Chicago White Sox
2010 Record – 88-74 (2nd place in the AL Central)
Best Hitter: Paul Konerko (.312/.393/.584, 39 HR, 111 RBI 72 BB, 110 K)
Best Starting Pitcher: John Danks (3.72 ERA, 213 IP, 162 K 1.22 WHIP, 15-11)
Best Relief Pitcher: Chris Sale (1.27 ERA, 21.1 IP, 28 k, 10 BB, 1.27 WHIP, 3 saves)
State of the White Sox
The White Sox looked like they were starting to retool this offseason, so expectations for them this year were guarded. That became especially true after they floundered for the first two months of the season. By the beginning of June, the Sox were 9.5 games back in the division. It appeared the season was already over, and rumors flew that they were fielding offers for their impending free agents.
But feasting on a relatively soft interleague schedule, the Sox won eleven games in a row in June, jumping to within 1.5 games of first place by the end of the month. They followed that with another nine-game winning streak in July, resulting in the division lead at the All-Star Break, a position until the middle of August. However, a hard-charging Twins team eventually overcame them, due in part to the Twins 13-5 record in head-to-head games against their rivals.
Biggest Needs in the 2010/11 Offseason
The White Sox tried all season to add power, but face an exponentially harder task this offseason: adding power exactly when they might be losing their best power hitter. Paul Konerko is becoming a free agent after a year in which he garnered MVP buzz. He’ll rightfully entice some big numbers on the free agent market, and the White Sox will need to pay dearly for his services.
And this offseason, that might be a problem. Payroll for the Sox has hovered around the $100 million mark for several years, and big salaries to Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson are constricting how much there is to spend. Even if the Sox don’t tender a contract to closer Bobby Jenks, their payroll will come in around $90M – Either GM Kenny Williams is going to need to trade away some guaranteed salaries or owner Jerry Reinsdorf is going to need to commit more to payroll to afford Konerko.
And of course, just retaining Konerko isn’t going to make this a successful offseason. The Sox need to also find a way to replace catcher AJ Pierzynski, reshuffle the rotation after its late season meltdown, and add power at the designated hitter position. I wonder who they'll target? (Hint: Jim Thome’s family still lives in Chicago.) Plus, there is the ongoing saga on whether they will try and sign manager Ozzie Guillen to an extension prior to the final year of his contract.
All of which means this offseason might look a lot like the last one – more retooling, but maybe not a lot of improvement. And more guarded expectations for 2011.
Tomorrow is the last day to pre-order the Handbook, and today is likely the last day to order it for the $4.95 discounted price we're offering to our blog readers. One last time, here is that link for credit cards: