A season that did not go as well as planned ended on a sour note Sunday, as the White Sox couldn’t win one of their final six games to avoid 100 losses.
Like all but ten playoff teams, now begins the White Sox process of preparing for 2019.
In the midst of a rebuild, the White Sox finished the regular season with a .383 winning percentage, their worst since 1970. Fortunately, thanks to a woeful Kansas City Royals team that finished 58-104, they avoided last place.
However, the season saw the development of several players who could important for their future: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Tim Anderson, Matt Davidson, Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Daniel Palka, Omar Narvaez, and the “Yo-Yo’s” – Yolmer Sanchez and Yoan Moncada.
Perhaps their most impressive prospect in years – Michael Kopech – also debuted, only to require Tommy John Surgery that will sideline him for all of 2019. As a result, the Sox will prioritize pitching as a need in the offseason. GM Rick Hahn told Vinnie Dubar of NBC Sports:
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"”We projected Michael to play a role on the 2019 club and allotted a fair amount of innings to his continued development at the big league level in 2019 which we now have to fill. That very likely will come from outside the organization.”"
Fortunately, the White Sox will have plenty to choose from.
Former seven-time KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) All-Star Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Dodgers is also a free agent, as are former AL Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove Winner Jeremy Hellickson and 2013 AL ERA Leader Anibal Sanchez.
Dallas Keuchel of the Astros and Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers are the two most high-profile free agents this offseason. Time will tell if the Southside front office will search them out, although either is guaranteed to come at a high price.
Despite their overall lack of success this season – with the exception of a 17-12 record in August – the White Sox have some things to smile about for 2019. Spring always brings about new hopes for baseball fans, and positive offseason moves along with the anticipated arrivals of prospects Dylan Cease and Eloy Jimenez can create some joy on the South Side.