Chicago White Sox need to play with a chip on their shoulder in 2023
Without a doubt, much of the blame for the failure of the Chicago White Sox to be a premier team in Major League Baseball falls on ownership and the management team.
However, not all of the responsibility for the troubles can be laid at the doorsteps of Jerry Reinsdorf, Rick Hahn, and Kenny Williams.
The players have culpability in this as well and need to perform better on the field.
This storyline isn't anything new but for the upcoming season, the players have to come out with an attitude and play like a team that belongs in the conversation for World Series contenders.
Injuries certainly played a big part in the White Sox failing to play above their 81-81 mark last season. But the lackluster play from those healthy enough to be on the field throughout the season did nothing to instill confidence in fans that a turnaround would come and get the White Sox back in the hunt for a playoff berth.
The team entered the 2022 season with high expectations but played as though taking the division was something they were entitled to and would just cruise to an American League Central Division title.
The Cleveland Guardians ended up playing like a team on a mission and did what the White Sox couldn't do to earn a trip to the playoffs.
That bitter taste of falling flat and being the most underachieving team in baseball last year needs to be used to fuel the White Sox this season. They need to have an edge to them and play like a front-runner and not an also-ran.
The chip on the shoulder has to be there all season and new manager Pedro Grifol believes it will be.
In talking to MLB.com's Scott Merkin, Grifol mentioned a number of players including Tim Anderson, Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, and Yasmani Grandal as being straws that can stir the drink.
" "Me just mentioning one or two, I don’t think that would be accurate in my conversations with all these guys. There is a serious chip on our shoulder as a team and an organization that this is going to be a different vibe and a different year. These guys are pumped and ready to go. I’m excited about that.”"
White Sox players have to be motivated to be better than .500 and Grifol will be tasked with making sure they don't get complacent and fall into bad habits.
Should that not be enough to provide motivation, perhaps something that can be posted on the bulletin board is the ZiPS projections for the season on FanGraphs.
The outlook isn't too rosy as ZiPS has the White Sox regressing from 2022 and finishing third in the division with a 74-88 record. ZiPS sees the Guardians repeating as champs with the Minnesota Twins sandwiched between them and the White Sox.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas oddsmakers seem a bit more optimistic about the White Sox placing the over/under for wins at 83.5.
The bottom line is the White Sox have to show the league last season was an aberration and not reflective of who they are. They have to play with the same type of style and swagger that won them 93 games and a division title in 2021.
Grifol will need guys to play to their potential and not let them believe that their talent alone will get the job done. He will need players to execute and do the fundamental things necessary to win championships.
If they can do that, they might be able to be a surprise team again. But this time for the better.