The White Sox were one of just four teams that failed to make the playoffs in the 2010s. It may be time for change as the White Sox had the most active offseason out of any other MLB team. This puts the White Sox at a really good position, especially during a 60 game MLB season. Here is a preview of the White Sox heading into this season and let's go over their offseason moves and signings.
The White Sox were very busy and active this offseason. Here is a list of some of the players the White Sox signed this offseason!
The White Sox main signing this offseason was the signing of free-agent All Star Yasmani Grandal. This was a four-year, $73M deal. Grandal is arguably the second best catcher in baseball, right behind J.T. Realmuto. Grandal should have a big impact from both a veteran and All Star standpoint. Grandal who has spent his last 4 years on the Dodgers, will try to help the White Sox dominate in the easiest division in baseball, the AL Central.
The White Sox signed one of the best DH's in the game, Edwin Encarnacion, to a one-year, $12M deal this offseason. Encarnacion who is also listed as a first baseman, has spent the majority of his career as a DH and he should do the same on the White Sox. Edwin is a 3 time All Star and even led the AL in RBI's back in 2016. Last year on the Mariners and Yankees, Encarnacion hit 34 home runs. In matter of fact, Encarnacion has hit 30 plus home runs in 8 consecutive seasons. Edwin moves to a ballpark that favors him to hit 30 plus home runs for a 9th consective season. Oh wait! There is only 60 games. But seriously, if this was a 162 game season, projections project Edwin to hit 30 plus home runs, which will be about 10-12 in a 60 game season. Edwin has dealt with arm injuries the last two seasons, but has still managed to put up solid numbers. His health will determine what he brings to the table in 2020. If he stays healthy, he can be one of the most dangerous DH's in the MLB.
Keuchel and the White Sox agreed to a three year, $55.5 million contract this offseason, with a vesting fourth-year that could make it a four-year, $74 million deal. Last season, the two-time All-Star was far from the ace he was with the Astros, but he still finished 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.367 WHIP in Atlanta. Keuchel spent his first seven seasons in Houston, winning the 2015 AL Cy Young award after going 20–8 with a 2.48 ERA and leading MLB with 232 innings pitched. Despite being one of the marquee free agents last winter, Keuchel began the 2019 campaign without a contract and spent much of the first two months of the season working out and throwing simulated games, waiting for offers. Many teams didn't want to sign either Keuchel or closer Craig Kimbrel until after June 3, when they would no longer have to forfeit a pick in the 2019 MLB Draft as compensation. Keuchel, who has also won four gold gloves, brings an impressive playoff resume to Chicago, a team looking to complete its long rebuild and secure its first postseason berth since 2008. Keuchel joins a pitching staff that includes All-Star Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, and recently inked veteran left-hander Gio Gonzalez that was signed to a one-year deal in the same offseason.
Isaac Edelman covers the South Florida sports teams and the Mets as well as other breaking news stories and opinions on Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL, and the NHL on his SportsCastr live streaming channel.
What to expect this year?
The Chicago White Sox are in the easiest division, the AL Central. The only team that the White Sox will compete with will be the Twins, who made the playoffs last year. In a 60 game season, the White Sox can run away with the division if key pieces step up. One of the key pieces is veteran, Jose Abreu. In 2019, Abreu hit .284 with 33 home runs and an American League-leading 123 RBI in 159 games. The 32-year-old first baseman has spent all six seasons of his major league career with the White Sox. He put together a strong rookie campaign in 2014 and went on to earn the AL Rookie of the Year award, his first All-Star nod and his first Silver Slugger award. Abreu is well positioned to pick up where he left off in terms of run production. Abreu will bat in front of Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada, two players who consistently get on base, and will be protected by Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion, two players that can easily drive home Abreu with their power. Tim Anderson had his best year last year, winning the AL batting champion. Anderson led the MLB with an outstanding average of .335, just edging out D.J. LeMahieu.
Now on to Yoan Moncada, who was one of a few players in baseball who made big steps from 2018 to 2019. In one season, he flipped the “Is this guy a bust?” narrative and effectively silenced those questions. But despite posting a .315/.367/.548 slash line, Moncada didn’t garner an All-Star nod in 2019, and seemingly few paid enough attention to how well he was doing. Moncada is hardly unfamiliar to baseball fans; he was one of the centerpieces of the 2016 trade that sent Chris Sale to Boston and played his first games with the White Sox in 2017. Still, his stellar 2019 season deserves more discussion. Moncada was among the best in baseball in average exit velocity (92.8 mph) and WAR (5.7, per FanGraphs), and he finished third in the American League batting title race while putting together a .915 OPS. Moncada did all this while playing a new position on defense. He had only dabbled as a third baseman while with the Red Sox three years ago, but since going to Chicago, Moncada spent all his time at second base. But a move to the hot corner didn’t slow him; in fact, Moncada was arguably among the top-10 best position players in baseball.
The White Sox will also depend on All Star and Opening Day pitcher, Lucas Giolito, for their playoff run. Giolito looks to build off a 2019 season in which he made a tremendous turnaround, going 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA. He finished fifth in the American League in ERA and was seventh with 228 strikeouts. Giolito had a 6.13 ERA in 2018. His 2.72 improvement was the third-best in major-league history behind the Cubs’ Dick Ellsworth (2.98 from 1962 to ‘63) and the Sox’s Dennis Lamp (2.79 from 1980 to ‘81), according to STATS.
Check out below a fantastic 1st inning the White Sox had in their exhibition game against the Cubs! This will be something to look out for in 2020!
Projected Standings for the AL Central! Will the White Sox win the division?
According to FANGRAPHS, the White Sox will finish in 3rd, with a 30-30 record, but don't get your hopes up White Sox fans, in a 60 game season, anything can happen. Don't be surprised if you see the White Sox make the playoffs this year, as they are the biggest sleeper team this season. All they can hope for is for the Twins to get off to a bad start. The Twins who were already a well developed team, improved with the offseason signing of star third baseman Josh Donaldson. Anything can happen in a 60 game season, so its hard to predict what will happen with the White Sox in 2020. All we know is that the White Sox have the depth and players to be in playoff contention. They just need to play well!