This afternoon in the Winter Meetings the Chicago White Sox were involved in a 3-team deal with the Los Angeles Angels and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chicago traded pitcher Hector Santiago to Los Angeles and received center fielder Adam Eaton from Arizona. The Angels also received another starter in Tyler Skaggs from Arizona and sent big bat Mark Trumbo to Arizona in return. Arizona will also receive one player to be named later (or cash) from each team.
In this three team deal it appears as if each team fulfilled a need they had. The Angels get some solid starting pitching which they were in desperate need of. Skaggs is young and under team control for awhile while and should be a solid #2 or #3 starter in that rotation. Santiago will be a #5 starter or a long relief man if need be. They both go to a pitchers park which should help them.
The Diamondbacks get a solid bat that should help Paul Goldschmidt. If Trumbo can increase his OBP he will be good for them offensively. The question is he really a good left-fielder? I don’t think so. So this may be the one downside for Arizona.
As for the White Sox they get a 23-year old young outfielder who has some speed and can lead off for them. De Aza was a huge defensive liability, so this is an obvious upgrade in center field. Eaton could see an increase in power numbers hitting in a hitters park in U.S. Cellular Field, but he will be there to get on base and steal bases. And the good thing is that he is young. The Sox and Rick Hahn are clearly moving in a more youthful direction, which I love.
Eaton was a 2013 rookie of the year candidate before getting hurt, so he clearly has an upside. In 88 career games in the majors between 2012 and 2013 he was 85-for-335 (.254) and an OBP of .332 in that span. He is patient at the plate, does not strike out a lot and will work into hitters counts which is what Chicago needs. He also had 5 homers and 27 RBI in those 88 games 31 walks and 7 stolen bases.
He has already tweeted out that he is excited to play for Chicago and he has that young “gritty” attitude that will fit well on the South Side. They traded from strength to get an area of need.
Losing Santiago means that the White Sox have lost a guy who was solid in long relief. But he wanted to be a starter. And with the acquisition of Paulino yesterday, that was not going to happen on the South Side. So good for him going somewhere where he will get another chance to start everyday.
I like the trade for all teams involved.
Yesterday on Monday December 9th the winter meetings began for baseball. The Chicago White Sox made a small move that could begin a ripple effect for more moves to come. They acquired free agent starting pitcher Felipe Paulino who spent last season with the Kansas City Royals minor league system when he was not hurt.
Paulino, 30, signed a 1-year 1.75 million dollar deal which includes a hefty 4-million dollar club option for 2014 or a 250,000 buyout. Paulino was 0-3 with a 6.51 ERA in seven starts in between AA and AAA for the Royals organization in 2013 after recovering from surgery. He was solid in 2012 posting a 1.67 ERA that season before getting hurt.
He is a power right-handed starter which the Sox could plug into the rotation as a 5th starter if one of the young guys don’t pan out such as Johnson or Rienzo.
This move also likely means that a starter like Santiago or Quintana could be traded soon…
The White Sox made another roster move yesterday that they hope will fortify their bullpen and be a key addition for 2014.
Yesterday the White Sox agreed to a one-year 3-million dollar deal with veteran right handed reliever Ronald Belisario. With the loss of guys like Matt Thorton and Jesse Crain last season, Belisario will have to be a veteran presence of leadership in this young locker room along with Paul Konerko and Matt Lindstrom.
Belisario, 31, has spent all 4 years of his MLB career in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. He has a 20-12 record with a 3.29 ERA in 273 games. In 265 innings pitched, the one drawback has been his inconsistency. In his rookie season in 2009 he had a 2.04 ERA in 69 appearances. Then in 2010 he had a 5.04 ERA in 59 games. After not pitching in 2011, he returned with a strong season in 2012 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 appearances. Then last season came another bad year where he had a 3.97 ERA in 77 games.
So which guy will the White Sox get? Hopefully the guy in 2009 or 2012.
