GEORGE CASTLE: Hahn needs to work the phones to fix broken lineup

2013-06-25T20:15:00Z 2013-06-25T20:54:08Z GEORGE CASTLE: Hahn needs to work the phones to fix broken lineupGeorge Castle on the White Sox nwitimes.com
June 25, 2013 8:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | What will White Sox manager Robin Ventura tell general manager Rick Hahn when the latter soon comes forth with potential trades?

Ventura wouldn’t be specific Tuesday, while Hahn was unavailable for comment, but Ventura admitted he’ll give his opinion on players coming and going. A huge upset will be forthcoming if Hahn doesn’t do at least a mild housecleaning in the next month leading to the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

A sensible man who wants disciplined, attentive play from his regulars, Ventura surely will suggest some just don’t fit anymore.

The swing-first, ask-questions-later lineup that propelled the Sox into first place for a summer-long stay in 2012 began backsliding in the dog days, broke down under pressure in September and has gotten even worse this season.

And from where did all the errors sprout, on a team that took pride for its fielding last year?

Shortstop Alexei Ramirez on Tuesday offered a semi-mea culpa for his game-costing two-run error Sunday in Kansas City. The former defensive whiz already has equaled his number of errors from 2012 at a time his “Cuban Missile” days at bat have been transformed into a popgun.

Sox radio analyst Darrin Jackson already has chided center fielder Alejandro De Aza for sub-par outfield play. That came out of left field, where for some strange reason De Aza has claimed since last season he’s feels comfortable.

In the upcoming weeks, Hahn has to think of trading piece by piece to contenders who lack a shortstop here, a left-handed-hitting outfielder there or even a No. 2 run producer (hello, Alex Rios). A Ramirez might perk up where he can bat eighth and just relax, that every chance doesn’t mean the game with the hitters struggling.

Adam Dunn, headed for 40 homers and .206 again, won’t likely be traded. He still would better fit a lineup where the majority of the regulars aren’t strikeout-prone and don’t pop up on the first pitch with a runner on third and one out. Say you drop the affable Dunn into the Giants lineup, batting fifth or sixth. His power would be a huge boost, and the majority of the other hitters will take care of contact.

Overall, Hahn has to get both quality and quantity back, and not all Class A minor leaguers. The return might be tough to nail down, but the GM should try to get big-league-ready younger players, stuck behind veterans in the mold of Conor Gillaspie.

Two-for-one deals would be ideal. Hahn will have experienced pitching to trade, too. If Hahn can land two new regulars in the process, he’d have a successful mid-summer shopping expedition.

Sox pregame and postgame show host Chris “Ranger” Rongey was spot-on proclaiming a five-year teardown/rebuilding program would not be tolerated by the picky, budget-conscious Sox fans. Remember, the fans shockingly did not respond to last season’s first-place run.

The only pressure will be if Hahn doesn’t act quickly enough.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at DGemsNet@aol.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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