The 2011 Chicago White Sox were supposedly “all in” according to their 2011 marketing campaign, but it seems they may have been bluffing.
Heading into September, the White Sox currently stand six games behind the Detroit Tigers with their chances of winning the division getting slimmer by the day.
With 28 games left in the season they need to win about 75 percent of their games and hope that Detroit plays .500 ball the rest of the way, just to have a chance.
In other words, don’t bet on it.
In spring training it appeared—on paper, at least—that the Sox were the team to beat in the AL Central. So how could a team of this caliber struggle all year just to stay above the .500 mark?
Well, it probably depends on who you ask, but here are a few reasons that I think most fans can agree on.
If he wasn’t the worst free agent signing in the history of baseball, he was close.
Dunn was signed to a four-year, $56 million contract in the offseason with the hopes that he would be able to put up the monster homerun and RBI totals that he had in the past.
Well, to this point Dunn has 11 homeruns and 40 RBI’s to go along with a .163 average and 156 strikeouts in 367 at-bats.
Not exactly what Kenny and Ozzie had in mind.
To put it in perspective, he has fewer homeruns than utility man Brent Lillibridge (13) in almost 200 more at-bats. He also has fewer RBI’s than light hitting leadoff man Juan Pierre.
Needless to say, Dunn has been a colossal disappointment.
If it weren’t for Adam Dunn, Alex Rios would be the biggest disappointment on the White Sox's roster this year.
Rio is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $70 million contract that the Sox picked up when they claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009.
A two time all-star, Rios is currently hitting .214 with eight homeruns and 32 RBI’s. Again, not really what the Sox management had in mind, especially after his solid 2010 season.
On top of everything else Rios, who is normally an above average center fielder, has been inconsistent defensively and has even seemed disinterested at times.
I understand that Peavy is coming back from offseason surgery to repair a torn back muscle, but regardless, he still has yet to exhibit the skills that caused the White Sox to take on his enormous contract in 2009.
Peavy is making $16 million this year and is due to make $17 million next year.
He is currently 6-7 with an ERA over 5 and has had trouble holding leads all season. In his two plus years in Chicago he is 16-13 with an ERA well over 4 and has had injury problems each season.
The Sox have needed and expected more from Peavy, but so far he has been unable to display the talents that made him a Cy Young winner in San Diego. Yet another example of a bad Sox investment.
Overall, the Sox main problem this season has been hitting and more specifically, timely hitting.
They are currently 16th in baseball with a .253 team batting average, but the numbers get worse with runners in scoring position.
With RISP the Sox rank 22nd in the league with a .246 average and with RISP and two outs they rank 24th in the league with just a .211 average.
The White Sox pitching has been pretty good overall this year, but the Sox just haven’t been able to get enough big hits when they need them.
The recent surge of production has been due to the play of many of their youngsters—De Aza, Viciedo and Flowers—but it may be a case of too little, too late.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering that this entire list of problems was basically created by Kenny.
Personally, I have always been a Williams supporter, but it's getting tougher to defend him.
The three other players named in this article—Dunn, Rios and Peavy—are set to make over $40 million combined next year, yet it is debatable whether or not any of them should even be on the team.
Peavy has one more year on his contract before a club option in 2013, while Dunn has three more years on his contract and Rios has three more on his before a club option in 2015.
That's just flat out brutal. Especially when you have guys like Viciedo, De Aza, and Chris Sale on the roster who have all outperformed these guys and should be a big part of the team next year.
Kenny definitely went "all in" this year, but he and the Sox may be leaving the table early.