Well, it’s official. The Captain has returned for one more season.
Wednesday Paul Konerko chose to return for one final year. The Chicago White Sox and and Paul Konerko agreed to terms on a 1-year 2.5-million dollar deal that will pay him 1.5 million this season and he will defer 1-million of that till 2021. In Konerko’s last contract he chose to defer 1-million dollars per year from 2014-2020. So now even after he calls it quits after this next season comes to a close, he will earn 1-million per year for the next 7 years. That is a way to set you and your family up for life. Good for him. That’s a smart move. Now for the more present issue, what does this mean for the White Sox now?
I am torn between if this is a good move for the team or not. Now don’t get me wrong. I love Paul Konerko. He has become one of my favorite White Sox players of all-time. He is a clear leader in the clubhouse. But I am concerned if his best playing days are behind him. And unless the White Sox can pull off a spectacular trade of Adam Dunn, they are going to have a log-jam at 1B/DH. You now have Jose Abreu (who will get most of the playing time), Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, and even possibly Dayan Viciedo.
Dunn’s contract is the concern here. If the White Sox are going to trade Dunn, they are going to have to eat a ton of his remaining 15-million he is owed in 2014. So can you find an AL-team who will take Dunn? He is not going to play in the NL. He can no longer play the outfield on an everyday basis. At best he can play 1B/DH. To trading him I say good luck Rick Hahn.
One good thing about resigning Konerko is he can be a mentor to the young guys like Abreu and others. He does come on the cheap too. It seems as if Konerko will play a majority of his games as a DH against left-handed pitching as Jose Abreu plays 1B. This does give White Sox fans a chance to see Konerko play one last time. And also gives Konerko a chance to break some team records.
Another question that remains is will Viciedo be resigned. Maybe not at this point. Besides his arm, he is a liability in left field. The White Sox need a player who can play left field and be a utility type player. They need left-handed pop and balance. Plain and simple. The current left-handed bats: Dunn, De Aza, Gillaspie, and Danks is not much.
The roster needs to have some changes for sure before the season begins. Inexplicably the team also chose to resign Tyler Flowers for 950k this season. Now I do think he could be in the minors to begin the year, or be an option in case someone gets hurt. So it’s not all bad, but Flowers days as the full-time catcher in Chicago are done.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? As of right now it remains to be seen. It clogs a position right now. So a corresponding move needs to be made. I love Konerko and I can’t see him in another uniform besides the White Sox, so I like that he is playing here. But as for the team, Rick Hahn still has some work to do.
I am sitting here with the sun shining through my window to my bedroom on this beautiful crisp fall morning and thinking about baseball. I am drinking my 3rd cup of coffee by this point in the morning and watching an old archived game on my laptop. My MLB.TV subscription allows me to go back and watch anything from the last 3 seasons. So in this case: 2011, 2012 and 2013. So this morning I am watching a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 1st, 2011.
I actually attended this game with my good friend Ryan Gilmer, who is a Cubs fan. We were right down the 3rd base line. It was by far the best seats I have had for a major league game and it was my first, and to this point, lone trip to historic Wrigley Field.
It was a good game and a good day. The Sox rallied in the 7th inning to score 4 runs in the frame and win. So today I am thankful for baseball and good friends. And even though the sport that I love so dearly is on a hiatus at this point, I am glad to be able to revisit moments like these.
Yesterday there was a baseball game. In November.
Yesterday was the Arizona Fall League’s All-Star game, or called the “Fall Stars Game.” And you can bet I watched it. God I miss baseball. Is it time for Spring Training games yet?
Courtesy of MLB.com, I was able to watch the game as the West took out the East by a final of 9-2. Yeah the game was a blowout but it was a great one to watch as it was filled with many young future stars that hope to soon make it to the show. The AZFL is just a step away from “the show” for many.
