This is going to be a very, very interesting year for the White Sox. By interesting, I mean really boring.
Why boring, you ask? Thanks for asking!
Boring Because No. 1...
There will be no loud-mouthed manager who is willing to badmouth any player at any time. No more manager Ozzie Guillen, who left for the Miami Marlins, who would gladly remind the press that he can't teach Alex Rios how to hit.
Ozzie would also remind the fans that he is not the idiot who gave Jake Peavy the giant, long-term deal. Ozzie would remind us all that he hates Kenny Williams like a hooker hates having a boyfriend. But now Ozzie is gone from Chitown. D'oh!
Boring Because No. 2...
I took a gander at all the major league outfields, there are very, very few with the White Sox lack of productivity at each position. Put it this way, LF Alejandro De Aza, CF Alex Rios and RF Danny Viciedo make the Giants' Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan look like Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.
Seriously, the Chisox OF has a very realistic chance of COMBINING for fewer than 40 homers. TOTAL. That's really, really hard to do. But I'm nothing if not bold, so I will make the call.
Boring Because No. 3...
This team is slow. Outside of De Aza and Rios, nobody on the team really has a chance to swipe 15 bags. Write that in your journal. With a pen.
Boring Because No. 4...
This team doesn't even have any power. Outside of 1B Pauly Konerko, who hits 30 jacks every year and will again in 2k12, nobody else can slug. Well that's not entirely true, as DH Adam Dunn used to be able to slug. And then, sometime after he got his $50 million from GM Williams, he forgot how to hit, finishing last year with a .159 average with 11 homers. Those numbers are insanely horrid and hopefully wont be repeated.
Boring Because No. 5...
Starting rotation will be solid , for sure. But unless lefty Chris Sale becomes a stud, the Chisox are loaded with No. 3 starters who are not very exciting.
OK, time for Kings, Crumbums and Codgers. This is probably one of the most popular segments on the Internet these days.
1B Pauly Konerko
He hits 280 with 30 jacks and 100 RBI's every single year. He is an old school slugger. He is like clockwork, which is why everyone who knows him calls him "Clockwork Paul."
SP Chris Sale
I expect this kid to be really good. He walks very few dudes (about 3/9IP last year), he strikes out a batter per inning, he dominates lefties (.208 avg) and righties (.199) and he allowed only six homers last year.
Now, as a reliever those numbers stayed low. They will go up. But this kid is going to be good. Put this in your journal next to the earlier journal entry about nobody stealing 15 bags.
CF Alex Rios
The minute this guy got a contract, he mailed in the rest of his life. In 2008 I was at the Skydome or Rogers Centre or whatever the hell they call the Blue Jays' ball yard. I was sitting in TGIF inside the ballpark, enjoying a Long Island iced tea, trying to get a good buzz going before the Orioles at Jays started. Plus, they had some good discounts on well drinks, so why the hell not?
I got like three LI iced teas for 15 Canadian bucks or so. Anyhow, I'm watching the teams take batting practice and throw the ball around and Rios looks up at me in the TGIF, and just launches a ball 200 feet or so at a 45-degree angle, nailing the plexiglass in front of my seat at the restaurant.
I took note of two things that day (in my journal): 1. Alex Rios is a jerk. 2. Alex Rios has a really great arm when he is motivated. Since he had just signed his mega-deal only two months or so before that day, I knew he was only motivated by one thing: being a jerk. And to this day he still is.
2B Gordon Beckham
Note to the world of baseball scouts who told us all this kid was the next great player: Wake me when he gets his average above .230, or even above .260. He is, as of now, a totally average 2B, if that.
SP Jake Peavy
Every year this guy has some major injury that nobody has ever seen before. He starts like 15-20 games and tears up his anterior slotamate or dorsal maximus or some other muscle that only a few people even have.
In sum, the White Sox are stinky. I think they are moving toward a younger team, and they have an albatross of a contract at DH. They can cross their fingers and pray Dunn bounces back—I imagine he will. Nevertheless, I will be surprised if the South Siders win over 74 games this year.