Mere weeks after the stunning acquisitions of Alex Rios and Jake Peavey, the Chicago White Sox gave up on the 2009 season, dealing P Jose Contreras and slugger Jim Thome to the Dodgers just prior to the waiver deadline last night. “What is it that baseball people like to say?” asked the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Morrissey. “That a 162-game season is a marathon, not a sprint? Well, the Sox just quit at about the 20-mile mark.”

The Sox’ Summer Clearance Sale is reminiscent of the White Flag trade of 1997. That team was 3 1/2 games out of first place on July 31 when owner Jerry Reinsdorf decided to trade Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin for six minor-leaguers.

This team is six games behind the Tigers — a good, not great club — and despite the Sox’ recent struggles, there is a month left to play. Hope for a late-season charge exists when you have a veteran group.

Kenny Williams wants to go younger. That’s a good thing. But with a month left in the season, he sees no way the Sox are going to make a run for a division title? What an awful reflection on the organization.

Especially when the Sox received no value for Thome, who has 23 homers and 74 runs batted in.

You can look at Monday’s maneuverings as an indication that Peavy’s arm problems are a lot worse than the Sox are letting on. Or you can look at it that the Sox are freaked out over how much they’ll be paying Rios and Peavy.

Or you can just roll your eyes and shake your head.

Since Morrissey begs the comparison, the ’09 White Sox find themselves 4 games under .500 after last night’s 4-1 loss to Minnesota. While Willie Randolph can certainly vouch for a 6 game lead on September 1 not being insurmountable, 3rd place teams that far back are generally expected to hold a fire sale. What’s remarkable is that this one occurred so shortly after Williams was a buyer.