Two players that were are in the Chicago White Sox system were in the game last night. I was interested in seeing how they would perform. Sadly they did not to well. Marcus Semien, who saw some time in the big leagues late last season entered the game in the 6th inning. He had two at bats and was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. He still needs to work on his craft, but might be called up early in 2014 if the Sox make some major off-season moves via trade. Chris Bassitt entered the game in the 7th inning on the mound while his team was ahead 7-0 and surrendered the first run of the game. He hit a batter and then allowed a 1 out double that scored the run in his one inning on the hill. Bassitt clearly has some talent, but might be a year or so away as he finished last season in AA Birmingham.
Those two players are two of the seven players in the AZFL for the White Sox. The list also includes: Left-handed pitcher Charlie Leesman who saw some time in the majors this season, right-handed pitchers Stephen McCray and Kevin Vance, and outfielders Brandon Jacobs and Jared Mitchell.
There are some guys that could be called up soon on many teams, although I think for the South Side most of the players are a year or two away at least. In the past 4 seasons, 93 players who have played in this game have reached the majors the following year. Many of whom have won rookie of the year like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Craig Kimbrel, Buster Posey and Ryan Braun.
21 players in MLB.com’s list of the top 100 prospects played in last night’s game. It was a great showcase for young talent. I will be keeping my eye on this league over the next month as the season concludes there. Then it is on to the winter leagues in the Caribbean and Australia. Then soon enough the winter meetings will arrive where some off-season moves will be made.
Baseball never ends. Yes the majors may have a break from competitive games, but the sport carries on. Gotta love it.
On Thursday the Chicago White Sox made another off-season move by exercising their team contract option on relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom. The 33-yr old right-handed pitcher adds a much needed veteran arm to the bullpen for the 2014 season as I have already eluded to in prior posts on my “season reflections”. He will make 4-million dollars in 2014.
Lindstrom actually did well last season I thought considering the record of the team in 2013. In 76 appearances he had a 2-4 record with a 3.12 ERA. According to the stats, he is excellent at keeping the ball on the ground as he induced 15 double plays last season which was 2nd in the American League last season among relievers.
Lindstrom wants to be here, which is a good thing. Right now he is the only arm the Sox have from last season in their entire bullpen although some others such as Addison Reed and Nate Jones are expected to get contracts from Chicago. The others are up in the air.
Right now the Sox have Lindstrom, Chris Sale, John Danks Adam Dunn, Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez and Jeff Keppinger as the only players on this years roster so far that have contracts. Although many more are expected to sign soon and don’t rule out the chance of Danks, Dunn, Ramirez or Keppinger being traded this off-season.
Whatever the off-season holds, so far Rick Hahn is making the right moves.
The Chicago White Sox have gotten off to a fast start this off-season as they are looking to improve their hitting at the plate, a weak spot from last season.
The rumors have been swirling for weeks and on Tuesday the Chicago White Sox made it official. They have signed Cuban slugger Jose Abreu to a 6yr, 68-million dollar deal.
This is a loud and boisterous first move from the South Side for a team that many thought would be in a “rebuilding mode.” Abreu has been tabbed by many in Cuba as the best hitter some have ever seen. That is very high praise for a young man to live up to. And although not in the same mold as Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes, being known as purely a hitter (1B/DH) many in baseball circles are saying that he could have as big of a early impact as those two young men did on the game in his first season in Chicago.
Abreu signing with the Sox does not come as too much of a shock once you start exploring it. Paul Konerko may retire, and even if he doesn’t this will be his last season in baseball, hopefully in a White Sox uniform and not another. Adam Dunn is in the last year of his deal and will not be returning after the season. He perhaps could be traded before the season begins or during the trade deadline if Chicago would be out of contention and are willing to take on a good chuck of his remaining salary. Now Chicago has their 1B/DH for the foreseeable future.
Also having Dayan Viciedo and Alexei Ramirez was key to Abreu joining the White Sox. Having two Cuban players that advised Abreu that Chicago would be the best fit for him did not hurt one bit. Abreu even stated this in his first press conference with the media.
