a little difficult."
It's even more difficult when the pool of available pitchers shrinks with Anibal Sanchez and Wandy Rodriguez dealt and Cole Hamels re-signing with the Phillies, therefore increasing the competition for the likes of the Brewers' Zack Greinke.
The Sox have scouted Greinke and several players in the Brewers' farm system, and Dick Groch, Milwaukee's top talent evaluator who recommended Derek Jeter when he scouted for the Yankees, saw the Sox play earlier this month.
But this season has been different than recent ones for the Sox, whose hopes to transition to a younger roster have accelerated because of the ascent of left-handed rookie Jose Quintana and the emergence of rookie reliever Nate Jones, as well as the complementary roles of rookies Hector Santiago, Eduardo Escobar and Jordan Danks.
Quintana and Jones figure to play prominent roles on the Sox pitching staff in the future, especially because Jake Peavy, Brett Myers and Gavin Floyd could become free agents after this season. Santiago could return to a starting role, and the switch-hitting Escobar eventually could take over at second base.
In addition, outfielder Jared Mitchell, the Sox's first pick in the 2009 draft, was promoted Tuesday to Triple-A Charlotte.
That's why Williams, who has pulled off late-hour trades recently for pitchers such as Peavy and Edwin Jackson, could be more hesitant this time.
"It's difficult to have as many young players as we have and compete," Williams said. "It's a testament to scouting, our player development and the kids. First and foremost, it's not just about talent that allows you to compete at this level and at such a high level as they have.
"It's about the makeup too, and their toughness and resolve and their ability to bounce back when things don't go their way. I can't say enough about the coaching staff in terms of staying positive and coaching them."