Over the past 7-10 days, the baseball world has been talking a lot about an interesting question: Are the White Sox the best team in the American League? Many talking heads on the East Coast and the White Sox’s ever-negative Twitter domain quickly dismissed the idea, but is it really that far-fetched?

In assessing the issue, there appears to be a discrepancy between the team’s position and that of its AL rivals in 18th place. January 2021, based on what the White Sox have done so far in the offseason and what fans expect from the team. In a way, some of these fans agree not to sign players like George Springer, Marcell Ozuna or Trevor Bauer, and this team hasn’t been very good. Frankly, they are two completely different topics of conversation.

When you look at what the team has done compared to the rest of the juniors, it has actually been one of the most active teams when it comes to being added to the list. They added Lance Lynn, Liam Hendricks and Adam Eaton for three key tackles. We may disagree with some aspects of these additions and disagree that they were the right decision, but when we really look at it, it’s hard to say that these decisions don’t make the White Sox a better baseball team. Are we, as fans, so jaded that we can’t objectively see that there is four more weeks of improvement on this team before it returns to Glendale?

Lance Lynn

First of all, people really underestimate the memory of Lance Lynn. Yes, I know you’re still upset that they didn’t overpay him in late August with a cap shot no other baseball team wanted to pay for, but here it is. And since his exchange with the New York Yankees in late July 2018, he has been one of the top 15 pitchers in the sport. This is where Lynn ranks among all carries in the collection category of her 2018 career:

IP ADDRESS 346.2 T-3rd
ERA 3.66 18-я
PIF 3.23 8-я
K/9 10.28 14-я
K/BB 4.04 14-я
Hard hit %. 33.7% 11-й
Cask % of 4.8% Sixth

He’s a guy who is currently third in the White Sox rotation, so I think the starting rotation will be better from the get-go. For some reason, people don’t seem to realize that this is an important acquisition. Not only will the Sox have a guy giving them sleeves, but they will have a guy giving them quality sleeves. These things are important to me too, I don’t understand why people don’t see it.

Photo : Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Liam Hendricks

Then the team added the best baseball pitcher of the last two seasons, Liam Hendricks. As of the start of the 2019 season, Hendricks is the second most used baseball player among relief players (108.1 IP). As with Lynn, Hendricks was not just about quantity, but quality. During this time, he earned an identical score of 1.66 ERA/FIP, while ranking third in K/BB (7.23) and sixth in HR/9 (0.50). All of this has allowed Australia to accumulate a FWAR of 5.2, putting them at the top of all major leagues. Frankly, this guy is an absolute weapon for new manager Tony La Russa.

Photo : Carl-Mondon/Bay Regional Information Group

Hendricks gives La Russa the luxury of using him in different innings and in any situation where he needs him to win a baseball game. This will be particularly important in October as the style of the post-season presentation has changed in recent years with less emphasis on launching shots. With the addition of Hendricks to the roster, which also includes Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Matt Foster and rookie firefighter Garrett Crochet, the South Siders have a lethal arsenal that can take on any team in the league.

Adam Eaton

Even the least popular move of the offseason, meeting right fielder Adam Eaton, should make the White Sox better. Yes, it’s a very unimaginative gesture, but let’s be realistic for a moment. The Sox would never have made a serious attempt to get George Springer back while the current owner was still around. We can certainly debate whether Eaton’s is the best use of the $8 million, again, that’s not how I would spend it if it were my money. I know Eaton was bad in Washington last year, and at 32 it’s entirely possible he’s headed for a career low season, but let’s not forget that Eaton was a very solid player for 2020 when he was on the field. So I think there’s still something in the tank.

As soon as he turned 35. First in the standings for the 2014 season through the 2019 championship, Eaton reached .289/.367/.423, earning a .346 WOBA and 117 wRC+. Not a bad baseball player. In fact, it’s very much in line with the production of coveted options from free agents, Marcell Ozuna and Joc Pederson. Let me be clear: I’m not saying Eaton was my choice to fill the void in right field, and it’s entirely possible he cooked, but I find it hard to believe he won’t be better than Nomar Mazara in 2020. That would make the White Sox a better baseball team.

Photo : Kim Clement/USA Today’s sport

Progress curve

So, while winter activities around the league, with the exception of Ron Burgundy’s hometown, were at a snail’s pace, the White Sox improved. Looking at the rest of the American League, who else can say that? You can literally go around the team and find holes in every other team. The Sox’s other question marks are no more than those of other LA contenders, to be fair.

The Rays lost their top two starting spots on the World Series schedule. I expect them to do what they do and be part of the team when it’s all over, but you can’t look at this team as it’s currently formed and say it’s better than it was at the end of the 2020 season.

The Yankee rotation includes Gerritt Cole, young Jordan Montgomery, and what else? A former Cy Young award winner whose arm may or may not be attached to his body, with far more question marks than the White Sox? By typing this, I believe Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been added to the list of victims.

The Twins didn’t order their starting left fielder or fire Nelson Cruz. These are two important holes in their composition. If these areas go unchecked, Minnesota’s offense will be much less frightening than in the past.

The Indians continued to downsize their squad, trading their best player for Francisco Lindor, turning in Carlos Carrasco and saying goodbye to first-choice player Carlos Santana. The team is a plant to launch, but can anyone tell me exactly how they plan to score?

The Astros lose George Springer and Michael Brantley, but show no desire to increase their salary.

The Oakland A’s have lost their closest challenger, the White Sox, and will lose their starting pitching. Their best player, Matt Chapman, has just come out of hip surgery, so it remains to be seen how he will respond.

The Angels still have Dylan Bundy as their best start in the California time zone of Los Angeles Anaheim Orange County. I don’t think it’s necessary to continue.

Prospects

So I ask the question: Who is clearly better than the White Sox? Because I certainly can’t find a team in LA that does. I think we can all agree that the balance of power in the NL is more favorable right now and that the White Sox can’t compete with the Dodgers, the Padres or the Braves. And I don’t think anyone is saying they’d be happy if the current White Sox team is the one that wins in 2. April on the field against the Angels. But if you have prospects, it’s a good baseball team, whether you like Rick Hahn or not. In fact, this team is capable of playing deep in October.

I would love to see this team put its foot on the gas pedal and continue to build on its core to be the best team in LA by far. This task lies at the feet of one man and one man alone. If he manages to get rid of a few million dollars so his boyfriend can have a better team, the White Sox could be the favorites for the AL. If he doesn’t, they’re still in the race as one of Al’s top teams, but they’re leaving the door open for other teams.

The White Sox will be good in 2021, and we can admit it even if we hate the guy who is the GM. They may also be better than they are now. We still have time before the trucks leave for Arizona, but stop acting like this team isn’t in the best position.

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