The Chicago White Sox need to fix the way they operate
It has not been a good season for the Chicago White Sox so far. At 22 wins and 22 losses, the White Sox are a .500 team but they’ve actually played much worse than that. They have a negative 42 run differential which is one of the worst in the American League.
They’re 4.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins and I don’t expect them to make that up. Not because it’s impossible to come back from being that far out, but because the Twins are simply a better team than they are.
After a fluke last-place finish in 2021, Minnesota has returned to their 2019 and 2020 form and this White Sox team isn’t better than that.
The White Sox are 2 games back of the Blue Jays for the last wild card spot and I think it’s more of a possibility they can make that up. The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t an amazing team and regularly have to play tougher opponents than the White Sox do.
The Chicago White Sox needs to start spending some money on free agents.
Unfortunately, the last time the Sox were in a similar position to this one was in 2016. While hovering around .500, Rick Hahn panicked and DFA’d players left and right (John Danks, Mat Latos) before doing the infamous Fernando Tatis Jr. for James Shields trade.
I really hope that history doesn’t repeat itself. Although, I would like to see the Sox DFA some players, which brings us to Josh Harrison.
The White Sox signed Josh Harrison this offseason (despite a number of better players available) as their solution to their self-imposed problem at second base. In 82 career games with the White Sox, Nick Madrigal had a .317 average and a 109 OPS+ and they needed to find a similarly good bat to maintain their team’s success after trading him away for a reliever the previous season.
Instead, the White Sox went the cheap route and picked up Harrison, who entered the season as a .220 hitter in 84 games in the AL. At 34 years old, he was unlikely to improve and is now a .212 career hitter in the AL after playing 31 games for the Chicago White Sox.
The player the White Sox should have signed in place of Harrison? Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story, who had a pair of three-run homers in the Red Sox series win against the White Sox, making the team look like fools for not even trying to get him.
The fact that the Red Sox, who also had a hole in the middle infield, went ahead and signed Story when they needed him 100% sums up the difference between Boston’s owner John Henry and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
The Red Sox see a problem with their baseball team and spend $140 million to fix it and it brings results. The White Sox do the cheapest thing possible and it utterly fails. This is why during John Henry’s tenure with the Red Sox, they’ve won 4 championships despite his tenure beginning in 2002.
Meanwhile, Reinsdorf has owned the White Sox since 1981 and they’ve only won one championship and AL pennant in the 42 years of his ownership.
Of course, some detractors will say the Sox aren’t “cheap” because they have a 194 million dollar payroll this season (which is still lower than Boston’s), but part of the way they got there was overpaying for mediocre baseball players like Josh Harrison and Leury Garcia.
The White Sox would have been better off not signing any of these guys and going all-in on a star player but they preferred to spread the wealth around because it’s “smart”. It is in fact not smart and a strategy that has proven to not work.
The best way for a baseball team to change its fortune quickly is to sign star players, something the White Sox are incapable of doing. They’ve never signed a free agent to a contract for more than 73 million and the results speak for themselves.
If this team ever wants to win a championship again, the 100 million dollar mark is something that will have to be crossed if not the 200 or 300 million dollar mark.
It’s not a mystery why the White Sox aren’t as good as last year. They lost Carlos Rodon and Nick Madrigal and then failed to adequately replace them. Sluggers like Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal are experiencing an age-related decline. The lack of a juiced ball has hurt the production of both players as well.
If the White Sox fail to make the playoffs this year, then they obviously should be done with their hitting coach and manager but Kenny Williams and Rick Hahn should probably be fired as well. Hahn has been the GM of the Sox for 10 seasons but has only produced 2 playoff teams and 1 division winner so far.
After that, fans need to place as much pressure as they can to get Reinsdorf to sell the team or start paying for star players.
In the meantime, the White Sox should probably promote some of their prospects and see if they can play at the Major League level because there’s no point wasting at-bats on Josh Harrison, Leury Garcia, and Adam Engel anymore.
The game is getting younger and the Sox need to as well. Let’s see what Yolbert Sanchez and Blake Rutherford have to offer. Rutherford is playing at a similar level to how Luis Gonzalez played last year in AAA for the Sox and is now a rookie-of-the-year candidate for San Francisco. It would be nice to not make the same mistake again.
As far as trades go, there isn’t anyone to trade for at this point, although Juan Soto remains a nice pipe dream. He would help with the Sox right field hole and on-base challenges but I doubt the Sox have the means or ability to get a deal done.
When the front office of the White Sox failed to sign Manny Machado (the best player in baseball right now), they moved Yoan Moncada to third for second baseman Nick Madrigal, then traded Madrigal and failed to sign an adequate replacement in an offseason filled with middle-infield options.
As a result, the Chicago White Sox have started 10 different second basemen in 10 different years on opening day, both a pathetic and amazing result. This utter incompetence is why Rick Hahn and Kenny Williams should not be in charge of this team anymore, at least under the guidance of an owner who refuses to spend big. Something has got to change.