So what does this mean for the roster? First of all it is not certain if Konerko will retire or not. This certainly does give the team another option though if he does. It may be Abreu and Dunn at 1B/DH. If Konerko returns, you could see the Sox try to give away Dunn. With that big contract they may not get a lot in return, but the fact that he is in the final year of his deal doesn’t hurt.
I also think that this helps Viciedo and Ramirez. I think that this could mean that they are staying with the club, although nothing is ever set in stone.
With the 26-yr old Abreu most likely being placed in the middle of the lineup along with Avisail Garcia the Sox have a formidable punch there. And if somehow Dunn and Konerko would stay, you could see a righty-lefty rotation going on and solid 3-4-5-6 slots in the linenup.
New hitting coach Todd Steverson, coming from Oakland, is expected to be announced very soon, since the World Series is now over. So he will be the one to evaluate how to set the lineup along with Ventura once the season begins.
Don’t discount the fact that the Sox could also make some more changes real soon. I have already mentioned the fact that Dunn could be traded. Also there is a possibility that Jeff Keppinger, Gordon Beckham or even Alexei Ramirez could be dealt. Beckham’s name is swirling now with the Toronto Blue Jays drawing serious interest.
This rumor does have some legs since the two teams have a good relationship with the likes of Alex Rios coming from Toronto and Mark Buehrle being dealt there in the past. The rumor is that it would be for pitching and prospects. The Sox if Beckham gets dealt would then have Ramirez and Keppinger (yuck) up the middle and then Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson could see some time real soon.
I would hate to lose Beckham to be honest. He is a VERY good defensive player and he did well at the plate last season. He is a great clubhouse guy and a solid leader.
There is also a possibility that where the White Sox have a ton of depth, in their starting staff, they could ship Hector Santiago or Jon Danks to Toronto with Beckham so they can get more talent in return. Keep an eye on this one over the next few weeks as with the announcement of what Konerko is going to do.
This team could look vastly different. Hopefully it is for the best.
The 2013 season is in the books for the Chicago White Sox. Thankfully, the team can now look forward rather than look back. March 31st of 2014 will begin the 2014 regular season and for most die-hard White Sox fans like myself, we cannot wait! But yet the off-season and in particular, this one, should bring a lot of intriguing eyes and ears. It is the first off-season GM Rick Hahn will have after a season where he was in full control. He made his in-season moves which I thought were brilliant considering the state of the ballclub and now comes the off-season.
So what should Hahn do? Now I know my opinion does not matter, but following the club as closely as I do, I would like to insert my opinion. So here it goes.
The starting rotation is pretty solid. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana make a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of this staff. They both had very good seasons, but were plagued by a lack of offense and run support. John Danks will probably be the third starter in the rotation. He will have a full season under his belt from the injury and also another off-season to get stronger. The guy has a big contract so he is going nowhere soon.
Then it gets interesting as multiple names surface. Hector Santiago, Dylan Axelrod, Gavin Floyd, Erik Johnson or Andre Rienzo. I think that Floyd will be out. His injury may have cost him his spot. I even heard some reports that his career may be over. I don’t believe that, but his time in a White Sox uniform is probably done. I also believe that Dylan Axelrod lost his job too. His was due to his poor play. The team even tried to move him to the bullpen to give him a chance and he seemed to surrender homerun after homerun. If Hahn decides to trade away someone like Quintana or Santiago, he better get some really good value back.
So that leaves three men for two spots. I think that the Sox should go with Erik Johnson and Andre Rienzo and have Hector Santiago as a long relief man out of the bullpen. Why? I think that the Sox need all the bullpen help they can get and Santiago has proven he can pitch for this club wherever needed. This also gives the White Sox two right-handed starters on a team loaded with lefties. It would get them younger now for a team that is rebuilding and it gives these guys a chance to see what they are capable of. And if one of them falters they could always plug Santago right back in the rotation. Now do I think the team will do this? No, I don’t. I think Santiago will be in the starting rotation and Rienzo and Johnson will battle it out in Spring Training for the final spot and the other will be sent to AAA to begin the year. But that is why this is an opinion article.
