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A Good Kind Of Whimper

So this is the way trading season ends; not with a bang, but with a reclamation project pitcher no one believes the Sox ever really wanted in the first place.

Not that anyone's saying the team has finished all its wheeling and dealing (last year's waiver acquisition of Alex Rios should have proven once and for all that July acquisitions aren't the only acquisitions) but it's hard to see how a team which had pinned its hopes on its starting pitching can consider itself improved when the back end of the rotation just fell from an inexpensive rookie with high upside to an overpaid veteran with terrible numbers to his name.

There may be things we can't see here, but with any luck this is more a case of there being things we don't know.

The Nationals, for example, may have gone rogue and defied some kind of gentlemen's agreement that would have sent Adam Dunn our way; the Astros may not have even asked Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt if they'd be interested in moving to Chicago; the Dodgers may have thought Kenny Williams was inquiring about some other Manny Ramirez.

Or, more plausibly, nothing big was ever really that close to happening. But it was nice, for a moment, to imagine it was, that the One Missing Piece was on its way and the Sox could finally go from winner to contender.

But then we remember: without a left-handed bat, without a power pitcher up front, without a designated hitter, without an enviable defense, the Sox are still ahead of the Twins, still the envy of the division, still the kings of the mountain. Quite literally trading tomorrow for today, they've let us know they think this season is for real.

Forget about waiver deals; by spending so much of the past few months winning, they've pushed themselves to the bottom of the pecking order on that front.

What the trade deadline instead gave us was comfort, knowledge, and the kind of partially justified arrogance that makes the dog days so exciting. This is the team. This is the time. Let's rock.

Week in Review: Assaulting. Sweep the four-game series against the Mariners, then outshank the Raiders A's to go 6-1 on the week.

Week in Preview: Homicidal. The team heads to Detroit, third-most murderous city in America, for a four-game set against the Tigers, then jet off to Baltimore, fourth-most murderous, for three against the Orioles.

Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: "I tell ya, that Nick Markakis, he is some kind of baseball player. That is a guy who, if you take a ballplayer like that and you give him an outfield like this, I could see him hitting some of those Mickey Mantle kind of home runs, and you see it now when he comes up to the plate giving so many of the great pitchers trouble. You look at him against guys like Mark, like Freddy, like Jake, and that's a battle up there. If you could have a lineup of nothing but Nick Markakises against a rotation of Freddies and Marks, that'd be one heck of a ballgame, and that's why I love these trips to Baltimore: to see the best go up against the best."

Gordon Beckham Hall of Fame Update: Gordon Beckham failed attempts at hitting career home run number 600: zero. Alex Rodriguez failed attempts at hitting career home run number 600: 38. Advantage: Beckham.

Alumni News You Can Use: Former White Sox outfielder Scott Podesdnik was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers to fill the void left by current White Sox outfielder Juan Pierre. The White Sox Report chuckled when it saw that.

The "H" in "DH" Stands For: Headcount, as both Juan Pierre and Alex Rios took a stab at the DH position last week. Pierre went 1-for-2 while Rios went 0-for-4, making them collectively as effective as all other White Sox designated hitters combined.

The Q Factor: Standing up and walking away from the television, he just shakes his head. That show got so much right, he thinks, but so much wrong as well. Yes, institutions become self-defeating but what is an 'institution,' really? We're dodging the core problem, which is neither structure nor buildings nor rules, even, but people. The humans who fail humans. We can blame these abstractions, but in the end we must simply point the finger at ourselves. Also, does anyone know where to find the storefront they used for Prop Joe's appliance shop? I want to get my picture taken there.

The Guillen Meter: His team welcoming a new pitcher aboard, the Guillen Meter reads 33 for "Edwin Jackson? Who the hell is Edwin Jackson?"

Endorsement No-Brainer: Ken Williams for jailhouse poker: sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

Cubs Snub: The riot: quiet.

The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.

The Cub Factor: It's funny because it's true.

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Andrew Reilly lives in Chicago but never really came back from Milwaukee. The White Sox Report welcomes your comments.

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