February 13, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Chicago White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper (21) watches his pitchers stretch during spring training at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Southside Showdown Preseason Roundtable Pt. 3


Continued from earlier, our nervous bantering together

What are you excited about this season? Are you still physically capable of getting excited?

Nick Schaefer: I’m really excited (and simultaneously, dread the alternative) how Sale builds on last year. I’m excited (and dread) to see if John Danks is going to be a $60 million albatross (and whether I was right that we should have just kept Buehrle instead), or if he can get back to the hopeful career he had before last year. I’m excited to see if Dayan Viciedo is going to be more than a platoon player with poor defense.

But to be honest, I’m most excited to see some sort of definitive move in the franchise – either they get lucky and everything works out with injuries and performance and the team wins 91 games and then we can see if Chris Sale and Jake Peavy can carry us in the playoffs, or everything goes wrong and they are awful and are forced to sell off everything. I don’t know that I would mind seeing a true rebuild instead of this perpetual limbo of mid-80s win teams that cynically hope they can be the least bad team in a pile of bad teams.

I am also pumped to watch Courtney Hawkins murder baseballs until he is murdering baseballs on the South Side. That will be nice to see.

Kevin Wallace: The bullpen (you can link my previous post) really excites me this year.  If it completely fails, I will not blame the front office or coaching staff, because on paper, this bullpen is set up pretty well.

The aspect of this team that scares me the most is the starting pitching staff.  Sale and Peavy scare me with with injury concerns.  Danks and Floyd scare me with inconsistency.  Santiago just flat out scares me.

James Fegan: Excited might be a curious word usage for me here. I get excited every time Dayan Viciedo steps to the plate, and the daydream of his getting fully around on fastball and driving it out to left on balance is impossibly fulfilling, but the man rips my heart out. His improvement is vital, but disaster and failure are very real possibilities as he struggles to improve against right-handed pitching.

Chris Sale is obviously a much more enjoyable watch, but whether his strength and endurance improves or whether the injury bug finally catches up to him determines whether he’ll add to the anxiety or supply the rippling exhilaration of untouchable greatness.

Lesser lights include desiring to see Addison Reed in the fully-realized version that was promised at the end of 2011, Hector Santiago’s strikeout-heavy stuff spilling over into the new year, long home runs from Tyler Flowers. There was a time, before Chris Sale came along and made him look like a piece of pyrite, when John Danks jamming right-handers all day long was my favorite White Sox pitching thing.

It’d be nice if it came back.

With all of these, the interest in seeing something that indicates that there is hope for the future. Obviously, if the Sox make noise in the playoff race, that’s going to take precedent, but I’m excited to see whether the guys who will be around the next three years are going to be formidable.

 

Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan

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