Chicago White Sox pitchers and catchers have officially reported for Spring Training. Normally that brings a lot of hope, but a less-than-ideal offseason has left a lot of doubt that the Southsiders will have a good season. Some forecasts have this season being even worse than last year.
Although, Chicago still returns one of the most talented lineups in the AL Central. The Sox still have holes on their roster after having a disappointing off-season.
General manager Rick Hahn did hand out the largest contract in franchise history when he signed outfielder Andrew Benintendi.
Benintendi adds a desperately needed left-handed bat to the lineup. He lacks pop but he makes contact. with the shift being banned, he could potentially contend for a batting title.
The Chicago White Sox need a lot to go right for them this season.
Benintendi and a healthy Tim Anderson could become one of the best one-two combinations in the Majors. The rest of the offseason was a mix of controversy and left fans frustrated.
Jose Abreu was allowed to leave in free agency. What made it even worse was the Sox’ best hitter signed with the Houston Astros.
Rick Hahn did not sign a veteran second baseman or a right fielder. Those two positions have been a problem for the franchise for a long time.
During a contention window, Hahn did not write a check to solve the issue at the two positions. Instead, it looks like a couple of rookies will get a shot to hold down those two key troubled areas in the Sox lineup.
Rick Hahn added Mike Clevinger to round out the starting rotation. A couple of months later, a report came out that Clevinger is being investigated by Major League Baseball for allegedly violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
Now, there is a good chance that Clevinger might not pitch this season as he could face a very lengthy suspension.
Hahn’s comments at the start of spring training did nothing to build any goodwill with the fan base when it comes to the Clevinger controversy.
Hahn claims the Sox really cannot do much regarding Clevinger’s status with the team. Well, they could cut him at any time and just pay him to go away. Do not expect that to happen any time soon.
First, they would have done it by now. Second, this is a player Rick Hahn has had his eye on ever since 2020. Third, Jerry Reinsdorf is not about to let Mike Clevinger collect $12 million and not pitch. Instead, the Sox are just hoping Major League Baseball solves the problem for them.
Despite this rotten offseason, the Sox still have a very talented roster. Tony La Russa is no longer in charge of the lineup card.
If the Sox can get some bounce-back performances, there is no reason to believe that the Southsiders cannot get back in the playoff mix. Although, the team has lost the benefit of the doubt after that disappointing 2022 season.
Then again, we are now in 2023 and with spring training on the horizon, there is always hope for better days.