Today is finally here, White Sox fans. The pitcher and catcher officially arrive in Glendale and try to bring the Commissioner’s Trophy back to the corner of 35th and Shields. It’s been a long and contentious winter in the fan community. Shortly after the end of the 2020 season, a mock executive recruitment process was initiated. Disappointment then came from the team’s unwillingness to grow financially while trying to qualify for the qualifiers for the first time since 2008, especially considering the process it took to get there. We were told that the cuts would result in additional resources when it was finally time to compete. Frustration then reached boiling point over how limited funding was allocated.

From now on, none of that matters. The White Sox team is largely suspended except for potential veterans who are not on the roster. Despite the story in the always pessimistic fan segment, this White Sox team is a good baseball team. Could they have been better? Yes, they certainly can, and I don’t think most fans would disagree. The fact is that this team has as much, if not more talent than any White Sox team in recent history. Yes, it was a generally uninspiring offseason, but they addressed the issues, despite what some might have you believe.

The White Sox continue their internal development in 2021 with their young and exciting core of talent led by Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson and Nick Madrigal. They also have high hopes for the performance of untried players like Andrew Vaughan and Michael Kopech, who can make significant contributions. Personally, I’d also rather see this team hedge its bets by bringing more confidence to the team and forcing those who haven’t proven themselves yet to join.

Photo : John Antonoff/Chicago Sun-Times

However, the organizational decrees issued from on high seem to contradict this way of thinking. This organization has long shown no desire to insulate itself with depth options proven in the Major League, instead hoping that internal options could keep the team at the ceiling to try to keep the team’s finances in line with what the top wants.

Despite all of the negativity that has surrounded this team over the past four months, I have high hopes for what the 2021 season will bring. The potential of this team is greater than any other team in the league. Will they approach the pinnacle of talent in 2021? I don’t know, but I also don’t see a cloud of pessimism that some of this fanbase seems to be digesting. Again, they didn’t give themselves much room for error. Injuries to key figures on the roster could torpedo this season, but what most people don’t want to acknowledge is what could be said about almost every other team in the American League. If Gerritt Cole is out for two months for the Yankees, do you think the pitchers can handle it? How intimidating the Twins’ offense seems when Nelson Cruz, who turns 41 in July, is injured or when Father Time finally gives up his speed. This game can be played against any opponent, and is not exclusive to the White Sox.

A common comment this winter was that the White Sox don’t have enough depth for a 162-game marathon. Maybe I will. It’s possible, but I think a lot of people are making assumptions based on past White Sox failures. People want to believe that Charlotte’s chunks are in bad shape because they have been for most of the last decade. Take this to heart, rather than believing that the players these organizations use in regular games are automatically competent at the Major League level if another LA opponent is injured. Such an assumption is simply not based on reality. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that White Sox players are ultimately unhappy with the system, but automatically assume it’s a simple glitch. Many like to poke fun at the White Sox development process over the past decade, but they carefully ignore the changes that have been made in recent years with the arrival of development specialists like Ben Hansen, Ben Broussard, Everett Teaford, Danny Farquhar, Ryan Johansen and others.

Personally, I think this White Sox team is going to be very good. You can call me a homer because I believe in the tremendous potential of this group and take another significant step forward, if you will. But the natural talent of this core group, which is still developing, can be compared to that of any other team in the American League. Hoping that potential will grow and you’ll do well is not the path I would have taken this winter, but it is the path the organization has chosen.

Tony La Russa has put together a strong team to help him return to the Dugout for the first time in a decade, and I look forward to seeing how this group can take the rest of the developments from that list. The time for dissecting the roster is over, it’s time to move on to the White Sox’ brass bowl. I think we’re going to have a fun summer at the 35e/Shields, and I hope we can all get together there soon. This White Sox team will be good, it’s just a question of whether they’re good (without being a captain of course). I am optimistic about what 2021 will bring our team. Now it’s time to get to work.

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