OAKLAND, Calif. (MCT) — The White Sox might be the exception to a current trend throughout major league baseball when it comes to players receiving long and lucrative extensions before they become arbitration eligible.
Despite the impressive starts of pitchers Philip Humber and Chris Sale, giving extensions to players with less than three years of service time isn’t on general manager Ken Williams’ short list.
“Well, the only thing we are focusing on is our focus,” Williams said Tuesday night before Sox’s five-game winning streak ended with a 2-0 loss at Oakland.
“That means keeping distractions of any sort to a minimum. I would consider that right now a distraction.”
The Sox’s biggest issue Tuesday A’s left-hander Tommy Milone, who held them to three hits through eight innings. The Sox didn’t get a baserunner past first base against Milone (3-1), who threw 98 pitches and has pitched at least eight innings in two of his four starts.
In the eighth, Brent Morel had a two-out single but was thrown out on a steal attempt to end the rally.
The lack of run support saddled Gavin Floyd (1-3) with a tough loss. Floyd limited the Athletics to two hits through the first 71/3 innings but walked Daric Barton to start the eighth.
Reliever Matt Thornton, who hadn’t allowed a run in his first nine appearances, surrendered an RBI double to pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki that snapped the A’s 16-inning scoreless streak, and Eric Sogard added a two-out RBI single.
“This one stinks because you know you had a guy (Floyd) pitch a good game but we couldn’t get much out of it on the offensive side,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said.
Meanwhile, some of the pitchers who have received healthy extensions despite not being eligible for arbitration soon are Matt Moore of Rays and Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.
Humber, 29, pitched a perfect game Saturday and enjoyed a breakout season in 2011. He is not eligible for arbitration until after 2012 .
Williams didn’t completely rule out entertaining extensions for young players.
“Yes, that doesn’t mean it’s not good business practice to consider such things and at some point maybe do that,” said Williams, who is in the midst of an amateur scouting mission. “But I don’t think right now while we are trying to establish our identity and we are trying to keep the focus on the focus, I don’t think it’s a prudent thing to do.”
Williams wouldn’t even speculate if the Sox could be a buyer in July if they were leading the American League Central.
“(Tuesday night) is Game 2 of the Oakland series, and we’re focused on that right now,” Williams said. “I refuse to allow anybody’s mindset to get ahead of today’s job at hand and there will be a time for us to think internally about those kind of things. But it’s not right now. It’s ‘How can we win today?”