The bullpen needs some major work. Gone are veterans Matt Thorton and Jesse Crain. That leaves Matt Lindstrom as the lone veteran. He did well for the team this season so I see them picking up his team option for the season and he pitches for them this year. Addison Reed in my mind is the only other guarantee for the bullpen. He will re-signed and be the closer for the White Sox in 2014. So in my mind along with Santiago, that puts three guys in the pen so far.
Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Jake Petricka, Charlie Leesman, Daniel Webb, David Purcey, Duante Heath, Ramon Troncoso, Brian Omogrosso, and and Simon Castro were all other players that appeared for the Sox pen last season. Troncoso and Omogrosso were sent back to AAA on October 4th. So they will not begin the season with the big club. The Sox could carry 12 or 13 pitchers so: I think Nate Jones, Donnie Veal, Jake Petricka, David Purcey and Daniel Webb will start with the club. That gives the Sox 13 pitchers for the start of the season. Jones struggled late but the guy still has talent. Veal was very impressive late in the season after going back to the minors to work on mechanics and Petricka may be one of the more talented young arms the Sox have. Outside of that the other two in Webb and Purcey are just guesses. It could be Castro too. Or some free agents that they pick up which I have no speculation on at this point. I see Webb making it.
Now for the position players.
The big question is Paul Konerko. Will he come back? A lot of moves hinge on this one player. If he does the Sox may look very similar. If not, the teams makeup may look very different. I have no clue on what he will do. Although if I had to guess, I think he comes back for one final season. He will sign a 1-year deal for less money and give the fans a chance to salute him one final season. He did not like the way 2013 went. It was by far the worst season of his career or at least in the past 10 years. I think he will return in a limited role at 1B and be more of a DH for his final season. He will be a veteran presence who will give some leadership and guidance to the young players. If he does not return, I could see him joining Jim Thome in the front office and working for the team in some role.
Let’s say Paulie comes back. So you have Konerko and Dunn splitting time at 1B/DH. Yes, Adam Dunn is coming back. As much as many White Sox fans hate to hear it. He will return. He is in the final year of his monster 4-year 56-million dollar deal in 2014 and he will finish that out. No one is going to want to pay him the 15M he is due. The only way he goes is if the Sox would eat the majority of that deal and I just don’t see the Sox paying him that much to go away for one season.
Gordon Beckham will be the Sox second baseman. He had a resurgent season and is deserving of another contract with the Sox. He will be joined by Jeff Keppinger behind him whom the Sox still owe another 8.5M over the next two years–ugh.
Alexei Ramirez will likely return at shortstop with all his errors unless the Sox can find a buyer in the off-season. He is signed through 2016 with a team option so he is due a ton of cash. He did hit well this year, although the power numbers went down drastically. The defense is a concern though which is why the Sox will look to shop him if they can but I just don’t see it happening at this point. If they do trade him however, Beckham could move to short or Semien could come in at that point as a starter.
Third base will be occupied by Conor Gillaspie who surprised many Sox fans, including myself in his rookie campaign. I just don’t see Marcus Semien making the staring roster quite yet. But he did show enough talent that he would be a nice utility man if the Sox go with 12 pitchers instead of 13. Leury Garcia probably will begin in the minors I think, unless the Sox want to put him in the outfield.
At catcher Josh Phegley has earned a spot. Tyler Flowers however needs to go. Rumor has it that the Sox would love to sign a veteran backstop like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia to teach Phegley. I would love to have McCann on the South Side. Let’s hope…
That basically leaves four outfielders. This could all be different. The only sure one at this point is Avisail Garcia. He will be with the big club. He is the cornerstone of the franchise at this point along with Chris Sale. He and Sale may be the only guaranteed non-tradeable pieces too.
