I was so excited for the start of this White Sox season that I had a sign made up to celebrate pitchers and catchers reporting this week, but the Astros stole it.
[gets Vaudeville hook]
While this offseason has been dominated by investigations and punishments for stealing signs, the White Sox made a lot of noise this winter, and that noise could be attributed to the Brinks trucks seen backing into the loading docks of Sox Park.
The White Sox spent over $200 million in free agency, adding Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Nomar Mazara, Steve Cishek and Edwin Encarnacion. They also re-signed Jose Abreu and gave Luis Robert a big, fat extension to ensure he is the Opening Day CF for Ricky Renteria’s squad on March 26 against Kansas City.
All that cash doled out by the front office, coupled with the promising 2019 seasons by Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Lucas Giolito have Sox fans and otters excited for the new season for the first time in a long time.
This is, by no means, a perfect team on paper. There will still be questions about starting pitching depth, and bullpens can be volatile from one year to the next. We also don’t know how Mazara will do as the everyday right fielder, which was a big hole in 2019. And, of course, there’s no telling how the injury bug might affect the Sox, or other teams in the division.
We can say, with certainty, that the 2020 Chicago White Sox will be a more competitive outfit than the previous several years. They may not de-throne the Twins or Indians atop the AL Central, but the Sox certainly won’t make it easy on them.
The good news for the Sox is that the Tigers and Royals haven’t been re-aligned out of the division, so the Sox should fatten up on those two bottom-feeders. How they fare against Minnesota and Cleveland will determine how close they are to playoff contention in September.
PECOTA predicted the Sox to win 83 games this season, and finish third in the division, but I think they do slightly better, winning 86 games, but still falling just short of a Wild Card berth. There will be meaningful games late in the season, however. And that will bode well for the 2021 edition of the White Sox.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get on the next flight to Palm Beach, Florida, to get my sign back from the Astros. I worked hard on that thing…