White Sox GM Rick Hahn tried to tell us that nothing had changed for the White Sox or any of their potential trade partners after Chicago ace Chris Sale hacked the team’s throwback uniforms to pieces, having deemed them uncomfortable. This became more challenging to believe once Sale spoke to the press for the first time since his five-game suspension for his actions, when he said he regretted missing a start, but called out his manager, Robin Ventura, for not standing up for his players when the team “put business first over winning.”
But upon Sale’s return to the clubhouse, his teammates reiterated the notion that nothing had changed since the incident.
"In [the clubhouse] with open arms," outfielder Adam Eaton said. "When he pitches, he puts on a good show. I'm sure it won't be any different when he comes back."
There is no direct evidence, just widely made assumptions, that Sale’s rocky relationship with the White Sox executives will lead to him being shipped out of town at the trade deadline. However, Ken Rosenthal has been talking to at least one person who thinks Chicago could be loosening their grip on one of the AL’s strongest arms, who has a 3.17 ERA and 133 SO in 139 IP this season.
Industry still skeptical that #WhiteSox will move Sale. However, spoke with GM last night who said for “first time” he thinks it’s possible…— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2016
Asked GM why. He said, “The tone of it. They've never even responded before. There's at least a discussion. Still not sure they get enough.”— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2016
Who knows how far along these “discussions” have gone; maybe it was just a casual mention of Sale and then a click on the other end of the phone call. Or, maybe it was an exuberant, off-the-record chat about definitely wanting to run Sale out of town. The point is, the connection between the front office and its ace is understandably frayed, giving a morsel of a rumor such as this a bit of credence.
White Sox VP Ken Williams said as recently as three days ago that he and the team “just don’t know” if they are buyers or sellers at this point. The idea has been breached that they could be both. As a team that was thought to be a contender after a 23-10 start, only to falter and disappear into the AL Central while suffering through off the field drama with its best player, it’s tough to get a clear answer out of the south side.