Imagine if the trade deadline were this Sunday, instead of last Sunday.
Imagine if the White Sox were deciding this week, instead of last week, whether to blow up their team and turn into outright sellers.
You think the decision might have been different?
I sure do.
Remember where general manager Kenny Williams was headed, before the Sox won two of three games from the Tigers last week. According to sources, White Sox players believed that if they lost two of three or got swept by the Tigers, Williams would begin an all-out sale that could have included John Danks, Gavin Floyd and even Paul Konerko (who could have blocked a deal with his 10-5 rights).
Imagine how valuable Danks and Floyd would have been in a market short on impact starting pitchers. You'd better believe that the Yankees, among other teams, would have been asking.
Instead, the White Sox won two of three from the Tigers, and Williams held onto his players. He traded Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen, and explored deals for Carlos Quentin, but perhaps against his better instincts, he held onto the core of his team.
And look what has happened.
The White Sox have lost five straight. They've looked absolutely overmatched in the first three games of a four-game series with the Yankees.
And heading into play Thursday, they were 6 1/2 games out. The computers at Cool Standings gave them less than a 10 percent chance at winning the division.
Worse than that, your own eyes tell you they would have just as slim a chance of winning in the playoffs, if they could even get there. The five-game losing streak has come at home, against the Red Sox and Yankees.
That's exactly what some White Sox officials were thinking last week. The more White Sox people you talked to, the more you realized that they didn't like their team, and didn't see this group winning a World Series.
But they were just three games out of first place.
Now they're not, but now the non-waiver deadline has passed. It's very unlikely that Quentin, Danks or Floyd could get through waivers that would be needed for a trade between now and the end of the season.
So what happens now?
Maybe the White Sox make another run at the Tigers, helped by a schedule that gets easier for the rest of the month (the Sox play the Orioles and Royals next week). Maybe Williams looks to deal some players who could get through waivers.
And maybe now he blows up the team this winter.
Imagine if he could do it this week.