Dream of a White Sox contender

The White Sox have rather brilliantly managed expectations this season. They're a game below .500, their biggest development project of the season didn't survive the first road trip of the year, and their brawny offense also means that a large portion of their losses are of the bullpen meltdown/groinkick variety. And yet, they're regularly, and rightly identified as exciting.

To prove their invincibility, they started Hector Noesi — because they reached the point where it wasn't the worst decision available, in April — promptly saw him burst into flames as if facing a lineup the second time is akin to breaching the Earth's atmosphere, and were generally regarded to have done well to have gotten 3.2 bad innings and cut their losses.

But in having revitalized their offense, provided not just one, but multiple hitters worth watching, and isolated last year's infection of defensive gaffes and baserunning incompetence to the outfield corners, the Sox have more or less accomplished what their fans wanted to see. Winning series' and looking competitive against preseason favorites is gravy.

Moreover, the White Sox problem right now is pitching, which they've been seen to fix with unimpressive raw materials before. Scott Carroll's start Sunday was a great story and unexpected, but hardly unfathomable. Anyone watching the Sox has seen them turn a reliever or complete non-prospect into a source of usable starts and innings, and Rick Hahn is providing assurance that the Sox will make their normal deadline inquiries if they're still hanging around in two months.

In the mean time, Hahn gave nods to the spare parts he had already brought in-house as the possible tweaks to the pitching staff. While it's not surprising to hear Frank Francisco and Javy Guerra are being considered to help a bullpen that's currently holding Hector Noesi and dealing with the foibles of Maikel Cleto, Rick Hahn is still indicating strongly that Tommy Hanson is starting pitcher help worth anticipating.

On the one hand, the Sox have five starters at present only if you count Noesi (would rather not) and have four only if Carroll keeps the magic going. They're in a position to try anyone who can throw five innings and show up on time, but Hanson is quite a triple-threat flier. He has an extensive injury history, is coming off of injury, and was ineffective and lessened when he pitched last season. And, he already was released by another organization out of Spring Training this year. At some point, some of these fliers are bound to start working out for Sox pitching, but Hanson is the one to bet the least on.

With Chris Sale now leaning toward a rehab start, the Sox rotation is likely to turn over again before it can even add a sure-fire fifth member, further expediting worry of who is going to deliver this team to mid-season in a state where they will merit mid-season improvements.

Additionally, as the White Sox roster continues to shuffle through options, the 40-man list has filled up. Noesi is a possible DFA target for any new additions, as is Cleto without any improvement in control. But if this season is going to turn competitive, why the Sox feel it necessary to carry Jared Mitchell (who is older than Avisail Garcia, Dayan Viciedo AND Adam Eaton, by the way) or Nestor Molina on their 40-man anymore is perplexing. Not only are they at minimal risk to lose Mitchell, but they're at this point relics from a previous era and previous disappointments, and those are all apparently on the way out.



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