What Is In Store For The 2013 Chicago White Sox: State Of The Union
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Tuesday December 18th, 2012
Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer): Follow @BernieOlshansky
If I had to describe the 2012 White Sox in one word, I would describe them as underperforming. Although they improved on their 2011 season, the White Sox still performed below expectations in the 2nd Half and it cost them a trip to the playoffs. In a division with the Detroit Tigers, who signed Prince Fielder last winter, the White Sox were not favored. They finished with an 85-77 record, which was not bad—I just expected better. After all, the Tigers ended up in the World Series.
I’ll start with Adam Dunn. Dunn had one of the worst seasons in baseball history in 2011, the year that he signed a Four Year deal worth $56 Million. He hit .159 with only 11 HRs and 42 RBI. He was poised for a great comeback in 2012. I guess you could call hitting .204 with 41 HRs and 96 RBI a comeback, but it still was not the normal Adam Dunn. The HRs and RBI were there, but the .204 average was well below what he hit in previous years. If Dunn were to have hit for a higher average, one might be able to say that the White Sox would have made the playoffs.
The White Sox finished three games out of first in the AL Central, so they did not exactly get blown out of the water by the Tigers. They were much farther out of the Wild Card Race at eight games back. If the White Sox could have managed to steal three more games, they would have tied the Tigers for the division and at least forced a playoff. In 2013, I see the Tigers winning the division, but probably by more than three games. This year, they will have Victor Martinez back to follow Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup. This does not bode well for the White Sox. Unfortunately, the White Sox did not make any huge deals this winter, so if all stays the same, they will not have a great chance of making the playoffs in 2013. Their only shot at the playoffs would be a Wild Card, and it looks as if either the Los Angeles Angels or the Texas Rangers will be taking one, and either the Blue Jays or the Yankees will be taking the other.
The White Sox do not seem to have good enough pitching to overtake the Tigers in the AL Central. Chris Sale is promising, but he cannot pitch every game. Jake Peavy will have to stay healthy all throughout the year, and John Danks will need to have a good campaign on the bump. Danks only pitched in nine games, so eating up Innings in 2013 will be a necessity. Addison Reed will be a fixture at the back-end of the bullpen and will most likely continue to close out games. The team is trying to trade the 5th starter- Gavin Floyd. If they are unable to make a deal, Floyd must try to find the form that saw him go 17-8 during the 2008 season. If the White Sox somehow make the playoffs, it probably will not be due to the pitching.
In terms of offense, no one player really sticks out. Alex Rios had a good year in 2012, hitting .304 with 25 HRs and 91 RBI. If he can build on this performance and not regress like he did in 2011, the White Sox should be in good shape. Paul Konerko has been consistent year-to-year. He hit .298 in 2012 and will be in the last year of his contract in 2013. Konerko’s present age is 36, so the White Sox might try to extend him and squeeze out all of his remaining value for the rest of his career. Konerko has 415 HRs in his career for the White Sox and may have an outside shot at 500 HR with the same club, if they decide to extend him. Between Rios, Konerko and Dunn, they are all on their back half of their careers now. Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo and Jeff Keppinger must have career years to help the cause. Young Catcher Tyler Flowers must prove that letting A.J. Pierzynski walk with his power and leadership was the right move. Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez also must have better years than they provided the franchise in 2012. These are a lot of what-ifs.
If the White Sox do not make some moves, I do not see them going very far in 2013. The teams around them are getting better while they are standing idly by. I do not see them being able to compete with the Tigers for the Division at all so a Wild Card Spot is more of a chance. However, the teams they are competing against, the Rays, Yankees, or Blue Jays in the AL East are sure to post close to 90 Win Seasons and you can never count out the Rangers or the Athletics from the AL West. Even the Kansas City Royals may challenge in the AL Central if all of their trades and young players pay off. In order to make the playoffs, the White Sox will have to hope for a collapse similar to that of the Rangers and Angels last year. However, if the team can muster the same kind of start like they had in the 2012 year, than maybe just like the high-risk GM Kenny Williams used to, maybe Scott Hahn will roll the dice one more time for the franchise by the Trade Deadline—as Williams had done so often before in the past. If they are to struggle in 2013 and are not competing by the All-Star Break, they should trade every single veteran they can in order to rebuild. They have to start the process sometime.
(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)
Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Bernie on Twitter Follow @BernieOlshansky
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Posted on December 18, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged @bernieolshansky on twitter, a.j. pierzynski, adam dunn, addison reed, al central, AL East, AL West, alejandro de aza, alexei ramirez, alexi ramirez, American league, athletics, blue jays, chris sale, dayan viciedo, detroit tigers, gavin floyd, gordon beckham, jake peavy, jeff keppinger, john danks, kansas city royals, kenny williams, los angeles angels, miguel cabrera, paul konerko, prince fielder, robin ventura, tampa bay rays, texas rangers, Tyler Flowers, victor martinez, yankees. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.