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The White Sox Have an Offseason Problem

Can the White Sox still contend without splashy signings?

With Opening Day just weeks away, teams are facing off in Spring Training and general managers are looking for fresh faces to patch the holes in their respective lineups. Some teams are doing a wonderful job with signing big names in free agency. Other teams, namely the White Sox, are relying on familiar faces and ignoring the gaps needing the most attention.

The season at times felt like a Cinderella story. Plagued with injuries, the White Sox were forced to lean on their Triple-A team, the Charlotte Knights. Players like Jake Burger, Gavin Sheets, Seby Zavala, and Yermín Mercedes all had breakout games while starters were on the injured list.

Andrew Vaughn especially had a phenomenal season despite coming straight from college and never playing a 162-game season.  Vaughn played nearly every position to help injured players or give José Abreu a break at first base.

The White Sox dominated the American League Central with ease in 2021. Despite the central division being lackluster, the White Sox were unprepared for the better competition ahead.

Skipping ahead, the season was over and Carlos Rodón’s future on the South Side of Chicago was undetermined. Aside from needing someone to potentially replace Rodón, the White Sox have since opted to give Michael Kopech limited inning starts and bet on Dallas Keuchel to bounce back after his abysmal season. 

General Manager Rick Hahn opted to build up the bullpen with Joe Kelly and Vince Velasquez. Second baseman Josh Harrison was also added to potentially patch the hole at second base. While these moves brought some excitement, it had many wondering if there would be more signings.

Free agency signings sent fans of all teams into a frenzy. The Rockies landed Kris Bryant. The Phillies added two huge bats to their lineup. The Dodgers and Mets spent more money than one can fathom. Even the Red Sox made great moves. Most owners don’t take issue with spending money so they can make it to the postseason.

Yet the White Sox seemed to be content with what they have at home instead of paying for a flashy player to come in and help put them on the path to a World Series championship.

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the American League Central will only get tougher as other teams have built solid lineups via spending money on good players.

The Twins pulled off an incredible signing by agreeing to terms with Carlos Correa on a three-year, $105.3 million deal with opt-outs after the first two seasons.

The Tigers got serious as well. While they were already building their lineup with quality players last season, they have since added RHP Michael Pineda and paid SS Javier Báez $140 million for six years.

This could easily put the White Sox in third place.

Other positions needing a real solution are right field and backup catcher. Adam Eaton, Adam Engel and insert a new player every week or so ended up a disaster for a team that should have made a deep run in the playoffs.  Yasmani Grandal is a perfect fit at catcher, but Seby Zavala and Zack Collins struggled behind him.

It might just be time to realize that Yoelqui Céspedes and Micker Adolfo will be playing in the majors next month.

When you add up the needs the White Sox have, relying on the Charlotte Knights and players staying healthy after a tight Spring Training turnaround, it seems like they’ll fail in the postseason yet again.

Photos by Wikimedia Commons/Picasa | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Chrystal OKeefe

Chrystal O'Keefe is a freelance writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. She balances her time between Indianapolis and Chicago and tries to travel to at least one new ballpark every year. She primarily covers the Chicago White Sox but loves talking about baseball in general.

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