The big news of the offseason, however, is the recent signing of Liam Hendricks, the closest thing to a star, which has given the White Sox a pool of pitchers that now includes four of the top ten candidates for the 2020 AL Cy Young award.
Hendricks finished fourth and three fifth in the AL Cy Young Award 2020 race. (Photo: Stan Szeto/USA TODAY Sports)
All in all, these are moves that should allow the White Sox to succeed. With the other teams in AL Central having stagnated or deteriorated, the Sox have a chance to win the division. Should we be proud of that? Yes, but it’s not enough.
Being the best in your division is certainly important, as a large portion of the regular season consists of divisional games. But winning the World Series depends on how you position yourself relative to the rest of the league. Of course, the rest of baseball has a lot of jugglers tailored for the World Series.
Last year, the Dodgers won the World Series with the largest payroll in the league. They are currently in position to reclaim the lead in the staff standings and have a serious chance of becoming World Series champions. Why? Because they added depth to the quality beyond what seemed sufficient. They didn’t compare themselves to the rest of the NL West, they compared themselves to the rest of the entire league.
The same goes for the two previous World Series winners, as the Red Sox led the league in 2018 and the Nationals finished seventh in 2019. This is often done by organizations that are self-empowering to succeed.
The Red Soxwon the 2018 World Series and finished first in the league. (Photo: Harry Howe/Getty Images)
In the meantime, the White Sox should finish 13th in the MLB standings with plenty of question marks on the opening day player list, i.e. the depth of the starting infield and the designated hitter. As for the last need, many will point to Andrew Vaughn. While he has the potential to be a lethal hitter, it doesn’t mean that a prospect who has played 29 games in High-A and has an OPS of .760 should be the first DH of a team focused on the World Series.
Even with the additions, the White Sox saved money by not bringing back Edwin Encarnacion, James McCann, Nomar Mazara, Steve Cishek and Carlos Rodon. The opportunity to acquire proven talent without unloading the farm system into the trades is there, but Jerry Reinsdorf seems content to let the other teams have their way with the playoffs by spending money on them.
This year’s team will certainly be a competitor, but so will last year’s team. How did it go? The elimination from the playoffs is due to the lack of quality in the depth of their exposure. Besides answering the question of who will start in the third game of the playoff series, the lineup is similar to the 2019 lineup with the same question marks in DH, right field and back of the rotation. In the meantime, there are new problems related to the lack of a proven backup receiver on the list.
With quality talent still in the free agent market and the window of competition wide open, it’s sometimes hard to see why there should always be enough of it.
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