Breaking Down the Chicago White Sox Offseason
With the start of the 2012 season quickly approaching for the White Sox, there has been a lot of talk about the questionable moves made by the organization this offseason.
Many fans have been angered and confused with the direction the team took this offseason. However, fans should not be as worried about a rebuilding phase as they currently are. Many of the moves made by the White Sox this offseason could very well help the White Sox out tremendously this upcoming season.
The signing of Kosuke Fukudome this offseason sparked some criticism of GM Kenny WIlliams from fans.
However, this move is not as ridiculous as it may seem.
This signing was a low-risk, high-reward signing for the White Sox. Fukudome was brought in to shore up an otherwise weak outfield situation. With the poor performance of Alex Rios last year and the uncertainty surrounding Dayan Viciedo, Fukudome brings a veteran presence to the fourth outfield position.
A career .260 hitter who possesses a quality glove, Fukudome will allow the White Sox to use ultra-utility man Brent Lillibridge in the infield this season in the same capacity Omar Vizquel had been used in the past.
The loss of Buehrle hit lifetime Sox fans hard, including myself.
However, Buehrle received a contract that was extremely high, even for a pitcher of his caliber. The White Sox feel as though Chris Sale will be able to step in and fill the void in the rotation left by Buehrle.
With the need to cut payroll, re-signing Buehrle became something the White Sox could just not afford to do. Instead, they handed out an extension to John Danks, who many feel is a younger version of the former work-horse of the staff Mark Buehrle.
Losing Buehrle is a move that could hurt the White Sox considerably. However, they were just not able to commit that kind of money to yet another aging star.
The trade of slugger Carlos Quentin to the Padres was a smarter baseball move than many credit. Quentin was due a raise in arbitration this year, and with Dayan Viciedo waiting in the wings, Quentin became expendable.
Quentin had his flashes of stardom during his time with the White Sox but was also a .250 career hitter. His power and RBI numbers will be missed, but if Viciedo can produce at a .260, 20 HR, 70 RBI clip, he should more than make up for the production lost by trading Quentin.
The White Sox were also able to put two young arms into the system, one of them being Simon Castro. We could see his debut this season out of the bullpen.
Even though Viciedo still has yet to completely prove himself, this was a move that the Sox had to make in order to realize his potential.
In one of the most out-of-left-field moves made by the White Sox since last season, Robin Ventura was brought in to take over the vacancy left by manager Ozzie Guillen.
Why would the Sox bring in a guy who never managed before to take over a group of under achieving players?
The answer: because Ventura brings a new atmosphere to the White Sox team and clubhouse.
Former manager Ozzie Guillen was an in your face, fiery individual. Ventura, on the other hand, is rather soft spoken and not as interested in the media and what they are saying about his team.
Guillen provided the Sox with some great years, topped off by the 2005 World Series. He was also the first person to defend his players. However, Guillen's antics grew old to many Sox fans, as at times it seemed he was more worried about relaying his personal opinions than getting the team on the same page.
Ventura, who has never managed before, should be able to come in and take over for a franchise that he is very familiar with from his days as a star third baseman. As long as Ventura focuses on the players and keeping them focused on the ultimate prize of a championship, he should not face the same scrutiny that Guillen came under during his time as manager.
Looking Forward to What 2012 May Bring
This season many players on the Sox roster are coming in with chips on their shoulders.
Adam Dunn, John Danks, Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham will all have to prove last year was a fluke season and that they will bounce back. The White Sox had weak attendance numbers last season due to the uninspired play of the team. This year the players will have to give fans a reason to spend their hard-earned money to watch this ball club.
I have a feeling that despite low expectations, the White Sox have the talent and drive to prove doubters wrong this season.