Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Minnesota Twins Fan Previews the 2014 Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are the meatloaf of the AL Central; they are my most hated of all loafs.  I don't hate anyone or anything, but that reference requires hatred.  If there is one team that I enjoy watching lose, it is the White Sox.  I guess it stems from their recent success lining up with the Twins' most recent success.  Last year, the White Sox saved the Twins from last place, which I appreciated.  Can they save the Twins again in 2014?

Key Acquisitions

"Key" Acquisitions

David Purcey, Alex Liddi, Jake Elmore, Hector Gimenez, Felipe Paulino and Scott Downs

Notable Losses

Gavin Floyd, Addison Reed, Hector Santiago, and Zach Stewart

My favorite offseason move?

They basically gave up Hector Santiago, prospect (sort of) Brandon Jacobs and a player to be named later for Adam Eaton, who has excellent OBP skills and plays center.  This trade is one of my favorite moves from the entire MLB offseason. 

More importantly, are they better than last year?

Um, maybe just a tad.  They didn't lose much and I really like Adam Eaton.  Plus, they were horrible last year and there really wasn't anywhere to go but up. 

Awesome Name from the Organization

Scott Snodgress

Former Twin Alert!

Scott Downs, who the Twins traded away in 1999.

Depth Chart

Felipe Paulino
Ronald Belisario
Adam Eaton
Matt Lindstrom


I don't hate their lineup.  It's not good, but it's...well...ok, I kind of hate their lineup.  Adam Dunn is a power hitter who couldn't crack a .450 slugging percentage in 2013.  Alexei Ramirez is a great defensive shortstop and that's the best thing I can say about his offense.  Paul Konerko had a wonderful career.  Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia could exceed expectations in 2014, but everyone else is either old or just not very good.  Eaton should set the table out of the leadoff spot, but I'm not sure how many runs he scores if Abreu isn't immediately great. 


Alexei Ramirez is a great defender and Gordon Beckham is fine.  Tyler Flowers does a nice job at catcher.  Adam Eaton can handle a difficult position, but he isn't great either.  The rest of the team is adequate or much worse.  If Dayan Viciedo wins the job in left, their outfield defense could be quite bad. 


Chris Sale is outstanding.  He was one of the best pitchers in the American League last season and he's been great since his MLB debut.  Jose Quintana impressed last year, adding a mile per hour to his fastball, raising his strikeout rate and dropping his walk rate.  John Danks hasn't been a good pitcher since 2010 and he's struggled with injuries as well.  Erik Johnson has a bright future, but he has just a handful of MLB starts.  Felipe Paulino has been intriguing for years,  but that hasn't helped him keep an MLB job for very long.  I liked the Eaton trade, but Hector Santiago was good last year.  The White Sox have little depth in the upper minors and basically no prospects to trade if someone gets hurt.  If Quintana takes a step back, the rotation could be really, really bad. 


I have no problem with a team trading a closer for a position player.  Trading 60-65 innings of relief for a guy who can play 162 games is something that smart teams do consistently.  Of course, Addison Reed is a really good pitcher and he's very young.  He would have been under team control for four more seasons and he likely would have improved a lot during that time.  Matt Davidson could be a good player for a long time too, so I understand the trade from the White Sox' perspective. 

I think the trade is risky because the White Sox' bullpen is mostly terrible.  They've traded Reed, Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton within the last seven months.  They will rely on Nate Jones as their closer, which could work very well considering his impressive peripheral stats in 2013.  That said, he has zero career saves and had a 4.15 ERA in 2013.  Beyond Jones, Matt Lindstrom is pretty good, but the rest of the bullpen looks shaky. 

World Series aspirations?

Only if they choose to play this season "high-low."

Can the Twins finish ahead of them?

The Twins have a much better bullpen, play better defense, have a slightly better offense and a reasonably similar rotation.  The Twins also have younger players on the upswing while the White Sox will rely heavily on veterans who are past their primes.  I can't imagine the White Sox improving enough to pass the Twins in 2014, but I could be greatly overrating the Twins and underrating the White Sox.  I don't see much to like in Chicago this coming season.

Projected AL Central finish - 5th

It's not nice to kick a team when they're down, but the White Sox have assumed the role of the worst team in the Central.  Even if the Twins somehow finish below the White Sox in 2014, they will likely surpass the White Sox the following season.  The White Sox have a shaky MLB roster and a poor farm system.  The White Sox are going to be bad in 2014.  When will the White Sox get better?  That is the question their fans are likely asking.   

If you're interested, here is the whole lot of AL Central team previews (in projected order of finish):

White Sox

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