So you have Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo, Jordan Danks, Leury Garcia, and Blake Tekotte left. Or a free agent. If Konerko retires, I could see the Sox moving Viciedo to the 1B/DH role along with Adam Dunn. If not I don’t know what the Sox will do with him. His playing time will certainly diminish and he could be a 3rd guy in the platoon DH role or come off the bench as a pinch hitter. But do you really want to put him in the outfield late in the game? He has a good arm, but his defense is lacking. Jordan Danks late surge I think earned him a spot on this club. I think that Garcia and Tekotte will begin in the minors.
So what about De Aza? I think he could be a valuable trade piece. He did well in the leadoff spot at times, but his defense is horrendous. The Sox would love to sign Shin-Soo Choo or Curtis Granderson as a Free Agent. Granderson is a local Chicago kid and the Sox are rumored to be pursuing him now. Choo has said he wants to stay in Cincinnati. He is with a contender. So why would he want to come to a rebuilding club. I would rather have Choo but I think the Sox have a much better chance of getting Granderson. Granderson right now is a Free Agent and I don’t see him going back to a fading New York club unless the money is overwhelming. I think he would love to end his career on the South Side in front of family and friends. So I see the Sox signing Granderson and trading De Aza for some minor league players if they can.
So here it is: SP-Sale, Quintana, Danks, Johnson, and Rienzo,
RP: Santiago (long relief), Reed (closer), Lindstrom, Jones, Veal, Petricka, and Webb.
C: Phegley and a free agent (hopefully McCann)
1B: Konerko and Dunn
2B: Beckham and Keppinger
3B: Gillaspie and Semien
OF: A. Garcia, Jo. Danks, Granderson and Viciedo.
That is just a guess. We will see. They will not be deep into the free agent market as they are looking to develop young talent. But a catcher and an outfielder would be a nice addition.
LET’S GO WHITE SOX!!!
I promised that I would write a blog post about the good that I saw from the Chicago White Sox 2013 season, so here it is.
Now you may think that in a season where a team ends a season at 63-99, there is not much good to look at. The Sox did finish the season 30 games out of first place in the AL Central, tied for the 4th most losses in franchise history, had the 7th worst win percentage in the franchise’s all-time history for season (.389), and finished 36 games below .500 on the season.
They also had their worst road record in franchise history (26-55) and led the majors in errors and were 2nd worst in unearned runs allowed.
But I promise you there was some good…
1. Chris Sale. The W-L record DOES NOT show how good of a season this guy had. He clearly has established himself as the true ace of this staff. Despite an 11-14 record on the year in 30 starts Sale finished the season with a 3.07 ERA which was just a tic under his 3.05 ERA last season in which he posted a 17-8 record. He pitched over 200-innings this season (214.1) and proved that he can be in the starting rotation for years to come. He also threw four complete games this season which tied for the MLB lead this year. He allowed just 81 runs although only 73 of those were earned–as he fell victim to some bad defense that cost him some wins. He had a career high 226 strikeouts while walking just 46 batters. He earned his 2nd straight all-star game appearance and dazzled in that role. I am pretty sure he had the lowest run support for a starter in the American League if not all of baseball this season. He was dominant. No one from an opposing team wants to face him. There is no reason to expect a drop-off next season either.
2. Rick Hahn. For what he had once the team went into the slide they did, he did a masterful job in making the trades he had to make. He traded away veterans in the last year of their deals in Matt Thorton and Jesse Crain. Those guys were not going to be resigned. Thorton was left off of Boston’s playoff roster despite appearing in 20 games for them this season. He got injured late with a right oblique strain and it looks as if Chicago traded him at the right time. The trade occurred on July 12th and Hahn was able to get outfielder Brandon Jacobs who becomes the 7th best player in the White Sox farm system. He is still developing, but he shows some promise.
