Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/2/12

As this season approaches the All-Star break, fans of the Chicago White Sox are wondering if Kenny Williams has any more tricks up his sleeve. The GM has already made an impressive move when he acquired Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart. The move put Youkilis at third base, a position the Sox have had trouble with so far this year. It also opened up Orlando Hudson and Eduardo Escobar to fill in as needed as utility players.

Prior to this season, Sox fans were resigned to the fact that all signs pointed to this being a rebuilding year. However, the Sox have surprised everyone and are still atop the AL Central despite all the young players and trips to the DL. Since they are still contending, Kenny Williams has to consider making moves that will improve the team this season and not necessarily 2013 and beyond. Being true to form, though, Williams has not openly discussed what players he’s looking at and who he’s looking to deal. With that being said, here’s who I think would help the Sox continue to make a strong playoff push.

Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster

Even though they continue to survive, the White Sox’ starting rotation has had some hard times this season. Philip Humber just hasn’t had it since his perfect game and he now resides on the DL. John Danks’ return is also not in the foreseeable future and even though Gavin Floyd has picked it up in his last two starts, his performance has been anything but consistent.

Could Dempster be wearing a White Sox uniform soon?

Unlike their south side counterparts, the Chicago Cubs are having an absolutely dismal season. In a public statement, the Cubs have announced that they are ready to listen to offers for basically all of their players. It is also known that the Cubs are not concerned with money and will pay off any remaining salaries for players that are dealt. That being said, the two biggest chips they have that could benefit the Sox would potentially be starting pitchers Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. Garza has a 3.85 lifetime ERA and while not necessarily what you would call an “elite” pitcher, he is certainly talented and could be an excellent addition. The true catch would be Ryan Dempster, who has been absolutely phenomenal this season. Even though his record is 3-3, he has a 2.11 ERA and has held batters to a .204 BA. I’m not necessarily sure who we’d deal to acquire Dempster or Garza, but it wouldn’t be anyone in the majors since the Cubs have stated they’re looking for top-level prospects. Since the Sox are eying the playoffs for this season, they could certainly sacrifice some minor league talent to secure another strong arm in the starting rotation.

Now I know that this is a “trade rumors” article, but from a fan’s perspective, I’d be surprised if Kenny Williams made any more monumental moves this season. Pitching is the thing most lacking for this ball club and there have been some necessary moves, but none worth newspaper headlines. The Sox finally designated Will Ohman and his 5.84 ERA for assignment. They’ve picked up Shane Lindsay who was released from the Cubs last month after a few poor performances in the farm system. In another wise move, they recently released Kosuke Fukudome and bought Brian Bruney’s contract.

It is pretty obvious what Williams is up to with these moves. Anyone who might hinder the playoff push and isn’t carrying their weight has no place on this team. If it is looking like their might be anymore significant trades, it will be interesting to explore those ramifications, but with Youkilis at third the Sox infield is looking solid. The outfield is also better than ever with Viciedo, Rios, and De Aza, all of whom are contributing consistently. The only thing there is to do now is to come back strong after the All-Star break and extend that first place lead.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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