The White Sox should be favored to win the American League Central this season but with the likes of Kansas City and Detroit making improvements, the Sox will be hard-pressed to continue being playoff-bound on a regular basis in the future.
The Sox made the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time in team history but the outcome in both cases was the same as the Sox were unable to get past the first round. With the talent the White Sox have assembled over the last few years, first-round exits do not spell success, nor will they if the team can’t play deep into October going forward.
Unlike teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers who have a history of being in the playoffs or, at least, being in the mix for the playoffs seemingly every year, the White Sox have not been at that level consistently.
The Chicago White Sox are going to be good for a long time but they can be better.
With the quality of young talent that the Sox have gathered in the last couple of years, they have the opportunity to be among the elite but they must take advantage of the situation in front of them.
In order to take advantage of the situation, the club cannot let opportunities slip by. Players such as Adam Frazier or Trevor Simien would have been excellent additions at second base but the Sox didn’t pull the trigger on a deal for Frazier when they had the chance last season nor did they make a move to sign Simien this offseason.
The theory of striking while the iron is hot certainly applies to the Sox because winning a title is never guaranteed and the team needs to make the club as strong as it can be before contracts on key players come to an end. Jose Abreu will be a free agent in 2023 and at 34 years of age, he’s no spring chicken. It’s uncertain whether or not the team will look to bring him back under a new deal.
On the plus side, the White Sox do have guys like Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, and Luis Robert under contract between the years 2024 and 2027. Toss in pitchers Dylan Cease, Michael Kopech, and Garrett Crochet, whose deals run between 2025 and 2026, and the team has a solid nucleus to build around.
With that said, one can’t assume everyone will be healthy throughout their contracts and will perform to expectations. General Manager Rick Hahn has to find a way to keep the club competitive and the way to do that is filling in the holes-currently second base and right field-with quality players who have a history of producing.
Hahn made an aggressive move last season when he brought over reliever Craig Kimbrel via trade. Although it didn’t work out as hoped, he can’t afford to be shy about taking a chance on big-name talent. In addition, owner Jerry Reinsdorf has to be open to spending on players who can have an immediate impact.
Once the lockout is over, thus allowing teams to resume signing free agents and making trades, the Sox will have the chance to pursue some quality players like Nick Castellanos, Kris Bryant, and Trevor Story. Upgrades need to be made to better the chances of getting into the postseason and deeper into October.
The Sox have a good young group who can be contenders for the foreseeable future. Standing pat with what the team currently has or making minor moves in the hopes they catch lightning in a bottle is not a way of taking advantage of the time the Sox have with the talent they have.