Expectations for the White Sox heading into this offseason

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With one month left in this disappointing season, attention sadly drifts towards how the Chicago White Sox can improve themselves in the winter months to put forth a better team in 2016. There are good pieces in place and Rick Hahn and Co. (or Kenny Williams and Co. depending on who you ask) need to do more tinkering than overhauling.

While this team technically could go on a miracle run and make things interesting, they are closer to a top ten draft pick than a playoff appearance.

Since it appears on paper the White Sox aren’t too far off from being a contender, my wish list isn’t as long as the club’s record would suggest. The front office opened their wallets last winter, so more of the same shouldn’t be expected this time around. Jerry Reinsdorf, who is not known as a big spender, shelled out $134 million in contracts last offseason.

Most of the White Sox lineup is young and controllable, so the probability of seeing more than two new everyday position players seems remote. The outfield will stay constant with Melky Cabrera, Adam Eaton, and Avisail Garcia. Some infield shuffling could occur, especially if the team finds a taker for first baseman/DH Adam LaRoche or longtime shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

If either of those moves happen, I expect former White Sox slugger and current Charlotte Knights star Dayan Viciedo to return to the Southsiders as a DH/platoon player against lefties and either Tyler Saladino or Carlos Sanchez to shift to shortstop. That would free up Micah Johnson to start or open a competition at second and leave the newly acquired Mike Olt, along with ever-disappointing Matt Davidson as internal candidates at third.

Staying in the theme of former White Sox players, an external option is the man who got the final out of the 2005 World SeriesJuan Uribe who will be a free agent in the offseason. My dream move however would be a trade for Oakland Athletics third baseman Brett LawrieHey, Billy Beane has traded a third baseman under control once before right (see Josh Donaldson)?

On the pitching side of things, Jeff Samardzija is all but gone unless a James Shields type scenario comes into place where he doesn’t get the nine-figure deal he seeks and instead has to settle for one in the $70 million range. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon are all locks to stick in the starting rotation, but the team may move on from the longest current tenured member in John Danks.

Sep 4, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) is congratulated by catcher Tyler Flowers (21) after the win over the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The White Sox won 12-1. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Danks, 30, will be a free agent following the 2016 season and has pitched well of late, perhaps boosting his trade value as we wind down the 2015 season. Erik Johnson has pitched extremely well in AAA Charlotte this year, being named International League Most Valuable Pitcher, and deserves another shot at the rotation next year. Expect 2015 draft pick Carson Fulmer to likely be in the mix as well. A free agent flier on someone such as Mat Latos, Brandon Beachy, or Justin Masterson could also be in the cards.

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While it is a near certainty Robin Ventura will be back at the helm next year, it would likely benefit the franchise to name his successor prior to Opening Day 2016. Ventura, while liked by the players, doesn’t seem to know how to coach yet after four years trying. Having never coached at any level before receiving the managerial office at U.S. Cellular Field, Ventura still has issues with how to play backups (like Emilio Bonifacio and Gordon Beckham) or how to motivate players to play above their talent level and work together to win ballgames. As I mentioned, it seems the players like him, but you must ask if the respect is as that of a manager or just for his baseball acumen.

Bo Porter is one name that always sticks in my mind when thinking of potential managerial candidates for this team and word is Don Mattingly may be on his way out of Tinseltown if the Los Angeles Dodgers fall short of the World Series. Everyone’s favorite option seems to be Ron Gardenhire but personally I would prefer not to see him coach this team.

What do you think the team should do to improve its chances for a winning 2016 season? Pitching? Hitting? Coaching? Stand-pat? You can ask me questions in the comments or on Twitter!

Next: What to make of Dayan Viciedo's return to the White Sox

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