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2014 Outlook: Chicago White Sox

Jan 11, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

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2013 record: 63-99, 5th place in AL Central
Manager: Robin Ventura, 3rd season
Estimated 2014 payroll: $85 million
Key additions: OF Adam Eaton, 1B Jose Abreu, 3B Matt Davidson, RHP Felipe Paulino, RHP Ronald Belisario, LHP Scott Downs
Key losses: RHP Addison Reed, RHP Gavin Floyd

Projected lineup
CF Adam Eaton
LF Alejandro De Aza
1B Jose Abreu
DH Adam Dunn
RF Avisail Garcia
SS Alexei Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham
3B Matt Davidson
C Tyler Flowers

Projected rotation
LHP Chris Sale
LHP Jose Quintana
LHP John Danks
RHP Erik Johnson
RHP Felipe Paulino

Top relievers
CL Nate Jones
RHP Matt Lindstrom
RHP Ronald Belisario

Biggest questions entering 2014
1. Is Jose Abreu the real deal? Desperate to improve the AL’s least-productive offense, the White Sox made a major splash this winter, signing the Cuban defector to a six-year, $68 million contract. That’s the biggest contract in franchise history, for a a relatively unknown quantity. Abreu mashed the Cuban league before defecting via Haiti. Will he be the next Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes? The White Sox sure hope so.

2. Can Nate Jones fill the closer gap? The White Sox traded away promising, young closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks to get Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson. The move helps them offensively, but they still need somebody to close. Enter Jones, who was fantastic as a rookie in 2012 but took a step back last season in a setup role. Given how few runs this team figures to score, Chicago really needs Jones to be able to lock down low-scoring, 2-1 or 3-2 victories.

3. Do Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko have anything left? To say that Dunn’s four-year, $56 million contract has been a disappointment is an understatement. Through three seasons, he owns a .197 batting average and .405 slugging percentage, miles below his career norms. He’s slated to DH once again. Can he prove productive enough? Konerko, meanwhile, re-signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract, understanding he’ll be coming off the bench. But whether it’s splitting time with Dunn at DH or giving Abreu days off at first base, he’s going to need to be productive to help the White Sox score some runs.

  1. Hiram Hover - Jan 11, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    I apologize that this comment is not directly relevant to the subject of this post, but …

    A-Rod – ha!!

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    I understand your sentiments, Hiram, but I take no glee in A-Rod, or any other player’s karma catching up to them for the PED mess. I used to really enjoy Alex when he was younger. The whole thing is a tragedy to me.
    As far as the White Sox? Chris Sale has outperformed a certain National with a lot less fanfare. I haven’t looked. Do we face the White Sox? I’d like to see Sale pitch. Do you remember the angst on this board when Adam Dunn was allowed to walk? I said it then, to much derision,that it was one of the best moves the Nats could have made. I liked the big galoot, but he had a lot of holes in his game. But that ol’ boy could plant the ball over the RF wall!

  3. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    I understand your sentiments, Hiram, but I take no glee in A-Rod, or any other player’s karma catching up to them for the PED mess. I used to really enjoy Alex when he was younger. The whole thing is a tragedy to me.
    As far as the White Sox? Chris Sale has outperformed a certain National with a lot less fanfare. I haven’t looked. but do we face the White Sox this year? I’d like to see Sale pitch. Do you remember the angst on this board when Adam Dunn was allowed to walk? I said it then, to much derision,that it was one of the best moves the Nats could have made. I liked the big galoot, but he had a lot of holes in his game. But that ol’ boy could plant the ball over the RF wall!

    • NatsLady - Jan 11, 2014 at 8:42 PM

      No, we played the White Sox in 2013. We play the AL West this year, so get ready for Mike Trout. April 21, 22, 23.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    Wow! How did that happen? I swear I only hit the “Post Comment” once.

    • ArVAFan - Jan 11, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      That’s OK. Most of what you have to say is worth reading twice.

  5. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    I remember watching Sale’s debut with my best friend who is a big time White Sox fan. In short, it was forgettable. We just remember that we saw his debut.

    Joe, I understand where you are coming from but I am hesitant to reserve those kind of feelings for someone like A-Rod. He was/is a great talent but his personality (not talking about steroids) is a different matter. Griffey is a tragedy that he could not play out his whole career healthy or Bonds maybe partially, but A-rod is not, in my book.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Faraz, my reference to enjoying A-Rod was that liked watching an incredibly talented young man play baseball.

    As to debut’s, I don’t think there was ever a finer one than Strasburg’s, but Sale has put up super numbers for the first couple of years of his career. I hope that fans will enjoy both of them for many years.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      I was just sharing my personal experience of watching Sale, nothing else. He is an excellent pitcher and a guy, rotation can be built around.

      Also no doubts about A-Rod’s talent. Just wish he was a bit better person with that, like Griffey Jr.

  7. Theophilus T.S. - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Rodriguez deserves to be voted into the Un-lamentable Idiots Whom I Would Not Pay to Watch HOF, right up there with Albert Belle, Bonds and, ex post facto, Cobb and probably several others who already made the real HOF. (Notice that I am not discriminating against juicers.) I go to baseball games because I love the game itself but also because the players I am rooting for are likeable. Without that, I don’t have enough enthusiasm to fork over $30-$50 to buy a ticket. Rodriguez has been an even worse “ambassador” of the game than Bonds, for his off-the-field shenanigans, abrasiveness and stoopidity as much as his “juicing” (classified as “on-the-field”). No sympathy at all.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    Theo, I wasn’t expressing any sympathy for A-Rod the person. If it was construed that way then I didn’t express myself very well. I just don’t get any joy out of watching any of the PED abusers go down. I hate how they disgraced the game. I also detest the game for looking the other way for so long.For me, the tragedy was not just what damage that they did to the sport, though. I am saddened by the stories of the likes of Jose, Barry, Alex, Roger, Rafael, etc. because they were all immensely talented players without taking the drugs. By their actions not only are their personal reputations forever tarnished, but so is baseball’s, in many ways. I have always felt the worst for the clean kid that was on the cusp of making it to the show, but whose way was blocked by,not just the game’s stars that were abusing, but by the many guys that maybe weren’t the greatest players, but hung on to MLB roster spots with the help of PED’s. Guysclose to home like LeDuca,Morse and Santangelo come to mind and many, many others. The whole steroid/ PED story is an ongoing tragedy.

    • Hiram Hover - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      Joe –

      You’re a better person than I am, because I do take some satisfaction in seeing A-Rod get what he deserves.

      If there is a tragedy here, it is a tragedy for the game and the fans. And for those HOFers who saw their records fall, and for those marginal guys who didn’t juice and found themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

      But it’s not a tragedy for A-Rod, who is a serial offender, a pathological liar and a narcissist.

      PS – My “ha” comment there is a quote from A-Rod’s own past – his bush league shout to distract a Toronto IF.

      • therealjohnc - Jan 12, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        I get that there is a good deal of satisfaction at watching A-Rod get nailed to the wall. Because, you know, eff him. And in that MLB may have found the perfect target, because the process here raises serious questions about the whole disciplinary process. We haven’t seen Selig’s actual authority for the original 211 game suspension. Is he acting pursuant to the CBA? Or to the Commissioner’s “best interests of baseball” powers? If the former, how does he justify going outside the 50/100/lifetime (for first/second/third offenses) format? If the latter, why is there a CBA at all? If the Commissioner of baseball (who was, and is, an employee of the owners) can unilaterally impose penalties in a situation otherwise covered by the CBA … why is there a CBA at all?

        But because A-Rod is wildly unpopular, not many people care. But the precedent being established has implications beyond just A-Rod.

      • natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        We haven’t seen all of the evidence that was presented but it’s my understanding that in this situation attempts to obstruct the investigation were also a consideration (in addition to number of offenses).

        “Is he acting pursuant to the CBA? Or to the Commissioner’s “best interests of baseball” powers? If the former, how does he justify going outside the 50/100/lifetime (for first/second/third offenses) format? If the latter, why is there a CBA at all? If the Commissioner of baseball (who was, and is, an employee of the owners) can unilaterally impose penalties in a situation otherwise covered by the CBA … why is there a CBA at all?”

      • Hiram Hover - Jan 13, 2014 at 12:06 AM

        John

        I have no doubt that Bud is trying to re-write his history as commissioner with this sentence vs A-Rod – he ignored PED use for a long time, and now wants to go out as the commissioner who handed out multiple suspensions, including the longest in MLB history. I’m not fooled. As far as I’m concerned, you know, eff Bud too.

        But that doesn’t mean A-Rod didn’t deserve what he got. And no, I don’t share your ominous but unspecific worries about the precedent this will set. The confluence of circumstances here is pretty much unprecedented, and MLB players have the strongest union in professional sports to look after their interests.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    I don’t dispute what you say, Hiram.

    A pretty good read on A-Rod from Richard Justice:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/richard-justice-once-a-star-alex-rodriguez-has-become-a-cautionary-tale?ymd=20140111&content_id=66494882&vkey=news_mlb&partnerId=ed-7840448-643078943

  10. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Who would have thought an article on the White Sox would develop into a good discussion of ARod?
    I remember when he “forced” Cal to play shortstop in the 2001 All-Star game and I thought it was a great gesture. If only he could have kept that kind of positive image. He did not of course and is now paying a huge price. He will never make the Hall of Fame, might not play again (although I would not bet on that), and certainly will have the same kind of media situations that Barry Bonds had in his final years. It will not be pretty.

    Hiram is correct that he has been a habitual liar, and this crap about never failing a drug test needs to stop from everyone. I believe Lance Armstrong never failed one either. Unlike others, I will remember the good as well as the bad and not be upset about what he has done lately. Its interesting that several ex-players on the MLB channel in discussing ARod, mentioned what a good teammate he was and how he helped the young players coming up, doing small things like making sure they had nice clothes for their first road trip and things like that. He does come across as smug, and unlikeable but I have never heard a current player bad mouth him.

    Off to the gym – hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday

    Go Nats!

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