White Sox formulating Deadline contingencies

GM confident players will build toward career norms

White Sox formulating Deadline contingencies

ARLINGTON -- The White Sox completed a stretch of 18 games played in 17 days with a victory in Houston on Sunday, leaving them with a 9-9 record moving into Monday's off-day.

So what does that breakeven run say about this 2015 squad with lofty expectations but not quite the high level of results to match to date? Basically, it's not too much of a different story from the assessment when this team was 8-14 overall or in a 2-12 funk on the road.

It's still early-ish, with 112 games to be played after Tuesday's series opener against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. But the team needs to be better overall to reach a viable point of contention.

"We want to start seeing more of the consistency we've seen in terms of the upside of our performance," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "Some of the guys with the track record we expect them to eventually reach very likely will get going or will continue to get going over the next few weeks.

"That's only going to help us in the long run. There certainly is plenty of time to put ourselves back in the position to win this thing, which was our goal from the start."

This 9-9 run came without Avisail Garcia for five games because of inflammation in his right knee. Jose Abreu has missed three straight games with a swollen right index finger, and the White Sox are finishing up a four-city, 11-game road trip that included a doubleheader Thursday in Baltimore.

To not be buried after this stretch, in a strange way, should leave the White Sox optimistic. They are a team built for the long haul, a team with its frontline starting pitching that might be better set for the playoffs than as an American League Central title contender.

Getting to the playoffs stands as the first target, and to get there, the White Sox certainly won't be against making moves leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline to improve the team. Hahn said that if the right opportunity came along to improve the team, he would move on it.

There also has to be a contingency plan in place if the current optimism proves unfounded and the season goes sideways on the White Sox. It's something Hahn talked about back in Spring Training, keeping the possibility in the back of his mind even amidst the hoopla of the organization's great offseason.

"Marching orders for our scouts heading out of Spring Training were looking at our positions of need at the big league level and targeting guys to help shore those up for a stretch run," Hahn said. "At the same time, we have our pro scouts out at the Minor League level preparing for, should we need to go the other way, and look at more prospect-focused deals. At this point, our intent is to look to add at the Deadline and put ourselves in a better position to win."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.