After eleven-straight missed post-seasons, it is time for the Chicago White Sox to make the playoffs in 2020, and the best way to do that will be with a division championship.
The Chicago White Sox need to finish in first place in 2020. The White Sox have an eleven-year playoff drought dating all the way back to 2008 when the team last played a playoff game. The drought is now one of the longest in American sports. The White Sox have taken long enough, and now next year is the year to make the playoffs. The best way to do this is by winning the division.
Winning the division is the White Sox best route to the playoffs. For one, they won’t have to worry about getting eliminated in a one-game wild-card game, although you shouldn’t write off the team’s chances with Lucas Giolito pitching it, for it to feel like a real playoff series and the Sox need to be guaranteed at least a spot in the ALDS. Furthermore, winning the division is much more practical than winning the wild card. To win the wild card, the White Sox will need to be better than all but three of the Yankees, Twins, Astros, Indians, A’s, Angels, Red Sox, and Rays. To win the division, they just need to be better than the Twins and Indians, which is much more realistic.
Both the Indians and Twins can be expected to decline next year. The Indians will probably sell off a few pieces after missing the playoffs, and the Twins will likely come down to earth after playing way over their heads in 2019 before being exposed in the division series by the Yankees. Expect the Twins to decline to 91 wins, which means the White Sox will need to improve by about 20 games to win the division. Will they be able to do it? That will all depend on the front office and the moves they make this off-season. They have to be willing to spend and spend well.
Unfortunately, given their track record, don’t expect them to make missteps in free agency and only win 75-85 games, falling short of first place. However, the pieces are there to make this a successful ballclub, and if they know what they are doing they should be able to win the division.
Anything less should be considered unacceptable, as the White Sox have been finishing in second place (or worse) for far too long, dating all the way back to the 1919 world series. After 100 years of mostly losing (with the obvious exception of one great year), it is time for the Sox ownership to turn things around permanently, or sell the team to someone who will.