The White Sox traded away Jesse Crain who was injured at the time on July 29th for a player to be named later or cash to Tampa Bay. Crain was not going to resign with Chicago as the team is in a rebuilding process. So Hahn got what he could. The trade is performance based for the remainder of the season and Crain is yet to pitch for the Rays and it does not look like he will. The Sox may not receive much from the Rays at this point other than cash–but that cash could help into filling a hole in the off-season.
The Sox also released Dewayne Wise (August 3rd), Casper Wells (August 8th) and Tyler Greene (August 13th) as the team was able to bring up young players in their place such as Jordan Danks, Marcus Semien and Erik Johnson.
The other big moves made by Hahn were acquiring Avisail Garcia in the Jake Peavy trade (Boston/Detroit) and Leury Garcia in the Alex Rios trade (Texas). Although Peavy and Rios should help their respective clubs, the Garcia boys, no relation, shined with this White Sox club. Avisail Garcia hit .304 in 42 games with the White Sox with 5 homers, 21 RBI and 3 stolen bases. He also has a solid outfield arm. Although striking out a bit, he is only 22 years of age and clearly has time to develop some plate discipline. Leury Garcia played just 20 games for the White Sox and hit just .204, but he did steal six bases and played 2B, SS, 3B and CF in those 20 games making just one error.
Hahn deserves some praise for getting some young talent in here and looking toward the future.
3. The young kids. Not only did the Sox get the Garcia boys in trades whom I just mentioned, but Jordan Danks, Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson and Jake Petrika all did well at points when called upon. Danks appeared in 79 games this season at all three outfield spots DH in five games and as a pinch-runner. He hit just .231, but over a span of the final 2 months he his .260 with 4 homers and 10 RBI. Phegley struggled a lot with the bat–but shows some power and has a good arm. And with Flowers struggles, Phegley may get his chance to play.
Marcus Semien was great in a small sample size of just 21 games. He hit .261 with 2 homers and 7 RBI. He showed promise at 3B, but that might be Conor Gillaspie’s job. If the Sox make a trade in the offseason–Semien could see more playing time. Jake Petrika also did well out of the pen going 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in 16 apperances.
Erik Johnson may be the one I am most excited about. In five starts he was 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA, but his breaking ball is wicked nasty. He might have just earned himself a spot in a deep starting rotation. More on that later.
This list doesn’t even include guys like Conor Gillaspie who had a solid season with the club all year and the resurgence of Gordon Beckham at the plate. Or Addison Reed who was great with 40 saves.
The future looks bright for this club.
4. The starting rotation. I already mentioned the ace of the staff in Chris Sale. After that you have to mention Jose Quintana who was 9-7 with his 3.51 ERA in 33 starts and threw exactly 200 innings on the season. His 17 no-decisions led all of baseball this season. He was unlucky just like Sale. But to have that 1-2 combo at the top things look good.
Hector Santiago faded late in the season as his arm grew tired, but his flexibility as a starter or reliever is unmatched. He can do either. I would like to see him as a long relief man personally, but if he starts, I understand. John Danks 4-14 record was awful, but for a guy who returned from season ending surgery last year and pitch as much as he did was remarkable. He will be better next year. Andre Rienzo and Erik Johnson will right for a spot in this rotation and one or both of them could get it if Santiago is moved to the pen. Dylan Axelrod clearly lost his chance to start in my mind. And for that matter, lost his chance to pitch out of the bullpen too. Gavin Floyd is the wild-card here. Will he come back? His days on the South Side may be numbered, but either way this starting rotation has a ton of depth.
I like the way this club is shaping up. A few moves are required and there will be a lot of speculation in what appears to be a very interesting off-season ahead. What will Konerko do? What players should the Sox add, release or trade away? Can they find a bullpen bridge to Addison Reed after the starter is done?
Part 3 will come later as I will speculate on these things and more in the off-season segment.