As the all-star break approaches next week, the Chicago White Sox find themselves 9.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. I know some fans might believe that the White Sox can still make a run at a wild card spot, but I don’t see it. This team lacks two starting pitchers, a catcher, an outfielder, and multiple bullpen arms. As it stands now, I’d be content with a record near .500 or close to my 78-win projection before the season. Having said that, nothing has happened to change my mind that this organization is positioning itself to compete for an extended period of time.

White Sox Sign Rodon

The White Sox and third overall selection Carlos Rodon agreed on a minor league contract this afternoon. The deal was highlighted with a $6.582 million signing bonus for the left-handed starter out of North Carolina State University. Obviously that is a lot of guaranteed money to an unproven commodity, but the key here is that Rodon can now start his path to the major leagues. If he lives up to his potential, the hefty signing bonus will be long forgotten. Rodon is expected to join Class A Winston-Salem shortly, and general manager Rick Hahn wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him reaching the majors in a bullpen role this season. If the White Sox were in contention, I’d be all for that idea, but I think it would be wise to have him stay in the minors as a starter given the club’s current scenario. Assuming Rodon can put together some quality innings this season, I see no reason why he can’t be a major contributor at the big league level next season. If everything goes well, expect to see Rodon in the rotation next June.

All-Star Representatives

White Sox ace Chris Sale won the American League final vote to join teammates Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez as this year’s representatives for the mid-summer classic. All three players are deserving of the honor, and I’m glad to see them recognized for different reasons.

Jose Abreu was an obvious choice after an incredible start to his major league career. Despite missing two weeks on the disabled list, Abreu is tied for the league lead with 28 home runs, 71 RBI, and an improving .287 batting average coming into tonight’s game. It is remarkable what he has been able to do coming over from Cuba, but I selfishly wish he would participate in the Home Run Derby.

Alexei Ramirez gets his first all-star nod in his seventh season, so it is nice to see him get recognized for being a solid player for so long. Ramirez’s selection was based mostly on his fast start to the season where he was hitting well-over .300 for the first two months of the season.

Chris Sale should have been on the initial roster when it was announced on Sunday night, but I had complete confidence that he would end up on the team by winning the final vote. Even though Sale missed nearly five weeks worth of starts, the lefty has been dominant when healthy. Sale is leading the league in ERA (2.08) and WHIP (0.842), and he would be right at the top in strikeouts if he had more starts under his belt.

-Eric Tichelbaut

Twitter: @etichel07