In describing the loss of free agent and former Chicago White Sox stalwart Jose Abreu to the Houston Astros, owner Jerry Reinsdorf said something that not only sums up the state of the organization but seems to address its philosophy as the current off-season continues.
Reinsdorf gave a statement on Abreu's moving on which said:
" "It was my fervent hope that Jose would never wear another uniform, as I told him many times throughout the years. Unfortunately, hope is not always translated into reality.""
Twice in that statement, Reinsdorf used the word "hope' and if ever there was a word that could be used to describe the organizational philosophy of the Chicago White Sox that would be it. To say "hope is not always translated into reality" could be the team motto.
There is a difference between having hope and having faith. Faith is based off a confidence and strong belief in something to work out as planned. Hope comes with a desire for something to go one's way despite knowing it may not. Hence, it's "not always translated into reality".
While some teams have faith in what they are doing and make their own breaks, others hope for things to fall into place and for the breaks to go their way.
The Chicago White Sox are banking on a lot of hope this offseason.
This is the kind of thinking that separates teams that win consistently and those that don't. Teams such as the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, and St. Louis Cardinals work off an organized and well-calculated plan year in and year out regarding roster construction, coaching, and ability to be flexible to make improvements as a season progresses.
Sure, a down year will occur now and then but these teams find a way to get back on track quickly and in the hunt for a title.
Teams who consistently find themselves on the outside looking in make erroneous decisions on talent and leadership while also either being too cheap or over-spending on players.
They then find themselves lamenting over what went wrong and repeating the cycle until they have that one year when they catch lightning in a bottle.
Last season, the White Sox hoped they would be able to build off the previous year when they won 93 games and a division title.
However, poor performances by key players, injuries, questionable coaching decisions, and an inability by management to bolster the roster as needed led to an 81-81 record and no playoff appearance.
Heading into the 2023 season, the White Sox seem to be back to hoping the talent they assembled over the last couple of years will play to their potential, remain healthy and get them back to the postseason.
For the most part, it looks as though the team is willing to run it back with the players they had from 2022 and hope things work in their favor.
The White Sox are hoping Andrew Vaughn will be the answer at first base (his natural position) and be able to produce close to or as much as Abreu did.
They hope the recent addition of pitcher Mike Clevinger on a one-year "prove it" deal will turn out to be as successful as their signing of Johnny Cueto, who will not be back with the club.
The hope is Yoan Moncada will become the player he was touted to be when they acquired him from the Boston Red Sox in 2016.
The White Sox hope Yasmani Grandal will improve defensively and hit with power as he did in 2021. Hopefully, Lucas Giolito will find the pitching performance that made him an all-star in 2021.
General manager Rick Hahn hopes Oscar Colas can be the answer in right field instead of relying on a revolving door of players to man the position as it did last year.
They hope new manager Pedro Grifol will bring the best out of the team and that his coaching staff will improve the team's defensive and base running woes.
The team is hoping the new senior director of sports performance Geoff Head will help keep the players healthy throughout the season and not be subject to the number of injuries they dealt with last year.
Hope springs eternal is the mantra for every team every baseball season. For some teams, that hope will be a reality. For the White Sox, hope needs to become reality.