Spring training came to an end for the White Sox Saturday. They lost 5-4 to the Brewers in a game where Gavin Floyd allowed a monstrous home run to Rickie Weeks in his only inning of work, Adam Dunn homered and Dylan Axelrod coughed up the lead in the eighth inning as his pitch count ballooned to over 100 because I guess he was getting in a full start worth of work or something. @CPHSox suggested that management may have forgotten Axelrod was out there, which seems unlikely but fits the mood.
The Sox appropriately finished 14-14 for the spring in the games that actually counted toward the spring standings, which I had to look up. The Angels went 9-20 and the Reds went 13-20. I’m sure they’re flipping out.
- Nearly every lineup fixture cleaned up on the less-than-on-the-level pitching they faced, so much that Alexei Ramirez hitting .279/.323/.377 constitutes struggling. As if Alexei returning to a life of on-base percentages above .300 would not be worth a small, but fervent parade.
- Despite persistently denying that his wrist feeling better is relevant, Paul Konerko hit better with a repaired wrist. His teammates noticed and said it probably had to do with his wrist. Hmm…wrist.
- Tyler Flowers, Alex Rios, Jesse Crain and even Alexei Ramirez all accumulated injuries that caused them to miss spring training games, but cleared up in time for the season to start and might never be thought of again.
- Gavin Floyd flashed top-notch breaking stuff, had an excellent strike0ut-to-walk ratio and was completely hammered. He was Gavin Floyd, and people are frustrated about it.
- John Danks dispelled all notions of an accelerated and conveniently timed recovery from major shoulder surgery, and will either spend the next several weeks working his way back to 91 mph or start learning how to invite some real Mark Buehrle comparisons.
- Chris Sale allowed an alarming number of home runs, but he along with the rest of the pitching staff more or less demonstrated physical readiness for a season where they will asked to be dominant. Addison Reed even threw a few sliders.
- Alejandro De Aza beat Alex Rios in the World Baseball Classic
- Management used Rule 5 picks, trades and free agency to kill every single position battle in its tracks.
The only element of our thinking about the White Sox that was significantly altered by this session was the idea of John Danks sliding in gracefully to some sort of super-rotation. But the hopelessness of that endeavor and the ease to which the White Sox have slid into their auxiliary options made it questionable how realistic that dream ever was. With it, went an easy angle to argue why the White Sox will be exceptional, but what remains is a team that promises…competence.
There was no excited buzz of dream team getting its first taste of playing together, nor were there scouts predicting 100-loss seasons nor early hints of manager-GM tire fire. These are all good things. It’s good that management is not demonstrably unhinged, Spring should never be the basis for a decision as important and data-heavy as a position battle, and time spent self-congratulating in March is wasted. Even at it’s best, job training is not supposed to be fun nor eventful and this reliably uneventful process is still supposed to the breath of fresh air a Ventura administration provides.
Still, thank goodness this longest of spring training is over. This unfinishable extra-large tub filled with the empty calories of fake baseball seemed like a passable solution to starvation at the time, but I can’t even bear to look at it anymore.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan