This might actually be the reason the Chicago White Sox are so bad

Tim Anderson has played in just 11 games so far this season for the Chicago White Sox.
Tim Anderson has played in just 11 games so far this season for the Chicago White Sox. / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

Imagine the Beatles without John Lennon.

Two weeks later Lennon returns and Paul McCartney disappears for three weeks. A month later Ringo Starr vanishes. Two months later George Harrison is nowhere to be found.

What's wrong with the Beatles? Why don't they sound the same? Can't they even play and sing their own songs anymore? Fire the band's manager. Break up the Beatles.

Sound familiar, Chicago White Sox fans? The Beatles without Lennon, McCartney, Starr or Harrison, or any combination of the four is exactly what has ailed the White Sox since the start of the 2021 season.

The White Sox's Fab Four (shortstop Tim Anderson, outfielders Luis Robert Jr. and Eloy Jimenez, and third baseman Yoan Moncada) have rarely been on the same stage together for the last two-plus seasons.

You can blame awful pitching, horrendous defense, a lack of clutch hitting, and no leadership for the White Sox's struggles. Go ahead and criticize rookie Manager Pedro Grifol for looking like he's in over his head.

The Chicago White Sox are in a bad spot so far during the 2023 season.

All of the criticism and concerns are valid and real.

But it's not the reason for the apparent failure of the White Sox's seven-year rebuild that never seems to end. The above concerns are just the symptoms. The reason for the rebuild's failure is that the Fab Four has been, for the most part, a Fab Three and a Fab Two.

Anderson, Jimenez, Robert, and Moncada, the centerpieces of the rebuild in the daily lineup, have all played in the same game together just 34 times over the White Sox's last 347 games, since the start of the 2021 season.

That means that the core four pieces of the rebuild have not been together for 90 percent of the games. We basically have yet to see the rebuild in action.

The rebuild, after all, was not supposed to rely so heavily on the likes of Leury Garcia, Romy Gonzalez, Danny Mendick, Elvis Andrus, Lenyn Sosa, Brian Goodwin, Billy Hamilton, and Adam Engel.

It was supposed to feature Anderson, Robert, Jimenez, and Moncada putting up video game numbers and leading the team to the postseason.

Everyone else was supposed to fall into place around the Fab Four in a lineup that was deep and talented. But the heart and soul of the White Sox's rebuild have been missing because the Fab Four has been more Injured Four in recent years.

The injured section of the rebuild all began with the start of the 2021 season.

Anderson, Jimenez, Robert, and Moncada played the same game just 22 times in 2021. Jimenez was out of action until July 26 and played in just 55 games all year. Robert was out of the lineup from early May until early August and played in just 68 games.

The Sox were 14-8 in the 22 games (all after Aug. 8) that the Fab Four played together. That winning percentage of .636 was better than the .574 (79-61) the team had when at least one member of the Fab Four was missing.

In the first game Anderson, Moncada, Jimenez, and Robert played together in 2021 the White Sox destroyed the Minnesota Twins 11-1 on Aug. 9. The four combined for nine hits, seven runs scored, four homers, and nine RBI.

The third game the Fab Four played together in 2021 was the memorable Field of Dreams game in Iowa when Anderson's home run into the cornfield beat the New York Yankees, 9-8. That game, in the opinion of many White Sox fans, has been the signature moment of the rebuild so far.

Anderson, Moncada, Jimenez, and Robert combined to hit 22 homers in the 22 games they played together in 2021 and drive in 66 runs. They also scored 70 runs and hit 18 doubles.

They combined to hit .310 in the 22 games (110-for-354), drove in at least one run in 20 games, and scored a run in 19 of the 22 games. The White Sox also scored 123 runs for an average of 5.6 runs a game (they averaged 4.8 in the 140 games the Fab Four weren't all in the lineup).

Those 22 games in 2021 proved that the rebuild was working. It hasn't worked since because the Fab Four simply hasn't been able to stay on the field.

The numbers when the Fab Four all played in the same game haven't been as dramatic the last two seasons (2022 and 2023) simply because they've rarely played together.

The Fab Four played in the same game together just seven times over the entire 2022 season. Anderson's season ended in early August, Moncada didn't play in a game until May 9 and Jimenez was out from late April until early July. Even Robert was sidelined for two weeks in late July.

The Sox were 3-4 in the seven games the four played together last season. All seven games took place between July 6 and Aug. 5, a remarkable accomplishment considering Robert was sidelined from July 16 through Aug. 3.

The Fab Four were just 24-for-104 (.231) in the seven games they played together in 2022, scoring 14 runs with two doubles, a triple, five home runs, and 14 RBI. The Sox scored 25 runs in those seven games, an average of 3.6 runs a game.

But it must be noted that the Fab Four wasn't totally healthy even in the seven times they all appeared together. In one of the seven games, Moncada didn't even get an at-bat (the Sox lost that game).

It's been more of the same already this year.

The Fab Four has all been in the lineup in the same game just five times over the first 22 games (through Sunday). Four of them, fortunately for the Sox, were in the season-opening series at Houston, the highlight of the year so far.

The Sox are 2-3 when all four have played together this year, a disappointing record. But it is far better than the 5-12 record the team has compiled when at least one of them is missing.

The Sox have gone 19-15 in the 34 games Moncada, Jimenez, Robert and Anderson have played together since the start of the 2021 season. In the other 312 games the Sox have gone 162-150.

The winning percentage with the four core pieces all in the lineup (.559) since the start of 2021 is slightly better than it is without at least one of them (.529).

That might not seem like much but keep in mind that a .559 winning percentage would give you 90 wins at the end of the year, a total that looks like a White Sox pipe dream at the moment.

Stick Anderson, Jimenez, Robert, and Moncada in the same lineup for, say, 135-plus games in one season and then see what they can do, Until that happens then judge the rebuild.

But will we ever see it?

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