Did the Chicago White Sox Become Awful Because of Bad Players or a Bad Clubhouse?

One school of thought was the dysfunction in the clubhouse created a bad team.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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What sparked this was Chuck's recent White Sox Talk Podcast (a must-listen for anyone still loyal to the Sox) that tackled how general manager Chris Getz emphasized making sure he added good clubhouse players.

Make no mistake about it, from a value standpoint, the Sox had bad players in 2023. The lineup as a whole finished with a 3.4 fWAR and a wRC+ of 83. The pitching finished with a 10 fWAR, but you must account that Dylan Cease propped up that number. The Sox had the worst defensive value in all of baseball.

Chuck acknowledged a lot of that in his talk, but he also pointed out this team could not handle adversity once the bleep hit the fan last April. The Sox did not have the culture to turn things around after their terrible start to the 2023 season and it just went into tailspin.

Hey, that is what you get when you have guys like Mike Clevinger and Yasmani Grandal on the roster. It became well-known around the league that the White Sox were a dumpster fire.

Then again, a bad clubhouse still does not excuse the players from playing horribly. The 2021 team had the fun nearly sucked out by La Russa and still managed to win the AL Central.

There are countless tales in baseball of teams having dysfunction in the clubhouse, but when it was time to play, it was all business, and those teams found a way to win. The Sox found new ways to lose.

It also lets Grifol off the hook as he kept pointing out the clubhouse issues as a reason for bad play. The leader of the team could never get the team to pull together and he has to share some blame. Heck, Miguel Cairo got the 2022 underperforming team to play better ball once he took over the manager job on an interim basis. He did it with an impassioned speech when he took over.