Let's take a look at the competish, shall we? The Chicago White Sox are the meatloaf of the AL Central. As you know, meatloaf is my most hated of all loafs. For some reason, I just don't like the White Sox. Every team needs a rival, and the White Sox fit. I mean, first off, why was Parkman such a jerk on the Indians, but then a great teammate on the White Sox? He willingly signed that contract to play for Cleveland but was a malcontent from the start. Where does he get off? If he wanted to play in Chicago, why didn't he just sign there in the first place? I don't get it. Anyway, how was their off-season? What does 2013 hold for the Chicago White Sox?
Let's find out!
Chicago White Sox 2012 - Actual W-L - 85-77; Pythagorean W-L - 88-74
Free Agent Signings - Dewayne Wise - 1 year, $700K; Jeff Keppinger - 3 years, $12 Million; Matt Lindstrom - 1 year, $2.8 Million
Trade Acquisitions - Blake Tekotte from San Diego. No? Then none.
Key Losses - A.J. Pierzynski, Brett Myers, Kevin Youkilis, Philip Humber, Dan Johnson, Francisco Liriano, Orlando Hudson, Jose Lopez
Seriously? Actual key losses - Pierzynski for sure, Myers and Youkilis, I guess.
Addition by Subtraction - Brett Myers - I'm not a fan for personal reasons. If you need to know why, just start typing "Brett Myers" into Google and see what words pop up after his name. Some people can get over it, but I can't.
Waiver Claims - Zach Stewart, from Boston, Lars Anderson, from Arizona
Notable Minor League Deals - Jeff Gray, Bryan Anderson, David Purcey
Other Moves - 2 year extension for Jake Peavy; Gavin Floyd's option picked up
Former Twin alert! - Jeff Gray! If he makes the White Sox roster, there will be a collective, stifled chuckle coming from the entire Twin Cities Metro Area.
Bullet Dodged - The Twins did not sign Jeff Keppinger to a similar contract.
I did not believe in the White Sox going into 2012. I thought they were old and I thought their pitching was really overrated. I was mostly right, but they still fared relatively well, staying in the division race pretty much through the season. Chris Sale really emerged, and that helped their rotation significantly. The offense scored runs, but might be worse than in 2012. It seems the plan is to replace Youkilis with Keppinger, which doesn't seem like it would work, but Keppinger was fine last year. Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn are getting older, but should be productive. Gordon Beckham, Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez are enigmas. I tend to hold to a 2 enigma max for contending teams. 3 is a crowd of enigmas.
A.J. Pierzynski left for Texas, so Tyler Flowers will be their catcher. Flowers doesn't look like much offensively. Ok wait. The more I write, the more I worry about their offense. Dayan Viciedo, Alejandro De Aza and Rios make up their outfield. Is anyone confident in any of those three? De Aza was nice last year, so maybe he can be relied upon. I still don't like their pitching overall. John Danks and Gavin Floyd don't impress me and Jake Peavy tailed off last year and is known to get hurt. Chris Sale is legit, but there are injury concerns with his delivery. Addison Reed is nasty, but had some major blowups last year too. There are a lot of questions about this team.
All that being said, there is serious talent on this roster. Sale can be an Ace if he is healthy. Reed has dominant closer stuff. The bullpen is solid and maybe better than that. The offense is loaded with big bats or potentially big bats. If everything clicks offensively and the pitching improves, the White Sox could be dangerous.
Are they better than last year? Probably not, but they might not be much worse either. I will say this, injuries could hit this team hard. If they have a 2011 or 2012 Twins-style injury season, there is nothing in the minors to help them out.
How the Twins can finish ahead of them - The old guys really fall apart and their pitching nosedives. Oh, and if the White Sox fail to make their annual ninja trades.
Predicted Division Finish - Not first. Other than that, not sure. Probably not last. How is that?
Interested in the rest of the Central? Here are the remaining teams. Twins coming soon.
Kansas City Royals