As I write this, we are a few hours away from the 2020 MLB trade deadline. Rumors are swirling, Twitter is buzzing, and Sox fans are conjuring up a number of possibilities on how to make this team better, not only for 2020, but for the foreseeable future.
It’s August 31st and the Sox sit at 21-13, tied for 1st place with the Cleveland Indians. Coming into the season, I think most of us expected this team would take a step forward, but there was a high degree of volatility with the young players comprising the roster. I know I said in my season preview column that I predicted the Sox would finish second, but did state it wouldn’t surprise me if they outperformed their projections and won the division. Well, as we sit here today they have put themselves in a position to do just that, despite some deficiencies with the roster.
With all this being said, I think we can agree that the rebuild is over and it is, unequivocally, time to win. This team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008 and, with the expanded postseason, something will have to go catastrophically wrong for that drought to continue. With that being said, the measuring stick has changed with the team’s performance to this point. It is no longer about just getting in as a Wild Card, it’s time to go win a division title! It’s right there for the taking and this team needs to pounce. In a wacky season of unknowns, winning the division will position you with more favorable match-ups come October and that can’t be understated.
Due to this, I recently posited that this team has now come to the point where they will have to trade a prospect of significance in effort to win a World Series. The interwebs, as expected, did not take to kindly to my suggestion:
The replies to this were kind of what I expected. A combination of people believing a guy will come back off a 32-month layoff and be a top 5 pitcher in the league immediately, while also not realizing how good Brandon Woodruff is (he was simply used as an example).
At the end of the day, if the Sox are to realize the ultimate goal of this process that began in December 2016, they will have to trade a player you, as a fan (and myself included), don’t want to see traded. That is simply the cost of doing business. We have come to that point. As Casey Stern, anchor on MLB Network Radio, has famously said “prospects are cool, parades are cooler.” I couldn’t agree more.
An Inflection Point
We have reached an inflection point in the White Sox competitive cycle as of 8/31/2020. The goal is very simple, its no longer about amassing prospects, it’s about winning, and winning now, to maximize a group at the Major League level that has the opportunity to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to 333 W. 35th Street. You might think that’s crazy in 2020, but it’s really not. With another quality starting pitcher and a bullpen arm, this team absolutely has the talent to win a championship and it’s time to go for it.
I’m not saying you get stupid and trade Kopech or Vaughn or any other prospects for a rental player, but if you can improve your chances this year while keeping acquired talent for multiple years, then it has to be done. Everything that has happened since December 2016 has been to get to this point, and it is time to strike! I don’t know what the move will be, whether it’s Lance Lynn, Kevin Gausman, or Brandon Woodruff, but I expect that when the Sox take the field tonight in Minneapolis they will be a better team than they were when we woke up on this Monday morning.
The Battle Begins Tonight
So we have four weeks left to go in the season and we are about to embark on the most pivotal four-week span for this franchise since September of 2012. We as a fan base have put up with a lot of garbage in the last eight years, so to be in a position to be a viable championship contender has been a long time coming. It all begins tonight against the HATED, and I can’t state that word enough, Minnesota Twins.
This team has been a thorn in the side of White Sox fans for much of the past two decades. I can think of no better way to announce to the baseball world that the Sox are indeed here than going up to Target Field and curb stomping the Twins. I don’t know if it will happen, but they have their top two starters on the mound in Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, today and tomorrow, respectively. The Twins come into this series limping, losers of five straight, including a sweep in the Motor City this weekend against the lowly Tigers.
Going out and taking a series from your most HATED division rival would signal that this team is here and they are ready. As a fan base, seeing this team go up to Canada South and taking down the Twins would, in my opinion, signal that they are for real and that it is time to believe.
I know I’m sitting on baited breath waiting to see in these remaining hours leading up to the deadline how the Sox will improve their team for 2020 and beyond. I expect this team to be better by 7:00 p.m. CDT tonight when this pivotal series and stretch kicks off in Minneapolis. The intensity will be back starting tonight, and it’s time to get the job done. It’s time to destroy the Twins and go win a division title, anything less will be a disappointment. The measuring stick has changed, let’s go!